Oct-Nov 2021

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NEWSLETTER  –  OCT-NOV 2021

Uprooting Prejudice: Exhibt to Have Grand Opening Oct 15ExhibitThe exhibit “Uprooting Prejudice—Conversations for Change” will have its public grand opening at the Holocaust Center (851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751) on Friday, October 15 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. The exhibit will focus on the hope-filled activism of Daryl Davis (left in photo), and the event will feature a Meet and Greet with Davis, whose life experience provides the backdrop to the exhibit. As a legendary blues musician, he devoted his life not only to the power of music but also to the power of peace building via courageous and thoughtful dialogue. Over the course of many years, Davis bravely befriended members of the Ku Klux Klan. His persistent and deep conversations with white supremacists led to more than 200 individuals leaving the white nationalist movement — with many of them giving their robes to Davis. The amazing stories of Davis’s heroism will be displayed for the first time at the Center. The exhibit will show the history and culture of hate and injustice. It will also highlight the power we have as a community to become activists and to create cultures of equity, respect and compassion. Go to the Holocaust Center website for the latest information about the exhibit and other upcoming events.Hear Case Against the Death Penalty (Virtually) Oct. 15A one-day, virtual event that will run from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Friday, October 15, will put the practice of state executions on trial. Expert witnesses will make the case against this 4000-year-old “ultimate retribution.” The Case Against Death will feature nationally recognized advocates and scholars, including Sr. Helen Prejean, as well as those who have lived through the experience of being innocent but on death row. This seminar will address the legal challenges, the equity issues and the social, moral and financial costs. The event’s organizers say that “If you think you know where you stand on the Death Penalty, you won’t want to miss this.” Which suggests that if you don’t know where you stand on the issue, you probably should see it. Click here for more information and to register. The event is jointly sponsored by: Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law; Members’ Advisory Committee of the Lifelong Learning Institute from Nova Southeastern University; Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine; Barry University’s Department of Sociology & Criminology and Anti-Racism and Equity; Amnesty International; Coalition Amnesty International USA; Witness to Innocence; and Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.HUA to Host Conference on Hindu Dharma and HindutvaHindu ContributionsWhat is the relationship between Hindu Dharma and Hindutva? Are they two different terms that represent the same phenomenon? Or are they slightly different phenomenon? How do we best understand these two phenomenon and their inter-relationships? The foregoing questions and more will be answered at a two-hour virtual conference being presented by the Hindu University of America (5200 Vineland Road #125, Orlando, FL 32811) on Saturday, October 16, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. For more detail and to register, click here.Panel: Where Is God When Nature Conspires Against US?On September 16, Westminster Winter Park retirement community hosted an interfaith panel organized by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida that discussed the question posed in the title. Five faith traditions/worldviews were represented. Participants were: Dr. Rosemary Closson, Baha’i; Dr. Ernie Bursey, Christian; Mr. Abhinav Dwivedi, Hindu; Imam Abdurrahman Sykes, Muslim; and Mr. “StoicDan” Lampert, Stoic. Several of the speakers noted that the title subtly—or not so subtly—made assumptions that didn’t mesh with their perspectives. But all gave insightful expositions on how their respective faith tradition/worldview dealt with the problem of pain and adversity. Click here to watch the entire event.New Hope for Kids Offering Young Adult Grief SupportGrief SupportNew Hope for Kids is hosting a Young Adult Grief Support Group that meets on Zoom every other Wednesday from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. The support group is for those aged 19 to 25 who have experienced the death of a friend or loved one. The goal is provide a safe social setting designed to place young adults in an environment where they will be supported by peers and given the opportunity to participate in conversations and activities that help them heal. Participants are invited to share their personal grief experience, ask questions of the group and provide support to the other participants. Registration is required. The group is free of charge. To learn more, to confirm dates and to register, contact Dana by email or visit the website.8th Parliament of World Religions to Run Oct. 16-18Parliament of WR 2The 8th Parliament of the World’s Religionshosted for the first time virtually and running from 7:00 pm on Saturday, October 16, until 7:00 pm on Monday, October 18—will bring together people of faith from around the world in an instant. The virtual Parliament is a safe way to gather participants in the world’s global interfaith movement and celebrate the enduring spirit and work of religious and spiritual communities striving toward a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. The 1st Parliament of the World’s Religions, hosted at the historic World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, brought together people of faith from around the world. Some, such as Anagārika Dharmapāla, A.G. Bonet-Maury and Swami Vivekananda, traveled for months and across continents to serve as representatives of their respective faiths. And many more journeyed for weeks—through many countries and across oceans—to attend what would become the birthplace of the modern interfaith movement. Click here to learn more about this soon-to-begin international virtual symposium of religion. Since it’s virtual, it’s open to all, though one must register and pay a fee.Speakers Bureau to Be Featured at Religion ParliamentIn a presentation titled “Meeting Faith-to-Faith and Face-to-Face,” the Interfaith Speakers Bureau of the California-based Islamic Networks Group (ING) will present on Monday, October 18, at 11:00 am (EDT) at the 8th Parliament of the World’s Religions. This session will introduce ING’s Interfaith Speakers Bureau as one way to build mutual understanding and solidarity by providing education about five major world faiths (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism) and an encounter with their adherents that most Americans have not had. The IFSB offers panels of trained speakers representing these religions who present the basics of their faith and then discuss a topic relating to religion in today’s world, including, for example, how various religious traditions relate to pluralism, to issues of church and state, to environmental questions, and to peacemaking. This combination of education and face-to-face encounters not only provides information, but also builds relationships among people of different faiths and worldviews. Several Central Floridians associated with the Interfaith Council of Central Florida are members of the ING’s Speakers Bureau and can be called on by IFSB as presenters anywhere in the world, virtually, and in person when ING has requests for speakers in Central