|Christian Hymn Specialists Choose Greatest Hymn of All Time
From the Religion News Service website: “‘Holy, Holy, Holy!’ has been chosen in a March Madness-like tournament as ‘the greatest hymn of all time. . . .’ The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada announced the winner on Thursday (July 18), the last day of its annual conference in Dallas. . . . More than 800 people, mostly members of the 1,200-member Hymn Society, voted on the society’s website, on Facebook and, in the last rounds, in person at the conference during the competition that featured brackets similar to the springtime NCAA basketball tradition. . . . Hymn experts said it was fitting, if not surprising, that ‘Holy, Holy, Holy!’ — which trounced ‘Amazing Grace,’ 70% to 30% in the second round — defeated its musical challengers.” The hymn’s tune, written by English clergyman John B. Dykes is considered one of the 19th century’s best. And the words, written by Anglican bishop Reginald Heber, “are an elegant way of affirming the basic belief in the Trinity that unites most Christian denominations regardless of other doctrinal differences,” says the Religion News Service report about the winning hymn. Click here to listen to the hymn being sung.
Orlando Magazine: Bronze Kingdom Best Orlando Art Gallery
On August 1, the Bronze Kingdom art gallery in Orlando Fashion Square Mall hosted a reception to celebrate having been voted Orlando’s Best Art Gallery by the readers of Orlando Magazine. The impressive 16,000-square-foot gallery, developed by art collector, philanthropist and entrepreneur Rawlvan R. Bennett, features some 2,000 pieces of African art acquired by Bennett over the past 37 years. These have come directly from African leaders, the result of cultivated relationships, respectful negotiation and Bennett’s prodigious help in building schools, hospitals and bridges for West African communities. The Bronze Kingdom represents an important spectrum of African bronze, beaded and wood sculptures from throughout the continent, including Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Especially notable are grand palatial pieces from the Benin and Bamoun tribal kingdoms, some dating back to the early 1600s. The gallery is open to collectors, institutions and the general public for sales, educational tours, cultural programs and exclusive events. (Click here to learn more.) Much of the art is a depiction of religion and the spiritual perceptions held within the cultures represented. The Bronze Kingdom is in the process of moving to International Drive, where it will enrich Orlando’s cultural tourism scene with an immersive African cultural experience.Listen to Friends Talking Faith with The Three Wise Guys
Hear 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.
Interfaith Discussion to Be Held at AdventHealth University
On Wednesday, September 11, the monthly Interfaith Discussion sponsored by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida will be held from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at AdventHealth University (671 Winyah Drive, Orlando, FL 32803), which is on AdventHealth’s main Orlando campus. The title of the evening’s discussion is: “In What Ways Has Your Faith Tradition Progressed? And What Do You Define as Progress?” Of course, you may be attracted to your faith tradition precisely because it hasn’t progressed: It has stayed essentially the same for centuries or millennia. But most adherents to a faith tradition or worldview see adjustments within their faith tradition’s structure and changes in what is and isn’t acceptable. Some changes they may support; others they may oppose. But few remain indifferent to the changes. So come and tell about the changes in your faith tradition or worldview, particularly the changes you like. The monthly discussions 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, click here. Admission is free. Everyone is invited. For more information, phone 321-228-4599.
Podcast Series Describes Dangers of Christian Nationalism
The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty is presenting a 10-part weekly podcast exploring Christian nationalism. Learn more about what it is, how it appears in our culture and what Christians are doing to speak out against it. You can subscribe to the BJC Podcast on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. Or you can listen online by clicking here. Learn more about Christian nationalism and why so many Christians are opposed to it. The Baptist Joint Committee is a staunch, long-time and unflagging advocate of religious liberty for everyone—not just for the religious majority.
Commission on Aging Newsletter a Great Help for Many
Whether you’re becoming more acutely aware of the aging process because it has embraced you, or because you’re a caregiver to someone else who has been embraced by it, you’ll find a treasure trove of helpful information in the monthly email newsletter of the Orange County Commission on Aging. Whether you’re a super-active retiree looking for exciting, energy-demanding, adrenaline-releasing activities and opportunities, or whether you’re looking for help with what you’re no longer able to do on your own, the newsletter is a good place to start in finding what you need. Check it out for yourself. Then apply here to be put on the email list.
