June 2016

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Kids Tell Story of Passover and Events Surrounding ItPassover 3
The Roth Family Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando
(851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751) recorded a series of children’s explanations of what Passover is all about. The stories the kids tell may drift somewhat from the written record. But they’re definitely interesting. And certainly worth sharing. Enjoy!
Canadian Prime Minister Apologizes to Sikhs
One hundred and two years ago, a shipload of would-be Sikh immigrants were refused the privilege of disembarking in British Columbia. That bad decision has haunted Canada for decades. But on May 18, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally apologized in the House of Commons for something he and everyone else in that room had nothing to do with. But the record needed to be set straight. The lesson learned needed to be highlighted. “Today,” the Prime Minister said, “while knowing that no words can fully erase the pain and suffering experienced by the passengers, I offer a sincere apology on behalf of the government for the laws in force at the time that allowed Canada to be indifferent to the plight of the passengers of the Komagata Maru.” Click here to read the news report of the apology. Click to read a Sikh journalist’s reaction to the apology and his reflection on having grown up as a Sikh in small-town Canada.
In Tennessee, Personal Beliefs Justify Refusal of Service
Tennessee’s legislature recently passed—and the governor has signed into law—a new bill that “allows mental health counselors to refuse to treat patients based on the therapist’s religious or personal beliefs,” according to a report posted on the AP website. “We’re just profoundly disappointed in the governor’s decision and very disheartened by the fact that this was even passed by a legislative body anywhere in this country in the 21st century,” Art Terrazas, director of governmental affairs for the ACA [American Counseling AssociPhysicianation], said. He added that the governor was wrong because doctors and other professionals can’t just refuse to help people because of their personal beliefs. Vulnerable people, Terrazas said, will be harmed as a result of a measure that gives therapists wide room to refuse to treat people. The new law says licensed counselors in private practice cannot be forced to serve a client if there are “goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with the sincerely held principles” of the therapist. It also shields therapists who invoke the new law from being sued, prosecuted or punished by a licensing authority.Native Americans Protest Sale of Sacred Artifactswar-shield
“A group of Native Americans and a US State Department official are appealing to a French auction house to cancel the sale of sacred Indian artifacts. . . . The planned sale of hundreds of items at the Eve auction house in Paris includes ceremonial objects with religious significance to the Hopi tribe, including representations of religious characters known as ‘Katsina friends.’ Sale of the objects is considered an act of extreme sacrilege by the Hopi. . . . Other items include a war shirt from a Plains Indian tribe, featuring hair from human scalps, and a ceremonial Acoma Pueblo war shield. . . . It is illegal in the US to sell any Native American ceremonial objects, but it is not in France. An Eve spokesman said the tribes can buy back their history if they choose to do so. . . . The governor of Acoma Pueblo, Kurt Riley, has asked Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene with French authorities.” Read the full story here. (The sale was to have taken place on Monday, May 30.)

Non-Theists Remind Schools of Pledge of Allegiance Law
pledge of allegiance 4For decades most students in Florida’s public schools have begun their day with the patriotic ritual of pledging allegiance to the U.S. flag. But for a variety of reasons, a minority of students have not participated in this daily exercise. And the U.S. Supreme Court has long defended their right to not participate. Until recently, Florida law said that an explanation of students’ right not to participate had to be posted prominently in each school. The Florida Legislature recently modified that requirement. Schools now must include details of the right of non-participation in their school handbook. Many atheists and some religions strongly support student opt-out rights—and they want everyone to know about those rights. So the Central Florida Freethought Community and the American Atheists organization have written to all of Florida’s 67 school districts, reminding them of the provisions of the new law and putting them on notice that the two organizations will be checking their school handbooks this fall. Click here to read the letter the two organization’s jointly sent. And click here to read a press release from the CFFC.

