Invocation: The Beacon Network

Invocation for The Beacon Network’s Champions of Change Lunch

JimCoffinJanuary 29, 2016

By James Coffin

Because of the great diversity among those who help The Beacon Network achieve its goals, and because of the level of commitment this organization has to full inclusion, my invocation this morning will take the form of a reflection rather than a traditional prayer

I invite you to join me in reflecting on the breadth of diversity we see throughout nature. Such diversity is equally present in humanity. Our features vary. Our voices. Our skin tones. We may be timid or we may be fearless. We may be masculine or feminine. Young or old. Rich or poor. Methodist or Muslim. Believer or non-believer. The differences are unending. Yet the beauty and wonder of humanity is found in the richness of its diversity.

But some of us—in fact, most of us, in varied and subtle ways—fail to fully appreciate this natural diversity within humanity. We attach artificial values to certain characteristics. We embrace some groups and shun others. We set up pecking orders. We create value systems based on little more than traditions and personal bias.

Despite these unfortunate human proclivities, there are among us those who recognize the inequity and embrace the challenge of helping us all to open our eyes. These people seek to combat bigotry. To engender empathy. To secure equality. And that’s why we’re here today—to celebrate those who’ve totally caught this vision—and to encourage all who are here as well as those not here to become true Champions of Change.

Whatever our background and whatever the unique collection of idiosyncrasies we bring to this event today, we would hope that we will gain inspiration from sharing, and energy from our dining, and that we will each resolve not only to be the change we wish to see in the world, but also to speak up with passion, conviction and clarity that others might understand both the need for change and the better world that can emerge as that change becomes the norm within society.

We’ve reflected, and the foregoing is our collective wish and our compelling desire. May it also become our reality.

Thank you.

James Coffin is executive director of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida.