At a rousing faith-based rally Tuesday night, four Lakeland city commissioners pledged to reach a goal of adding 500 housing units for families with homeless children by 2023. Mayor Bill Mutz and commissioners Stephanie Madden, Justin Troller and Phillip Walker drew cheers for their pledges from the approximately 1,400 participants at the 19th annual Nehemiah Action rally of the Polk Ecumenical Action Council for Empowerment, or PEACE, at Resurrection Catholic Church in Lakeland. More
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Amid hints that increased funding for the arts may lie in the future, the Lakeland City Commission today unanimously approved a resolution increasing the number of organizations represented on the Mayor’s Council for the Arts. The resolution added three educational institutions – Harrison School for the Arts, Florida Southern College and Southeastern University – to the list of art and art-related organizations entitled to a seat on the council. More
“It’s been an exhausting week,” said the Rev. David McEntire, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Lakeland, speaking to his congregation during Sunday morning worship. “We’re kind of worn out.”
Like many of his fellow United Methodists, McEntire was left wondering about the future of his denomination in the wake of a strife-filled special international conference in St. Louis last week. To the surprise of many, more than 800 delegates from United Methodist churches in the United States and overseas rejected a proposal – the One Church Plan – that would have allowed gays and lesbians a wider role in the church.
Instead, in a close vote, an alternative plan – the Traditional Plan – was adopted that potentially will strengthen current rules that forbid “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” from being ordained to any office and do not allow gays and lesbians to be married in its churches. More
Policies always have personal consequences, and for Arden Mitchell of Lakeland, a longstanding policy of the United Methodist Church prevented her father from performing her wedding ceremony. When Mitchell married her wife in a religious ceremony in 2012 and then again in 2013 when the state of Florida made same-sex marriage legal, her father, the Rev. T. Glenn Bosley-Mitchell, a United Methodist pastor, couldn’t officiate without risking punishment.
The church’s Book of Discipline – which contains its beliefs and policies – states that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” It prohibits ministers, deacons and lay pastors from participating in same-sex weddings. The policy also declares that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” shall not be ordained as ministers and deacons.
Mitchell, 33, a lifelong Methodist and a member of Lakeland’s First United Methodist Church, calls it “unfortunate” that her father was unable to officiate at her wedding.
“It was not ideal,” says Mitchell, who is director of admissions at Florida Southern College. “My dad is very liberal and accepting and vocal about it. … Something needs to happen.”
Something may be about to happen. More
LkldNow founder and editor Barry Friedman was awarded the first Cygnet Award of 2019 on Tuesday by the community improvement organization Lakeland Vision. The award recognizes businesses and community organizations whose mission or activities align with the strategic goals of Lakeland Vision.
Friedman was presented the award at the intermission of the Imperial Symphony Orchestra concert in the Youkey Theatre at the RP Funding Center. Announcing the award, Lakeland Vision board member Xuchitl Coso said Friedman deserved the award “for the positive difference he is making in the community.” More
If you have one last big performance to give, you might as well perform something memorable.
The fiendishly difficult Saint-Saëns concerto, one of the French master’s best and most popular works, is one that she taught often during her 43 years as associate professor of music at Florida Southern College. But this is the first time she has ever performed it, and as the shoe is on the other foot, Fandrich has come to a realization. More
The symbolic struggle between light and darkness is employed by numerous world religions, as well as in Freemasonry – a society to which the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791) belonged. So it’s fitting that in his last opera, “The Magic Flute,” he brings this struggle to life in a fantastical story that has charmed audiences for centuries.
This week, the Imperial Symphony Orchestra’s annual production of a Night at the Opera, a fundraising gala, will feature “The Magic Flute.” Polk County audiences may see and hear for themselves how the hero Tamino overcomes the temptations of the evil Queen of the Night and emerges on the side of right. More
City Commissioner Stephanie Madden is partial to The Bean, a coconut-and-coffee-flavored blonde ale brewed by Swan Brewing Company and served at its beer garden on Lake Wire. She is even more a fan of what the craft brewery and taproom has done for an out-of-the-way corner of downtown Lakeland.
“I have been a big fan of Swan Brewing, and they really were trailblazers. I think they have done a lot for that area. I’m so excited when I see folks parked all along the lake, enjoying that beautiful scene,” she said.
Arts are generally regarded as important to the health and economic climate of a city, and Lakeland city commissioners devote a quarter of a million dollars a year to helping non-profit arts organizations stay afloat. But like all questions of using taxpayer funds, commissioners have to make tough decisions about which organizations are supported. In recent years, there has been intense debate about how to spread the wealth among eight Lakeland arts organizations that have been the traditional beneficiaries.
Until a new approach was put in place two years ago, city and arts leaders say that decisions were made in a haphazard fashion, with groups competing against each other for money and a few major organizations having the inside track. Even an attempt to set aside a permanent fund for the arts failed when the city commission raided the fund during the recent recession, leaving the arts community and its supporters to start over again. More