FigTree Header 10.14

Fig Tree donate ad

To place an ad on 1200 pages - see our rates

Comment on this article

facebook logo
on our Facebook page

twitter logo
on our Twitter feed

Bookmark and Share

Share this article
on your favorite social media

Search The Fig Tree's stories of people who make a difference:

January 2017 News Reports

Event will offer insights on policies affecting lives

“Taking Responsibility: Acting Together in Faith” is the theme speakers and workshops will address at the 2017 Eastern Washington Legislative Conference from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 28, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 316 E. 24th Ave.

Presenters will consider how their workshop themes intersect with issues of poverty.

The event will feature a panel discussion on poverty, based on the Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) Community Health Needs Assessment and the 2016 Washington State Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Poverty.

The discussion will be led by a representative of the SRHD and Sr. Sharon Park, OP, of the Washington State Catholic Conference, with responses and reflections offered by Neal Schindler of the Spokane Area Jewish Family Services and Julie Honekamp of SNAP (Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs).

There will be six workshops.  There are two sessions of four workshops and one session of two workshops.

• Jessie Dye of Earth Ministry and Twa-le Abrahamson of the Spokane Tribe will discuss issues related to the environment, climate change and protection of the earth.

• James Wilburn, supervisor of youth initiatives and community and parent involvement with Spokane Public Schools, and Fawn Schott, the new CEO of Volunteers of America with programs serving and educating street youth and young parents, will address issues of education.

• Gloria Ochoa-Bruck of the Spokane County Bar Association, Kurtis Robinson of the NAACP Spokane Criminal Justice Committee, and Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich will present issues related to racial and criminal justice.

• Steve Allen, director of Family Promise in Spokane, and Kay Murano, the new director of the Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium, will explore housing issues and programs.

Those workshops will be offered twice.  Two workshops will be offered once: one on immigration issues led by a representative of the No Discrimination Spokane and PJALS, and one on media literacy and propaganda with Fig Tree editor Mary Stamp and Admir Rasic, a Bosnian Muslim with the Spokane Interfaith Council.

Sr. Sharon of the WSCC and the Rev. Paul Benz, co-director of the Faith Action Network, will give briefings on issues before the 2017 State Legislature.

The Rev. Gregg Sealey, the Inland District Superintendent of the United Methodist Conference, will give theological reflections on “How Are We Listening?”

The Rev. Walter Kendricks, pastor of Morning Star Baptist Church, will give the invocation.  Anastasia Wendlinder, associate professor in Gonzaga University’s religious studies department, will give the closing prayer.

Nonprofit agencies and ministries will bring displays to share resources about their programs.

“This educational event invites people of faith to consider how their faith teachings call them to be involved shaping policies on hunger, housing, creation, jobs, education, justice, equality, taxes and more,” said Fig Tree editor Mary Stamp.

Organizers include The Fig Tree, Catholic Charities Spokane, the Faith Action Network, NAACP Spokane and the Inland United Methodist District.

For information, call 535-1813 or email  Fliers are available at

Homeless Connect offers one day of services

For the sixth year, Homeless Connect offers multiple services to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, drawing together volunteers from many agencies working with homeless people for a “one-stop-shop” opportunity to meet most of their needs in one day, rather than weeks or months of going from agency to agency.

It will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 24, at the Salvation Army Community Center, 223 E. Nora.

Organized by a subcommittee of the Spokane Homeless Coalition, it draws about 300 people who come for hot lunch, family services, veterans services, housing services, Department of Social and Health Services, medical and dental screenings, clothing, food, hair cuts and veterinary care.

This year for the first time, Homeless Connect is facilitating a Warrant Fest, an opportunity for people to work with Spokane’s Community Court to “quash” municipal misdemeanor warrants, set court dates and address pending charges that are often barriers to accessing housing and employment.

Representatives of the Spokane Public Schools HEART (Homeless Education and Resource Team) program will be there.

“There will be food bank items that don’t require a kitchen to prep,” said Johnnie Beans, a CHAS outreach worker.  “There are nurses for foot care and cold weather advice.”

Sabrina Bukowski of Catholic Charities Permanent Supportive Housing said it speeds up the process to talk face-to-face rather than just electronically.