Faith and Business Leaders Invited to Project Opioid Event
Project Opioid, an initiative to battle the current opioid crisis, is convening faith and business leaders on Tuesday, August 20, from 8:30 to 10:00 am, at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando (106 East Church Street, Orlando, FL 32801) to learn about approaches that can help turn the tide on this epidemic. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his wife, First Lady Casey DeSantis, will be present. Those who attend will learn about: (1) the current status of the opioid crisis in Central Florida and around the state; (2) how local and state leaders can work together; (3) programs and tools congregations can use and relationships congregations can build to impact lives. There will also be a special naloxone (Narcan) training immediately following the event for any faith leader who would like to be trained and equipped on this life-saving intervention method. Click here to register to attend. Direct questions by email to Dr. Joel Hunter, founder of the Community Resource Network.
Longwood Hosting Free Monthly Senior Movie Matinees
Seniors are invited to enjoy the Longwood Monthly Senior Movie Matinee on Wednesday, August 21, at 1:30 pm at the Longwood Community Building (200 West Warren Avenue, Longwood, FL 32750). Phone 407-260-3428 for more information and to find out what film is being screened.
Hispanic Panel and Vigil Slated for Wednesday, August 21
Because of recent events in our country, the Hispanic community in Central Florida feels an urgent need to gather together in love to support one another. Thus an event is being planned for the Greater Orlando Hispanic community and their allies on Wednesday, August 21, at 5:00 pm. The event will begin at the Orlando Center for Spiritual Living (709 Edgewater Drive) for a panel discussion, followed by an outdoor vigil next door at the Suarez Law Group (517 W Colonial Drive).
‘Moms Demand Action’ Holding Rally at City Hall August 17
In wake of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio—in addition to the hundred lives taken daily by gun violence and the hundreds more injured—Orlando’s Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is hosting a national call-to-action rally on Saturday, August 17, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm at Orlando’s City Hall (400 South Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801. Those rallying will call on the U.S. Senate to act on the background-check and red-flag laws already passed by the House of Representatives. Elected officials, faith leaders, community leaders, gun-violence survivors and all who are concerned about gun-related carnage are urged to attend.
Faith and Diversity Festival Slated for Saturday, August 17
The First Annual Faith and Diversity Festival will be begin on Saturday, August 17, at 5:00 pm at Stonewall (741 West Church Street, Orlando, FL). The purpose of the event is to break down barriers and bring the LGBTQ+ and faith communities together (21+). Sponsoring organizations include Joy Metropolitan Community Church, Miracle of Love, Peer Support Space, Iglesias Episcopal Jesus de Nazaret, Longwood Hills Congregational Church, The Reformation Project, Zebra Coalition, The LGBTQ+ Center, Orlando Trans Collective, Oasis Church and others. The event is free of charge, and attendees will have access to an evening concert by Puerto Rican singers Yaire and Lissy Estrella. Click here for more information.
Jewish Community Center Lists Visiting Authors thru May 5
The Cultural Arts Department at The Roth Family Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando (851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751) has announced that the following authors will be participating in its Author Speaker Series this fall through next spring: Jenna Blum, The Lost Family, August 27; Adeena Sussman, Sababa, October 29; Susan Tarcov, Raisins and Almonds, February 9; Marra B. Gad, The Color of Love, March 17; Carla Naumberg, How to Stop Losing Your **** with Your Kids, May 5. Click here to learn more about the authors, the books they’ll be discussing and details of how to register for their presentations.
Hindus Sponsoring Student Essay-Writing Competition
The New Age Group (the seniors group) at the Hindu Society of Central Florida is sponsoring a student writing competition, with prizes to be awarded during its celebration of Grandparents Day on Sunday, September 8, 12:30 pm at the community hall of the Hindu Society of Central Florida (1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry, FL 32707). The essays, which are open to all students—and not just those residing in Central Florida, and not just Hindus—will address issues related to a positive spiritual life. Topics and minimum and maximum length for the essays in each age grouping are: elementary school: My Faith (150-250 words); middle school: What Is Righteousness? (250-500 words); high school: How to Improve the Quality of Humanity (300-750 words). The winner and two runners-up in each age group will receive a small cash prize. All writers will receive a community-service certificate for participating. All entries must be sent by email, and the essay must be included in the body of the email (not sent as an attachment). Submissions must be sent by email and received by August 27. Writers should include: full name, age, grade, name of school, email address and phone number. Essays should be original and written by the student (without parental editing). Winners will be announced at the September 8 event, and winning entries will be posted on the website of the Hindu Society of Central Florida. The Grandparents Day celebration is free to all who RSVP by August 27. As part of the event, there will be an on-the-spot drawing competition (children must bring t.heir own supplies), with winners being awarded small cash prizes. For further information, call: Madan Arora (407-971-9259); Dev Sharma (407-862-9920); or Sadananda Pande (407-542-7478). Grandparents, parents and children—three generations—are invited to this unique way to celebrate Grandparents Day.
