April 2014

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Author Calls for New Approach to How We Do Charity
Robert D. LuptonCommunity Food and Outreach Center and First United Methodist Church of Winter Park jointly hosted a luncheon on March 11 featuring Robert D. Lupton, author of the book Toxic Charity–How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It). Lupton, who isn’t just a talking head or armchair quarterback, has spent 41 years doing charitable work in inner-city Atlanta, actually residing in the neighborhoods he’s seeking to help. Clearly he cares about the disadvantaged, having spent decades working on their behalf. Based on broad personal experience, he argues that our traditional approach to charity leaves the poor feeling inferior, dependent and even less capable of lifting themselves out of their disadvantaged circumstances.He advocates a substantially different approach–an approach that Community Food and Outreach is seeking to incorporate more fully in its own charitable activities. It’s not a matter of doing charity less; it’s a matter of doing it more effectively, Lupton contends.
Local Charity Expanding Facilities, Fine-Tuning ApproachFOCtr 2
Community Food and Outreach Center (150 West Michigan Street, Orlando, FL 32806) is in the process of expanding and revamping its facilities. It’s also re-evaluating and fine-tuning the scope and nature of its services as it seeks to minister more efficiently and effectively to those in the community who are in need. As part of its fine-tuning process, CFOC conducted a brainstorming session at First Baptist Church of Orlando on March 19, inviting its partners and other community leaders to share ideas about how to make the charity’s community partnership even stronger. CFOC, which has been in existence for 13 years, has as its mission: “To help those in need to transform their lives by providing food, crisis care, opportunities for education and employment, and a hand up to families, individuals and children who are fighting to break the cycle of poverty.” Click on the following links to learn how to become acorporate partner, a donor or a volunteer.
“Friends Talking Faith” Celebrates Second Anniversary
3 Wise GuysHear 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 complicated aspects of life. “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. April’s programs are:

  • April 1: Faith and Culture: Faith, Fools and Second Anniversary of the Program
  • April 8 Faith and Religion: Scriptures
  • April 15 Faith and Science: Spirituality and Healing
  • April 22 Faith and Culture: Marriage (first of two-part series)
  • April 29 Faith and Politics: Marriage Equality (second of two-part series)

Religion 201 Series Continues at the Holocaust Center
“How Truly Tolerant Is Your Faith Tradition or Worldview?” How much does your faith or perspective advocate a “live and let live” approach? And how much does it seek to force everyone to follow its values, whether they share the same perspective or not? Those are the kinds of questions that will be addressed by a representative each from Atheism, Christianity and Sikhism on Tuesday night, April 1, at the Holocaust Center (851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751). The program is the eighth in a nine-part, once-a-month series highlighting the diversity of religious thought and worldviews in Central Florida. The series is jointly sponsored by the Holocaust Center and the Interfaith Council of Central Florida. The final program of the Religion 201 series is scheduled for Tuesday, May 6. Mark your calendars. And also check the Holocaust Center website to see what other programs they’re hosting that might be of interest to you.

April Designated Springs Protection Awareness Monthspring-01 2
According the the website of the St. Johns River Water Management District, the organization’s “Governing Board on March 11 approved a proclamation designating April as Springs Protection Awareness Month. The designation is expected to help increase awareness about the importance of Florida’s springs and encourage residents and stakeholders to participate in enhancing the quality and flow of springs. . . . [In addition], Sen. Charles Dean has proposed a resolution to the Florida Legislature declaring April as Springs Protection Awareness Month. Water management districts across the state are joining him in recognizing the importance of increasing public awareness about the value of springs.” Good though such paper statements and awareness campaigns are, the real protection for the springs will come when all segments of the community realize just how precarious the situation is for the long-term health and survival of Florida’s  springs–and then do something about it.

The Role of Women in the Abrahamic Traditions
The title of the event is “Faith and Freedom: The Role of Women in Abrahamic Traditions.” The format is that three women will describe the role and status of women within their faith tradition–Judaism, Christianity and Islam. What does freedom mean for religious women? What are the boundaries of freedom in religion? Are women oppressed through religion? Hear Barbara Weinreich (Jewish), Priscilla Robinson (Christian) and Sheryl Siddiqi (Muslim) address these questions and more. The program, part of the Table of Abraham series sponsored by the Atlantic Institute (formerly the Nile Foundation), will be held on Wednesday, April 2, at the Winter Park Community Center (721 West New England Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789). A light dinner will be served at 6:30 pm, with the program beginning at 7:15 pm and concluding with a question-and-answer period. For more detail, registration and free tickets, go to Eventbrite.

