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June, July, August 2015 News Reports

Institute addresses ‘Engaging Culture’

The 2015 Whitworth Institute of Ministry will feature author Walter Brueggemann, musician Andy Crouch and professor Anne Zaki to its 40th conference, July 20 to 24 at Whitworth University.

These guests and other speakers will focus on the theme “Pursuing the Common Good: Engaging Culture with the Gospel,” and will offer participants four days of fellowship, worship and scriptural teaching.

Worship services at 7 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the university’s Seeley Mudd Chapel are open to the public.

Walter, an influential interpreter of Scripture, is the author of more than 100 books, including The Prophetic Imagination and Message of the Psalms. He is currently the William Marcellus McPheeters professor emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary.

Andy is the award-winning author of Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling. He serves on the governing boards of Fuller Theological Seminary and Equitas Group, a philanthropic organization that is focused on ending child exploitation in Haiti and Southeast Asia. He is also a classically trained musician who draws on pop, folk, rock, jazz and gospel influences.

Anne teaches at the Evangelical Theological Seminary, in Cairo, Egypt, and serves the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship in the area of global initiatives. She is preparing for ordination in the Presbyterian Church of Egypt. She will be the first woman ordained as a minister in North Africa and the Middle East.

During this year’s institute, Whitworth associate professor of music and director of church music studies Benjamin Brody will lead a workshop on “Songs for Spiritual Formation: Four Living Hymn Writers Whose Work Every Pastor Should Know.”

Lecturer of practical theology Kent McDonald will lead two workshops, “Postmodernity: 10 Experiential Truth Rules” and “Spiritual Formation of the Digital Age.”

Whitworth’s retiring Bruner-Welch Professor Emeritus of Theology, James Edwards, will lead a workshop on “Professor Ernst Lohmeyer as a Model of Ministry.”

For information, call 777-3794 or visit

Fig Tree counts on local congregations

The Fig Tree counts on its partnership with local congregations and judicatories of the denominations, to contribute to its success. They help further its mission to bring stories of people offering hope to the area and beyond.

Every month, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church provides space for the paper’s volunteers to put out mailings and pick up copies of the current issue for delivery. St. Mark’s also advertises its events in The Fig Tree. In 2014 and 2015, the church provided space for hosting the Eastern Washington Legislative Conference, which St. John’s Cathedral has also done.

Veradale United Church of Christ in Spokane Valley has assisted with printing color Fig Tree brochures to help spread the word about The Fig Tree and how individuals can be involved.

The Inland District of the United Methodist Church helped to underwrite the Eastern Washington Legislative Conference in January 2015.

The Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America printed the materials for the recent Benefit Breakfast and Benefit Lunch.

Many congregations put The Fig Tree in the hands of their members and friends, widening its reach.

Those who work on The Fig Tree and believe communication is key to possibility are grateful to congregations and judicatories who support this mission.

For information, call 535-1813 or visit

Directory underwriting is approaching goal

Ad sales for the 2015-16 Resource Directory: Guide to Congregations and Community Resources continue through June 15—with the goal of raising $28,000 in underwriting support.

Malcolm Haworth, directory editor, will receive updates on congregations and agencies through June 15.

Volunteers are needed to help with research and editing.

The directory will be published in July and distributed in August and September.

Meanwhile, The Fig Tree continues its pledge drive, seeking to reach a basic goal of $30,000 to cover publication, media training, internships, writing, editing, mailing and other projects.

“A team is nurturing major giving, constituency building, directory underwriting and the ongoing pledge drive,” said Mary Stamp, The Fig Tree editor.

For information, call 535-1813.

Ganesh Himal raises ‘fair aid’ for partners

Denise Attwood of Ganesh Himal Trading Co. reported that its Conscious Connections Foundation has been providing about 1,850 families in Nepal with food and shelter in the past month.

Denise said, in line with their commitment to fair trade, they are trying to provide what they are terming “fair aid, direct, relational, appropriate aid done by Nepali partners.”

Remote villages affected by the April 25 earthquake and one that followed are in areas “where we have direct contacts and so the relief has been delivered by people we know and trust,” she said.

“We’ve been able to do this relief for about $15 a family,” Denise said. “So far we’ve spent in Nepal $27,680 of the money donated. Nepali partners have done the work as volunteers. Many lost much themselves.

“We continue to search for villages that are accessible to us that have not yet received relief but are starting to focus on the months to come,” she said. “As the monsoons hit, there will be more need for food, so we are saving some donations for then, figuring the disaster will fade from people’s thoughts. If we don’t save for that, we may not have funds when people again need them most.”

Through Conscious Connections, there are continued efforts to raise funds to rebuild the clinic they helped build in Baseri.

“We are researching rammed earth housing—made by compressing damp earth in a mold—as an option,” she said. “Most rammed earth structures survived quakes.”

For information, call 499-3320 or visit

Museum’s camps involve children in arts, science, nature

The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC) offers summer camps with hands-on learning experiences that combine appreciation for arts with science, and respect of the natural world.

In these camps, MAC staff seek to cultivate a sense of adventure and wonder, enthusiasm for exploring the natural world, and promote talent, community, environmental stewardship and conservation, said Forrest Rodgers, executive director.

Camps on art, natural history and adventures are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day in five day sessions beginning June 22 and running through Aug. 7.

First and second grade camps are on “Bugs,” “Creature Feature” and “Get Messy at the MAC.”

Third and fourth grade camps are “Creative Creatures.”
”Build It,” “Morphing Materials,” “Fantastic Fossils,” “A View from a River,” “Got ROCKS!” and
”Map and Compass Orienteering.”

Fifth and sixth grade camps are on “Imagine That! Adventures in Art,” “A Story to Tell,” “Off the Wall” and “Up-Cycle with Art.”

Art campers will explore techniques of printing, painting and clay. They will learn about arrowheads and glass beads. They will recycle and up-cycle household materials into art. They will explore plants and animals in the urban jungle.

Natural history campers learn about geology, paleontology and ecology; maps and compasses; rocks and geological formations.

Plateau Adventures camps look at insect friends, diverse living spaces and storytelling. They will learn about fish, birds, bugs, mammals and fossils, and explore the Spokane River through stories, games, science and art.

For information, visit

Episcopal bishop initiates process to elect successor

After 15 years as the Episcopal Bishop of Spokane, James Waggoner Jr. announced May 21 that he is calling for the election of the next Bishop of Spokane.

He will resign upon the ordination and consecration of his successor. The process takes 18 to 20 months.

“I am thankful that this will not happen immediately,” he said. “I enthusiastically look forward to our continuing together, focusing on God’s mission and carrying out vital ministries already in place and emerging.

“The Christian journey always calls us to new lands, new opportunities and new chapters,” Jim said. “There is a time to pause before moving into what God still has in store for us. May we pause at this threshold together, then prayerfully, expectantly, and joyfully say ‘yes’ to the new chapter God is opening for this diocese and for us as we go forward in Christ,” he said.

For information, call 624-3191.

Multicultural event will be on Aug. 15

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 15, the 21st annual Unity in the Community will fill Riverfront Park with a multicultural celebration.

Children will visit the Cultural Village, learning about different ethnic groups in Spokane. When they fill their “passport,” they will receive free school supplies.

There will be a variety of booths in education, career and health fairs, art displays, free activities for toddlers to teens, and cultural music and dance performances.

Unity in the Community, started by Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1994, was under Community-Minded Enterprises and is now independent.

For information, visit



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