Hindu Group to Hear About Aging and HealthHindu Society of Central FL 2
Growing older? Not as healthy as you once were? Wondering what to do? You might want to consider attending a presentation in the Community Hall of the Hindu Society of Central Florida (1994 East Lake Drive, Casselberry, FL 32707) on Sunday, June 5, at 1:30 pm. The speaker for the event, Dr. Jagdish Kulkarni, will not only address the health problems caused by aging but will share possible solutions and lead out in a question-and-answer session. The public is invited. The event, sponsored by the HSCF’s New Age Group (seniors group), is free of charge for members. Non-members will be charged $3 with  RSVP via email received by June 2 or $5 at the gate. Membership in the New Age Group costs $10 per person.

Film About Guns to Be Screened at First Unitarian
Making a KillingJoin the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Global Peace Film Festival and the Peace and Justice Institute for a free screening of the documentary Making a Killing: Guns, Greed and the NRA. The film, which will be shown at First Unitarian Church of Orlando (1901 East Robinson Street, Orlando, FL 32803) on Sunday, June 5, at 1:30 pm, tells the story of how guns—and the billions of dollars made from their sale—affect the lives of everyday Americans. It features personal stories from people across the country who have been affected by gun violence, including survivors and victims’ families. The film looks at how powerful gun companies and the NRA are resisting responsible legislation for the sake of profit, thereby putting people in danger. A panel discussion will follow the film’s screening. Panelists include Kate Ranta, a survivor of domestic gun violence (featured in the documentary); Rev. Bryan Fulwider of the radio program Friends Talking Faith with The Three Wise Guys; and Valencia State College Professor Aaron Powell. Patti Brigham, 1st Vice President and Gun Safety Chair of the League of Women Voters of Florida, will moderate the discussion. Register for this free screening at Eventbrite.

Several Islamic Groups Inviting Public to an IftarIftar 2
In the spirit of building bridges of dialogue and understanding about Islam, a number of Muslim entities are inviting those of other faiths and no faith to join them for a community Iftar—the ritual fast-breaking dinners held during the month of Ramadan. (Click here for detailed information about Ramadan, Muslim fasting and Iftar dinners.) This year several Muslims groups are making more than one of their Iftars a “Guest Iftar.” Those interested in participating should peruse the following to find the time and location that are most convenient. (1) The Islamic Center of Orlando invites non-Muslims to join them on June 8, 15 and 22 (all on Wednesdays) at the Muslim Academy of Greater Orlando (11551 Ruby Lake Road, Orlando, FL 32836). Plan to arrive at 8:00 pm sharp. Seating is limited, so RSVP by email or phone (407-285-7790). Please provide your name, the number in your party and your religious affiliation. (2) The Atlantic Institute (940 South Winter Park Drive, Casselberry, FL 32707) invites non-Muslims to join them on Thursday, June 16, or Wednesday, June 29, from 7:00 to 9:30 pm. The program will include background information about Ramadan and fasting as well as the meal together. RSVP by email or phone (321-203-2191). (3) The American Muslim Community Center (811 Wilma Street, Longwood, FL 32750) invites non-Muslims to join them on Monday, June 13. Registration begins at 6:30 pm, and the program will include information about Ramadan and fasting as well as the meal together. RSVP by email or phone (407-900-4262). (4) The Center for Peace at the Islamic Society of Central Florida (1021 N. Goldenrod Road, Orlando, FL 32807) invites non-Muslims to join them for their “Building Bridges and Breaking Bread Banquet” on Sunday, June 5, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The event will include information about Ramadan and Muslim fasting, which focuses on community, compassion and peace. Click for more information and to RSVP at Eventbrite. Direct questions to 407-273-8363(5) The Muslim Women’s Organization is hosting its fourth annual Multi-Faith Women’s Iftar on Wednesday, June 22, at 7:00 pm. The theme for the event is: The Heart of Ramadan—Faith, Fasting, Friendship. Women from different religions, races, and backgrounds will come together to celebrate their diversity and share the traditional food of an Iftar. Click here to send an email for more information, for directions to the venue and to RSVP.

Rollins College to Host Forum on the Zika Virus
Through its Center for Health Innovation, Rollins College is hosting a free forum for the general public titled “The Zika Virus: What You Need to Know.” The event will be held at 7:00 pm on Monday, June 6, at the Bush Auditorium at Rollins College (see campus map). Presenter-panelists are: Dr. Vincent Hsu of Florida Hospital, who is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Preventive Medicine. Dr. Kauser Akhter of Orlando ZikaHealth, who is board-certified in Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine. Dr. Liliana V. Rios of Infectious Disease Consultants of Orlando, who is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease. Dr. Chet Evans, Chief Health Innovation Officer for the Center for Health Innovation at Rollins College, will moderate. Click here for more information about the presenters, the event and parking options. For more information, phone 407-646-2130.

