Unity in Community is 25
The 2019 Unity in the Community, which starts at 10 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Clocktower Meadow of Riverfront Park in Spokane, is celebrating the 25th year as the region's largest multi-cultural celebration.
"It is a time of celebration and joy for how our similarities and differences make us a stronger and better community," said April Anderson, co-organizer of the Unity in the Community with Mareesa Henderson.
Unity in the Community was founded in 1994 by Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church under Pastor Lonnie Mitchell in Liberty Park to break down racial and cultural barriers. In 2004, AHANA (African America, Hispanic and Native American Association) under Ben Cabildo took on responsibility for continuing Unity in the Community. In 2007, it moved to Riverfront Park. Unity in the Community is now an independent nonprofit coordinated by April and Mareesa.
Participants celebrate and share their cultures, identities or communities. It is also an opportunity to connect people to resources. Access to services, especially underrepresented people, is a vital part of our mission, she said.
Other highlights include free K to eighth grade school supplies, live entertainment and more than 100 vendors as part of the Cultural Village, Career and Education Fair, Health Fair, Youth Fair, and General Vendors.
The Cultural Village showcases many cultures in the region, including those of American Indians, India, Burma, Bulgaria, Turkey, Persia, Tonga, The Federated States of Micronesia, South Africa, West Africa, Scandinavia, Germany, Hmong, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, China and more. Children entering the village are given a "passport" they take to each booth to be stamped to use to receive school supplies.
The Career and Education Fair offers employment and educational information.
The Health Fair has booths with information on traditional and alternative medicine approaches to health care with blood pressure testing, first aid, reiki healing, sound healing, chiropractic, hospice care, dental care and more.
The Youth Fair will include face painting, family friendly activities, large games, sidewalk chalk contests and more.
General Vendors include nonprofit organizations and others sharing information on their programs and services.
Vendor booths and entertainment will be in the Clocktower Meadow. The Cultural Village will be near the clocktower.
April and Mareesa, who have helped organize it for more than 12 years, said about 5,000 attend.
Believing that racial or cultural bigotry is about ignorance, and there is need to respond to diversity with more than tolerance, April and Mareesa work to educate people about the diverse cultures in Spokane through Unity in the Community.
From February through August, they work with a board of six and committee of 20 to plan the event. About 150 volunteers help the Friday evening and Saturday of the event from setup to take down.
"We need to embrace our different cultures and walks of life. We need to come together to understand each other. Diversity and inclusion enrich the lives of all. Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance." said April.
They prepare and distribute 1,400 school bags with school supplies such as paper, binders, crayons, glue, folders and more, and 300 senior bags for people 65 and older with 15 pages of discount coupons, water bottles, jar openers, stress balls, puzzles and other items.
"Planning Unity in the Community is a labor of love," said April.
Mareesa likes a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: "Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love."
For information, email email@example.com
Resource Directory goes to press in July
The deadline for The Fig Tree's 2019-20 Resource Directory: Guide to Congregations and Community Resources is in June, when final page updates must be done, layouts will be completed and editing will be done.
It will go to the printer to be published in July.
Volunteers are helping with ad sales, recruiting partners, editing and preparing for the mailing. In August and September, bulk orders will be delivered. Those wishing quantities of the Resource Directory for use by staff and to share with clients need to have their orders in by June 15.
Community partners who contribute $500, $1,000 and more will have their logo on the cover.
Among the community partners committed by Fig Tree press time are Banner Bank, the Sisters of the Holy Names, Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington, Second Harvest, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington, the Community Building Foundation, the Arc of Spokane and Washington Trust Bank.
As of May 31, $26,000 of the $29,000 budget for ads were committed, and $8,650 of $11,500 for community partners.
To join Resource Directory underwriters, call 535-1813 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Camino pilgrims plan Mass, dinner in July
Sacred Heart Catholic Church and the Spokane Chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino have announced the fourth annual Pilgrims' Mass followed by a traditional "pilgrims' dinner."
The Mass and dinner celebrating the feast-day of Saint James the Apostle ("Santiago"), will take place at 5 p.m., Sunday, July 28, at Sacred Heart Church, 219 E. Rockwood Blvd. in Spokane.
At the Mass, people who have walked or plan to walk the Camino de Santiago in the near future can receive a "pilgrim sea shell" and a pilgrim's blessing.
Celebrating the Mass and preaching will be Father Kevin Codd, who has written two books on his own experience as a pilgrim.
His first book, To the Field of Stars, chronicled his 500 mile walk from St. Jean Pied de Port in France to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the burial place of the Apostle James.
His second book, Beyond Even the Stars, shares the story of his second pilgrimage from his home when he was rector at the University/Seminary in Louvain, Belgium, through much of France.
Both books are written with humor and spiritual reflections as he faced the challenges of the pilgrim life along the Way.
During dinner, there will be brief talks and reflections. All pilgrims who have already walked, those who are intending to walk and those who are simply "pilgrims at heart" may share their "pilgrim stories and adventures."
Donations are welcomed for the dinner.
For information, call 747-5810 or email email@example.com or visit the American Pilgrims on the Camino website, https://americanpilgrims.org/.
