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February 2018 News Reports


Conference, directory, grant news reported

About 165 attended the Jan. 27 Eastern Washington Legislative Conference, sponsored by The Fig Tree with Catholic Charities of Spokane, the Faith Action Network, the United Methodist District, NAACP Spokane, Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia and other partners.

There will be video of the panel and some of the workshop online through thefigtree.org.

Resource Directory advertisers are confirming their support of the 2018-19 annual directory and The Fig Tree is beginning to recruit support through the Community Partners Program, which last year drew $11,800 in underwriting.

This year, The Fig Tree will publish 16,000 copies, because the increase of 1,500 from 2016 to 14,500 in 2017 was not enough to meet the growing demand.

 Advent Lutheran Church in Spokane Valley has granted The Fig Tree $1,000 from its Endowment Fund that supports local and synod ministries.

The funds support strengthening The Fig Tree’s capacity, constituency, staff, volunteers, interns, website and Resource Directory as a tool for service providers and people in need. 

Other grants of the nearly $13,500 dispersed went to modernize synod communication, quilt batting, the pastor’s discretionary fund, campus ministry and seminary education.

Some helped fund projects of local churches like foster children gifts, summer concerts, a clothes closet and food pantry, a Latino ministry, a neighborhood youth program, a community dinner, a child center, Sunday school supplies and an ecumenical food program.

For information, call 928-7733.


African-American historian speaks at Whitworth

Dwayne Mack, author, historian and professor, will present Whitworth University’s African-American History Month Lecture at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 15, in Weyerhaeuser Hall.

“Black Women in Spokane: Emerging from the Shadows of Jim and Jane Crow” is the focus of his lecture.

Dwayne, chair of African-American history at Berea College, is the author of Black Spokane: The Civil Rights Struggle in the Inland Northwest.

He earned a bachelor’s in history from Methodist University, a master’s in American history from North Carolina Central University and a doctorate in American history from Washington State University. His research focuses on the Black West, the civil rights movement, policing in America, and equity, inclusion and diversity in academia.

In this lecture, Dwayne will focus on African-American women in the Inland Northwest’s largest city and explore the intersections of racism and sexism in the city during the 20th century.

He is also the co-editor of Violence Against Black Bodies: An Intersectional Analysis of How Black Lives Continue to Matter and Law Enforcement in the Age of Black Lives Matter: Policing Black and Brown Bodies.

For information, call 777-4215 or email anitalewis@whitworth.edu.


Video conference on values set at St. John’s

“Values in Action,” a conference presented by Trinity Institute in New York City, will be streamed from 7 to 9 p.m., Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 2 to 3, at St. John’s Cathedral, 127 E. 12th Ave. in Spokane.

It includes content of a conference at Trinity Church in New York, local discussion groups and interfaith worship.

It features activists, theologians, authors and experts on how to integrate core values into strategic and effective action, said Canon Kristi Philip of the cathedral. 

Keynote speakers include the Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church; Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,  Pádraig O’ Tuama, poet theologian and mediator; the Rev. Elizabeth Edman, Episcopal priest and author of Queer Virtue: What LBGTQ People Know about Life and Love and How it can Revitalize Christianity, and Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker.

Organizers invite interfaith participation in Spokane.  Local co-sponsors are the NAACP, Spokane Churches Against Racism, The Episcopal Diocese of Spokane, St. John’s Cathedral and Morning Star Missionary Baptist.

For information, call 838-4277 or email kristip@spokanediocese.org.


ALTCEW offers seniors balance classes

Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington (ALTCEW) will offer a new round of classes to train volunteer coaches to teach groups of eight to 12 seniors in “A Matter of Balance,” a national evidence-based program to reduce fear of falling and increase activity levels of older adults.

More volunteer coaches are needed, said Mark Haberman of ALTCEW.

Spokane County rates of falling are greater than the state rate and result in a high rate of hospitalization and Emergency Medical Services calls by the City of Spokane Fire Department EMS, he said.

“The average cost in the United States of falls in older adults is more than $30,000,” Mark pointed out.

After taking “A Matter of Balance,” developed at Boston University, 97 percent of participants reporting they have less fear, increased activity and will recommend the program to others.

ALTCEW has offered “A Matter of Balance” in Spokane County for two and a half years. Volunteer coaches agree to lead two classes within the next year.

Mark said coaches need good communication and interpersonal skills, enthusiasm, dependability and a willingness to lead small groups of older adults. They need to be able to lead low- to moderate-level exercise. ALTCEW staff train and support volunteer coaches.

The next training is from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, March 3, at ALTCEW, 1222 N. Post.

For information, call 458-2509, ext. 211, or email mark.haberman@dshs.wa.gov.


Peace and Justice Conference is Feb. 23-24

The ninth annual Peace & Justice Action Conference will focus on the theme, “Building Beyond the Moment,” Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane, 4340 W. Fort Wright Dr.