RCLL Offering Introduction to Humanism Classhumanist
Not sure what the word “Humanism” means? Interested in learning more about it? Then a class being offered in June by the Rollins Center for Lifelong Learning might of interest to you (provided you’re at least 50 years of age—these are “seniors” courses). The class, “Introduction to Humanism—A Primer on the History, Philosophy and Goals of Humanism,” will be taught by local attorney Steven Bechtel, who says that Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism of other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity. This is but one of the many definitions of Humanism, he says. The course is designed to provide the student a general understanding of what Humanism is (and what it is not), the role of Humanism in history, the core principles of Humanism and what Humanism offers the individual and society. The instructor will suggest reading materials that will be discussed in class and will present videos for discussion. The class will meet at the Lawrence Center, Room B (200 East New England Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789) on Tuesdays, June 7, 14, 21, 28, from 4:00 to 5:30 pm. For cost, other details and to register—and it needs to be done immediately!—click here. (You might want to check out other classes also offered by RCLL.)

Friends Talking Faith with The Three Wise Guys
3 Wise GuysHear the varied perspectives of the Rev. Bryan Fulwider, Rabbi Steve Engel and Imam Muhammad Musri as each week they discuss how faith impacts both the simple and the complex aspects of life. These three clergy come together as friends to discuss topics from the perspective of the different religions they represent. They contend that “good religion works for peace, respects and values others regardless of their religious perspective, and works through acts of compassion to make the world a better place for everyone.” Friends Talking Faith with The Three Wise Guys airs on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm on 90.7 WMFE FM in Orlando. Tune in on your radio or listen online. You can also listen to any show already aired. June’s programming features the following:

  • June 7Faith and Religion: The Place of Hope in Faith, Politics and Life
  • June 14: Faith and Politics: Diversity as an American and Faith Value
  • June 21: Faith and Society: Men’s Spirituality (with guest Fr. Richard Rohr)
  • June 28: Faith and Society: March for America in Washington, D.C.

Discussion: Your Faith Tradition and Civility in Speechspeech 3
The topic for June’s Interfaith Discussion is: “What Does Your Faith Tradition Teach About Civility in Speech?” How should we speak to each other in daily conversation? In public discourse? In the media? Are there any rules-free zones where normal strictures don’t apply? Come prepared to discuss these questions and more about human interaction, on Wednesday, June 8, at the monthly Interfaith Discussion sponsored by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida. The discussion is held from 7:00 to 8:30 pm on the second Wednesday of each month at Adventist University of Health Sciences (671 Winyah Drive, Orlando, FL 32803) on Florida Hospital’s main campus. The exchanges are respectful, open and candid, and the participants represent a variety of faith traditions as well as those who question the validity of faith altogether. For directions to the meeting place, click here. Admission is free. Everyone is invited.

Looking for an Opportunity to Volunteer?
justserve-logoIf you’re looking for an opportunity to volunteer but just don’t know where the needs lie, justserve.org may be the answer. If you need volunteers for your organization but aren’t sure where to get them, justserve.org may be the answer. Rather than try to explain in detail how it works, having you click on justserve.org may be the answer. Check it out. And when you do, join a lot of others in giving kudos to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for providing such a simple and useful community-betterment tool that’s available for everyone’s use.