Episcopal Diocese holds congregational development event
The Episcopal Diocese of Spokane invites congregations to send teams to the College for Congregational Development Sunday to Saturday, Aug. 4 to 10, at the Cathedral of St. John, 127 E. 12th Ave.
The college is a comprehensive training program for clergy and laity in congregational and organization development, said Susan Cleveley, canon to the ordinary for the diocese.
It is a two-year program that includes readings, homework, presentations, working in teams, the completion of a content exam and the completion of two back-home projects.
Because the college seeks to improve the way leaders function in congregations, congregations want to send clergy-lay teams.
Susan said the diocese is the third of seven U.S. and Canadian dioceses to adopt the program, starting in 2014 with a grant..
The eight-day intensive summer training draws people from around the U.S.
Susan became involved with the program in 2009 and graduated in 2010 as a trainer for this diocese and two other dioceses.
"It gives congregations a greater sense of agency—choices about next steps and sense of where God is calling them to respond to changes in the world," she said.
For information, call 624-3191 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Place collects food for summer hunger
Our Place will do its fourth annual Christmas in July Food and Fun'd Drive from July 1 to 25.
"Hunger does not end in the summer, but there are not community dinners like other times of the year," said Kat Hartsell, development director. "People are on vacation and children are out of school, so attention shifts.
"We hope to bring in extra food during the summer when food donations are down, but need is up because children are not eating breakfast and lunch at school, or receiving a weekend backpack with food-to-go," she said.
Our Place spreads awareness of the need for food donations by having Christmas-wrapped donation boxes at organizations and businesses in the West Central and surrounding area.
Kendall Yards and the West Central Community Center ran competitions to build interest.
"The first year, Our Place thought it might need to shut its doors in the summer because of not having enough food," she said, "but we kept open with the donation of 5,500 pounds of food."
In July 2018, the Christmas in July drive drew 20,000 pounds of food and Our Place served 850 families.
For information, call 326-7267 or email email@example.com.
Habitat's Blitz Build is June 3 to 14 in Deer Park
Habitat for Humanity-Spokane has been "Blitz Building" for 18 years. Every year, the Blitz Build attracts hundreds of volunteers from the community. The 2019 Blitz Build from June 3 to 14 will draw about 1,000 skilled and unskilled volunteers, sponsor groups, business and community leaders, and current and future homeowners to work side-by-side to build decent, affordable homes for families in need in Spokane County. The Blitz Build site is at the 1000 block of S. Margaret St. in Deer Park.
Michelle Girardot, CEO for Habitat-Spokane finds Spokane generous. She said Blitz Build brings people and organizations together "to build something greater than themselves." While Habitat builds homes year-round, Blitz Build is an accelerated construction effort that raises awareness about the local affordable housing crisis.
The home of future Habitat homeowner, Janessa, is part of the June Blitz. Her mortgage payments will be no more than 30 percent of her income. Her partnership with Habitat includes 500 hours of "sweat equity,"working on her home and neighbors' homes, in the Habitat store, and completing homebuyer readiness courses. She recently graduated from college and works to support her family.
For information, contact Lydia Duffy at 534-2552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holocaust survivor speaks at Chabad in Spokane
Irving Roth, one of few living Holocaust survivors, will speak at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 5, at the Jewish Chabad of Spokane, 4116 E. 37th Ave. Born in Kosice, Czechoslovakia, in 1929, he survived the horrors of the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.
He immigrated to the United States in 1947. His mem
ories of the Nazi death camps never faded. He devotes his time to educating young and old on the horrors of the Holocaust and the evils of prejudice and anti-Semitism. He received a bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and resides in Nassau County, N.Y.
For information, call 443-4116 or email email@example.com.
Spokane's Kizuri fair trade store has new owner
Kim Harmson sold Kizuri, the fair trade store in the Community Building, to Jillian Joseph as of May 1. When Kim and Jillian met five years ago in Rwanda, Kim said she secretly knew that Jillian would be such a perfect fit for Kizuri. After living in Senegal, Paris and New York City for five years, Jillian returned home to Spokane.
"The time was right for both of us," said Kim. "I am confident that she will do amazing work. I am retiring to spend time with my first grandbaby. I can't begin to tell you what these last 10 and a half years have meant to me. The support, friendships and conversations I have had have enriched my life tremendously and fueled my commitment to continue working for a better world. I will miss you all, but I will fill in at Kizuri occasionally."
For information, call 464-7677 or visit kizurispokane.com.
RSVP Fair introduces volunteering opportunities
The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of Spokane County, sponsored by the YMCA of the Inland Northwest since 1975, will host a volunteer recruitment fair to connect adults 55 and over with volunteering opportunities in the community. The fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, June 12, at the Southside Community Center, 3151 E. 27th Ave.
Representatives from more than 20 nonprofits will offer information on volunteering opportunities for older adults, like reading to children, feeding hungry families and offering companionship.
Justin Eisenstadt, director of the RSVP program, cited a study that said many people report improvements in their health, decreased depression and less social isolation from volunteering regularly.