Eric Ward, a long-time civil rights strategist and director at Western States Center, will speak on “How Racial and Economic Inequality Fuel White Nationalism in America.”

An opening reception from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday includes food and performances.

The conference from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, includes three workshop sessions, a keynote address and opportunities to connect, said Liz Moore, co-director of the Peace and Justice Action League (PJALS), which is organizing the event.

Eric worked in community, regional and national organizing and philanthropy.  From 2011 to 2017, he was a Ford Foundation officer for gender, racial and ethnic justice and an executive for The Atlantic Philanthropies U.S. Reconciliation and Human Rights Program. He began his civil rights career when the white nationalist movement was engaged in violent paramilitary activity that sought to undermine democratic government. 

As an organizer with Community Alliance of Lane County, field director of the Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment and national field director of the Center for New Community, Eric designed campaigns to expose and counter hate groups and their violence. He is one of a few leaders of color working to counter organized hate.

Topics for workshops include advocacy for U.S. Muslims, nuclear weapons and social justice, how-tos for campaigns, anti-racism for white people, local housing justice, strengthening relationships, rights of activists, supporting refugees, the Poor People’s Campaign, digital organizing, analysis and tools for change, state’s upside-down tax code, the power of stories, beyond allyship, federal budget realities, restorative justice, resistance to fascism, building networks, and facilitating peer support for trauma.

For information, call 838-7870 or visit pjals.org/2018conference.


Buddhist nuns training at Sravasti Abbey

Fifty Buddhist nuns from nine European, Asian, South and North American countries are gathered Jan. 22 to Feb. 8 at Sravasti Abbey near Newport for “Living Vinaya in the West,” an historic, 16-day training program.

Coming from three Buddhist traditions—Chinese Mahayana, Tibetan and Theravada—they are exploring guidelines the Buddha set for nuns, establishing  monastic communities and the role of individuals in monastic life.

The Abbey, a Buddhist monastery, is hosting Master Venerable Wu Yin, founder and abbess of Luminary International Buddhist Society (LIBS) in Taiwan, and six nuns to teach in Mandarin with English translation.

The course is likely the first such training in the U.S. for Western nuns, said Thubten Chonyi of the Abbey. Previously, Western nuns went to Asia for Vinaya training in a foreign language.

Ven. Wu Yin has been a bhikshuni—ordained Buddhist nun—for nearly 60 years. LIBS offers study programs, translation and publishing. For the study, Sravasti Abbey and LIBS are creating resources in English to root the Buddha’s teachings—the Dharma—in the West.

Buddhist monasteries are needed for Buddhist teachings to thrive. Sravasti Abbey was founded to do that, Thubten Chonyi said.

In 2012, Pew Charitable Trust said 1.2 million Buddhists live in the U.S. Chinese immigrants founded the first Buddhist temple in 1853. Now most U.S. Buddhists are European-American.

Centers and temples serve Buddhist practitioners of many ethnic backgrounds, but there are few Buddhist monasteries. Sravasti Abbey is the first U.S. Tibetan Buddhist monastery for Western nuns and monks, she said.

Ven. Wu Yin and LIBS support Sravasti Abbey through work with Thubten Chodron, founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey, and a Buddhist nun for 40 years. A teacher, author and direct student of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, she began the Abbey in 2003.

She first met Ven. Wu Yin in 1995 in Taiwan, requesting teachings for a Western Buddhist Nun education program in Bodh, India. The two published the course as “Choosing Simplicity,” and plan to compile teachings of this gathering for publication.

For information, call 509-447-5549 or email chonyi.sravasti@gmail.com.


Northwest Buddhist Convention to draw 300 to Spokane

The 71st Northwest Buddhist Convention, sponsored by the Spokane Buddhist Temple, will be held from 5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 16 to noon, Sunday, Feb. 18, at the Hotel RL Spokane at the Park, 303 W. North River Dr.

The three-day convention, expected to draw 300 from the Northwest and Canada, features the Rev. Henry Adams of San Mateo Buddhist Temple, who discovered Buddhism on a 1995 high school exchange in India.

Opening and closing Buddhist services will be officiated by the Rev. Kodo Umezu, Bishop of the Buddhist Churches of America.

There will be 12 workshops in English and Japanese, a bookstore, gift shop and banquet.

The Convention includes a shorter “Intro to Buddhism Program” for people wanting to learn about Buddhism. 

Henry studied Buddhist scriptures at St. Olaf College in Minnesota and earned a master’s in Buddhist studies at the University of Michigan in 2003. He worked in Miyazaki, Japan, from 2004 to 2007, completed ministerial studies at the Chuo Bukkyo Gakuin Buddhist Seminary in 2010 and serves Buddhist Churches of America. 

Kodo, who grew up in Fukuoka, Japan, earned a bachelor’s in 1973, served the Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple until 1976, when he earned a master’s.  He was in the U.S. Navy from 1976 to 1980. He then served a Buddhist church in Oakland until 2005, He served from then until 2012, when he became bishop, at the Center for Buddhist Education in Berkeley.  .

