CF100: 2019 04 21 – Making Hard Times Harder

Trying to get back in the habit of writing for this column and posting my submissions here whether or not they make it to print.

Each week, the Orlando Sentinel asks two questions of 100 community leaders in Central Florida. Those with access to the online Sentinel can read all of this week’s 100-word responses when there are published online,  usually late Saturday. For those without access, my responses are below. Selected responses appear in the Sunday print edition.

What was the biggest story of the week?

Most teenagers facing unplanned pregnancy turn to parents for advice and support. A rare few do not, primarily because of abuse; physical, sexual, or emotional. The Florida House this week approved a bill that would increase the burden on the latter by requiring written parental approval. Not only have such requirements already been struck down by the courts, its proponents showed their true colors by failing to approve an amendment that would have clarified the process for getting waivers. Fortunately, the senate version is still in committee and hopefully will not emerge before the end of the session.

What will be the biggest story in the coming week?

No Submission.


The series focuses on state and local news.

Read the Sentinel’s introduction to the series

Read my first post on the series.

My posts related to this can be found using the categories in the right sidebar. Click either Central Florida or Current Events.

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CF100: 2019 02 17 – Civil Discourse or “Regret and Horror”

Trying to get back in the habit of writing for this column and post submissions here, whether or not they show up in print. (This one was written back in February.)

Each week, the Orlando Sentinel asks two questions of 100 community leaders in Central Florida. Those with access to the online Sentinel can read all of this week’s 100-word responses when there are published online,  usually late Saturday. For those without access, my responses are below. Selected responses appear in the Sunday print edition.

What was the biggest story of the week?

A Christian and an atheist walk on to a stage… respectful and meaningful conversation ensues. This was the scene this week at the 4th annual Summit on Religious Freedom sponsored by the Central Florida Commission on Religious Freedom. David Williamson, Director of the CF FreeThought Community, and Pastor Danny de Armas of First Baptist found common ground in understanding religious belief, or non-belief, as a right of conscience, in which the government must not meddle. The evening, emceed by the Three Wise Guys and keynoted by Rabbi David Saperstein, highlighted the possibilities beyond the divisions of modern civic discourse.

What will be the biggest story in the coming week?

The Hot Topic this month for the League of Women Voters was the Ocoee Election Day Massacre of 1920. Those born locally were asked when they first heard of it. For most, it was as adults. The silencing of our history of racial violence dishonors the lives lost or traumatized and deprives future generations the opportunity to learn from it. It is good that Ocoee City Commissioners have officially expressed “regret and horror” over these events. As we go forward, may we look with clear eyes at the past so that we can walk with greater justice into the future.


The series focuses on state and local news.

Read the Sentinel’s introduction to the series

Read my first post on the series.

My posts related to this can be found using the categories in the right sidebar. Click either Central Florida or Current Events.

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CF100: 2018 08 12 – Community & Sustainability

Each week, the Orlando Sentinel asks two questions of 100 community leaders in Central Florida. Those with access to the online Sentinel can read all of this week’s 100-word responses when there are published online,  usually late Saturday. For those without access, my responses are below. Selected responses appear in the Sunday print edition. (The first entry below appears on page A19 on the 8/12/18 print edition).

What was the biggest story of the week?

As mail-in ballots arrive and early polling stations open, Central Floridians watch election results nationwide. While possibly a referendum on the direction of the nation, our votes also show who we will be as a state, a county, and a city. Forces beyond our control suggest our individual votes make little difference. Yet, particularly in the last two years, Orlando has strived, repeatedly, to make decisions that celebrate the diversity of our community and honor the health and well-being of the whole. Our votes at this time will show if we continue to swim against the national and global tide.

What will be the biggest story in the coming week?

What must we do today to ensure a peaceful, just, and sustainable future for Central Florida? Just the issue of sustainability raises many questions about our social systems, our economic systems, and about our ecosystem. The next mayor of Orange County will play a key role in ensuring that we are on course to the tomorrow we want. What a great thing, then, that key stakeholders in these areas have convened a Sustainability Forum for the candidates for that position. And, thank you to the candidates for accepting the invitation. (August 15, 6:00 PM, CREDO Conduit, 1001 N Orange Ave.)


The series focuses on state and local news.

Read the Sentinel’s introduction to the series

Read my first post on the series.

My posts related to this can be found using the categories in the right sidebar. Click either Central Florida or Current Events.

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CF100: 2017 10 08 – Critters & Compassion

Each week, the Orlando Sentinel asks two questions of 100 community leaders in Central Florida. Those with access to the online Sentinel can read all of this week’s 100-word responses when there are published online,  usually late Saturday. For those without access, my responses are below. Selected responses appear in the Sunday print edition.