“Friends Talking Faith” to Record Programs at Stetson
The hosts of the WMFE 90.7 radio program “Friends Talking Faith with The Three Wise Guys” will record two segments for their radio program at Stetson University on Wednesday, April 9, at 7:00 pm. The program will be recorded in the Stetson Room, second floor of the Carlton Union Building, 131 East Minnesota Avenue, on Stetson’s DeLand campus. The public is invited to attend at no charge. Seating is limited, so plan to arrive early. During the interactive presentation of the Reverend, the Rabbi and the Imam, the conversation will cover issues of inclusion and religious authority, fundamentalism, politics and the future of faith discussions and experiences in a university environment. The recorded sessions will air on WMFE 90.7 radio in May. For more information: contact Chaplain Fronk at 386-822-7523 or email mfronk@stetson.edu; or contact Lindsey Graves at lgraves@stetson.edu.

“Religion and War” Discussion to be Held April 9
Adventist Univ 2The monthly Interfaith Discussion to be held April 9 is totally open-ended. The topic is just: “Religion and War.” Unlike the usual format, the topic isn’t even in the form of a question. So just what directions the discussion will go is anyone’s guess. But it’s bound to generate plenty of comment. The discussion group meets from 7:00 to 8:30 pm on the second Wednesday of each month at Adventist University of Health Sciences on Florida Hospital’s main campus. The 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 place, click here. Admission is free. Everyone is invited.

Holocaust Center Hosting Forums for Teachers–and PublicTeacher's Forum 2
On Thursday, April 10, at 6:00 pm, in a Teachers Forum titled “Primary Sources,” Holocaust Center resource teacher Mitch Bloomer will discuss the reward that comes from pursuing primary sources. Of all the ways we learn about history, often the most engaging and authentic experiences can be from the use of primary sources. The writings of those who witness historic events not only provide evidence of what happened and information about why and how it happened, but also lend a very human perspective to that moment in time. Reading the letters, postcards and diaries written during the Holocaust helps us fine-tune our ability to empathize with victims and to enter the mindset of perpetrators, bystanders and rescuers. During the presentation, the Holocaust Center’s exhibit “Letters Home” will be on display. Teacher Forums are open to the community at large, and there is no cost to attend. They are created to expand knowledge about the Holocaust and offer an opportunity for Professional Development (inservice) credits. Forums begin at 6:00 pm and last approximately two hours. A reception for teachers begins at 5:15 pm.

Friends of the Wekiva River to Host Field Trip
WekivaWekiva Wild and Scenic River Ambassador Virginia Oros and others will lead a Friends of the Wekiva River field trip at 9:00 am, on Saturday, April 12, beginning at the Live Oak Pavilion in the picnic area at Wekiwa Springs State Park (1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka, FL 32712). This fun, informative and educational program will feature Florida’s springs, groundwater and ecosystem restoration using prescribed fire. It will also include a guided tour of the Nature Center. Meet Lucky the Gopher Tortoise, Molly the Pine Snake and other live, native animals. A park entrance fee of $6 per vehicle is required. Comfortable walking shoes, insect repellant, drinking water and a camera are recommended. The field trip will last for about three hours, but participants are welcome to enjoy the park all day, including swimming in the springs. To RSVP or for more information, please contact Virginia Oros at 407-330-6727 or Virginia.Oros@dep.state.fl.us.

50th Anniversary of Spiritual Master’s Arrivial in WestSri Chinmoy 2
World-renowned Hindu spiritual master Sri Chinmoy (August 27, 1931–October 11, 2007), came to New York City 50 years ago, on April 13, 1964. He opened a meditation center in Queens, from which his fame spread. Eventually he had students in some 60 countries. Chinmoy was a prolific writer, an artist, a poet, a musician and an athlete, using all of these avenues to spread his message of how to achieve inner peace. He advocated athleticism as a path to spiritual enlightenment, and was active in distance running, swimming and weightlifting. He was a champion of world peace as well as inner peace, and he interacted extensively with a wide range of religious and political leaders.