Florida. During the session at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, an IFSB panel will discuss the operation of the program, including the development of content and the training of panelists. Learn more and register here.Faith in Public Life to Host Zoom Event about VaccinationsFaith in PubFaith in Public Life reports that although COVID-19 case numbers are dropping in most states across the U.S., we aren’t all safe yet. But we have more reason for optimism than ever before because more and more people are getting vaccinated every day, and vaccines for children are around the corner. People of faith must continue to lead the way in encouraging our communities to get vaccinated so we can finally be free of the pandemic. Faith in Public Life is inviting faith and community leaders to join a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, October 19, at 4 pm (ET) as faith leaders, community organizers and healthcare professionals discuss how COVID-19 has affected—and continues to affect—communities. The event will encourage and educate participants of all faiths to continue to lead the way in ensuring that our families, neighbors and friends get vaccinated. The Zoom link will be sent to you upon registration. Faith in Public Life is a national movement of clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice, equality and the common good.Interfaith Group to Host Event about Faith and RaceOn Thursday, October 21, from 9:00 to 10:15 am, the monthly virtual meeting of Interfaith Tampa Bay will feature as speaker Carl Lavender, Chief Equity Officer of the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg. His topic will be: “The Intersection of Faith and Racial Justice.” The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg is a private foundation formed in 2013 that seeks to inspire and empower people, ideas, information exchange, organizations and relationships to end differences in health due to social or structural disadvantages. Click here to learn more about the Foundation. Prior registration is required. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. To join by phone only, call 301 715 8592 and use Meeting ID: 831 5302 4623.BJC Comments on Two Current Religious Liberty IssuesbjcThe U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear a lawsuit challenging a city’s denial of a civic organization’s request to fly a Christian flag temporarily outside city hall. Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty Executive Director Amanda Tyler noted the importance of the government staying neutral in religious matters. “A founding principle of U.S. religious freedom is that the government does not promote religion,” she said. “The Supreme Court has eroded that principle over the past several years in decisions that have sanctioned government-sponsored prayer in official town meetings and upheld certain religious monuments on government property.” Read more about Shurtlett v. City of Boston and the history of cases concerning displays of Christian symbols on government land. And how have courts responded to religious exemptions for vaccine mandates? In the latest edition of Report from the Capital, Holly Hollman offers insights, including what the future might hold. “Until courts sift through the claims, the impact of vaccine mandates and religious exemptions will depend primarily on decisions made by individuals that promote or undercut the goals of public health and the responsible exercise of religious liberty.” Read her full column online.First United Methodist Orlando to Host Racism ConversationThe Anti-Racism Task Force of the East Central District of the United Methodist Church in Florida will present a program titled “Awakening Hope—Church Beyond the Color Line.” The event—described as “an honest conversation about racism in the church”—will be conducted at the First United Methodist Church of Orlando (142 East Jackson Street, Orlando, FL 32801) on Saturday, October 23, from 8:15 am to 12:00 noon. Featured speaker and workshop facilitator for the event will be Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, spiritual teacher and author of Revolution of Values and Reconstructing the Gospel. He is also serves on the Steering Committee of the Poor People’s Campaign and is involved in the Red-Letter Christian MovementClick here to register.Government to Host ‘Safety at Houses of Worship’ On Thursday, October 28, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will host a“Safety at Houses of Worship” training event via Zoom. Leaders of faith-based organizations, law enforcement, government officials and community leaders are encouraged to take part in this free event. The FBI’s vision is to always be ahead of the many threats faced by religious entities. They believe this can be achieved through leadership, agility and integration. The FBI views its community partners as extremely valuable in keeping communities—including houses of worship of all faiths—free from violence. Click here to register. Direct any questions about the event to Joseph Smith, Community Outreach Specialist, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Florida, by phone 813–301–3061 or by email.City of Orlando and Zebra Coalition to Host OYESOYES 2The City of Orlando and the Zebra Coalition, will host the Orlando Youth Empowerment Summit (OYES) on Saturday, November 6, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The event will be held at the Dr. Phillips Academic Commons Building on the UCF Downtown Campus (528 W Livingston Street, Orlando, FL 32801). OYES is a free event that has presented annually since 2014 by the City of Orlando in collaboration with the Zebra Coalition, other local governments and several LGBTQ+ community organizations to empower LGBTQ+ youth, their parents and allies. OYES has been supported by Mayor Buddy Dyer, District 4 City Commissioner Patty Sheehan and several LGBTQ+ organizations to ensure LGBTQ+ youth and their parents have the needed educational resources to thrive. The City of Orlando is committed in ensuring that all communities feel welcomed, respected and valued. Click here to register for this free conference. For more information, contact Felipe Sousa Lazaballet by phone (407-246-3211) or by emailInterfaith Discussion to Be Held via Zoom on Nov. 10On Wednesday, November 10, the monthly Interfaith Discussion sponsored by the will be held on Zoom from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Theme for the evening’s discussion will be: “Path to a More Perfect Union—What Does Your Faith or Secular Worldview Say?” In October, the group discussed Critical Race Theory, what it was and was not and whether it was helpful or hurtful. November’s event will discuss the practical side of what we should be doing if we’re to find healing from the the scarred history we have as a nation. The goal for the discussion, as always, will be to learn how your faith tradition or other worldview informs your thinking about such things. Please log in a few minutes before 7:00 pm 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.Interfaith Council Asking for Your Help with FundingIf 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.Baha’i Reflection“They who are the people of God have no ambition except to revive the world, to ennoble its life, and regenerate its peoples. Truthfulness and good-will have, at all times, marked their relations with all men. Their outward conduct is but a reflection of their inward life, and their inward life a mirror of their outward conduct.”—Bahá’u’lláh

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