INTERFAITH COUNCIL OF CENTRAL FLORIDA NEWSLETTER–5 (January 2013)
1. MLK Candlelight Vigil and Interfaith and Multicultural Service. On Sunday evening, January 13, you’re invited to join an array of religious and civic leaders at the Orlando City Hall, where you’ll receive a commemorative T-shirt and glow stick. The “candlelight” vigil and march will leave City Hall at 6:00 pm, led by Mayor Buddy Dyer, and proceed to First United Methodist Church (142 East Jackson Street). There we’ll conduct the city’s annual Interfaith and Multicultural Service, featuring as speaker Dr. Larry G. Mills, pastor of Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church. The theme for this year’s event is “Unarmed Truth and Unconditional Love.” Sponsored by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida and the City of Orlando Mayor’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission, the event provides a natural catalyst for dialogue with children and youth about the history of the Civil Rights Movement, the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the advances made and the challenges that still remain.
2. “Everybody’s Child” Chorus at MLK Event. The U.S. Marines need “a few good men.” Those planning the MLK Candlelight Vigil and Interfaith and Multicultural Service are looking for as many kids as they can find to sing in a “no audition,” “one practice” chorus for the event. Rabbi David Kay, the prime organizer of the MLK service, outlines what he’s looking for in the two downloads below. If you have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbors, nodding acquaintances . . . why not help them have the fun of participating in this opportunity to sing? The one rehearsal is Monday evening, January 7, at 7:00 pm at Congregation Ohev Shalom.
3. Help Spread the Word About the MLK Event. For more detail about all MLK events between January 11 and 26, go to http://www.cityoforlando.net/executive/communications/events/mlk/index.htm. Below you can download a poster for the Candlelight Vigil and Interfaith and Multicultural Service on Sunday night, January 13. Please help us by printing it off and posting it on as many noticeboards as possible.
4. Multi-Religion Calendar. If you want to see the “soul” of any faith tradition, look at their holy days/holidays–the point where the social and spiritual sides of the religion intersect most dramatically. The Huffington Post has provided an illustrated guide to the special days of many of the world’s leading religions. Want to learn about what’s spiritually special to others? Check out the 98 pictures and brief descriptions of these celebrations. Go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/01/religious-holidays-2013_n_2372650.html?utm_hp_ref=religion#slide=1925001.
5. What is the Truth About American Muslims: Questions and Answers. The Interfaith Alliance and the Religious Freedom Education Project have partnered to provide a list of the most-asked questions about American Muslims. “Our goal is to provide the public with accurate answers to understandable questions,” the preamble to the document reads. Candor, accuracy and balance are the goals. The compilers of the questions acknowledge the existence of radicalized Muslims (whose existence most of the world is already aware of), but they seek to ensure that the multitude of moderate Muslims, especially those in America, don’t get pushed from sight because a radical minority have stolen the spotlight. Twenty-three denominations and other religious entities from a range of faith traditions have endorsed the document. Check it out at http://www.interfaithalliance.org/americanmuslimfaq.
6. Visit to Guang Ming Temple. For those who’ve wondered just what might be inside the beautiful Buddhist temple at 6555 Hoffner Avenue, Orlando, FL 32822 (near the airport), let me suggest that it’s well worth a visit. The temple features not only exquisite architecture and artistry, it’s also a multi-purpose building that typically houses a hive of activity every day except Monday. Sunday’s chanting services start at 10:30 am. An English version of the chanting is available on electronic devices and is printed in the chanting books. Concurrent with the service are a number of classes–conducted in English–that highlight various aspects of Buddhist philosophy. The temple has a bookstore, library (most of the volumes are in Chinese) and reading room. Following the services each week, everyone is invited to a simple, tasty, healthful vegetarian meal. Check out the website at http://www.orlandobuddhism.org. Every year more five hundred people casually drop by Guang Ming Temple to learn more about Buddhism or simply to admire the building itself.
7. Persecution and Discrimination Against Atheists. In an article titled ”Atheists around world suffer persecution, discrimination: report,”Reuters news service describes how one’s belief in God isn’t the only thing that can get you persecuted. Absence of belief can also create problems for you–even leading to execution (though the death penalty for atheism isn’t known to have been invoked recently). According to the article, “In at least seven U.S. states, constitutional provisions are in place that bar atheists from public office and one state, Arkansas, has a law that bars an atheist from testifying as a witness at a trial.” Read it all at http://news.yahoo.com/atheists-around-world-suffer-persecution-discrimination-report-000945958.html
8. Working Together for Farm Worker Justice. Join other Central Floridians in partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers for a “Day of Worship, Enlightenment, Strategizing and Activism” on Saturday, February 2, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, First Unitarian Church of Orlando, 1901 E. Robinson St., Orlando, FL 32803. After a decade of education and outreach, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers–an internationally acclaimed organization of Florida farm workers–has reached groundbreaking agreements with 10 multi-billion-dollar retailers and 90 percent of Florida’s tomato growers. The result: the historic Fair Food Program, ushering in a new day for human rights in the fields. The event registration fee of $15 includes lunch and snacks. Registration deadline: January 26. Information: CIWeventinfo@orlandouu.org. Registration: tinyurl.com/cf-farmworkerevent.
9. Reminders from Previous Newsletters . . .
♦ “Friends Talking Faith.” Hear the Reverend Bryan Fulwider, Rabbi Steve Engel and Imam Muhammad Musri, WMFE 90.7, this Sunday, Jaunary 6, at 6:00 pm. Learn more about the program and listen to archived broadcasts at http://thethreewiseguys.com.
♦ What role does food play in your faith tradition? That’s the topic for the January 9 Interfaith Discussion Group at Adventist University of Health Sciences on Florida Hospital’s main campus at 7:00 pm. For further details and directions contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
♦ “Religion 101” series to feature Sikhism. On Tuesday, January 15, at 7:00 pm at the Holocaust Center (851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751), Jasbir Singh Bhatia, past president of the Sikh Society of Central Florida, will present an overview of Sikhism. For more detail, go to the Holocaust Center’s website.
♦ Interfaith prayer service at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, 526 Park Avenue North in Winter Park, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm, on Thursday, January 17. The public is invited. For details and to RSVP, contact Alejandro Luciano: 407-246-4819; email@example.com.
♦ Rabbi Harold Kushner–scholar, theologian and author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People–will speak to the general public at the Congregation of Reform Judaism on Wednesday, January 23, at 7:30 pm. For more detail and to register for the event, go to kushnerinorlando.com.
♦ Prayer service for Christian unity. From 10:30 to 11:30 am on Friday, January 25, at the Episcopal Cathedral Church of St. Luke, 130 Magnolia Avenue. For further details and to RSVP, contact Alejandro Luciano: 407-246-4819; firstname.lastname@example.org
♦ Christians–and possibly others–may wish to register for GladdeningLight’s third annual symposium, titled “Love, Now,” which will be held at the Winter Park Civic Center, February 1-3, 2013. Episcopal priest Matthew Fox is the featured speaker.