Search PNC News for stories of people and churches in our UCC Conference:

Spirit of Peace member assists interfaith efforts

When Elizabeth Maupin of Issaquah speaks of “displaced people,” she is talking of neighbors who are displaced from their homes, as she was during the divorce process from her first husband.

Elizabeth Maupin works with displaced people.

“We need to create new ways to talk about people who do not have housing,” said Elizabeth. “After I was legally separated in 1986, I lived in my car for a few weeks.”

Then she turned her cooking skill into a job skill and found a live-in family to cook for. When her children visited her husband, he did not let them come back.

Elizabeth knows many other women who left domestic violence, found it hard to find housing and lived in their vehicles with their children.

“I was embarrassed and did not want people to know I was in dire straits,” she said.

She met and married a Christian man. They rebuilt their lives and started a bed and breakfast, which helped her to pay off the mortgage after his sudden death after three years.

Elizabeth, who has a master of divinity from Vancouver School of Theology, has been a member of Spirit of Peace Church in Issaquah for two years.

Spirit of Peace, she said, has been something of a mutual-ministry congregation with lay people responsible for worship and pastoral care, particularly in months after their settled pastor left and an interim pastor began. An average of 50 people—most over 50—come on Sundays.

“Spirit of Peace was radicalized by old ladies,” she said.

In Issaquah, she volunteers with St. Vincent de Paul to keep people in housing. Many people who call are displaced, because they found it hard to pay rent or utility bills. St. Vincent can help only twice a year.
“We have many agencies that want to help, but help is piecemeal,” said Elizabeth. “I help people navigate services.”

When St. Vincent de Paul has someone they need to house, she offers her bed and breakfast because it is cheaper than a hotel. Elizabeth is also challenging an effort to tear down the site of the former Lutheran Bible Institute because it’s a potential site for affordable housing and a training center for women without housing.

“It could be a place where nonprofits collaborate to provide services,” said Elizabeth, who is coordinator for the Issaquah Sammamish Interfaith Coalition, which helps faith communities serve vulnerable people. It formed in 2008.

“How do we get over our squabbles as faiths? What brings us together?” she asked. “All faiths talk about caring for the vulnerable. If we work together side by side serving vulnerable people, we break down misunderstandings, we have of each other without debating theology. We see the hearts of the other people,” she said.

When the county decided to stop funding human services, she helped the coalition gather clergy and other social justice advocates to press for human services and against the cuts.

“We also keep congregations informed on community needs and opportunities to serve,” she said.

Elizabeth does a newsletter to a number of local Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities. The coalition also addresses immigration and has a small Rapid Response Network to put out information for people.

One year, she helped lead social justice conversations with presenters, videos and discussions on issues, such as drug abuse among youth, people living in vehicles and the criminal justice system.

Elizabeth’s faith pilgrimage has taken her through a Free Catholic Church in Florida, an Eastern Orthodox Church, the Religious Society of Friends and the Episcopal Church.

She was born in Michigan. Then she moved with her parents to Japan and South Vietnam until she was 14. When she was 16, her parents’ work with universities abroad took them to West Africa. She went to a boarding school in Virginia.

In college, she majored in religion and psychology, graduating in 1968. She did not see any roles for women in ministry at that time.

One of her first jobs was as a social worker serving 120 families in a two block area of St. Petersburg, Fla. A summer of living alone in the Nova Scotia wilderness taught her she was not cut out to be a hermit.
While doing library work she met her first husband, and followed him to Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina where her daughters were born. In 1996, she met her third husband, an Episcopal priest, and began studies at Vancouver School of Theology.

For three years, they served churches on and near two Lakota reservations in South Dakota, before returning to British Columbia, where she completed her master of divinity in 2003. Two months after she graduated, her husband died.

She finished clinical pastoral education, cooked at a Benedictine retirement center in Colorado and finished training as a spiritual director.

Since she came back to the Seattle area in 2005, she has served in ministry at an American Baptist Church, a United Methodist Church and in a Safe Parking program, recruiting congregations to host people who live in vehicles in Seattle.

Three years ago, she moved back to Issaquah. She closed the bed and breakfast when her daughter, son-in-law and two granddaughters moved in.

For information, call 425- 677-8063 or email


Copyright © September 2018


Share this article on your favorite social media Bookmark and Share