Following Are Samples of Non-Sectarian Theistic invocations/Prayers in Interfaith settings. Further down the article are examples of Non-Theistic Invocations/Reflections
Invocation at Orange County Public Schools Faith-Based Advisory
April 18, 2013
Let us pray:
We collectively reach out this morning to that Wisdom and Power that transcends all that’s human.
Because we care about the children in our community, we want to ensure they each have every advantage we’re able to provide.
Orange County Public Schools has recognized that faith-based entities represent a great resource–which has largely remained untapped. It’s to find effective ways to harness this potential that we’re meeting together as faith leaders and educators.
Our prayer is that this meeting might be characterized by harmony, by creativity and by a tenacity that refuses to rest until solutions are found and success is achieved.
We would hope that the words of Robert F. Kennedy would be the sentiment of each person gathered here: “Some men see things as they are and say Why? I dream things that never were and say Why not?”
At today’s meeting we want to “see things as they are” only while we’re assessing the challenge before us. Then we want that challenge to drive us to “dream things that never were.”
And may we not only say “Why not?” but may we roll up our sleeves, commit ourselves fully to the task and make the dream become an impressive reality.
This is our prayer.
Invocation at Mayor’s Council of Clergy
Held at the Orlando Science Center, June 5, 2013
Let us pray:
We reach out this morning to that Power and Presence that transcends all that’s human.
It’s appropriate that we should have this meeting in the Science Center, a place that reminds us of the mystery and majesty of the universe–a universe of which we’re privileged to be a part.
In our discussions here, and in the tour of the Science Center that follows, may we be reminded that the founders of our faith–whatever our faith tradition may be–put forward the hypothesis that individual humans, and, even more so, collections of humans working together, can make our world a better place.
May every aspect of today’s event remind us of that hypothesis. And may we leave with a determination to actually prove in the laboratory of daily life that those spiritual luminaries were right, and that we are indeed capable of making the difference they envisioned.
This is our desire. This is our hope. This is our prayer.
Invocation at an Interfaith Religious-Liberty Event at First Baptist Church of Orlando
November 10, 2015
God of wisdom, power and compassion, we are gathered at this interfaith event this evening because, as our nation’s pledge of allegiance declares, we are committed to ensuring liberty and justice for everyone.
We claim as our right the freedom to follow the dictates of our individual consciences. But we also accept as our responsibility the obligation to ensure that one person’s or one group’s exercise of freedom doesn’t negatively impinge upon the freedoms of those whose consciences dictate alternative approaches.
We recognize that our U.S. society is highly diverse. We acknowledge that our respective worldviews at times explain in radically different ways not only life’s ultimate realities, but also the resulting sense of moral obligation that flows from those realities. Thus we’re committed to ensuring that our public policies protect the rights of everyone, whether they be the rights of the majority or the rights of a multitude of minorities.
May our discussion tonight, and any actions that might flow from it, ever keep in mind the Golden Rule. May we be concerned not only about pursuing approaches that are advantageous to our own group, but may we also face squarely our responsibility to ensure that we treat others as we would want to be treated if the tables were turned.
This is our need. This is our desire. This is our prayer.
Invocation at Muslim ‘Not in My Name’ Rally Against ISIS
July 10, 2016, Orlando
God of all creation, we’ve gathered here today as a highly diverse community. Those assembled represent nearly every region of the globe, every race, a multitude of ethnicities, an array of faith traditions as well as those without religious affiliation. But we’ve come together because we want to be united.
Unity in diversity is not easily achieved, but it is achievable.
One of our nation’s founding fathers, Thomas Paine, described such challenges this way: “These are the times that try men’s souls.” He went on to say concerning things that are not easily achieved: “We have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
It’s to achieve such a glorious triumph that we’ve come together. We seek peace over conflict, justice over injustice, tolerance over alienation, equality over discrimination, love over hate, harmony over strife, and community over chaos.
We’ve captured a collective vision. We now pray that the vision will not only become a reality, but that the vision will grow with each passing day, and that our community will become more and more an example of what can be achieved even in an imperfect world.
This is our great hope and heartfelt prayer.
Some Interfaith Prayer Guidelines
The National Conference for Community and Justice offers the following “PUBLIC PRAYER IN A DIVERSE SOCIETY—Guidelines for Civic Occasions” (https://www.nccj.org/sites/default/files/uploaded_documents/updated_prayer_guidelines_brochure.pdf). While the NCCJ guidelines are excellent, and apply perfectly to interfaith events, they still exclude those who don’t believe in deity or the need to call upon deity.
