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February 2016 News Reports

Environmental justice retreat planned at camp

N-Sid-Sen Camp and Retreat Center on Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho will host an Environmental Justice Workshop Wednesday to Friday, March 9 to 11 to train participants to teach classes in their own congregations.

The train-the-trainer program will look at how people of faith can work for environmental justice and help create a sustainable, healthy and inclusive community.

It will explore these questions to empower conversations and actions around environmental justice beyond the workshop, said Meighan Pritchard, environmental justice curriculum trainer for the national United Church of Christ (UCC).  She is also half-time pastor at Prospect UCC in Seattle.  For two years, she was minister of environmental justice for the national UCC.

Participants explore a faith-based approach to environmental justice: gratitude, humility, responsibility, justice and community. Each theme includes biblical readings, selections from the video, “Renewal,” insights from respected leaders and study questions.

“We will look at water management practices in urban and rural settings with Janet Torline of the Kootenai Environmental Alliance in Coeur d’Alene,” said Meighan.

The session will also address working through environmental despair to build communities based on hope, developing strategies and activities for participants’ communities, and creating plans for participants to lead workshops.

“Renewal” includes stories of Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities of faith responding to environmental issues in their communities,” she said.

For information, call 208-689-3489 or visit n-sid-sen.

This workshop is co-sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ and UCC Justice and Witness Ministries.


Fig Tree focuses on benefits, directory updates

Uplifting The Fig Tree’s commitment to communicate among the diverse people of the region, the theme speakers will address at the 2016 Benefit Lunch and Benefit Breakfast will be “Reflecting Diversity.”

The Benefit Lunch buffet will open at 11:30 a.m., Friday, March 11, with the program from noon to 1 p.m.

The Benefit Breakfast buffet will begin at 7 a.m., Wednesday March 16 with the program from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.

Usually the breakfast has been the same week (before) the lunch, but this year organizers decided to hold it the following week, which is after the Gonzaga University spring break, so people from the Gonzaga community can participate.

“We have nearly 30 table hosts for each event, but still could use a few more,” said Fig Tree editor Mary Stamp.

The Fig Tree has been raising nearly $30,000 through the two events, with a goal of $50,000 to cover capacity building costs.

Invitations are being mailed Wednesday, Feb. 2.  That mailing will include forms for congregations and some of the community agencies in the region to update their listings for the 2016-17 annual Resource Directory.

It is also possible for those listed in the directory to email updates to

 To host a table or RSVP for the benefits, call 535-1813 or 535-4112, or email


PJALS organizes peace, justice conference

The Peace and Economic Justice Action Conference will be Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26 and 27, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4340 W. Ft. Wright Dr.

The feature will be a panel discussion from 1 to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, on “40 Years of Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane (PJALS) Leadership.”

There will be three education-action workshop sessions with a choice of seven workshops.

Workshops in the first session will be on housing justice, nonviolent communication, dismantling white supremacy, postwar pedagogy, criminal justice reform, heroes’ narrative, military recruitment and challenging oppressive statements. 

The second session topics are a new local economy, beloved community, reproductive justice, love and outrage, criminal justice system, indigenous communities and solidarity with Muslims.

Workshops in the third session are on food justice, reconciliation through arts, naming racism, breaking the school to prison pipeline, fund raising, government transparency and police accountability.

For information, call 838-7879 or visit


Winter Waters event honors Bishop Skylstad

“Advancing Ethics for Rivers” is the theme for Winter Waters 2016 at 5:30 p.m., Friday, March 4, at the Patsy Clark Mansion, 2208 W. 2nd Ave.

The event will honor Bishop William Skylstad as a “watershed hero” for his leadership in advancing ethical decision making for rivers and his role with the Northwest Catholic Bishops in developing the 2001 pastoral letter, “The Columbia River Watershed: Caring for Creation and the Common Good.”

The letter urges responsibility for and awareness of environmental problems in the watershed. It challenges political and economic divisions related to salmon recovery and dam management.

“The letter serves as a basis for our work on the Ethics and Columbia River Treaty Project that uses the Columbia River,” said John Osborn, of the Upper Columbia River Group of the Sierra Club.  “It also has helped advance efforts in Canada and the U.S. to modernize the Columbia River Treaty based on stewardship and justice.”

The event raises funds for advocacy by the Sierra Club chapter and the Center for Environmental Law and Policy.

For information, call 939-1290 or email


St. Mark’s offers Jazz Mass Feb. 9

The Rev. Mindy Smith, campus minister at Whitworth University, will be the preacher for the 2016 Jazz Mass at 7 p.m., Shrove Tuesday, Feb. 9 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 316 E. 24th.

Dan Keberle, professor at Whitworth University’s Music Department and director of the Whitworth Jazz Ensemble, will lead the Jazz Orchestra and St. Mark’s Choir.

The tradition of Shrove Tuesday is to feast on fat things before the lean weeks of Lent, said Eric Dull, pastor at St. Mark’s.