Islamic Group Hosting Array of Activities for Public
Islamic Society of Central FLThe Islamic Society of Central Florida offers a variety of activities designed specifically with the non-Muslim community in mind.  These include: (1) an ongoing series of presentations called “Pursuit of Peace: Introduction to Islam,” which runs each Saturday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm;  (2) a fourth-Saturday-of-each-month-single-event “Open House Invitational” that gives a general overview of Islam and includes an international meal; (3) an annual “Building Bridges and Breaking Bread Banquet” that introduces non-Muslims to Ramadan; and (4) an array of other special events such as the “World of Knowledge Interfaith Trip to Turkey,” which will be leaving in May. For more information or to sign up for any or all of these events, go to Eventbrite.

Easter a High Holy Day in Christian Tradition
March 20 is Easter Sunday, a high day of spiritual celebration for Christians. Services incrosslightchurches both large and small will feature special decoration, pageantry, high-quality music and a generally exuberant spirit. For those not of the Christian faith who’d like to visit a church, Easter can be an interesting time to do so. Many churches will have special services scheduled for Palm SundayMaundy Thursday and Good Friday as well. Just be sure to get there early–because you’ll be competing for a seat not only with regular attenders but with a large crowd of “CEOs” (Christmas and Easter Only!). No doubt most faith traditions experience a similar spike in attendance on high holy days. But do others have such an impressive acronym to identify their infrequent attenders?!

Indian Restaurant One of Orlando’s Best-Kept Secrets
Unless you happen to live in the area or have reason to pass by, you may not realize thatHindu Society of Central Florida has an impressive temple (see photo below) at 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry, FL 32707. For any non-Hindus who are interested in how others believe and worship, a tour of the temple is a highlight, in part because of the exquisite artistry. Phone 407-699-5277 or send an email  to arrange a guided tour. But even for those with no interest in the Hindu temple 5religion but who enjoy Indian food, another highlight of a visit to the campus is a meal at the Indian restaurant, which is open from 6:00 to 8:30 pm on Fridays, and9:00 to 5:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The menu, featuring mainly food from South India, isn’t extensive. And the ambiance is simple. But the food is excellent. And the price is right.

Author of Making Sense of the Bible to SpeakAdam Hamilton
Join pastor and best-selling Christian author Adam Hamiltonfor an evening of teaching and conversation around his new book, Making Sense of the BibleThe event will be held atFirst United Methodist Church (142 East Jackson Street, Orlando, FL 32801) on Thursday, April 24, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Hamilton will focus on the nature of scripture–what it is and is not, how it was written and canonized, why we don’t consider it inerrant, and what a “high view of scripture” might mean. He will then tackle the questions people often ask about the Bible:

  • Do I have to choose between evolution and the Bible?
  • Were Adam and Eve and Noah real people
  • How do we make sense of the violence of God in the Old Testament?
  • Suffering and God in the Bible.
  • Does the Bible really teach that only Christians go to heaven?
  • Homosexuality and the Bible
  • Is Revelation really a roadmap of the end times?

The evening will end with a question-and-answer period and a book signing. Make reservations through Eventbrite.

Now is Good Time to Organize OCPS Partnership
Orange County Public Schools is seeking community partners–faith-based entitiesOCPS 2included–to “Adopt-a-School” and strengthen our region’s schools by participating in a variety of programs:
School-Based Mentoring cultivates trusting relationships between adult role models and students, developing pro-social skills in students and a sense of belonging among their peers, families and communities.

  • Life-Skills Education addresses anger management, school dropout and substance-abuse issues in a school setting.
  • After-School and Summer Programs provide enrichment activities for students, such as basketball leagues, robotic clinics, computer labs and much more.
  • Or do you have some other idea of how your faith-based organization can support schools? If so, let us know.

“Adopt-a-School” is simple. Contact the OCPS Community Resources Office for more details (407-317-3323). Now is a good time to be working out the details for faith-based participation in the 2014-2015 school year.

State Department Seeking Homes for Exchange Students
Am Councils for Ed 2Each year American Councils for International Education sponsors some 2,000 scholarship students from the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, the Balkans, Africa or Southeast Asia, creating an opportunity for Americans to open their hearts and homes, sharing U.S. culture, gaining a new family member and promoting mutual understanding. The students come for one academic year on fully funded U.S. State Department merit scholarships. They attend the local high school of the host family and receive a monthly stipend and medical coverage from American Councils. Host families provide meals, accommodation and a nurturing, English-speaking home environment. The students are encouraged to be active in volunteering and learning about American society. Sometimes students seek a host family of a specific faith tradition. You can be part of changing the world one family and one student at a time. View a brief video explaining the program. For further information, send an email to Susan Peterson, local coordinator of American Councils. Or phone her at 407-678-4693 (home) 321-439-1105 (cell).

