Jul 30 “The Book of Joy – Lasting Happiness in a Changing World”

Presented by Raymer Maguire, Gene and Emily Anne Zimmerman

Emily Anne and Gene take on the roles of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with Raymer as interviewer, Douglas Abrams in a discussion of; The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

In April 2015, Archbishop Tutu traveled to the Dalai Lama’s home in Dharamsala, India, to celebrate His Holiness’s eightieth birthday and to create what they hoped would be a gift for others. They looked back on their long lives to answer a single burning question: How do we find joy in the face of life’s inevitable suffering?

They traded intimate stories, teased each other continually, and shared their spiritual practices. By the end of a week filled with laughter and punctuated with tears, these two global heroes had stared into the abyss and despair of our time and revealed how to live a life brimming with joy.

Jul 23 “In Search of St. Columba”

Presented by Drew Gribble and Myra Wells

By using humor and (some) historical fact, we look at the life and times of St. Columba, a lesser known Saint, overshadowed by his more historically famous “Brother,” St. Patrick. What can we learn from St. Columba and what did he do that impacts our lives even today?


Jul 16 “Three Current Situations That Cause Me Concern.”

Pastor James (Jim) Coffin – Executive Director of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida

Growing up on a farm in Missouri, Jim spent a year at Union College in Lincoln Nebraska and a year as a church volunteer in Mexico. He subsequently earned a degree in theology at Newbold College in England and later was ordained as a minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. During his ministerial career, he worked in both the United States (26 years) and Australia (10 years).

Pastor Coffin spent nine years working in youth ministry and nine years as an editor of Seventh-day Adventist publications. Prior to assuming his current role in 2011, he served for eighteen years as senior pastor of the Markham Woods Church of Seventh-day Adventists in Longwood, FL. Concurrent with his pastoral work, he directed a study center/think tank that sought to create more effective communication between religious adherents and our postmodern and increasingly secularized society. He has authored three books dealing with the theory about, practice of and questions arising from religion and written scores of articles for religious publications and websites. He can be contacted at jim@interfaithfl.org.

June 25 “The Peace and Justice Institute Journey: From the Personal to the Collective”

Presented by Rachel Allen, Professor of Humanities and Director of the Peace & Justice Initiative at Valencia College

Professor Allen develops classes and lesson plans that focus on historical perspectives of nonviolence and ethical responsibility to promote a more nonviolent world. She spoke to us about the initiative.

Rachel is a life-long educator who supports others to practice and educate for peace and justice in their daily work and lives. She brings thirty years of experience as an educator at diverse institutions, including Eagle’s Nest Foundation, Outward Bound, the University of Oregon and Valencia College.

Rachel holds a B. S. from Northwestern University and an M. A. from the University of Oregon. She has experience providing strategic planning and visioning, program and curriculum design, fundraising and a strong sense of community, as well as a certified Safe Zone advocate for the GLBTQ community, and a National SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) Project Facilitator.

​An active member of the League of Women Voters, she participates in community service at the Coalition for the Homeless, is a member of the board for ArtReach Orlando, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at the University of Central Florida.

June 11 “Orlando:  The City a Year After Pulse”

Patty SheehanOrlando City Commissioner, District 4


June 12, 2016, was the most horrific day in the history of the City of Orlando. In the days since the tragedy, the members of our community have stood up and stood together to show the world the best humanity has to offer. Together we will remain Orlando United.” – Mayor Buddy Dyer

During the Pulse tragedy, and in the days following the attack, Sheehan became one of the symbols of healing for the LGBT community. She spent days at the scene of the shooting, with survivors and the families of those taken, providing courage and leadership.

Commissioner Sheehan was the first openly gay elected official in Central Florida. She championed non-discrimination ordinances and the domestic partner registry.

The City of Orlando and Orange County Government, in collaboration with Pulse, announce the dedication of June 12, 2017, as “Orlando United Day – A Day of Love and Kindness.” This announcement formally dedicates June 12 to the memory and honor of the 49 innocent lives taken at Pulse, reaffirms the community’s commitment to survivors and loved ones, as well as recognizes the global compassion and love displayed in the wake of the tragedy.

Commissioner Patty Sheehan was first elected to the Orlando City Council in 2000. She attended Seminole State College and the University of Central Florida, earning her B.A. in art. A former Administrator with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, she serves her constituents full time.