For information, call 340-9329 or email

Gospel Explosion marks its 20th year

Whitworth University presents the 20th annual Gospel Explosion Celebration on “The Heavens Declare the Glory of God” at 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 10, in Sealy Mudd Chapel.

Stephy Nobles-Beans, coordinator for diversity, equity and inclusive ministries at the Whitworth Chapel, invites area churches to participate in Whitworth’s recognition of African American History Month.

The event features a concert by the Exceptional Praise Gospel Choir Club at Whitworth and choirs from area congregations.

The Gospel Explosion began in 1997 to bring together Spokane’s churches and Whitworth to promote diversity and unity on campus and in the community.

For information, call 777-4568 or email

Faith community nursing classes planned

Chaplaincy Health Care and Faith Community Nursing/Health Ministries Northwest are sponsoring eight weeks of online classes, “Foundations of Faith Community Nursing: Whole Person Health Care,” from Jan. 23 to March 17, with face-to-face sessions, Jan. 20 and 21, and March 25, at 1480 Fowler St., in Richland.

The American Nurses Association recognizes faith community nursing as a sub-specialty in nursing, said organizer Jan Jacobson. 

Participants identify the integration of faith and health, share skills needed by nurses, develop a peer support system, and identify spiritual formation and shalom as part of health concerns.

For information, call 509-628-3724 or email or visit

Region sets MLK events

The Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center and the Spokane Ministers’ Fellowship are organizing several events for 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Spokane.

• The Second Annual Prayer Breakfast for the MLK Center will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 7, in the Hemmingson Center Grand Ballroom at Gonzaga University, 730 E. Desmet.

• A representative of NAACP Spokane, will be the speaker for the Remembrance Celebration at 4 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 15, at Morning Star Baptist Church, 3909 W. Rowan.

• The annual Rally, Unity March and Resource Fair will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Jan. 16, at the Spokane Convention Center, 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.  The Resource Fair is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with setup between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. at the Convention Center.  Reservations are being received by Sara Simpson, resource fair coordinator, at

On Jan. 16,  Washington State University students in Spokane will join in the march and rally, and they go to the MLK Family Outreach Center to join in a service project. In Pullman, students will join in service projects coordinated by the Center for Civic Engagement with information at 335-7708 or

The center will also offer “Love > Hate: Bystander Invervention Training” to teach skills to intervene and de-escalate situations of harassment, bullying or oppressive behaviors.  It will be held from 12:30 to 5 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 14, at the MLK Center. 

For information, call 455-8722.

The Latah County Human Rights Task Force is hosting a MLK Breakfast at Moscow Junior High, 1410 E. D St.

The 30th Annual MLK Community Celebration at 6 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 26, at the Washington State University-CUB in Pullman features keynote speaker activist Charlene Carruthers.

Coeur d’Alene fifth graders will have a program on Martin Luther King, Jr., at 9:30 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 12, at Lake City Community Church.  A program for Post Falls fifth graders will be there at 11:30 a.m.  For information, call 208-765-3932.

See more in the calendar.

Conferences will examine effects of Reformation

Immaculate Heart Retreat Center (IHRC) will host a 2017 Dinner Series on “Historical Connections: From the Effects of the Reformation and the Catholic Church in America, to the Middle Eastern Conflict and its Effects Today.”  

The dinner will be on “Historical Understandings: The Reformation and its Legacy” presented by Fr. Michael Maher, SJ, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the IHRC, 6910 S. Ben Burr Rd.

The Reformation continues to influence the church and society. Two conferences will examine relationships between Protestantism and Catholicism from the Reformation to the Industrial Revolution, to today.

Father Michael grew up in Milwaukee, Wis., and entered the Society of Jesus in 1975.  He taught junior high science to Native Americans in Pine Ridge, S.D., English at Sogong University in Korea, religion to boys in Omaha, and courses at Marquette University and Saint Louis University.

Fr. Michael, who has a doctoral degree from University of Minnesota in early modern European history and Chinese history, serves at the Jesuit Historical Institute, as associate professor of history at Gonzaga University and director of Catholic studies there.

IHRC also plans a Silent Day of Prayer from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 11, with Scott Cooper, director of parish social ministries with Catholic Charities Spokane, speaking on “Food for the Journey.”

