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Roger Ross helped The Fig Tree transition to be a nonprofit

Roger Ross
Roger Ross

Since Roger Ross joined the Spokane Christian Coalition board in 1989, his support of The Fig Tree has been strong.  He was on the steering committee that helped it become an independent nonprofit in 2001.  He served on both boards after that, as a Fig Tree liaison to what by then was the Spokane Council of Ecumenical Ministries.

“I resonate with The Fig Tree’s vision and seek to encourage people to think about what’s in the newspaper,” he said.  “It’s important to have news of faith groups and how they approach life.  It’s important for people to develop a sense of fairness toward people who are different.

“The Fig Tree shows us where people are different and similar,” Roger said.  “We need to respect each other’s work, because Scripture says we are not to be divided, but to live simply and focus on Christ’s unconditional love.

The Fig Tree does a lot to thaw the ice so people understand and come to know each other,” he said.   “Too much of the world is in conflict of us vs. them, rather than knowing we are ‘us.’

He believes The Fig Tree is essential for the mental, social and spiritual health of the community.

“It bodes understanding rather than prejudice and helps people find balance in views toward one another,” Roger said.

In the first grade, he spoke up when his teacher made a negative comment about interracial marriage.  His family was good friends with an interracial family.

After graduating from Shadle Park High School in 1963, he joined the Naval Air Force Reserve, training for six months in Millington, Tenn., where he found racism “crackling in the air,” as he helped rescue a white man beaten for befriending a black man.  Roger was also surprised that a black trainee could not go into a restaurant with him. When they ate sandwiches in a park, they were taunted.

His 28 years in the Naval Air Force Reserve took him to such places as Florida and Morocco before he retired in 1992.

When he moved to Seattle in 1964 to study part-time at Seattle University while working at Boeing, he attended a Methodist church and college group.

Helping a Red Cross team clean up after mud slides in Los Angeles, he met the canon at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle and began attending there in 1969. 

When Roger returned to Spokane to study at Eastern Washington University, he became active at the Cathedral of St. John, where he is still involved, sings in the choir and plays hand bells.

He studied social work and juvenile corrections, working many years with youth.  Then he became a registered nurse and continued work with corrections.  He is completing a second doctoral degree to teach at Spokane’s nursing or medical school.

Copyright © June 2014 - The Fig Tree