Operation ReachBack to Host Father-Son Legacy GalaOperation ReachBack
The annual Father-Son Legacy Gala of the Orlando chapter of Operation ReachBack will feature as keynote speaker T.C. Stallings, former professional athlete and star of the movie War Room. The event, centered around the theme “A Legacy of Faithfulness,” will be held Sunday, June 12, from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at the Rosen Centre Hotel (9840 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819). Operation ReachBack seeks to T. C. Stallingspositively impact the lives of black male youth, enabling them to reach their full God-given potential. “Engage, Encourage, Empower, Educate” are the goals. The most important quality-of-life indicators suggest that boys of African descent are in deep trouble. Functioning as a social network for discarded victims, Operation ReachBack, Inc., makes significant contributions to their betterment, as well as enhancing their families and communities. Operation ReachBack, Inc., raises both aspirations and achievements of selected black males at risk between the ages of 9 and 22. To buy individual tickets and table sponsorships for this fundraiser, go to Eventbrite. For further detail, phone Jacqueline Ross (321-438-0283).

“Negro Spiritual” Scholarship Foundation to Host TourneyNegroSpiritual
In the mood for an enjoyable, competitive and rewarding day on the golf links? Then the “Negro Spiritual” Scholarship Foundation Benefit Golf Tournament may be just the thing for you. The event will be held Monday, June 13, at Red Tail Country Club (26026 Member Lane, Sorrento, Florida.) The title sponsor is Prestige Ford of Mount Dora. The event will include a free breakfast and buffet lunch, swag gift bags, individual and team trophies, raffles and other prizes. And if you make a hole in one, you can even win a new car! Click here for more detail including cost and how to register. Or phone Rudolph Cleare (407-841-6773).

Mascot Games to Host Two Days of Fun for Kids
New Hope for KidsWant to combine a day of fun for kids with a chance to make a contribution to a really worthwhile project for kids? Then the Mascot Games (June 17 and 18 at the Amway Center) may be the perfect way to do so—because all proceeds go to benefit the nonprofit Hope for Kids. (Take a moment to read about what Hope for Kids does—it’s impressive.) And just what are the Mascot Games? “The Mascot Games feature mascots from sports teams across the country competing in a variety of zany games. More than 18,000 fans enjoy thrilling and crazy competition, as mascots from MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS, ECHL and NCAA battle through high-energy themed games to see who are the true champions of the mascot world are!” Have questions? Then click here to have your questions answered. Still have questions? Then phone Courtney at 407-331-3059 ext 17 or send an email.

Three Abrahamic Faiths to Compare Role of Fasting
The Atlantic Institute will continue its Table of Abraham series on Thursday, June fasting23, at 6:30 pm at its headquarters building (940 South Winter Park Drive, Casselberry, FL 32707). The three Abrahamic faiths—JudaismChristianity and Islam—share common ground in terms of many faith practices. Fasting is an ancient practice whose purpose and benefit span across the three Abrahamic faiths. Similar to prayer, fasting is common in all three religions. This program will explore the similarities and differences of fasting and acknowledge the importance for interfaith dialogue and the positive role it plays in society. Although this event specifically represents Judaism, Christianity and Islam, everyone is invited. Click here for more detail and to RSVP.

Chicago Archdiocese Takes Value of Family Seriously
From Religion News Service: “The Archdiocese of Chicago has announced that it will begin offering 12 weeks of paid parental leave to its employees, a policy that is almost unheard of in Catholic dioceses and one that reflects an effort to put the church’s money where its mission is. . . . Betsy Bohlen, chief operating officer for the archdiocese, said Archbishop Blase Cupich pushed for the innovative policy soon after he took over the nation’s third-largest diocese in late 2014 in order to ensure that personnel policies were in line with church teaching. . . . ‘Obviously we do want to be a voice for pro-life, family-friendly kinds of policies,’ Bohlen told the Catholic New World, the archdiocesan newspaper. . . . The gulf between the church’s rhetoric on behalf of family-friendly policies, and specifically paid family leave, and the fact that apparently none of the nation’s nearly 200 dioceses have offered anything like those policies, has been a source of growing concern among Catholic commentators across the spectrum. ”Read the full story at Religion News Service.
Globally, Religious Freedom Not Making Progress
religious freedomFrom Religion News Service: “Religious freedom remains under ‘serious and sustained assault’ around the globe, according to a new annual report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. . . . ‘At best, in most of the countries we cover, religious freedom conditions have failed to improve,’ commission chairman Robert P. George said Monday (May 2). ‘At worst, they have spiraled further downward.’. . . The independent government advisory body recommended that the State Department add the Central African Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria and Vietnam to the U.S. government’s list of the world’s worst abusers of human rights and religious freedom.” Read the full article at the website of the Religion News Service.

