|PRRI to Host Webinar about White Christian NationalismOn Thursday, July 1, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm, join Robert P. Jones and Kristin Du Mez for a Zoom webinar titled “Between Juneteenth and the Fourth of July: A Conversation about White Christian Nationalism.” These two researchers and authors from PRRI will discuss the different versions of white Christianity that have been been put forth throughout history: one forwarding a myth of white racial innocence and the norm of a white Christian nation vs. another committed to a more critical history in the service of a multi-ethnic, multi-religious democracy. Amanda Tyler of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC) will moderate the conversation. Click here to learn more and to register for this insightful free webinar. (PRRI—Public Religion Research Institute—is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research at the intersection of religion, culture and public policy.)
One Orlando Alliance Hosts Evening of Reflection, Promise
On the evening of June 7, One Orlando Alliance hosted “An Evening of Reflection and Promise” at the Dr. Phillips FrontYard in downtown Orlando. For those who couldn’t be present physically, the event was live-streamed on Facebook. The evening included candid acknowledgements of the religious trauma carried by the LGBTQ+ community. But it also sought to create space to dream of a better future, of harm reduction, of greater understanding and of fuller inclusion. People from a variety of faiths and of no faith participated. The program included a panel of LGBTQ+ persons sharing their own experiences; music from the Orlando Gay Chorus; remarks from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings and a variety of local faith and community leaders. The event provided a diverse experience—remembrance of Pulse, music, inspiration, motivation and candid commentary about being LGBTQ+ in faith settings that have been hostile. Click here to view the entire event on YouTube. Pictured (sceen grab) are Josh Bell (right) and Nancy Rosado (left).Central Florida Foundation Hosts Pulse Panel Discussion
On its website, the Central Florida Foundation has posted several panel discussions and individual stories about the Pulse massacre as it’s being remembered at the five-year mark since the horrors of June 12, 2016. On June 9, 2021, during a Community Conversation at the Central Florida Foundation, guests Josh Bell of One Orlando Alliance, Barbara Poma of onePULSE Foundation and Joél Junior Morales of the LGBT+ Center Orlando discussed what progress has been made since Pulse to build a more inclusive community over the past five years and what more can be done. Click here to view a recording of the discussion.
National Interfaith Group Helping with President’s Initiative
President Biden has announced a “Month of Action” between June 4 and July 4, with the goal to increase vaccination rates to 70% of American adults before July 4. The Interfaith Youth Core is responding to the President’s call and helping to mobilize faith leaders across the country to address this ongoing health crisis. Read important information here. Read below what the IFYC says you and your faith group can do to help in this initiative. And the need to encourage vaccinations doesn’t end on July 4. So consider continuing—or begnning—the vaccine promotion and facilitation:
- Download IFYC’s Faith in the Vaccine Playbook and get a basic overview of how to get involved, including learning how to hold a townhall in your community;
- Get trained on impactful vaccine outreach techniques using IFYC’s Faith in the Vaccine training resources;
- Talk to five friends or family members and share your work back with the White House;
- Get connected with a national vaccine phone banking or text banking session if you don’t know anyone who needs personal outreach;
- Post on social media to share what you did using our Faith in the Vaccine social media tool kit.
New Age Group at HSCF to Host Pranayama Yoga Event
The New Age Group at the Hindu Society of Central Florida will host an event featuring instruction in Pranayama Yoga, explaining how to adopt these exercises into your lifestyle and the benefits that can be gained. Yoga specialist Shri Durgashanker Nagda will provide demonstrations. The event, scheduled for Sunday, July 11, at 1.30 pm sharp, will be held in the HSCF Community Hall (1994, East Lake Drive, Casselberry, FL 32707). RSVP is required no later than July 6. The program will include the Yoga seminar with practical demonstrations of exercises for shoulder, knee, back, etc; as well as snacks, tea and coffee. Entry is free for all who’ve paid their 2021 membership fee to New Age Club. Non-members must pay $5.00 per person at the door. Or non-members can become members by paying the $10 per person annual membership fee ($20 per couple) for the calendar year January to December. Fees are not prorated, so the sooner you join, the more return you get on your investment.
Holocaust Center to Conduct Virtual Event with Silvia Foti
What would you do if you found out your war-hero grandfather was in fact a war criminal? Hear what Silvia Foti did. Learn the story during a live virtual Holocaust Center event on Sunday, July 11, at 3:00 pm. Silvia Foti (photo) made a promise to her dying mother that she would write a book about her famous WWII-hero grandfather, Jonas Noreika. Silvia’s grandmother begged her not to do so. “Just let history lie,” she whispered. Silvia had no idea that in keeping her promise to her mother, her discoveries would bring her to a personal crisis, challenge her Catholic faith, unearth Holocaust denial, and expose an official cover-up by the Lithuanian government. Click here for more information and to register. Go the Holocaust Center website for information about upcoming events. Click here to view previous programs.
