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                                               Message from the Mayor





                                              Finding common ground amid a diverse community

                                                      uring my years in public service, one of my efforts has been to bring together
                                                      our communities of faith, work through past differences and look for
                                              Dopportunities to build bridges where they did not previously exist. Where once
                                              there was division, I have sought cooperation to improve our community.

                                              Recently, the city took the opportunity to recognize the 60 th anniversary of Coral Ridge
                                              Presbyterian Church. This was through a proclamation requested by the district
                                              commissioner, Heather Moraitis, and it represented an opportunity to resume the process
                                              of conciliation within the faith community.
                                              Proclamations are something every mayor does to mark special occasions.
                                              Within this past month, I also issued proclamations for such things as Water
                                              Conservation Month and the Pine Crest School’s girls swimming and diving team
                                              winning their state championship. Not only did I view the Coral Ridge proclamation in
                   Dean Trantalis             that context, but I also have appreciated the church being part of my larger conversation
                        Mayor,                about tackling Fort Lauderdale’s intractable problems.
                   City of Fort Lauderdale
                 dtrantalis@fortlauderdale.gov  Some of you may ask: So, what was the controversy then? There exists a long and bitter
                                              history between the church’s founder, the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, and Fort Lauderdale’s
                                              LGBT community. That led some to question the appropriateness of the proclamation.
                                              Thirty years ago, I picketed Dr. Kennedy with many of my LGBT colleagues. There were
                                              rhetoric and deeds that denigrated all of us who are gay, lesbian or transgender. We
                                              were rightfully outraged.
                    City Hall, 8th Floor      I’ll share one story in particular – that of my late friend and colleague, Justin Flippen. He
                    100 N Andrews Ave         died tragically a year ago while mayor of Wilton Manors. He told me how he
                  Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311
                                              underwent two years of conversion therapy at Coral Ridge when he was in high school.
                                              Simply put -- that was wrong.
                                              But Fort Lauderdale is an evolving community.

                                              Coral Ridge’s current pastor, Rob Pacienza, readily joined my interfaith effort as have
                                              other evangelical Christians such as Stephan Tchividjian of the National Christian
                                              Foundation and Eddie Copeland of Church United. So have leaders of LGBT-affirming
                                              religious institutions — the Sunshine Cathedral, the Church of the Holy Spirit Song and
                                              Etz Chaim synagogue.
                     Office Contact
                     Scott Wyman              Together, we have made much progress because we understand that there is more that
                      Chief of Staff          unites us than divides us. We all want to help address the vast needs in our community
                    Office of the Mayor
                  swyman@fortlauderdale.gov   — the homeless, the poor and elderly in need of daily sustenance, the problems of drug
                      954-828-5314            and alcohol abuse. I could go on.

                                              In the spirit of wanting to move away from the past and look for ways to bring our
                                              community together, Pastor Pacienza and I agreed to put down in writing a joint
                                              statement regarding our work together. It follows:
                                              A joint statement from Dean J. Trantalis, Mayor of Fort Lauderdale and Rob Pacienza, lead
                                              pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church
                                              For the past four years, Mayor Trantalis has been working on a multi-faith effort to increase
                                              understanding and find opportunities for cooperation within the Fort Lauderdale community
                                              where they did not exist before. As pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Rob Pacienza
              CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE         has played a prominent role in these discussions. These meetings brought together a wide


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