|Students Reject Christian Group Over LGBTQ PoliciesFrom the Religion News Service website: “Duke University’s student government has denied the Christian organization Young Life official status as a student group on campus, citing its policy on sexuality. . . . The decision by the Duke Student Government Senate on Wednesday (Sept. 11) comes amid ongoing clashes nationwide between religious student groups and colleges and universities that have added more robust nondiscrimination policies. . . . Young Life, like many evangelical groups, regards same-sex relations as sinful. Its policy forbids LGBTQ staff and volunteers from holding positions in the organization. . . . The student newspaper, the Duke Chronicle, reported Thursday that the student government senate unanimously turned down official recognition for the Young Life chapter, because it appeared to violate a guideline that every Duke student group include a nondiscrimination statement in its constitution. . . . Over the past two decades, many colleges and universities have attempted to exclude religious groups because of their positions on sexuality, among them InterVarsity and Business Leaders in Christ. . . . In most cases, the issues are resolved, but others have ended up in court. InterVarsity is now suing the University of Iowa and Wayne State University. . . . Duke, however, may be in a different category as a private institution. Private universities don’t have the same obligations under the First Amendment’s free exercise clause that a government entity does.”
Sikh Deputy Sheriff Murdered in Houston, Texas
From the NPR website: “A sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed Friday afternoon [September 27] in the Houston suburbs during a routine traffic stop. Sandeep Dhaliwal was the first observant Sikh to become a sheriff’s deputy in Harris County, where Houston is located. . . . He was a ‘hero’ and a ‘trailblazer,’ Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told reporters on Friday. ‘He wore the turban. He represented his community with integrity, respect and pride,’ Gonzalez said. ‘And again, he was respected by all.’ . . . Dhaliwal was 42, a married father of three and a 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. He made national headlines in early 2015 when the sheriff’s office changed its policy to allow Dhaliwal to grow out his facial hair and wear a traditional Sikh turban while on patrol.” “On behalf of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, I want to extend our deepest condolences and gratitude to the family and friends of Deputy Sheriff Sandeep Dhaliwal,” said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan in a statement of condolence regarding the Sikh deputy’s death. “Deputy Sheriff Dhaliwal was a pioneer on the front lines of law enforcement as the first in his department to wear a turban and beard in police uniform, proudly representing both his Sikh faith and the Houston community. His sacrifice is a reminder of the brave men and women in law enforcement who put themselves at risk to protect their neighbors and communities each and every day.”Jasbir Singh Bhatia, a past president of the Sikh Society of Central Florida and a long-time member of the Executive Committee of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida, attended Deputy Dhaliwal’s funeral in Houston.
Learn About Florida’s Snakes on Saturday, Oct 5
Those interested in learning about Florida’s snakes can join a local expert from Seminole County Natural Lands as he gives an introduction to and dispels some of the myths about these often misunderstood cold-blooded residents. The program begins at 9:00 am indoors at the Ed Yarborough Nature Center (3485 North County Road 426, Geneva, FL). There you’ll not only see some of the native snakes that live in our area, but you’ll also have a chance to hold and touch some of them. The event concludes with an outdoor hike (closed-toed shoes required), ending at 12:00 noon. The cost is $5.00 per person, and children must be at least 7 years of age and accompanied by an adult. Pre-registration online is required (scroll down to Snakes of Florida). Phone 407-665-2211 for more information.
Learn About Florida’s Butterflies and Wild Flowers Oct 5
If snakes aren’t your interest (item above), go to the other side of Seminole County on Saturday morning, October 5, and check out the butterflies, which are active this time of year. The event, sponsored by Friends of the Wekiva River, will begin at 9:00 am in the Recreation Hall of the Youth Camp in Wekiva Springs State Park. After an introduction, participants will hop onto the park tram to tour various areas in the park. The Rangers leading this trip are on a specialized burn team for the state. They have extensive knowledge of the park, the burn process, and the positive impact of burning on our ecosystems. A profusion of wildflowers currently decorate the landscape, and the butterflies will probably be taking advantage of this beautiful display. Nancy Prine, who has extensive knowledge of the wild flowers, butterflies and their relationship to each other, will lead out in the event. Reservations are required, and the event is limited to 30 people. Email your reservation to Weegie Henry. For more information and get details about park entrance fees and any other costs, phone 407-788-2619.
