The Tree of Sharing at River Park Square, Northtown and Spokane Valley malls, plus at the White Elephant and four Hastings stores continues through Dec. 12 to give out gift tags and receive gifts to share with families in need at Christmas.
For 31 years, the Tree of Sharing has been serving people who are often forgotten. It began in 1980 as an outreach of Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ, with KREM-TV joining in sponsorship in 1982. It has grown to serve up to 6,000 people through about 50 participating agencies that submit gift requests. It is now an independent nonprofit.
Shoppers pick up a tag with a gift request and return the gift to the Tree of Sharing location.
“Our gift return rate is at 92 percent—up from 82 percent in previous years,” said Barbara Borgens, one of the volunteers from Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ. “We would love to see it better this year.”
For more information, visit www.treeofsharing.org.
The Salvation Army’s Annual Celebrate the Season Holiday Luncheon with KXLY-TV’s Mark Peterson and Colleen O’Brien will be held at noon, Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the Davenport Hotel’s Grand Pennington Ballroom.
The fund-raising event reminds community leaders and supporters about the Salvation Army’s programs for needy people in the community.
Its services continue to grow with 384 children staying at Sally’s House, a 15 percent increase from 2012; 40,957 individuals receiving food assistance; 3,168 parent-child visitations and counseling sessions’ for more than 1,000 campers aged five to 17 spending a week at camp; 184 families receiving shelter or temporary housing.
For information, call 392-2732.
Immaculate Heart Retreat Center (IHRC) is offering three retreats during January.
IHRC is offering a Weekend Healing Retreat for Women, “Consider Him: Removing Obstacles to God on the Road to Healing and Freedom,” with Thea Loughery and Sara Compton, prayer ministers at Transformed Hearts Ministries, from 6 p.m., Friday, Jan. 10 to 1 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 12.
Kent Hoffman, marriage and family therapist who is one of the pioneers of the “Circle of Security” program to help parents bond with their babies, will lead a Day of Reflection for Therapists and Caretakers from 9 a.m to 4 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 14, on “Building a Daily Practice: Spiritual Response to Compassion Fatigue.” He will discuss the importance of a daily sacred practice to boost spiritual reserves.
The Coffee and Contemplation ecumenical spiritual discussion and prayer event from 9 to 11 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 15, features the Most Rev. William Skylstad, bishop emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, speaking on “That They May Be One: The Radical Call and the Great Vision.” He was bishop of the Diocese of Yakima from 1977 to 1990 when he began as the bishop of Spokane, serving until 2010.
In a Monday, Feb. 3 to Friday, Feb. 7 retreat at The Spirit Center at the Monastery of St. Gertrude, iconographer Father Damian Higgins will guide participants through the prayer process of creating icons.
Painting icons is a visual form of prayer. The purpose is more than the completed image. It is also the process of creating it.
“We’re an iconographic people,” Father Damian said. “We’re surrounded by images we respond to, but mostly they advertise. They direct us toward a product. Holy icons direct us not toward themselves, but toward the divine.”
The creation of icons is a form of prayer or meditation grounded in the physical act of holding pencils, preparing paints and manipulating materials to form a painted object.
“The purpose is not to acquire a product,” he explained. “The importance is the process. Materials are natural and organic to bring closeness to the earth.”
Father Damian’s icons are featured in churches and collections around the world. He was introduced to iconography in 1988 when he joined the Monks of Mount Tabor, a Ukrainian Catholic religious community at the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in northern California. Later serving in a social service agency in one of the toughest neighborhoods in San Francisco, he served soup to a man who was a master iconographer and shared his knowledge of the art.
At the retreat, participants will create an icon of St. Gertrude, the patroness of the monastery.
For information, call 208-962-2000 or visit www.Spirit-Center.org.
Photo: “Protection of the Mother of God” by Father Damian Higgins
Six Inland Northwest participants in the July 2013 “Healing Walk of the First Nations” will report on their observations of the Alberta Tar Sands at 3 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, in the Arts Workshop at the 1912 Center, 412 E. Third St. in Moscow, Idaho.
“We journeyed 1,000 miles to see first-hand the scale of environmental devastation caused by producing crude oil from mining tar sands,” said Pat Fuerst of the Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition.
Helen Yost, James Blakely, Anne Remaley, Pat and Dan Rathmann, and Pat will connect what they learned with local mega-loads, climate change, pipeline projects, moral issues and impacts on people. For information, call 208-339-5213 or email email@example.com.