For information, call 344 7787 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Out Spokane Parade and Festival is June 8
The Out Spokane Parade and Festival will run from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday, June 8, in Riverfront Park. More than 10,000 people are expected for the parade, which is followed by the Rainbow Festival at the park's Lilac Meadows east of the Clock Tower.
There will be entertainment, a resource and business fair, a family area and the Odyssey Teen Zone. The celebration continues into the evening with an All Ages Dance Party and fireworks display.
For information, call 720-7609, outspokane.com.
Juneteenth events are June 14 to 16
The annual Juneteenth events are June 14 to 16 in Spokane. The Pillar Awards Show is from 6 to 9 p.m., Friday, June 14, at the Spokane Community College Lair, 1810 E. Greene. The Juneteenth Celebration BBQ will be from 2 to 5 p.m., Saturday, June 15, at Liberty Park, 1623 E. 4th Ave. It is an opportunity to recognize African-American history and culture in commemorating the official end of slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865.
A Father's Day Brunch is from 2:30 to 5 p.m., Sunday, June 16, at the MLK Outreach Community Center, 500 S. Stone.
For information, email email@example.com or visit inwjc.org.
Out of the Shadows auditions for actors, shadows
Auditions for actors and shadow actors for Out of the Shadows Theater's production of "The Music Man Jr." will be at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Aug. 26, at Lutheran Academy of the Master, 4800 N. Ramsey Rd. in Coeur d'Alene. Out of the Shadows casts people with disabilities of any age as actors. They are paired with shadow actors who assist them in rehearsals and performances.
Volunteers build and transport sets, manage microphones, serve as are stage crew, costume assistants and ushers, and do publicity.
The plays are Nov. 1 to 3, and 8 to 10 at the Kroc Center Theater.
For information, call 208-818-0953 or visit outoftheshadowstheater.com.
MLK center program like camp
Some summer opportunities for youth are right in Spokane, such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Centers' 10-week Summer Youth Academy for low-income, ethnically diverse children ages five to 12.
It offers character education to promote self-esteem, positive values and interactions. Activities also bridge gaps for students behind in literacy or math. Plus there are field trips and recreational activities.
For information, call 868-0856 or visit mlkspokane.org.
Whitworth Ministry Summit will be June 24-27
Whitworth's 45th annual Ministry Summit. formerly the Whitworth Institute of Ministry (WIM) will be held from June 24 to 27, earlier and one day less than the WIM, said Mindy Smith, associate director of Whitworth's Office for Church Engagement.
Another difference is that WIM was geared for clergy and families, and the summit is for anyone interested in ministry.
Eight themes or tracks will follow the eight focuses of calling communities of the OCE that are meeting each month for book studies, meals and resource sharing as part of a $1.5 million Lilly Endowment grant.
Those tracks are formational worship, faithful preaching, creation care, youth ministry, church planting, reconciliation, immigrants and refugees, and "called to the city."
Before the summit, there will be a time of spiritual renewal and quiet.
The pre-conference retreat will begin at 11 a.m., Monday, June 24, at Colbert Presbyterian Church for a spiritual retreat, Taize worship, prayer and silence.
The Rev. Luke Powery, dean of Duke University Chapel and associate professor of homiletics at Duke Divinity School, will be evening speaker for the summit.
The morning plenary speaker is David Swanson, the founding pastor of New Community Covenant Church, an intentionally multiracial congregation in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. He is also CEO of New Community Outreach, a nonprofit that works collaboratively to reduce causes of trauma in the city.
Speakers are Mary Hulst, chaplain at Calvin College since 2009, on faithful preaching; David McDonald, teaching pastor at Westwinds Community Church in Jackson, Mich., on innovative churches; Leah Kostamo, author of Planted: a Story of Creation, Calling and Community, on creation care; Greg Scheer, music associate at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, on formational worship; Matt Overton, Presbyterian youth pastor, on youth ministry; Michael Carrion, director of City to City, on church planting; Inés Velásquez-McBrydeis, an ordained pastor, preacher, reconciler, on reconciliation, and David Hillis, an urban trainer in Tacoma, on being called to the city.
For information, call 777-4341 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cyclists earn funds for World Relief in cross-state ride
June 18 to 23, 16 Spokane cyclists pedaled from Kent to Enumclaw to open the state-wide SEA TRI KAN (pronounced see-try-can) bike ride to support refugee resettlement.
The ride from opens a 400-mile, five-day ride across Washington state with riders visiting each of the World Relief offices in the state—Seattle, Tri-Cities and Spokane.
They arrive at the Central Spokane YMCA at 3 p.m., Sunday June 23, for a post-ride celebration.
Cyclists include Scott Starbuck, the pastor of Manito Presbyterian Church and a guest lecturer at Gonzaga University, and Samuel Smith, the interim managing attorney at World Relief Spokane.
The Spokane riders join 30 other cyclists from across Washington for the ride.
All cyclists raised at least $1,979 to help refugees find work, learn English and build relationships with American friends.
The specific number raised highlights World Relief's 40-year history of resettling refugees in Washington and commitment to continued resettlement in the Pacific Northwest.