Public Invited to Mosque in Sanford for ‘Imam Hussain Day’
On Saturday, October 5, the general public is invited to join the Muslim community at Masjid Al Hayy (786 Myrtle Street, Sanford, FL) to celebrate “Imam Hussain Day.” Imam Hussain, grandson of the prophet Muhammad, is a highly venerated leader from the early days of Islam, especially for the Shia Muslims. The October 5 event will feature Rev. Kenneth Flowers of Greater New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, who will recount his journey to the shrine of Imam Hussain in March of 2019, telling how the experience affected him. Hajj Hassanain Rajabali, of Dearborn, Michigan, a renowned speaker and scholar, will speak about the effect of Imam Hussain’s leadership in establishing justice within the Muslim world. The schedule is as follows: Beginning at 3:00 pm, guests will have opportunity to tour the mosque—which is one of the most magnificent in North America—and the opportunity to network with other guests of different faiths. The main program, featuring the speakers cited above, will tell the story of Imam Hussain and his impact both inside and outside of Islam. The program will end with Question and Answer session, followed by a dinner at 6:00 pm. Seating is limited, so guests are asked to RSVP at Eventbrite.
Holocaust Center and Urban League to Host Unique Drama
The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida is partnering with the Central Florida Urban League to bring the general public a traveling production of “Letters from Anne and Martin,” which balances the experiences of two legendary figures: Martin Luther King Jr. and Anne Frank. Through the inspirational words of their hopes and plans for a peaceful and unified world, Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl not only serves as a reminder of the atrocities experienced during the Holocaust, but of the importance of learning to accept our differences and embrace diversity. Written in response to his arrest during a peaceful demonstration and the defense of his strategy toward nonviolent resistance to racism, Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail is one of the most important written documents of the civil rights era. To this day, Anne and Martin’s words still resonate as a testament to how one voice can carry the voices of millions that have been silenced. This unique adaptation combining their iconic words illustrates how both Martin Luther King Jr. and Anne Frank—born during the same year, although they lived on continents 5,000 miles apart and suffered fates in different decades—shared the parallel experience of living in the shadow of hatred and prejudice. Despite being faced with unfair persecution—he in the Jim Crow South and she in Nazi-occupied Holland—the African-American Civil Rights Movement leader and the Jewish Holocaust victim believed in fairness and justice for all. This live dramatic performance features professional actors who bring to life the courage and eloquence of Anne and Martin’s stories. It shows how injustices still exist and also promotes constructive ideas on how to confront intolerance and discrimination today. The performance will be on Saturday, October 5, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm at the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church (412 East Kennedy Blvd, Eatonville, FL). The event is free, but seating is limited. Click here to RSVP.
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, October 9, 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: “What Aspects of My Faith Tradition Are Truly Unique?” In these days of ever-increasing interfaith interaction, we tend to highlight our faith similarities. But the reality is that there are major differences too. And some differences are unique to a particular faith tradition. So in what ways is your faith tradition truly unique in one—or many—of its teachings? 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.
Black Bottom House of Prayer to Host Preservation Dinner
The Black Bottom House of Prayer, a historic downtown church (921 Bentley Street, Orlando, FL), is turning to the community for help to restore the building to its original condition. Built in 1925, the church is a significant part of Orlando’s history. It was in the summer of 1916 that several Black families settled in the area called “Black Bottom”—so named because when it rained, water settled in the area and remained so long that residents had to build canoes for transportation. In 2015, the Black Bottom House of Prayer was approved for historic preservation. Under current policies, once a structure receives that designation, guidelines prohibit destruction of the property. Now Pastor Dana Jackson is reaching out the the community to help raise the $250,000 needed to reroof and renovate this nearly 100-year-old landmark. At a Black Bottom House of Prayer Historic Preservation Dinner on Sunday, October 13, Pastor Jackson will outline both the challenge and the plan. The event will run from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at the John W. Powell Event Center, located inside Carter Tabernacle (1 South Cottage Hill Road, Orlando, FL 32805). A clergy appreciation will be held at 3:00 pm. Click here for a virtual tour of church. For more information about tickets and details about table sponsorships, phone 407-285-0415.