Hindu University Presents Story of Yoga in Video and Music
Hindu University of America (5200 Vineland Road #120, Orlando, FL 32811) is offering a unique look at yoga—as well as a look at the historical and cultural context in which yoga grew up millennia ago and in which it has been practiced for millennia. The presentation is a combination of Indian music, commentary and photographic and videographic portrayals of Indian history, art, architecture, culture, customs and scenic beauty. Click here to access the video on YouTube. And you might want to check out HUA’s website as well. The university offers an array of lectures, discussions and other activities at their facility and virtually. Some are for the general public and some for those who wish to pursue Hindu studies academically.
Book White Too Long to Be Released in Paperback July 13
White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity, by PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones, will be released in paperback on July 13. The paperback edition includes a new afterword focusing on the white supremacist imagery seen during the U.S. Capitol insurrection on January 6. Upon its release in 2020, White Too Long was praised for its analysis of the ties between Christianity and white supremacy. “It’s the most personal book I’ve written, a combination of research and the story of my own journey coming to terms with white supremacy and my faith,” Jones says. Click here to preorder the book.
Interfaith Discussion to Be Held via Zoom on July 14
On Wednesday, July 14, the monthly Interfaith Discussion sponsored by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida will be held on Zoom from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Topic for the evening’s exchange is: Music: What role does it play in your religious ritual, if any? What type of music is used in worship services? Does your faith tradition have any taboos about music that one might listen to in the car or while relaxing at home? Have people from your faith tradition composed music that has become well-known outside your tradition? These questions and more will addressed. Please log in a few minutes before 7:00 just so you have time to deal with any failures to launch. Our Zoom hosts for the meeting are the Baha’is of Orange County East. Click here to join the Zoom Meeting. Meeting ID: 834 6828 6041. Password: 537979. Dial by your location: +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) or +1 929 205 6099 US (New York). 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 more information, phone 321-228-4599.
Newsletter on Aging Debunks Ageism Stereotypes
From the June 2021 Newsletter of the Orange County Commission on Aging: “Ageism is defined as the stereotyping, prejudice and/or discrimination of individuals on the basis of their age. It is one of the most pervasive, yet least acknowledged and socially accepted, forms of prejudice. Conversely, a new report by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) found these stereotypes do not hold true. More than 75 percent of survey respondents age 65+ reported no deficit in vision, cognition, hearing, mobility, communication or self-care. In the past 20 years, the employment of older workers has grown by 117 percent and is expected to continue rising. Older adults contribute substantially to the well-being of communities, as caregivers and volunteers to support community programs. The economic value of this service in the United States is $73.5 billion annually. Unfortunately, age prejudice has been found to be a risk factor for elder abuse. Read the NCEA report on ageism.” Click here to subscribe to Orange County Commission on Aging Newsletter. It’s free—and filled with highly helpful, easily accessed information.
Quaker Parenting Initiative Sets Up Website Full of Ideas
Do you have children or teens—or grandkids—and sometimes feel at a loss about how to deal with them? You’re not alone. Dealing creatively with kids is a near-universal challenge. But the Quakers have done something about it. And, typical of Quakers, it’s low-keyed and straightforward but well-thought-through. Sure, they present the material as if they’re talking to Quaker parents. But it doesn’t take much imagination to translate most of what they say to your own situation, if you’re not a Quaker. Besides, Quaker schools, though relatively few in number, have a great reputation. And Quakers kind of cover the water front in their religious teaching. They’re Christian, but not of the straitjacket type. Some of their ideas sort of resemble Eastern religion—like their emphasis on meditation and inner light. And they definitely have a strong current of social justice and environmentalism running through their teachings. In short, even if you didn’t do much to adapt the material to a non-Quaker format and just absorbed it all-out-Quaker, you couldn’t go too wrong. So check it out for yourself by clicking here. Who knows? It might be just what you’re looking for. It might even change your whole outlook on parenting. Or even grandparenting.
Sojourners Founder to Occupy New Faith and Justice Chair
“I feel deeply grateful for the past, and very excited for the future,” said Jim Wallis (founder of Sojourners, an organization that advocates for social justice, motivated by the teachings and example of Jesus), when announcing that he had been invited by Georgetown University to become the Inaugural Chair of Faith and Justice at the McCourt School of Public Policy and the Founding Director of the new Center on Faith and Justice. “In these new positions I will be able to focus now on what I most love to do: teaching and mentoring, writing and speaking, media commentary, convening both faith and political leaders across the theological and political spectrum, engaging in outreach to both policy makers and local practitioners, helping to change the narrative of faith and politics, and being an advocate for justice—because of my faith. It is an incredible gift. I am blessed and thankful for the last 50 years with Sojourners . . . . I look forward to this new chapter of my vocation and ministry . . . .” Wallis is a widely published author and sought-after speaker.
