Fig Tree relies on committed volunteers to deliver papers
Madelyn Bafus, retired executive director of Family Promise of Spokane, is now on the board of Mission Community Outreach Center and continues to deliver bulk orders of The Fig Tree with a friend.
“I believe in the work of The Fig Tree, its stories and its accuracy,” Madelyn said. “I know that what I read in The Fig Tree is what people said and meant, because the first time I was interviewed, Mary Stamp sent me a copy of the story to be sure what I said was correct and what I intended.”
Madelyn appreciates The Fig Tree’s coverage of the issues of today, what is happening in the community and world, and what people are doing to make a difference.
“I can sit down and read it in one sitting, and be better informed,” she said.
“I also know The Fig Tree is good stewards of the money they receive. Money is always tight, so they use the resources effectively,” she said.
“Mary asks questions that get at the heart of issues,” said Madelyn who also heads the mission committee at Spokane Valley United Methodist Church and is active in United Methodist Women.
Barb Borgens serves on The Fig Tree board of directors, because she likes the stories of a variety everyday people who do things, and stories of community actions and religious perspectives.
“So many people serve the community and there are so many underserved people,” she said. “I’m an action person. It’s great to know that many people quietly go about their lives.”
A member of Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ (UCC), she started on the board soon after she retired from working in purchasing with URM in June 2010. She is a friend of Deidre Jacobson, who also serves on the board.
Having grown up in a Catholic farm family in Montana, she has no family in town. She came in 1968 to go to Kinman Business College. She worked 10 years with Washington Trust Bank and retired after 21 years with URM, for which she is still on-call.
She and her husband Alan were married at Westminster and have attended there 40 years. It’s his parents’ church.
Barb is chair of the Jam for Bread concert, which raises money for Crosswalk, and works with the Tree of Sharing, now an independent nonprofit.
She has also participated with the church’s partnership with a church in Felsorakos, Romania, visiting there in April 2008.
Lauri Clark-Strait grew up on the Yakama Reservation while her parents served the Yakima Indian Christian Mission in 1956 and from 1958 to 1973.
“Everything my parents did was outreach to make things better for people and to follow Jesus’ call to serve ‘the least,’” she said.
“They ingrained in me that I was to use my gifts to serve people. The Fig Tree highlights people who do that. It raises up those people, not those who kill people or lie to be elected to office,” she said. “Fig Tree stories tell of people helping the least of these, voices that are usually quiet. I want to be part of sharing their voices.”
Lauri earned a degree in art from Seattle Pacific University in 1980 and worked a few years with a stoneware company that sold to a high-end retail store. It sold the items for more than those making them could afford to pay.
“I began thinking of going to seminary to work on behalf of such people,” she said.
Before she did that, she earned a teaching certificate at the University of Washington in 1984 and worked at YMCAs. She stayed at home when her two children were little. From 1999 to 2001, she went to George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland, Ore., and was ordained a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor in 2001.
Her first church was in Ashland, Ky., then she moved to Spokane in 2004, where she served Opportunity Christian for four years and First Christian in Coeur d’Alene for two years. Since then she has worked part time at The Hitching Post, doing supply preaching, playing piano at churches, and volunteering with the YMCA, the Northwest Region Disciples of Christ Outdoor Ministries, IRB-Spokane and The Fig Tree.
She serves on The Fig Tree Board and does deliveries.
Frustrated that Christianity is linked with being judgmental, narrow minded or angry, she believes The Fig Tree is “the voice Christians need to have out there, the voice Jesus would want of caring for one another, kindness and being loving. It’s the voice people need to hear,” Lauri said.
Mary Ann Farley, SNJM
|Mary Ann Farley, SNJM|
Mary Ann Farley, SNJM, coordinator for the Holy Names Sisters in the Harbor Crest Community, has been devoting her time and energy with sisters in transition from the convent, 2911 W. Ft. Wright Dr., to their new Harbor Crest home at 3117 E. Chaser Ln.
Along with serving as the moderator of The Fig Tree Board, she helps deliver bulk orders.
A story on her comments related to the 125th celebration of the arrival of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in the Inland Northwest is in the June 2013 Fig Tree. She has also written editorials and been emcee for several of The Fig Tree benefit breakfasts and benefit lunches.
Chuck Fisk, a member of Westminster Congregational UCC, began helping The Fig Tree in its early years, doing distribution and mailings, and serving on its board.
“When I started delivering bulk orders, I had about 10 on my route,” he said. “The route changed over the years and the numbers increased.”
Chuck said The Fig Tree fills a unique role ecumenically. He appreciates learning reports on the World Council of Churches in a regular column.
“It’s unique, because each denomination has its own newsletter, but this newspaper includes the many denominations and faiths,” he said.
Lorraine Freeman, another member of Westminster Congregational UCC, learned at church about the need for delivery people several years ago.
She grew up in the Midwest and in Spokane and was waitress most of her life. After she earned an AA degree, she managed restaurants.
She volunteered, especially on behalf of low-income single parents, connecting to her own experience.
Lorraine was involved with Fair Budget Action Campaign, testifying about her experiences and lobbying for the minimum wage and fair wages in the State Legislature.
She is proud that her 39-year-old daughter earned a master’s degree from Whitworth University in psychology and works in community mental health.
“I like The Fig Tree and what it represents in the community,” she said. “Delivery does not take a big chunk of time. I love doing it.”
Lorraine also volunteers with Communities in Schools and helps transport older friends.