What was the biggest story of the week?

They came in out of the storm. Critters with 4 legs and fur as well as 6-legged crawly things. Can’t blame them really, no one wants to be out in a storm. Now they are making themselves cozy in our attics and kitchens, workplaces and wallboards. Many Central Floridians, used to managing such things, thought the recent incursion was unique to their own homes. Chatting with others, it is quickly clear that many of us are negotiating with new found roommates.

What will be the biggest story in the coming week?

Avoiding compassion fatigue is critical for Central Floridians these days. Compassion is sometimes described as the tingling of the heart in response to the pain of another. What can be helpful about this description is that it reminds us that we are not the one actually experiencing the pain. If we forget that and take on the pain ourselves, we lessen our ability to be of help and service. We become easily overwhelmed. If instead, we allow the tingling of our heart to alert us to the needs of others while remembering our own gifts, our capacity for response remains strong.


The series focuses on state and local news.

Read the Sentinel’s introduction to the series

Read my first post on the series.

My posts related to this can be found using the categories in the right sidebar. Click either Central Florida or Current Events.

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Otherwise Occupied

What a strange time to be otherwise occupied. So many things are in play that would normally be getting my attention… the White Supremacy conversation in our country, plans for the beginning of a new church year, the completion of our major campus renovation, preparations for the launch of our new Bending the Arc Institute: A Learning Community for Social Engagement, which been in the planning stages for 4 years, and management of the $10,000 grant we recently received from the Contigo Fund for the purpose of creating a community-wide Cultural Competency program for community groups desiring to deepen these skills in a post-Pulse Orlando. Phew!

I still recognize all these things as important and tend to them through email and facebook as I can. However, I recognize that right now they are not the most important thing for me. Right now, the most important thing for me is being with Mom. Even though I am completely clear about my priorities, the shift in focus has a surreal feel to it. I’m finding the hospice journey strange enough, with a mix of good days and challenging days, which give me the sense of being on a slow moving roller coaster… with a unspecified end.

So I think about many things including how we set our priorities, and the many factors that influence them, and how others might set their priorities differently, in ways we might not understand, especially if we do not know all that is going on in their worlds. And I hope I will remember all this down the road, when I find myself challenged by the choices of another. And I hope I will remember my right and my responsibility to make the choices that are right for me.

 

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A Change of Pace

I had planned to vacation in New England at the beginning of August. My mom is still in my hometown. One of my brothers and his family is nearby. One of our daughters and her family is also not far away.  And let’s face it, New England is a lovely place to be in August, when your option is the heat and humidity of Central Florida.

However, 10 days became 30 when we learned that the chemo that we hoped would extend my mother’s life was causing more problems than it was solving. Since her pancreatic cancer was diagnosed at stage 4, we already knew that we were looking at extension, not cure. Now that time frame was shorter, although, as anyone who has been on this journey knows, we don’t know how short.

So I looked at my calendar, called on the fabulous resources of our congregation to fill in on some Sunday and others responsibilities, and cancelled my return ticket. I am so very grateful for the time and support, and frankly privilege, to be exactly where I need to be.

Now I am learning more fully the lingo of hospice. As a minister, I have, of course, been around many people availing themselves of these critical and compassionate services. However, as people keep reminding me, it’s different when it’s your own mother. Yes, it is.

I’m not sure I can explain yet exactly how it is different but being present is giving me lots of opportunity to reflect on my childhood, my relationships, and what it means to come from my small town in southern New Hampshire.  While the primary journey ahead is that of my mother, and my primary role is to support that in whatever way I can, I realize I must acknowledge that I, too, am on a journey, a journey that will change me, in ways I cannot yet know.

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CF100: 2017 07 23 – A Tuesday Tradition

Each week, the Orlando Sentinel asks two questions of 100 community leaders in Central Florida. Those with access to the online Sentinel can read all of this week’s 100-word responses when there are published online,  usually late Saturday. For those without access, my responses are below. Selected responses appear in the Sunday print edition.

What was the biggest story of the week?

Although it started as an event to take place for the first 100 day of the current administration, the Tuesday Rally in front of Senator Rubio’s downtown Orlando office has become an institution. Every week a diverse and dedication group of folks gathers to highlight issues brewing in Washington. Recent highlights have been healthcare and Russia. This is just one way that people are making sure that we do not accept our current situation as normal. It is one way, though certainly not the only way, we practice democracy and ensure that the voices of the people are heard.

What will be the biggest story in the coming week?

No offering this week.


The series focuses on state and local news.

Read the Sentinel’s introduction to the series

Read my first post on the series.

My posts related to this can be found using the categories in the right sidebar. Click either Central Florida or Current Events.

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