Friends of the Wekiva River Offering Great Nature Outings
Whatever one’s faith tradition or worldview, appreciating and caring for our earth is probably part of that ideology. And what better inducement to engage in earth care can we find that actually getting out into nature. Friends of the Wekiva River seek to provide programs and events that encourage experiencing the blessings of nature firsthand. Click here for a list of the various field trips and other out-in-nature adventures they’ll be sponsoring during the next few months.
Holocaust Center Featuring ‘Facing Prejudice’ Exhibit
An exhibit titled “Facing Prejudice” is being featured at the Holocaust Center (851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751) until August 30. Center personnel describe “Facing Prejudice” as “an unparalleled exhibition: a journey of questions, personal insights and factual statements designed to challenge and empower the visitor to fight for understanding and tolerance in their everyday lives” and that “explores the complexity of the prejudices that exist within us. This concept is a journey of questions, personal insights, and factual statements designed to challenge you.” Holocaust Center hours are Monday to Thursday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm; Friday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm; and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm.
Sikhs Commit to Planting 1 Million Trees by the End of 2019
To commemorate the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak, the founding Guru of the Sikh faith, EcoSikh, an NGO working for environment protection, has launched a worldwide campaign to plant one million trees by the end of 2019. “The NGO is also creating a mobile app platform to consolidate this report, and it will be presented at the United Nations as a unified effort. Apart from doing charity work, we are investing in nature,” said Dr Rajwant Singh, global president of EcoSikh. The Sikh Society of Central Florida is promoting the campaign in Central Florida, inviting other faith groups, youth groups, civic organizations, corporate entities, environmental groups and anyone who loves the environment and wants to become involved with others in a community-wide project with such positive potential are invited to participate. Read the history of Guru Nanak here.
Save the Date: Global Peace Film Festival September 16-22
Mark 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 from September 16 to 22. 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. More details to come in next month’s newsletter.
Save the Date: Interfaith Panel to Address Human Suffering
The public is invited to hear a multi-faith panel address the question “Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?” The panel will consist of members of four faiths: Judaism, Evangelical Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. The speakers will be: Rabbi David Kay of Congregation Ohev Shalom in Maitland; Dr. Joel Hunter, founder of the Community Resource Network and former pastor of Northland Church; Imam Abdurrahman Sykes, President of the Islamic Society Leading American Muslims; and Dr. Claudia Schippert, Associate Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at the University of Central Florida and Abbot of the Orlando Zen Center. The event, organized jointly by residents of Lake of the Woods and the Interfaith Council of Central Florida, will be held on Monday, October 28, at 7:00 pm, at Lake of the Woods Clubhouse (300 Carolwood Point, Fern Park, FL 32730). The event is free and everyone is welcome.
Save the Date: Multi-Faith Peace Prayer Event at HSCF
The Hindu Society of Central Florida will host a Multi-Faith Global Peace Prayer event on Sunday, November 3, at 1:30 pm at the HSCF Community Hall (1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry, Florida 32707). More information will be included in upcoming newsletters.
Ginsburg Family Foundation Offering $35K Matching Grant
If you appreciate what’s being achieved by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida and Friends Talking Faith With the Three Wise Guys, you have an opportunity to make your contributions for the balance of 2019 to achieve twice as much! the Ginsburg Family Foundation will give one dollar for every dollar someone else gives up to a maximum of $35,000. So we ask all our supporters to make their contributions go further by taking advantage of this act of generosity from the Ginsburgs. Whether you contribute monthly, quarterly or annually, every gift you give during the balance of 2019 will do double duty. money go twice as far. Which means you can have even greater satisfaction in 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: BuildingUS, PO Box 3310, Winter Park, FL 32790-3310. Or you can click here to contribute online. Thank you for your help.
Unitarian Universalist Reflection
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”—Mary Ann Radmacher