Christian Reaction to Movie Noah Definitely MixedNoah2014Poster 2
The assumption that “any news is good news” seems to be present in Christianity as well as the secular world. Thus, response to the recently released movie Noah, starring Russell Crowe as the ark builder, has been mixed. None deny that the film takes considerable license in portraying the biblical narrative. But there’s less agreement concerning whether the production is essentially harmful or helpful.An article in the Huffington Post reports that leaders from a variety of religious organizations have made positive comments, based on the belief that, as a result of having their curiosity piqued by the movie, people may go back to the Bible to check out the story for themselves. Others don’t believe distortions are an effective way to present a biblical story. Glenn Beck, who few would accuse of timidity or understatement, has labeled the movie as “dangerous disinformation.”

Macedonia Baptist to Host Health and Wellness Event
Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church is inviting the entire community to their free annual Health and Wellness Fair. The event offers participants a wide variety of screenings and education in many areas of health–plus fun for the entire family. And it’s all for free! Screenings that will be provided at the event include: mammograms, vision, hearing, asthma, HIV, memory, spinal, balance, cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, body-fat analysis, mini physicals and medication evaluations (pharmacist). Plus there will be a blood drive. In addition to the health fair, there will be more than 50 exhibitors, door prizes, free entertainment, free food and free activities for children including face painting, Wii game, theater, bounce house and field games. The event will be held at Hungerford Prep High School Gymnasium (100 East Kennedy Blvd., Eatonville, FL 32751) from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturday, April 26. For more information, contact Tonja Williams (407-647-0010).
MG Walk Provides Perfect Multi-Talking OpportunityMGFA_logo
Want to help rid the world of Myasthenia Gravis? Aren’t sure what Myasthenia Gravis even is? Enjoy exercise? Like to be around people? Want to make the world a better place? Then you can become the ultimate multi-tasker by participating in the MG Walk onSunday, April 27, at Harbor Park at Lake Baldwin at Click here for more details of how you can participate as either a walker, a sponsor or both. Registration opens at 9:00 am; the walk begins at 10:00 am. All proceeds benefit the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America, Inc.

Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Set for April 27
Joanie SchirmThe Holocaust Center is sponsoring its annual Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday, April 27, at 4:00 pm at the Jewish Community Center (851 Maitland Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751 ). The public is invited to this admission-free event. Yom HaShoah commemorates the lives of the six million Jews and others who died during the Holocaust. It honors the Survivors, Liberators and Rescuers, seeking to keep their memories alive. The event’s featured speaker is Joanie Holzer Schirm, author of Adventurers Against Their Will. She will be sharing the lessons learned from the Holocaust-era letters she inherited from her father, Dr. Oswald A.Holzer. For further detail, phone 407-628-0555 or email info@holocaustedu.org.

Holocaust Center to Host Annual “Dinner of Tribute”H_Rosen_Color-250x327
Each spring the “Dinner of Tribute” is the Holocaust Center’s largest fundraiser. This year’s event pays tribute to Harris Rosen, one of Orlando’s most innovative philanthropists. Mention Harris Rosen’s name and it conjures up images of beautiful hotels and successful restaurants. Lesser known is his dedication to what he calls “responsible capitalism” and decades of generosity that reaches literally around the world. The Dinner of Tribute is Wednesday, April 30, at Rosen Plaza, 9700 International Drive, Orlando, FL. Cocktails and auction at 5:30 pm. Dinner at 7:00 pm. For information and reservations, phone 407-628-0555 or email info@holocaustedu.org.

Your Tax-Deductible Contributions Always Appreciated
Despite what you’ve been told, death and taxes aren’t life’s only certainties. There’s at least one more: Nonprofits are always looking for contributions to sustain the good work they’re doing. The Interfaith Council of Central FloridaFriends Talking Faith With the Three Wise Guys radio program, Building US and the just-emerging InterDiversity Institute–all of which work closely together–invite those who are blessed by the contribution we make to the community to help us in return. All contributions are tax-deductible and may be sent to: PO Box 3310, Winter Park, FL 32790-3310. Indicate which of the four entities above you wish to receive the benefit of your gift.

Hindu ReflectionHindu 2
True religion has a universal quality. It does not find fault with other religions. . . . Forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, brotherhood and the feeling of oneness are the signs of a true religion.      –Sri Chinmoy

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