Jonathan Mancheni and Isabella Ivy will perform a benefit concert, “Harmony for the Holidays,” at 8 p.m., Friday, Dec., 20, at the Bing Theater, 901 W. Sprague. This will be the third benefit concert Jonathan, a 2006 Mead High School graduate, has given in Spokane. It will benefit Catholic Charities Foundation and Second Harvest to meet needs of homeless and hungry people in the region.
Jonathan is in his second year of his master’s program at University of Nevada Las Vegas, and Isabella has recently graduated from there as a vocal performance major.
When he sang in a church youth choir, he heard an older child sing vibrato and wanted to sing like that, so his parents invested in lessons, and he discovered opera. Singing opera made his Tourette’s syndrome symptoms disappear. He began studies at Eastern Washington University and transferred to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. A baseball injury led him to focus on music.
Isabella, also a costume designer, has done costumes for three operas at the UNLV and created a set design for the Las Vegas Opera Company. She sings opera and has a jazz combo. She has performed in Sydney Australia, in Graz, Austria, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
For information, call 358-4255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Salem Lutheran Church is sponsoring West Central Festival of the Arts from Dec. 4 to 22 with art work, music, dance and poetry offered at 1428 W. Broadway.
“We will tell a story of beauty, hope and possibility in our community,” said organizer Debbie Wilson. “Events will revolve around weekly Advent themes of the Annunciation and the Magnificat, journey and rejection, and birth and witness.
“These themes mirror our life experiences,” she said. “Many of us have or desire some sort of dream or calling to inspire our lives. We also experience seasons of journey and rejection where things are unclear or we don’t seem to belong. Finally, there are moments when our hopes are realized and something beautiful and meaningful is birthed, often out of the pain that came before.”
The art gallery will show Spokane artists’ paintings, wood crafts, pottery, jewelry, photography, quilts and more. The gallery is open at 5 p.m., Wednesdays, followed by supper and a service.
The art viewing and sales are also 5 to 8 p.m., Fridays.
At 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, Spokane Choral Artists sing.
At 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8, is a liturgical dance workshop with Judy Mandeville. The Covenant Marimba Band will play at 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14. Spokane’s poet laureate Thom Caraway will present a literary night, at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 20. There will be caroling in West Central at 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 22. For information, call 328-6260 or email email@example.com.
Eastern Washington University is partnering with Spokane’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day planning committee to organize service projects throughout the region on that day.
Molly Ayers, director of the Office of Community Engagement at EWU, seeks for sites across the community to host 20 to 25 volunteers from 1 to 3 p.m., Monday, Jan. 20. The goal is for more than 250 volunteers to celebrate King’s legacy with a “Day On.” Organizations interested in participating may contact Molly by Nov. 15.
For information, call 359-2792 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fig Tree has set the Eastern Washington Legislative Conference in 2014 for Saturday, Jan. 25 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 316 E. 24th Ave.
Planning sessions will begin soon with the Faith Action Network (FAN) of Washington and Catholic Charities of Spokane.
Paul Benz, executive director of FAN reported solidarity with several advocacy efforts.
FAN has information online about two initiatives, the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s Initiative 594 for background checks in firearm sales and transfers, and Initiative Measure 522 supporting labeling genetically engineered foods.
Given that the faith community has “led the way on gun violence prevention,” Tiffany Brace, Initiative 594 organizer with the Faith Action Network (FAN), said that closing the loophole on private gun sales is one of two top legislative priorities for FAN this year.
She said FAN is has petitions for the initiative, which will require criminal background checks on all gun sales in Washington, available for faith communities to help meet the required 325,000 signatures needed by December.
For information on the conference, call 535-1813. For information on the initiatives, call 206-625-9790 or visit www.fanwa.org.
For other stories by Mary Stamp on events and interviews at the World Council of Churches 10th Assembly visit:
LINKS TO ARTICLES ON the national United Church of Christ News
Story on Disciples of Christ, United Church of Christ and Reformed churches communion service during assembly
Story on churches in Hawaii incorporating the hula to restore native Hawaiian traditions and oral history:
Story on Louis Blue Coat of North Dakota and concerns of indigenous people globally and locally. http://www.ucc.org/news/wcc-2013-louis-blue-coat-11272013.html
Published by The Fig Tree, 1323 S. Perry St., Spokane, WA 99202