For information, call 747-6677 or email


Film festival at Whitworth features three films

The eighth annual Leonard A. Oakland Film Festival will feature Whitworth alumni filmmakers, an international film and an evening on faith and film led by Matthew Rindge, professor of religious studies at Gonzaga University.

The showings at 7 p.m., Saturday to Monday, Feb. 20 to 22, will be in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth University.

Alumni Ryan Graves, 2011, and Kelly McCrillis, 2009, will show their feature-length film, “Emily,” on Saturday.

The film is about daily struggles of a young married couple in Portland, Ore.: career anxieties, finding time for friends and being there for family. When Nathan suffers a faith crisis, their marriage collapses. He struggles to find himself and remain the husband Emily married. Meanwhile, her faith is challenged as she questions what it means to stay true to her husband.

The Sunday film, “Ida,” is about Anna, a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland.  She is on the verge of taking her vows when she discovers a family secret from the Nazi occupation.

Matthew will speak on Monday on his book, Profane Parables: Film and the American Dream  and will introduce the film, “Fight Club,” which is about an insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life.  He crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club.

For information, call 777-4401 or email


KSPS honors Carl Maxey with two events

KSPS Public Television is honoring the life and legacy of Carl Maxey with two events, a panel discussion and the premiere of the film, “Carl Maxey: A Fighting Life,” based on the book by Jim Kershner.

Orphaned at five, Maxey made a national name for himself, first as an NCAA championship boxer at Gonzaga University, then as Eastern Washington’s first prominent black lawyer and a renowned civil rights attorney who always fought for the underdog.

The premiere screening is from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 18, at the Bing Crosby Theater, 901 W. Sprague.

The panel discussion on “Civil Rights in Washington: The Post-Maxey Era Public Forum,” moderated by Jim Kershner, will be at 10 a.m. that day at the Gonzaga Law School’s Court Room.

Panelists are Emily Chiang, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington from the Harvard Law School; Raymond Reyes, associate academic vice-president and chief diversity officer at Gonzaga University; Jason Gilmer, associate dean for faculty research and development, and professor of law at the Gonzaga School of Law, and Dwayne Mack, associate professor of history at Berea College.

For information, visit


African American history lecture set

Dwight Hopkins will give an African American History Month Lecture on “What Is a Christian Black Theology of Liberation?” at 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 8, in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth University.

Dwight, professor of theology at University of Chicago Divinity School and term professor at the University of South Africa, will link the rise of black liberation theology to the Bible, and to Jesus, justice and race.

For information, call 777-4215 or email


Lecture on Christian humanism planned

Gregory Wolfe, founder and editor of Image Journal and advocate of Christian humanism, will give a lecture at 7 p.m.,Tuesday, Feb. 10, in the Lied Center for the Visual Arts at Whitworth University.  He is writer-in-residence at Seattle Pacific University. His books include Beauty Will Save the World: Recovering the Human in an Ideological Age and Intruding Upon the Timeless: Meditations on Art, Faith, and Mystery. 

For information, call 777-3252 or email


‘The Inconsolable Voter’ is theme for lecture

Anita Perez Ferguson, an educator in program management and the development of leadership and advocacy skills, will present a lecture on “The Inconsolable Voter,” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 16, in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth.

She was a visiting fellow for the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and a specialist for the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Information Programs. She co-wrote Women Seen and Heard.

For information, call 777-4371 or email


Journalist discusses books on Palestinian issues

Ramzy Baroud, a Palestinian-American journalist, author and syndicated columnist, will speak on his books at 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 19, at Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main.  One is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story. His latest is The Second Palestinian Intifada.  Ramzy earned a doctorate of philosophy in Palestine studies from the European Center for Palestinian Studies at the University of Exeter in Southwest England.  He will discuss the plight of Palestine and its decades of occupation. 

For information, call 891-8545.


Second Harvest’s Kitchen offers cooking nights

Free Community Cooking Nights will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesdays in February and March at The Kitchen at Second Harvest, 1234 E. Front.  Classes will cover scratch cooking skills and apply those skills to simple, healthful and cost-effective meals.  Recipes are based on what is available through county food banks. 

For information, call 252-6246 or email


Concert will raise funds for nursing student

The Spokane Ministers’ Fellowship is presenting a musical concert at 4 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 21, at Holy Temple Church of God in Christ, 806 W. Indiana.
The concert will raise funds so Bryn Martin-Williams of Spokane can complete studies in nursing at Seattle University’s College of Nursing.  Bryn graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in public health with a minor in Spanish to help her serve diverse patient populations.
Her work at a Starbucks in Seattle Children’s Hospital led to a Certified Nursing Assistant position, intensifying her belief that nursing is her calling.
Happy Watkins, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church; Ezra Kinlow, pastor at Holy Temple Church of God in Christ, and Ivan Bush, retired educator, are organizing the concert.

For information, call 534-9071 or email