The Board will hold its monthly meeting July 10th, 2017 at 6:00pm in the Fletcher room. You can find the agenda on the Governance page.
Sukhbir Singh has been a Jacksonville resident for twenty-one years. He practices Sikhism as a path to humanity and salvation. Sukhbir has been married to Sargum for twenty-six years. They are blessed with two sons. They have raised their sons in our community and they are now in college. Sukhbir’s family is probably the longest living Sikh family in Jacksonville. Sukhbir has a bachelor’s degree in Statistics and master’s in Computer Science. He is a small business entrepreneur. Sargum and Sukhbir are founders of the Sikh Society of North East Florida. Sukhbir has been an architect in creating awareness about Sikhism and Turbans in our community through lectures as well as presentations in schools, colleges, universities, temples, churches, hospitals, mayor’s and the Sheriff’s office. He has also engineered two Turban Days on the UNF campus as part of his continuous efforts to educate the Jacksonville community. Sukhbir has a passion to cultivate universal brotherhood and oneness, which are the tenets of Sikhism. Sukhbir is a strong believer of “Ek Pita Ekas Ke Hum Barik” which translates to “There is One Father and we are all his children.”
For 35 years, Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida has helped hundreds of thousands of very different people through a broad range of services. Initially, it may seem that their programs are disconnected lines of support. Yet if you take a broader look, you’ll notice how the outstanding teams supporting all of these programs are simply filling in the gaps for neighbors in need and creating one big beautiful picture of improved lives in the process.
Mary Strickland, a member of UUCJ is the president and CEO of Lutheran Social Services, and has a long and distinguished career in health care and human services. She has been the CEO of a visiting nurse program in New York overseeing more than 400 employees and managing $28 billion in revenue; served in key administrative positions in New Jersey government under two governors; had key policy roles for large pharmaceutical companies; taught at NYU and is a guest lecturer at UNF. And don’t forget, Mary is a Worship Associate and frequent coffee host at UUCJ!
Dr. Reda Bedeir has a Ph.D. degree from Al Azhar University in Applied Linguistics and Islamic Studies. He holds two BA degrees: one in English and the other in Islamic Studies. He has an MA degree in Simultaneous Translation between Arabic and English. He is a Professor at Al-Azhar University in Egypt. He is an ex- instructor with Almaghrib Institute. He has taught Islam all over the world: Egypt (Al-Azhar University), USA (Wake Forest University in NC), Canada (Calgary and Alberta University), UK, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia are examples among other countries. He is an international speaker and he appeared in many TV Channels all over the world: Nile TV in Egypt, Islam Channel in London, England, Al Huda TV and many other TV shows in USA and Canada. He is a very motivational and engaging speaker who will make you cry and hysterically laugh within the same speech. Dr. Bedeir is a certified life coach as well as an interpreter with the UN for the last 20 years.
Faith In Action: Hearing the Voices of Jacksonville’s Diverse Religious Community
For July, our Generosity in Action nominee is Sunnie Baber! Sunnie is the chair of the Membership Committee, working hard to put together introductory materials for new members and making them feel welcome. She leads our songs during Sunday services, manages our social media, and has served on the Mission Funding Team. Sunnie also gives many hours to the church youth — she is an RE and nursery volunteer and an exemplary OWL teacher. She hosts the renowned Taco and Beer party every year for the Service Auction, and is, in Phillip’s own words, the church’s “minister wrangler”. Make sure to thank Sunnie for all of the tireless hours she puts into our beloved community!
Following Phillip’s sermons on Thích Nhất Hạnh’s Living Buddha, Living Christ, Phillip Scanlan (a member from our Fernandina branch) shared a touching story from his time in Vietnam. Check it out!
Following Phillip’s sermons on Thích Nhất Hạnh’s Living Buddha, Living Christ, Phillip Scanlan (a member from our Fernandina branch) shared this touching story from his time in Vietnam:
I worked with a Catholic Vietnamese nun, Sister Imelda, in 1968. She seemed to me to be living the Thích principles.
In 1968 as a junior Army Communications Officer in Nha Trang, Vietnam, I had my company adopt Sister Imelda’s local Catholic orphanage. My company — young men — wrote letters and got donations from their churches back home. They donated every month from their paychecks, and some worked with me at the orphanage on their one day off-duty each week. I named my first daughter after Sister Imelda that ran the orphanage, who I considered a Saint.
That experience at age twenty-four, of working with Sister Imelda, affected my whole life in a very positive way. It is a surprise to most that I was affected in a positive way (Thanks to Sister Imelda) from a year in Vietnam where I was almost killed several times.
Coincidentally both Thích and I returned to Vietnam Nam in 2005, both with a religious connection to our trip. On my trip I resolved to find Sister Imelda — if possible. The only Catholic Sister named Imelda was in a Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) Convent. She had been made speechless from a heart attack and no one knew where she had come from or what she had done. The Communists after they won the war eliminated the ability of Catholics in the South to influence children, by eliminating Catholic schools and orphanages. The French brought Catholics to Vietnam and the Communists felt that The Catholic Religion was anti-communist and one cause of the North-South war that started with the the French occupation.
I visited the Sister Imelda in the Saigon Convent and when I arrived late morning she was still in bed asleep. They woke her up to meet me. I had trouble recognizing her — and her me — after 37 years. However, I had brought a photo album of photos taken of the children in the Nha Trang orphanage in 1968, including photos of both of us with the children. We turned the pages of the photo album for her and after a few pages she looked up at me and smiled — she was “my” Sister Imelda!
I was asked to come back the next day by Sister Jeanne who ran the Convent — so they could prepare for a good visit. The next day we had a celebration — tea, cookies, children singing, all the Convent members present, and we recognized Sister Imelda for her caring for the children at the Nha Trang orphanage during the war. Because the orphanage had been destroyed by the Communist after the war there was no other record of Sister Imelda’s good work and dedication to the orphan children than the photo album I had brought back — 37 years later. The album also included a very nice letter from my daughter, Maureen Imelda Scanlan, on how proud she was of her name and how thankful she was for the very positive influence Sister Imelda had on her father during a time of war. That letter was read aloud for all to hear at the recognition celebration for Sister Imelda.
After my visit I communicated by mail and email with Sister Jeanne and Sister Imelda. After the 2005 visit and recognition celebration Sister Imelda’s remaining “quality of life” was much improved by more supportive contacts with all who now recognized that she was a war time hero serving orphans.
I have tried during my life to live up to the example provided to me at age twenty-four by having the opportunity to work with Sister Imelda for a year at her orphanage in Vietnam — she seemed to be living the fourteen principles of Thích. A year working with someone living those principles, at a young age, has an impact.
95% of the lives lost in Vietnam were Vietnamese. The US lost 58,600 — each name on the Vietnam Memorial — of 1,313,000 total lives lost from 1964 to 1975.
It’s been confirmed! Marta Zsemberovszsky has notified us that Levente Fazes and his wife, Angela, will be visiting us this fall from October 13th — 23rd. We will be meeting to plan events and activities for them to enjoy during their stay with us. This is a great opportunity to return the wonderful hospitality shown to UU’s when we visited them in Bozod, Romania. More to come!
Sunday, June 25th (12:30 Fletcher Room)
All are welcome to attend our quarterly Green Sanctuary group meeting. This is the group that works on the environmental efforts of UUCJ so that we may continue to live out our 7th Principle and keep our “Green Sanctuary” designation.