Thursday, February 22, 2018
News Roundup

Irish minister brings healing message to Hyde Park

For 30 years, Rev. Dr. Gary Mason led peace efforts in Northern Ireland, helping to reconcile the divided Catholic and Protestant communities of Belfast.

Mason, founder of the non-profit Rethinking Conflict, will speak at services on Sunday (Feb. 19) at Hyde Park United Methodist Church and a special event Tuesday Feb. 21 at the Portico in downtown Tampa.

Tuesday's topic, "Uncomfortable Conversations," will address why people struggle to find common ground discussing topics such as politics and religion.

Mason, who holds a doctorate in psychology from the University of Ulster, studied theology at Queen's University and received an honorary doctorate in divinity from Florida Southern College, works with organizations worldwide in resolving religious conflicts.

Religion, like anything with power, has the potential to heal and destroy, Mason said on the phone from Belfast.

"I served as a clergyman in a society divided so much we spent years killing each other," he said. "It was a conflict about land, about identity and also a conflict about religion. One way we were able to begin the painful peace process needed was to have uncomfortable conversations."

Mason said people of faith sometimes avoid hard truths. When he speaks to churches, he reminds Christians to ask themselves how they live out their faith. He encourages church leaders to manage conflict and bring people together.

"If religion is like fire, if it warms and also burns, it is important to ask how we are using our religion, to scorch or to warm people," he said, referencing a quote from British Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

Mason suggests churches focus less on people already inside the building.

"Stop hiding behind fortress doors," he said. "Engage with the other, with those who are different."

Mason will speak at 8:30, 9:30 and 11 a.m. services Feb. 19 at Hyde Park United Methodist Church, 500 W Platt St. and at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Portico, 1001 N Florida Ave. Events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit hydeparkumc.org.

Contact Sarah Whitman at [email protected]

Comments
Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to propose to President Donald Trump that transgender members of the U.S. military be allowed to continue serving despite the president’s call last summer for a ban on all transgender service, acc...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Sen. Marco Rubio faces tough audience at riveting CNN forum on gun violence

Sen. Marco Rubio faces tough audience at riveting CNN forum on gun violence

After an emotionally draining day that captured national attention — the massive rally in Tallahassee and a small, tearful gathering of survivors at the White House — CNN’s Wednesday night town hall on the Parkland shooting could have easily been ove...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge

A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony invasion of privacy charge related to the Republican’s affair with a woman in 2015. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced the indictment Thursday. She launched an ...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Douglas school cop who ‘never went in’ after Parkland shooting has resigned

Douglas school cop who ‘never went in’ after Parkland shooting has resigned

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Thursday the school resource officer stationed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas was suspended without pay after he learned the deputy never went into the building when the shooting began.Scot Peterson chose to resign and ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Second stripper, same commissioner: Hernando County official’s home site of domestic dispute

Second stripper, same commissioner: Hernando County official’s home site of domestic dispute

SPRING HILL — Hernando County Commissioner Nick Nicholson is in the midst of another personal controversy that is reminiscent of his relationship several years ago with a stripper who used drugs.A couple who rents a room in Nicholson’s home got into ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Two weeks after Trump chose him for ambassador, nominee pledged money for a gala at Trump’s club

Two weeks after Trump chose him for ambassador, nominee pledged money for a gala at Trump’s club

Two weeks after President Donald Trump nominated Florida businessman Leandro Rizzuto Jr. to be ambassador to Barbados, Rizzuto pledged thousands of dollars to fund a gala at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, the gala’s organizer said.Rizzuto and his wife, Den...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nation’s conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places — South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington — as survivors, victims’ families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Mueller files new charges in Manafort, Gates case

Mueller files new charges in Manafort, Gates case

New charges were filed Thursday against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner, ratcheting up the legal pressure on them as they prepare for a trial later this year.A new indictment has long been expected in special cou...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Haley Loeun, a top aide to the embattled leader of the Pinellas and Hillsborough jobs boards, was fired Thursday from her $130,000 position as business services director. Loeun came under criticism after the Tampa Bay Times reported that CareerSource...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Column: Marjory Stoneman Douglas would be proud of these kids

Column: Marjory Stoneman Douglas would be proud of these kids

Moments after the AR-15 assault at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hit the news, emails and social media alerts pinged in my in-box. I wrote a biography of the school’s namesake several years ago, and people were messaging to express their horro...
Updated: 1 hour ago