Sikhs in Northwest Create Arch of Healing and Reconciliation
Many Americans have grown up being told how the United States is a melting pot that has brought together an array of diverse humanity from around the world and, together, we’ve formed an “E Pluribus Unum” nation (out of many, one). But the story has often been oversimplified, and many dark chapters of our nation’s history have been pushed back into the shadows because they don’t mesh with the image we seek. Such is the case with two hundred or more Sikhs who came to Bellingham, Washington, around 1906. A year later, they were literally chased out of town by local rioters. Click here for a video highlighting this sad chapter of U.S. history. And the mistreatment they received wasn’t unique to them. Chinese and Japanese residents faced their own forms of discrimination and persecution. The good news is that Bellingham and those there who were oonce persecuted have taken steps to move forward and ensure that the lessons of those terrible periods aren’t forgotten. Click here to watch a video about the Arch of Healing and Reconciliation.
Shepherd’s Hope: Free Back-to-School and Sports Physicals
Shepherd’s Hope will provide free back‐to‐school and sports physicals for local uninsured and under‐insured children through July 29. The free physicals include general health assessments and sports physicals with a specialist, as well as dental, vision and hearing screenings at select locations. New this year will be ECG screenings for student athletes, which is now required in Orange, Osceola, and Volusia counties. Funding to support this initiative is being provided by a grant from the Harper Family Charitable Foundation, which provides for the health, education, maintenance and well‐being of disabled children and adults of all ages in the Central Florida area. To qualify, children up to age 18 must be uninsured or under‐insured. Appointments are necessary. Following the completion of their physical exam, they will receive the required Florida Department of Health form (DOH 3040) which meets the state requirement for enrollment in public or private school. Physicals will be conducted at the following Shepherd’s Hope Health Centers: West Orange Health Center (455 Ninth St., Winter Garden): July 15, July 21, July 28 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm; July 24 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Longwood Health Center (600 North US Highway 17‐92, Longwood): July 13, July 20, July 26 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm; July 19, July 29 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Dr. Diebel, Jr., Memorial Health Center (9837 East Colonial Drive, Orlando): July 12, July 20, July 27 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. Downtown Health Center (101 S. Westmoreland Drive, Orlando): July 14, July 21, July 28 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Click here for more information. Phone 407-876-6699 Ext. 246 (se habla Español) to make an appointment. Masks are required at time of physical.
Project Opioid Seeking Partnerships with Houses of Faith
In preparation for a major faith-based initiative that will be launched by Project Opioid on August 29, Rev. J. Scott George, Project Opioid VP for Strategic Partnerships, has announced that two faith-leader events have been scheduled in early August. Clergy and lay faith leaders, please mark the appropriate date on your calendars. Orange County: Tuesday, August 3, Faith Leaders Breakfast, 9:00 to 10:30 am, Calvary Orlando, Winter Park. Click here for more information and to register for the breakfast. Seminole County: Wednesday, August 4, Faith Leader’s Lunch (organized by Sheriff Dennis Lemma), 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm, Harvest Time International, Sanford. Click here for more information and to register for the lunch. Also note that the weekend of August 29 Project Opioid will be launching a major faith-based initiative. Keep watching for more details about these activities.
Save the Date, Volunteer for 2021 Global Peace Film Festival
“Volunteering for the Global Peace Film Festival is truly a one-of-a-kind experience,” according to organizers of the Festival. “Every year, dozens of generous volunteers (most of whom return year after year) help create a global platform to celebrate peace. We’re looking for volunteers to assist in all areas of the Festival—from managing theater entrances, ushering screenings and supporting special events to helping us spread the news and working with our social media platforms. Of course there are plenty of exciting benefits, like being among the first audiences to see films from around the world, attend educational panels, meet filmmakers and special guests and hear from local activists about their work. But the real benefit of volunteering isn’t the perks, or even the films—it’s being a part of a passionate community.” Click here to learn more and to sign up as a volunteer.
Global Faith Forum to Be Held in Dallas October 10-11
The Global Faith Forum, to be held in Dallas, Texas, October 10-11, will be a gathering of unlikely allies that venture down an unlikely path in order to build flourishing communities in our nation and the world. The event will take many from having a conversation about others to having a conversation with others. Sunday night, October 10, Dr. Muhammad Al-Issa will read the Makkah Declaration, and other speakers will respond. It will be one of the first and largest national public gatherings of Evangelicals and Muslims. The next day, we will hear from other top religious leaders—Pastors, Rabbis and Imams—concerning how we can build bridges together and action steps toward working together in the public square. Speakers will include Dr. Muhammad Al-Issa, Christine Caine, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Amb. David Saperstein, Amb. Sam Brownback, Walter Kim, David Beasley from the World Food Programme, Zeenat Rahman and more.
Interfaith Council Asking for Your Help with Funding
If you appreciate what’s being achieved by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida, we would welcome your support. Please send your contribution to: Interfaith Council of Central Florida, PO Box 3310, Winter Park, FL 32790-3310. Thank you for your assistance.
Sikh Audiovisual Reflection
Click here t hear the 10-minute reflection by Bahadur Singh.