“Fig Tree articles tell about people proactive in the community, doing things to help people. We need to hear about people who are doing God’s work,” she said.
Les Harder, a retired quality control manager at the Department of Social and Health Services, has been delivering bulk orders of The Fig Tree to churches for more than three years.
He grew up in Medical Lake and the Hillyard neighborhood of Spokane, attending an American Baptist Church. He joined the Disciples of Christ before he met and married his wife, Marge. For seven years, they have been attending Audubon Park United Methodist Church, where he is chair of the mission committee.
“I have loved reading and promoting The Fig Tree since I first came in contact with it in its early years,” he said.
“It’s one of the great newspapers for learning positive things,” Les said.
He also enjoys the contact with people in different churches.
When The Fig Tree first started and Father Peter Stretch of St. David’s Episcopal Church was on the Board of Directors, he asked his church secretary, Betty Hartman, to deliver a North Spokane route of bulk orders.
She has done it since then. She retired in 1996 after 12 years as secretary and continued to do the deliveries as a volunteer after that. She was also among the first volunteers to serve Meals on Wheels meals 44 years ago, and she continues that, too.
Betty, who grew up in Colville and moved to Spokane in 1959, worked with the phone company until she and her late husband, Duane, adopted two children. She joined St. David’s in 1968.
“I stayed home and started volunteering,” said Betty, now a widow with two grown children and time to volunteer.
“I enjoy doing it and enjoy the articles I read,” she said. “It’s now just part of my life.”
For three years, she has attended St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, and volunteers there, too.
Susan Heitstuman, administrative assistant at Family Promise, began to deliver The Fig Tree to 10 agencies and congregations on her way home, after former director Madelyn Bafus recruited her.
“Many of the agencies and churches also connect with Family Promise to help provide temporary shelter for homeless families. It gives me an opportunity to chat with them about both,” she said. “The response is positive.”
She worked 16 years as secretary of Spokane Valley United Methodist Church.
“I started my career teaching junior high, but put myself through college working as a secretary. I was happier doing that,” Susan said. “As a church secretary, I fell in love with nonprofits. There’s a good feeling about caring for people.”
Susan attends St. Anthony’s Catholic Parish, and helps coordinate volunteers when St. Joseph’s on Dean shelters Family Promise families. St. Anthony’s is a support church, helping with meals and overnight supervision. St. Anthony’s youth help set up and take down beds.
Susan is also treasurer for Spokane’s CROP Hunger Walk. Family Promise is one of the local agencies receiving 25 percent of its proceeds.
“Family Promise is about what we can give to others,” she said.
“Over and over I read in The Fig Tree about finding goodness and people seeking to meet the needs of others,” she said. “When we help others, it blesses us.”
Susan’s parents, who were born in the Depression, stressed giving back and serving others.
Her father said volunteers “see needs and become part of the solution,” said Susan, who involves her son and husband in Family Promise and Fig Tree deliveries.
One of our volunteers who delivers The Fig Tree to area churches is Carolyn Payne, a 33-year member at St. Mark’s Lutheran and organist/choir director at Salem Lutheran.
Her strong feelings about living out faith in the community and ecumenism have developed over the years as she has served as substitute organist in many churches and worked across denominational lines with colleagues in the American Guild of Organists. She and her husband Frank owned and operated a commercial construction company and parented seven children, involving them in many community activities and organizations.
“The Fig Tree, as an ecumenical newspaper unites us around the common good. Articles strengthen and educate us to learn of other traditions, cultures and faith communities, and how they reach out to the wider community. I love the rhythm of being involved with it each month.”
Joyce Weir of Newport
Joyce Weir has distributed bulk orders of The Fig Tree to Newport churches since Nancy Minard moved several years ago to Portland. She has also distributed Resource Directories.
Joyce is a retired dental hygienist, who has lived in Newport since 1977.
Mike Wyman began delivering The Fig Tree in the early 1990s, after he and his wife Carol moved to Spokane. He worked as an administrator for the Interlake School and then with the Department of Social and Health Services’ Home and Community Services until he retired in 2001.
He grew up in Yakima and worked as a youth director with Yakima County, as coordinator for developmentally disabled people in Grant and Adams counties, as administrator at Rainier School, and with the Developmental Disabilities Office in Bellevue.
Since retiring he has operated an online bookstore through Amazon, selling historical, religious and biographical books.
Mike became involved with the late Sr. Bernadine Casey, SNJM, through the Ecumenical Committee at St. Patrick’s Catholic Parish.
“I began delivering The Fig Tree because of that connection and I continue to do it because I believe in ecumenism,” said Mike, who now attends St. Francis of Assisi.
Other delivery volunteers also serve on The Fig Tree Board of Directors or help with writing. Their stories are covered in the June 2014 issue: Deidre Jacobson, who delivers with her husband, Lance Jacobson, Marilyn Stedman and the Rev. Happy Watkins. Assisting as backup when delivery people cannot come are Malcolm Haworth, directory editor, and Mary Stamp, editor.
“We need more volunteers to help with deliveries so that routes can be smaller and so that we have substitutes when delivery volunteers are not available because of other commitments,” said Mary.
For many years, Marilyn has given the volunteers reminder calls. Kaye Hult, who is serving as volunteer coordinator, will now be doing those calls.
“We are grateful to the staff at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 316 E. 24th Ave., for providing space for us to work each month to prepare mailings and for us to prepare newspapers for the delivery volunteers to pick up.
For information, call 535-4112 or email email@example.com.
Copyright ©September 2014 - The Fig Tree