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Benefit speakers value The Fig Tree spreading hope


The following are excerpts from eight speakers at The Fig Tree Spring Benefits March 4 and 9.

Benjamin Watson - Pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church

The Fig Tree is a blessing to the community and to the city.  They are a staple at the Emmanuel Family Life Center because they share our core values of investing in people.  The Fig Tree's mission is "to break through divisions among people of faith to build understanding and promote action for the common good."

The newspaper and resource directory are tools to spread seeds of hope.  As we share experiences and tell stories, we bring life to The Fig Tree spreading  seeds of hope, building bridges between the hopeless and the hopeful.



Mark Finney - Refugee resettlement leader

When I worked at World Relief, our purpose was to empower our community—especially faith communities—to serve and stand with refugees. The Fig Tree is a valuable partner in our mission. As crisis after crisis swept over our newest neighbors from around the world, The Fig Tree stood by us to share stories of hope and resilience from our refugee neighbors. As challenges made our work difficult, it amplified our calls for community support. Over and over I heard from donors, volunteers and faith leaders that they knew about our work and care about refugees and immigrants because of what they've read in The Fig Tree.


Cam Zorrozua and Virla Spencer Co-founders of The Way to Justice

As a community law firm created and led by women of color, we address barriers facing individuals negatively impacted by our justice system. For many clients and their loved ones, justice is a journey that can feel endless, tiresome and impossible to navigate. It can be easy to give up hope. The Fig Tree stands as an outpost of hope and beacon of justice. They have helped clients find The Way to Justice.

By connecting our community to information and resources, The Fig Tree helps readers become aware of issues that affect them and their community, and then connects them with local organizations. It has been spreading seeds of hope with every article since 1984.

We both offer a platform for underrepresented communities to lift their voices. We plant seeds of hope in times of uncertainty. We ensure our community blooms with justice, equity and inclusion. 


Gen Heywood - convener of Faith Leaders and Leaders of Conscience and pastor of Veradale United Church of Christ

Both The Fig Tree newspaper and directory help us "spread seeds of hope." 

When FLLC began in 2018 to support the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, The Fig Tree directory was a source for connecting with people of faith and non-faith. We invited them to join us to be a moral voice on racism, poverty, militarism and ecology.

The Fig Tree publishes our letters on superfund sites, the separation of children at the border and white supremacy in our society. In February 2021, as we grieved the violence against Temple Beth Shalom, murders of Asian women in Georgia and shoppers in Colorado, we felt the need to do more than hold vigils and write statements.

We have now developed a plan to lift up our common humanity and break through apathy and helplessness by launching multiple contests to find a way, through the arts, to cross the divisions in our community. The Fig Tree helps inform people of our work.


Ginger Ewing - director of Terrain

When I think about hope, I think about optimism, a mindset that despite life's difficulties, there is potential for positive things to come our way. Hope improves our social, mental and physical well-being. Hope makes us feel more connected to the world and people around us.

When I hear spreading seeds of hope, I think of fostering a sense of belonging—a community that sees each other and values each other's stories.

When we started Terrain 14 years ago, we understood the transformational power of art and creativity, and wanted to celebrate Spokane's vibrancy. We also wanted to emphasize contributions of people who have been overlooked, marginalized, devalued or silenced. 

In The Fig Tree's values, we see phrases like connecting people, sharing stories, building understanding, stirring compassion, exploring issues, offering reflection, opening dialogue and inspiring people. 

The Fig Tree goes beyond talking points. They build relationships. Their stories create an atmosphere of belonging, and building a robust, compassionate and empathetic community along the way.

When The Fig Tree did a story about Terrain in May 2021, it gave me a window into the dynamic, diverse group of people the Fig Tree represents.  


David Gortner - Pastor St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Coeur d'Alene

Ours is to offer seeds of hope, seeds of good news. Whether there is a change of heart or conversion in life, that's God's work. Ours is to tell the stories.

I'm glad The Fig Tree shared the story of ways St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Coeur d'Alene sows seeds of hope, even in our region's challenging climate. We seek as a church to sow seeds of hope and love in words and actions on our own and in partnerships with groups across North Idaho 

Being featured in the article paved the way for our community and clergy to agree on a shared vision and mission to offer space for powerful conversations and to offer a different voice for faith.

In the Resource Directory, I find potential allies in ministry and mission, to build partnerships in Coeur d'Alene and North Idaho. We also rely on the directory to help people connect with organizations that can assist them along the next steps in new health, strength and wholeness.


Jeanette Hauck, CEO of the YWCA Spokane

I feel honored and humbled that The Fig Tree featured the YWCA in a recent issue. It gave me the opportunity to share the mission of the YWCA—to eliminate racism and to empower women. In that article, the Fig Tree reported on our domestic violence survivor support services and early childhood education program. Sharing this allowed me to spread seeds of hope that survivors can receive services they need to secure their safety and heal from trauma, and hope that preschool children and families will thrive in our kindergarten and their homes.

Every issue of The Fig Tree features information about the life-affirming work of so many individuals and organizations.  From the front page to the final, the written words give us news and stories that brighten our day and shine the light on the people of Spokane. Each volume spreads seeds of hope.


Walter Kendricks - Pastor of Morning Star Baptist Church and Fig Tree Board moderator

The Fig Tree intersects with, and promotes work being done in this region pertaining to the spreading of seeds of hope.

One of the missions of The Fig Tree is to be a light and spread hope throughout a community filled with constant streams of negativity.

I have been involved with the Fig Tree for four years. I'm now the moderator. The Fig Tree promotes tolerance, diversity, inclusion and most importantly love, a love for one another, a love for community, a love displayed  by action.

By its display of love for all humanity, The Fig Tree plants then waters seeds of hope. We now await the harvest, whose fruit reveals a bounty of love.

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Copyright@ The Fig Tree, April, 2022