For information, call 270-5308 or email quilt4mari@yahoo.com.

 


Youth are focus of Yakima Advocacy Day

“How are the Children? Advocating for Youth and Families” is the theme for the 2018 Yakima Advocacy Day, which will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10, at Central Lutheran Church, 1604 W. Yakima Ave.

Breakout and report-back sessions are set on various topics, with the focus on youth including, youth and immigration, youth homelessness, issues facing LGBTQ youth and indigenous youth, and community violence. 

“Speakers will provide a framework on resilience and hope in advocacy,” said the Rev. David Hacker of Christ Church in Zillah.

The event is sponsored by the Yakima Association of Churches and Faith Communities and the Faith Action Network of Washington.

For information, call 509-961-4692, email davidhacker916@gmail.com or visit fanwa.org.


‘Coming Home’ play explores vets experiences at GU

“Coming Home: A Soldiers’ Project” by Kathleen Jeffs and directed by Charles Pepiton is a new theatrical production exploring what it is like to return from war to study at Gonzaga. 

“It is the story of transitions and perceptions: from base to basketball, from service to civilian,” said Kathleen, who is chair of Gonzaga’s theatre and dance department.  “The play is about how veterans’ senses process new sights and sounds of the university environment.  Small moves make big waves. Connections are made and unmade.  Our construction of the meaning of events, past and present, is made in transitions.”

“Everyone knows someone who has been to war and sees the world differently than someone who has not, but how does this work at Gonzaga?” Kathleen asks. “What is it like to sit in a class next to a veteran, or for veterans to sit next to a student who has no idea about the people and places they encountered? What are perception gaps between those who have and haven’t served?”

Students in her fall 2016 play-writing class helped do research for writing the play, which is based on 10 years of interviews with veterans by the Oral History of Homecoming Project, a group of Gonzaga faculty and staff.  Students, veterans, and student-veterans helped create the play.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Friday to Saturday, Feb. 2 and 3, Thursday to Saturday, Feb. 8 to 10, and at 2 p.m., Sundays, Feb. 4 and 11, in Gonzaga’s Magnuson Theatre at 502 East Boone Ave.

For information, call 313-6553.


Civil rights organizer is keynoter for event

The ninth annual Peace & Justice Action Conference will focus on the theme, “Building Beyond the Moment,” Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane, 4340 W. Fort Wright Dr.

Eric Ward, a long-time civil rights strategist and director at Western States Center, will give a keynote address.

There will be an opening reception from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday with food and performances.
From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, will be the Action Conference with three workshop sessions, a keynote address and opportunities to connect with like-minded folks who are putting their values into action, said Liz Moore, co-director of the Peace and Justice Action League (PJALS), which is organizing the event.

Eric has worked in community, regional and national organizing and philanthropy.  From 2011 to 2017, he was a Ford Foundation program officer for gender, racial and ethnic justice and a program executive for The Atlantic Philanthropies U.S. Reconciliation and Human Rights Program.

He began his civil rights career when white nationalists were engaged in violent paramilitary activity that sought to undermine democratic government. 

As an organizer with Community Alliance of Lane County, field director of the Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment and a national field director of the Center for New Community, Eric designed campaigns to expose and counter hate groups and their violence. He was one of a few leaders of color working to counter organized hate.

For information, call 838-7870 or visit pjals.org/2018conference.


‘Faith over Fear’ Tour seeks sponsors in Eastern Washington

Lutheran pastor Terry Kyllo and Faith Action Network board colleague Aneelah Afzali seek sponsors and hosts to bring their anti-Islamophobia workshop, “Faith over Fear: Standing with Our Muslim Neighbors Roadshow,” to Yakima, Tri-Cities, Walla Walla, Pullman, Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, Moses Lake, Ellensburg and Wenatchee in March.

 “Each year the Islamophobia industry spends more than $30 million dollars to make people afraid of Islam and American Muslims,” said Terry, “turning people against each other toward a divided, fearful future.

“We don’t have to live in that future. Together we can build a future based on our shared values and vision for America,” he said.

He seeks faith leaders from all churches, mosques, synagogues and temples, as well as civic, education and community leaders, to join in learning about the threat the Islamophobia industry poses to the nation and civil liberties, and what communities of faith together can do about it.

Aneelah, a Muslim woman who wears a hijab and has a Harvard law degree, is the founder and executive director of the American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN), an initiative of the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS). 

Terry is director of Neighbors in Faith, an interfaith effort to recognize Muslims as neighbors and partners in building a more peaceful world, authorized by the Episcopal and Lutheran churches in western Washington.

Their event includes time for questions and interaction with faith, political and education leaders in the communities. 

For information, call 360-770-2774, email terry@neighborsinfaith.org or visit neighborsinfaith.org.

 


 

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