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Young adult interns near end of justice internships

Four Young Adult Service Community interns have enhanced the capacity of organizations to do justice in the Seattle area, said Rich Gamble, chair of the PNC Justice Witness Ministries Committee.

They have also made justice alive in the UCC churches they relate with and built a sense of community with each other.

Interns work 32 hours a week with their agencies, four with their congregations, two in justice leadership education and two in spiritual reflection.  Their term ends July 31. 

Organizers have selected one intern for next year and are recruiting two more.  They are also interviewing for an outreach coordinator for the justice leadership program, for which Annual Meeting allocated funds.

Kathryn Murdock gains hope through work to end homelessness

In her work with the Seattle King County Coalition on Homelessness, Kathryn Murdock has realized that society accepts that it’s impossible to end homelessness.  Despite that she is optimistic and hopeful.

Kathryn Murdock

Kathryn Murdock

“I learned my faith and my work may connect.  May faith can fuel my work,” she said.

The Coalition on Homelessness involves 50 organizations, advocating for the safety and survival of people who are homeless and working to end homelessness by influencing policy and educating people.

“I learned how much we accept that it’s impossible to end homelessness,” she said, adding that she is optimistic and hopeful after her year of work.

While most of her work was about advocacy, she also engaged in some direct service. In September 2012, she helped low income, homeless people register to vote at a food bank.

One ex-felon who had committed a crime more than 30 years ago, learning the law denying the vote to ex-felons had changed in 2009, realized he could have a voice.

“Seeing joy on his face when he learned he could vote was amazing,” Kathryn said. 

Such stories make her want to work for nonprofits.

Recently, she has involved coalition members in preparing backpacks for school children.

On January 25, she participated in the county’s One Night Count, helping organize thousands of volunteers to count people sleeping outside, in shelters or in cars between 2 and 5 a.m. 

They found 2,736 people, a number that is used to appeal for government funds and advocate for policies.

“We took the figures to Olympia to advocate for services and affordable housing,” said Kathryn.

With 27,390 children in Washington public schools who were homeless in the 2011-12 school year, she said, “if we do not fund housing, we cannot help children.  Children need food and shelter to learn.”

Kathryn a graduate of the University of Puget Sound in foreign languages and international affairs, worked with the 30-member Keystone UCC.  Having grown up in a large church, University Congregational UCC in Seattle, she found value in how a small, church can do things quickly.

Through Keystone, she connected with the national UCC Mission 4/1 Earth program, tracking progress of churches.  She also worked with children planning services, connecting faith with justice and service.

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Marianne Haney connects labor and faith groups through Puget Sound SAGE

Through Puget Sound SAGE, an organization that advocates for policies based on connecting ideas and voices in the labor and faith communities, Marianne Haney gained experience organizing and testifying on urban development to supporting bus subsidies for students.

She heard of the UCC internship through AmeriCorps, with which she spent 10 months traveling and serving four nonprofits in the Pacific Region. 

Marianne Haney

Marianne Haney

Much of her life she has worked with direct service agencies, such as tutoring children of migrant workers in California, through her involvement with the Pentecostal church in which she grew up in West Seattle and during high school in Puyallup.

In her work, she learned about affordable housing, development plans and zoning policies that give incentive for developers to include a percentage of affordable housing in their projects.

As youth coordinator for the Rainier Transit Justice program, Marianne worked with people speaking 120 dialects in the United States’ most diverse  zip code.  The project was helps students who live within 2.5 miles of their high school are not eligible to ride a school bus. Riding city busses to school was more than they could afford, but was necessary because their neighborhoods were not safe for walking.  She helped students organize to win funding from their schools.

She was also involved with SAGE’s efforts to challenge work safety and wage fairness issues for Sea-Tac Airport fuelers.  She was impressed that the airlines responded to people from the faith community.

“I want to make connections between direct services and systemic change, particularly working to empower young people,” said Marilyn.

She helped All Pilgrims on neighborhood change. 

“I’m excited about how open the UCC is to receive people where they are in their lives,” she said.  “Coming from a conservative background, we did not discuss justice in church.  I have discovered there are many faces to faith, and have become more confident to ask questions about what I believe to lead me to faith.”

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Copyright @ June-July 2103 Pacific Northwest United Church of Christ Conference News.


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