For information, call 448-1224 or email

One church raises funds for another

New Hope Baptist Church is converting a former pool hall at Argonne and Boone into its new church facility, with plans to move in by May. It seeks $200,000 to be free and clear after sale of its building, purchase of the new location and renovations.

The Rev. Todd Eklof, pastor of the Unitarian Universalist Church at 4340 W. Ft. Wright Dr., who is preaching on the history and role of black churches in the country and Spokane on Sunday, Jan. 8, has invited the Rev. Happy Watkins, pastor of New Hope, to be present between the 9:15 and 11 a.m. services to meet with people.  Members of the Unitarian church will have an opportunity to give weekly and monthly pledges.

For information, call 535-1336.

Jewish Cultural Film Festival presents three films

 The 13th Annual Spokane Jewish Cultural Film Festival Jan. 19, 21 and 22 at the Hemmingson Center at Gonzaga University will offer people a glimpse of the reality of Jewish experience with three diverse films.

The opening night film at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 19, is “Once in a Lifetime.” It is based on the story of a history teacher at a French high school, Anne Gueguen.  She is determined to give the best education she can to her underprivileged inner-city pupils. Frustrated by their apathy but undaunted, she tests her multicultural classroom with a unique assignment: a national competition on child victims of Nazi concentration camps. The project is initially met with extreme resistance, until a face-to-face encounter with a Holocaust survivor changes the students’ attitudes dramatically.

“Transit” will be shown at 7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 21.  It explores stories of Filipinos in Tel Aviv under the threat of a law deporting children of migrant workers. Janet, a do

domestic worker on an expired visa, struggles to hide her half-Israeli daughter, Yael, a rebellious teenager. Most endangered in the situation is Janet’s four-year-old nephew, whom they watch because his father works out of town. “Transit” examines what it means to be a family and what it means to be a stranger in one’s home and in a foreign land.

“The Kind Words,” shown at 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 22, is a comedy-drama that follows three Jewish Israeli siblings, Dorona and brothers Netanel and Shai. After their mother’s death, they discover a long-hidden truth about who their parents really were. The revelation sends them on a road trip from Israel across France filled with unpredictable adventures and encounters. Writer-director Shemi Zarhin explores an unraveling family secret and their bittersweet journey of self-discovery.

Since the mid-2000s, the Spokane Jewish Cultural Film Festival has brought international films to Spokane that share Jewish life and culture with the community.

For information, call 747-7394 or email

Women’s March on Spokane coincides with national march in D.C.

In conjunction with the Women’s March on Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Jan. 21, there will be a Women’s March on Spokane from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day at the Spokane Convention Center, 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

Many U.S. cities are participating in this national event, said Angie Beam who has set up a Facebook event locally.

The Women’s March on Washington is a national movement for women, men and children who stand for human rights, civil liberties, diversity and compassion for humanity.

In addition to activities in the Convention Center, there will be a march of a few blocks.

“This is where the region east of the Cascades through North Idaho can organize,” she said.

The national event is an opportunity for people “to stand in solidarity for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health and our families, recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country,” said organizers.

It is for people of all genders, ethnicities, ages, abilities, religions and sexual orientations to gather.

Building on the legacy of the 1963 March on Washington, organizers invite people to hold discussions on race, because “it has consistently played a huge role in the fight for gender equality. 

By promoting interconnections within the movement, organizers hope to elevate understanding for all marginalized groups, as they are most affected by the Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, classism, racism, and sexism that has plagued our country in 2016.

This continues work of marginalized groups over decades with the hope it will be a catalyst for more people to be more involved.

There will be the resources to help people connect with one another, and work towards equity and social justice.

For information, visit and click on the button for information on the Spokane march.

Classes address end-of-life issues

A six-week series on “Next Steps in Life’s Journey” will be presented beginning in January at the South Hill Library, 3324 S. Perry St.

Starting from 6 to 7:15 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 17, the class will continue for the next five Monday evenings. 

The course, designed and presented by Jon Louis and Cynthia Cilyo, addresses end-of-life issues.  It covers issues “we need to know, but don’t want to talk about.” It presents issues ranging from nominating a spokesperson in case a health condition requires assistance, to what happens at the time of an individual’s passing. 

The need for an advanced directive will be explained, as will challenges for facing the tough decisions dealing with dementia and related illnesses.

For information, call 309-4662 or email