Orlando Clergy Welcome at Mayor’s Council of Clergy
Clergy with responsibility for a house of worship of any faith tradition within the city limits of Orlando, and clergy who reside in Orlando but have responsibility for a house of worship outside the city limits, are invited to participate in the Orlando Mayor’s Council of Clergy, which provides an excellent avenue both for learning more about what’s happening in Orlando and for giving input concerning what the city is doing. “The strength of our city is based on the quality of our collaborations,” says Mayor Buddy Dyer. “I value every opportunity to collaborate with our faith community in support of our citizens. I am convinced that collectively, we possess the intangibles necessary to move our city forward.” Typically, the Mayor’s Council of Clergy events are held at entities within city that provide a service that would be of particular interest to Orlando residents. For example, on Tuesday, October 15, from 9:00 to 11:30 am, the group will meet at the Mennello Museum of American Art (900 East Princeton Street, Orlando, FL 32803). Refreshments will be served from 8:30 am, and the program will begin promptly at 9:00 am. Museum staff will conduct a guided tour from 10:00 to 10:30 am, and from 10:45 to 11:30 am Orlando Museum of Art’s staff will conduct a guided tour of a shared world-class exhibition. “Orlando has a vibrant arts scene,” Mayor Dyer says, “and I will share highlights of our 2019/20 Arts options. If your place of worship has an arts leader, I urge you to bring him/her with you.” Please RSVP no later than Tuesday, October 8, by email or by phone (407-246-2500). Seating is limited, so respond ASAP.
Arab American Community Center to Host Annual Gala
The Arab American Community Center of Orlando will host its annual gala on Saturday, October 19, starting at 7:00 pm, at the Double Tree hotel (5780 Major Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819). Theme for the evening is: “A Night in Andalusia.” The public is invited to “a magical evening featuring a plated dinner, live music and unique entertainment, including a Flamenco show by a local group.” The evening will also include a live auction featuring an exotic week-long vacation in the Cayman Islands, a weekend getaway at a Florida Ritz Carlton hotel, VIP floor-level tickets at an Orlando Magic game, a Spa Day at the Four Seasons hotel in Orlando and much more. Come ready to participate and win! General admission is $100, and tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite. Send an email to get more information and learn about the various levels of sponsorship.
Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit (OYES) October 19
The 2019 Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit (OYES) will run from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday, October 19, at Building 8 of Valencia College West (1800 South Kirkman Road, Orlando, FL 32811). OYES is an annual free event presented by the City of Orlando and Zebra Coalition in collaboration with local government and LGBTQ+ community organizations to empower Central Florida LGBTQ+ youth, community members and allies. OYES will provide dynamic and interactive workshops, entertainment and activities for LGBTQ+ youth, young adults and parents. Click here to learn more and to register.
Scholar to Present ‘Meaning and Challenge of Resurrection’
The public is invited to hear New Testament scholar John Dominic Crossan provide a thought-provoking look at the Historical Jesus on Friday, October 18, at 7:00 pm at Christ Church Unity Orlando (771 Holden Avenue, Orlando, FL). “All the major events in Jesus’ life are directly described in the gospels—except for the resurrection itself,” says the advertising for the presentation. “We now live with two images of the Resurrection—the Individual Tradition of Jesus arising alone (the Western Tradition), and the Universal Tradition of Jesus arising and raising with him All Humanity represented by Adam and Eve. Which of those two Resurrection Traditions is in closer continuity with the Easter vision of the New Testament? What does Christian Easter have to do with human evolution? What does it have to do with the historic rise in violence?” Click here for more information and to buy tickets.
