Secular invocations: Jocelyn Williamson

Jocelyn Williamson
Orlando City Council
Sept. 26, 2016

FFRF Member Jocelyn Williamson has given seven secular invocations in the past two years, including this most recent prior to the start of the Orlando City Council meeting. She is a longtime business educator, with a special interest in community building. She created the Science League for Kids, co-founded the Central Florida Freethought Community and serves on the board of the Florida Humanist Association.

“The reaction from people has been overwhelming positive,” she says of her invocations. “Personal remarks from officials and the audience have been welcoming and thankful overall. Making the invocations a “meetup,” where we meet before or after for a drink or meal, has also worked well to bring new members to our organization.”

Thank you Mr. Mayor, council members, and citizens.

Let us take this moment, before we begin, to pause and reflect on why we have come together.

Sometimes it seems we are inundated with bad news on a daily basis with tragedies around the globe. Our news feeds can feel as if they are filled with sadness. And life can seem too busy as we hustle to barely keep up with it all.

Let us remember that these events are truly only a small fragment of what is happening in our world. Just consider that which you will contemplate today — where we see an outpouring of love for our community — The Pride Parade, the mile walk for a cure for Down Syndrome and the art exhibition for breast cancer. And the proclamation to recognize that Native Plants are an important part of providing a better environment, not just for our native animals, but for us as well.

We are working together to the benefit of the society — which we want to see for ourselves and our children.

Today — we leave our busy schedules outside for just a little while. During this meeting, let us remember to be concerned for the well-being of all among us, to use reason to guide our debate, to be committed to the diversity with which we thrive, and to respect all those of differing views. For without disagreement, we may not learn from one another.

The City Beautiful presents many challenges to its leaders, but none which is too great for us to meet together. Everyone brings unique abilities with them to help solve the problems at hand. And all the knowledge we need is right here, in this room.

No matter what work lies ahead, let’s remember the words of the great Arnold Palmer. He was our king even before Orlando had a castle. He said: “The most rewarding things you can do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation