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October 2015 News Reports

Fig Tree sets legislative conference, benefits

Plans are underway for The Fig Tree’s educational event, the Eastern Washington Legislative Conference on Saturday, Jan. 30, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, and the annual Benefit Lunch on Friday, March 11, and Benefit Breakfast on Wednesday, March 16, both at Gonzaga University’s Cataldo Hall.

People interested in assisting with planning may be part of organizing and arrangements for these events, said Mary Stamp, editor. 

“We are still in the process on both events of establishing the themes and recruiting speakers,” she said.

The legislative conference is planned each year in conjunction with the Faith Action Network of Washington,Catholic Charities of Spokane and the Washington State Catholic Conference

For 2016, the breakfast for the first time will be the week after the lunch.  Both events have previously been held during Gonzaga University’s spring break, meaning that few from the Gonzaga community have been in town to participate.

“We hope this will be an opportunity for more members of the Gonzaga community, as our hosts, to become better acquainted with The Fig Tree,” Mary added.

“We welcome volunteers who would like to help with these events to attend planning meetings and assist at the events,” she said.

For information, call 535-1813 or 216-6090, or email


Symposium features Sr. Simone Campbell

The Common Ministry at Washington State University is hosting the 35th Roger Williams Symposium, featuring Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK in Washington, D.C., speaking Sunday and Monday, Oct. 4 and 5 in Pullman.

Sr. Simone, the organizer of the Nuns on the Bus Campaign, will give a lecture on “Working for a Just Society in Today’s World” at 6 p.m., Sunday, at the View Room in Gladish Community Center, 115 NW State St.

She will lead a workshop on “Working for a Just Society: Taking Action” at 9 a.m., Monday, at St. James Episcopal Church, 1410 NE Stadium Way.

For information, call 332-2611, email or visit

Valley Christian School plans community service

Pre-K through 12th grade students at Valley Christian will participate in the second annual, “Panther Project,” an all-day community service project/fundraiser on Thursday, Oct. 2

More than 375 people including students, staff, parents and friends of VCS will serve at various locations for a one-day mission trip in the community.

They are serving at organizations including Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation, GraceSon Housing Foundation, Family Promise, the Centennial Trail, Mirabeau Natural Area, Valley Mission Park, CenterPlace, Edge Cliff Community Garden, SCRAPS, Appleway Trailway and other locations.

There will be 24 crews of eight to 20 people knocking down weeds, picking up trash, sorting clothes, raking, landscaping, painting, organizing cleaning and more.

For information, call 924-9131 or email

Refugee Connections plans fund raiser

Refugee Connections Spokane’s fund-raiser, “Sharing Our World,” from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 24 in the Community Building, 35 W. Main Ave will feature live and silent auctions, a piano performance, and a photography exhibit of community refugees and immigrants by a local artist. 

Stephanie Zimmerman, coordinator of the nonprofit organization that helps refugees assimilate and thrive, said that about 30,000 refugees live in the city.

Refugee Connections also helps refugees navigate in the community, including volunteering and connecting with other refugees.. 

The area’s refugees include children to elders who fled from Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo, Burma, Nepal, Russia, Ukraine and other countries.

Its newest program is the Refugees’ Harvest Project, in which 50 refugees harvest donated produce and distribute it free at the East Central Community Center.

Other programs are: the Elder Outreach Project, connecting elders to one another and to services; the Patient Passport Project, helping refugees document their medical history, and the American Law and Justice Workshop, helping them understand the U.S. criminal justice system, and their rights and responsibilities.

For information, call 209-2384 or email

Faith Action Network sets forum on taxes

The Faith Action Network is presenting a forum, “What Kind of State Do You Want to Live In?” at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 28, at Salem Lutheran Church, 1428 W. Broadway.

The event, which will feature State Representative Timm Ormsby, vice chair of the Appropriations Committee from Spokane, facilitates conversation and mobilization on the State of Washington’s regressive tax system.

“FAN and its predecessor organizations have been long-time advocates to reform Washington’s broken and regressive tax structure, which is the nation’s worst, so that the many needs of the state may be more fairly funded,” said Paul Benz, co-director.

In light of that, and stemming from FAN’s interfaith leaders’ conversations and its Governing Board vote to oppose Initiative 1366, Tim Eyman’s November ballot initiative requiring a two-thirds vote for any tax increase, FAN is also sponsoring a forum with Rep. Reuven Carlyle in Bellevue.

Each forum will have a local religious leaders’ panel to respond, and small group conversations will be the basis for mobilization toward next steps, said Paul.

For information, email or visit

Flannery Lecture is Nov. 9

Sr. Ilia Delio, OSF, will give the 2015 Flannery Lecture on “Evolution and the Power of Love: Towards a Holistic Consciousness” at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 9, at Cataldo Hall at Gonzaga University.

She is a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Washington D.C. and holds the Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair in Theology at Villanova University.

Sr. Ilia has a doctorate in pharmacology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and a doctorate in historical theology from Fordham University.  She has written on Franciscan theology and spirituality.  She is engaged in the religion and science dialogue.

The Flannery Chair of Roman Catholic Theology is an endowed gift of the late Maud and Milo Flannery of Spokane, to further excellence of theological study and teaching at Gonzaga University. The lecture is delivered twice a year by an outstanding theologian who is invited to campus especially for the lecture.

For information, call 313-6782 or visit

PJALS celebrates 40 years of education and action

The Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane (PJALS) will begin its celebration of 40 years of serving in the community and region at a gathering from 7 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 15, at the Magic Lantern Theatre, 25 W. Main.

They will explore nonviolence as a strategy for change by showing and discussing the film, “A Force More Powerful.”  There will be displays representing PJALS’ work over the four decades.

For information, call 838-7870.

LDS stake offers Family Search geneology training

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is offering the annual community family history event, “Building a Legacy,” from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 17 at the Spokane East Stake building at 13608 E. Belle Terre Ave.

Participants learn how to use an online program called, through which with a few names of deceased ancestors, dates and locations they can find out their connection to generations past, said Mindy Wright, Spokane East Stake media specialist.  Trained genealogists will be on hand to provide one-on-one assistance for beginners to experienced researchers.

For information, call 893-2587.

Conference for the Greater Good is Oct. 22

The Inland Northwest Conference for the Greater Good will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 22, at the Spokane Convention Center, 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.

The event is to strengthen, connect and inspire individuals and nonprofits through 15 workshops led by local, regional and state leaders. Workshops will address social media, leadership, advocacy, communication, risk and more

“Nonprofits are vital to strong communities,” said Alison McCaffree, executive director of Washington Nonprofits. “They provide leadership to deliver human services, amplify our voices in advocacy, protect our environment, and enrich our world through the arts.”

Started in 2011 as the Inland Northwest Nonprofit Conference, the event gathers nonprofit leaders, staff and volunteers from Eastern Washington.

For information, call 855-299-2922, email or visit

Three NW-ARM media literacy and awareness events set in October

First, the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media (NW-ARM) is partnering  with Gonzaga’s Women’s and Gender Studies, Eastern Washington University’s Women’s Studies Center, The Shrinking Violets, Spokane’s NOW chapter, Planned Parenthood and the Spokane Feminist Forum to co-sponsor showing “The Mask You Live In” at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 21, at Gonzaga’s Jundt Auditorium.

“The Mask You Live In,” filmed by the Representation Project, looks at modern masculinity, repressed emotions and gender stereotypes reinforced by culture, sports and media.  It explores how the definition of masculinity harms men, boys and society.

Last year, the NW-ARM and others presented Jennifer Siebel Newson’s documentary, “Miss Representation,” looking at the unbalanced media depiction of women and girls in U.S. media, making it hard for them to find appropriate role models. 

The Representation Project uses film as a catalyst for cultural transformation to challenge limiting stereotypes based on gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation or circumstance.

Second, the NW Alliance for Responsible Media is offering a community media literacy and awareness salon to discuss the impact of media coverage. 

The first salon will be held at 5:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 30, at the Community Building Lobby, 35 W. Main. NW-ARM and PJALS are co-sponsors.

Jim McPherson, chair of the Communication Department at Whitworth, and Mary Stamp, The Fig Tree editor, both on the NW-ARM Board, will facilitate a discussion on “The Media Circus on Campaign Coverage: Is There Room for Democracy?”

The salon is designed as a gathering for people to increase knowledge through conversation, so it is facilitating a community discussion rather than having a formal panel.

Third, Carolyn Cunningham, Gonzaga assistant professor of communication and leadership studies, will give a presentation on the relationship of women and video games  for the International Day of the Girl, at 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 12, at Wolff Auditorium at Gonzaga University’s Jepson Hall.  She will speak on “Shooting Pink: What We Know (and need to know) About Girls and Video Games.”

For information, call 313-3578.


Eastern Washington University (EWU), Gonzaga University (GU), Spokane Community College (SCC), Spokane Falls Community College (SFCC), Washington State University (WSU), Whitworth University (WU)