New Hope for Kids to Offer Volunteer Training Oct 19 and 20
New Hope for Kids Center for Grieving Children is offering training to become a volunteer grief-support group facilitator. The center (544 Mayo Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751) provides grief support for children and families who have experienced the death of a loved one. The program helps children, teens and young adults cope with their grief and loss through the sharing of stories and experiences, as well as art, music and recreation. Volunteers serve from September to June, twice monthly, for three hours each time. A pre-interview and tour of the facility is required. The next 25-hour training program, which will be conducted October 19 and 20, provides a great way to give back to our community. For more information, visit the center’s website, send an email or phone 407-331-3059 x15. Download the volunteer application here.
‘Suitable Airs’ Concert to Pay Tribute to Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) said: “There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts.” In keeping with that sentiment, Project Grady-Rayam of the “Negro Spiritual” Scholarship Foundation will present a special “Suitable Airs” tribute concert in honor of the 150th Anniversary of Gandhi’s birth and in celebration of diversity. The event will be held at 6:00 pm on Sunday, October 20, in the sanctuary of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church (412 East Kennedy Blvd. in the historic township of Eatonville, FL). The “Suitable Airs” concert will be the culmination of Winners Weekend: a series of seminars, lectures, workshops, rehearsals and receptions revolving around America’s original folk music, first African-American form of cultural expression, and source of everything we have come to know as Black music in America—the Negro spiritual song genre. The first half of the program will feature solo performances of Negro spirituals by pianists and vocal soloists appearing in recital. The second half of the program will be reserved for “There Is A Higher Court…”—a series of narrations based upon Gandhi’s life story and his writings, with choral arrangements of Negro spirituals interspersed. The choir will represent our diverse Central Florida community of faith, education and culture. The presentation will show how Gandhi influenced Martin Luther King, Jr. and suggest ways in which the Indian-American and African-American communities are linked as well. Prominent community leaders and sponsors will be invited to participate as narrators for this segment. The event is open to the public with no charge for admission.
Majority Say Religious Leaders Act Unethically at Times
Roughly seven-in-ten Americans say that religious leaders behave unethically at least some of the time, according to a new Pew Research Center survey about trust in those in positions of power and responsibility. Meanwhile, about half of U.S. adults say religious leaders rarely or never admit mistakes and take responsibility for them. Views about unethical behavior shape the way Americans think about other parts of religious leaders’ jobs: Those who say religious leaders rarely admit and take responsibility for mistakes give the leaders lower ratings, on average, when it comes to providing fair and accurate information to the public and handling resources responsibly.
Entities Partnering to Present ‘Mental Health First Aid’ Series
Community Resource Network is partnering with Catholic Charities of Central Florida to host a two-session series on Mental Health First Aid training. Session 1 will be conducted on Wednesday, October 23, from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, with Session 2 occurring one week later, on Wednesday, October 30, from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. Attendance at Session 1 is required to be eligible to attend Session 2, and participants must attend both sessions to receive a certificate. (For practitioners, the training can be used for Continuing Education Units.) Click here to register for this free training event, which will increase participants’ awareness of mental-health and substance-use issues and will equip attendees to provide crucial initial help to someone struggling with these challenges. The training is open to everyone. Please direct any questions to Evan Smith.
Inaugural ‘Table Talk’ Expected to Bring Thousands Together
Central Florida Foundation is encouraging individuals and organizations to sign up to participate in or to host conversations as part of a community-wide initiative being conducted on Thursday, October 24. On that day, residents of Central Florida are encouraged to gather in groups of up to 10 to discuss the issues and opportunities that matter most to them. Table Talk is intended to capture insights and ideas from residents across Central Florida, with the initial focus on Orange County. The initiative provides a way for residents to be more civically engaged and involved in the community. Click here for more details about how to get involved as a participant or as a table host.