Following Are Samples of Non-Theistic
Invocations/Reflections Used in Diverse-Public Settings
Invocation/Reflection at ‘UCF Remembers’ (Pulse commemoration)
June 8, 2017
My invocation this evening will take the form of a reflection.
I invite you to reflect with me as we pay tribute to those whose lives were snuffed out, and to those whose lives were forever altered, by Orlando’s worst-ever act of violence.
I invite you to reflect with me on the full impact of what began in the early-morning hours of June 12, 2016.
The death toll is quantifiable. Forty-nine Pulse patrons gave their lives. An even larger number were physically injured. What’s more elusive, however, is the emotional damage. The pain to the families who lost loved ones. The agony of those who escaped the gunman only to face survivor’s guilt. The unwelcome shroud of fear that settled over Orlando’s LGBTQ community as they were reminded—yet again, but with far greater intensity—of their ever-present vulnerability.
And as the story of this crime-against-humanity circled the globe, people everywhere—young and old, rich and poor, gay and straight—cringed, and lamented, and wept as they were robbed even further of an innocence that was already racing toward extinction.
But through even the darkest of clouds, small rays of sunshine at times defiantly break through. In the case of Pulse, our community pulled together in an unprecedented manner. Many in the faith community rethought their animosity and aversion toward those of other sexualities. The LGBTQ community itself became more connected, more supportive of each other, more organized as a force to be reckoned with.
While we will forever mourn the loss, we also can find consolation in every increment of insight and improvement—however small or incomplete—that has been brought to life in the wake of the Pulse tragedy.
In this season of memorializing those so devastated by what happened at Pulse, the challenge has been laid down for all of us to “honor them through action.” (Check it out online—“honor them through action.”) Indeed, what could we possibly do that would be more tangible? More practical? More beneficial? More inclusive?
We can never undo what was done. Scars from the horror of June 12, 2016, will remain. But we can seek to ensure that from the ashes of Pulse rises a Phoenix of positivity and progress.
Indeed, may we each resolve to truly “honor them through action.”
Invocation/Reflection for The Beacon Network’s ‘Champions of Change’ Lunch
January 29, 2016
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.
Invocation/Reflection at Orlando City Council
December 9, 2013
I invite you to join me in a moment of reflection.
We are gathered here today because humans everywhere recognize that many aspects of a community are best addressed collectively. That’s what government is all about. That’s why the Orlando City Council exists.
But good government doesn’t just happen. It takes effort. It requires the commitment of its leaders to fairness, to justice, to equality and to a long list of other crucial social and moral values.
Good government requires civil dialogue and consultation–leader with leader, citizen with citizen and leader with citizen. It requires a willingness to speak forthrightly, and an even greater willingness to listen.
The issues you as a council address are complex. The challenges you face are daunting. The requirements of time and energy are great. But the potential to improve the quality of life for all in this community makes it worthwhile.
May this be foremost in your minds–not only in today’s deliberations, but every day–as you each seek to live a life of service.
Invocation/Reflection at OCPS ‘State of Our Schools’ Address
May 23, 2013
I invite you to join me for a brief reflection on why we are here:
We are here because we care about the children and youth of Orange County.
May we encounter here . . .
• a candid assessment of the challenges and opportunities faced by Orange County Public Schools,
• an encouraging report of what’s being achieved,
• an exhilarating vision for addressing the challenges that remain.
May we remember that improved facilities and new programs–though good and necessary–are not ends in themselves; the ultimate measure of success is the effective education of our students.
May we recognize that success must be a collective effort involving:
• school board
• support staff
• extended families
• other government agencies
• community organizations
• in fact, the entire community–which means all of us.
May we take seriously our responsibility to ensure that today’s students are appropriately equipped to lead tomorrow’s world.
More Samples of Invocations/Reflections Usable in Diverse-Public Settings
Since the Greece v Galloway U.S/ Supreme Court decision, which was premised on the understanding that the city of Greece, New York, was willing to have even atheists offer invocations, the non-theist community in Central Florida has responded by asking to be included on the lists of those offering invocations at government-sponsored events. You can see examples of their non-theist invocations/secular reflections at the website of the Central Florida Freethought Community.