Faith, Peace and Justice: A Four-Part Summer Series
The Holocaust Center and the Interfaith Council of Central Florida are collaborating on a summer series called “Faith, Peace and Justice,” which will be held at the Holocaust Center on July 6, 13, 20, 27 from 2:30 to 4:00 pm. Americans take pride in the fact that we’ve invited the world’s “tired,” its “poor,” its “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” to come share our country. But we haven’t always treated well those who weren’t part of the national majority. The “Faith, Peace and Justice” series will take a serious look at a partial Statue of Liberty 2list of our collective failures, some of which happened decades or centuries ago, while others are ongoing. Not only will we look briefly at the mistakes made, we’ll also look at lessons learned and progress achieved. The series will be: July 6: “Some of Those ‘Other’ Christians—How We’ve Treated Catholics, Mormons and Christian Scientists.” July 13: “Pacifism and Other Peculiarities—How We’ve Treated Jehovah’s Witnesses, Quakers and Seventh-day Adventists.” July 20: “Atheists, Activists and Panentheists—How We’ve Treated Secular Humanists, Unitarian Universalists and the ‘Earth’ Religions.” July 27: “Yarmulkes, Hijabs and Turbans—How We’ve Treated Jews, Muslims and Sikhs.” Mark your calendars now. More details will be included in the July issue of the Interfaith Council email newsletter.

Save the Date for this Year’s Global Peace Film Festival
GPFF logo 2Mark your calendars right now for one of Central Florida’s most impressive and world-changing events—the Global Peace Film Festival. The festival, which has the goal of “expanding the definition of peace through the power of film,” will be held between September 19 and 25. Join filmmakers from around the world as you watch films that inspire, motivate, foster understanding and promote engagement. But your participation doesn’t need to be passive, because an array of volunteers are needed. So check out the options. The GPFF provides a wonderful opportunity to watch films, get involved and change the world. Keep watching for more details.

Week of the Family to Run From November 5 to 12WOTF 3
If you’re not familiar with the Week of the Family, then there’s no time like the present to get an introduction—because this much-appreciated event will begin this year on Saturday, November 5, with a series of events and opportunities lasting until Saturday, November 12. The Week of the Family is that one time each year when an array of faith-based, civic, business, educational and just about every other kind of organization in Central Florida come together to inspire families to be the best family they’re capable of being. And not just for that week. The week is just a boost to help them get on a better path. In fact, “The Week of the Family’s mission is to strengthen family relationships through education, wholesome activities, fitness and community service.” There’s a lot more going on that week than there is space here to tell you. So go to the WOTF website to see all what has been done in the past and some of the things being planned for 2016 and how you can become involved. One thing the organizers are requesting is that spiritual leaders throughout Central Florida try to use the November 5-12 celebration as a natural springboard for sermons, educational presentations and events throughout the year that are designed to promote and strengthen the family and lead up to the event. And by all means, share with all in your house of worship and community of faith the things that are going on that week that could be a blessing to families and the community as a whole.

This Year, Why Not Make Regular Contributions a Habit?
If you appreciate what’s being achieved by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida and Friends Talking Faith With the Three Wise Guys radio program, why not resolve now to contribute on a regular basis to these community-based, community-benefitting activities. It may be every month, once a quarter or annually. And it may be a large contribution or small. But whatever it is, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you played a part in helping to make our community more harmonious and peaceful. All contributions are tax-deductible and may be sent to: PO Box 3310, Winter Park, FL 32790-3310. Or you can click here to contribute online. Thank you for your help.

Hindu ReflectionHindu god
Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth. Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust. Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace. Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe. Peace, peace, peace. ― Upanishads


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  James Coffin, Executive Director
PO Box 3310, Winter Park, FL 32790-3310
|T  321-228-4599   | E  jim@interfaithfl.org
| W  https://interfaithfl.org/

Betty Alter, Newsletter Production and Administration

Please forward this email to any you feel would be interested. To be placed on the Interfaith Council’s email newsletter list, send your request to betty@buildingus.org.