AdventHealth Altamonte to Host Diversity Event for Clergy
The Pastoral Care Office at AdventHealth Altamonte Springs will host a free Diversity and Inclusion event for community clergy on Thursday, October 24, from 5:30 to 8:00 pm at AdventHealth Altamonte Springs (601 East Altamonte Drive, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701). The Central Florida community is highly diverse, and the goal of the event is to facilitate discussion between clergy and members of the medical team concerning how to most effectively provide compassionate, whole-person care to all the members of the community. Facilitators for event will be “The Three Wise Guys,” hosts of the popular radio program “Friends Talking Faith” (each Tuesday at 6:30 pm on WMFE 90.7 FM, see item about them above). The discussion will highlight the challenges experienced by both staff and patients from minority religious and cultural groups and seek input concerning approaches that honor and preserve everyone’s dignity and value. Dinner will be served to those attending. Please RSVP at Eventbrite so the hosts will know how many to prepare for. For more information, phone 407-303-2200 ext 2728. Feel free to forward this information to fellow clergy you think would be interested.
CRN to Host ‘When Helping Hurts’ Seminar October 26
Do you truly want to help someone step out of the cycle of poverty or homelessness? Then the Community Resource Network’s “When Helping Hurts” seminar may be just what you looking for. Learn principles that will equip you to do this compassionate ministry without hurting those you seek to help. Attend CRN’s upcoming free monthly seminar on Saturday, October 26, from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, at CRN’s office (1067 Rainer Drive, Suite 1004, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714). Coffee and breakfast snacks will be provided. Click here for more information. If you’d like to receive CRN’s monthly newsletter, send an email to Evan Smith.
Orlando Humanist Fellowship Organizing Blood Drive Oct 26
Humanists, Atheists and other non-believers are urging those in their ranks—as well as those not in their ranks—to give blood on Saturday, October 26. The goal is to all work together to save lives in Central Florida and beyond by donating this ingredient so essential to sustaining life when that life may be in an otherwise precarious situation. OneBlood will be collecting at a variety of locations throughout Central Florida, including a bloodmobile at Central Florida Veg Fest. Click here to find the collection location nearest to you and other details. For more information contact Tee Rogers by email.
Baha’is to Celebrate 200th Anniversary of Birth of the Bab
On Monday, October 28, the Baha’is of Central Florida, along with fellow Baha’is around the world, will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Báb, whose revitalizing message prepared the way for the coming of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í faith. For Baha’is, this birthday commemorates the beginning of an age of maturity for humanity that will carry us into the Golden Age promised by all the major religions—an age characterized by the foundational spiritual principle of the oneness of humanity. Together, the missions of the Bab and Baha’u’llah call for the elimination of all forms of prejudice and the renewal of moral principles and new social forms to produce an organic change in the structure of society and the relationships within it, resulting in justice, peace and prosperity for all people. It is, therefore, a joyous celebration, to which all are invited. The event, with a program and dinner, will be held at 177 Anchor Road in Casselberry, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Click here with your questions or to RSVP for the event. For more information about the Baha’i faith, please see the official websites here and here.
Interfaith Panel in Casselberry 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
Week of the Family Slated for November 2 to 9
If you’re not familiar with the Week of the Family, then there’s no time like the present to provide an introduction. 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. 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 that’s planned and how you can become involved. One thing the organizers are requesting is that spiritual leaders throughout Central Florida try to use the November 2-to-9 time slot for special sermons and other educational presentations and events designed to promote and strengthen the family. 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.
Multi-Faith Global Peace Prayer Event at HSCF November 3
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 next month’s newsletter.
Central Florida Jewish Film Festival to Be Held Nov 9 to 12
The 21st Annual Central Florida Jewish Film Festival, a cinematic celebration of Jewish life, culture and history, is just around the corner. The festival is co-presented by the Enzian and the Roth Family Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando. This year’s festival has been expanded to four days, with the following films: Saturday, November 9: “Love in Suspenders,” preceded by “How to Swim.” Sunday, November 10: “The Spy Behind Home Plate” and “Leona.” Monday, November 11: “The Interpreter” and “Tel Aviv on Fire.” Tuesday, November 12: “The Reports on Sarah and Saleem.” Click here for more information or to buy a pass. Mensch Passes (first-priority seating) and Series Passes are now on sale. Grab yours while they’re still available! Individual tickets will go on sale soon.
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
“We need not think alike to love alike.”― Frances David