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Directory editor is committed to providing resources

Malcolm Haworth has edited the directory for eight years.

Along with being the editor and ecumenical/interfaith liaison, Malcolm Haworth said his work preparing The Fig Tree's annual Resource Directory has grown to be part of a family venture.

It's more than the Stamp-Haworth-Fakasiieiki family. It's part of the family of the Sisters of the Holy Names through the legacy of co-founder Sr. Bernadine Casey.

It is also family in the sense of the staff, editing team, volunteers and the community of individual and corporate sponsors, faith communities, advertisers, nonprofit agencies and community partners who are committed to supporting the monthly newspaper, annual directory, website access, social media, educational events, interfaith dialogue, networking connections and new media.

"The future is family in that broad context," he said.

As ecumenical/interfaith liaison, Malcolm helps organize the Eastern Washington Legislative Conference, interfaith dialogue opportunities and a networking initiative to bring immediate connections among people in the faith and nonprofit communities.

"I have also been involved in some direct action within the community related to knowing the resources," he said. "So I connected people with COVID resources. I helped connect people to set up church warming shelters recently. I also provided information on resources for the Spokane County Emergency Management response to the fall fire recovery for the Medical Lake and Elk communities."

Malcolm drove to impacted areas to collect information on resources and distributed nearly 900 directories to more than 350 families impacted by home loss or displaced by smoke damage or partial loss. He said a staff person at one city noted victims were able to act quickly to resolve issues because they had access to the resources.

"During the Thanksgiving and Christmas/Winter Holidays, I compiled lists of community dinners, food resources and gift programs to include with the November and December Fig Tree calendars," Malcolm said.

"Having information, I like to help streamline it to provide for people involved in direct services, emergent needs and emergency services," he said.

"With The Fig Tree directory, we offer connections within the faith community and wider social services," Malcolm added.

The Fig Tree is in the process of working with teams in the community to discern emerging media needs in consultation with board members.

"We are present within the community as part of our research to update directory listings and help serve by providing the information people need to improve their lives," he said.

Malcolm said his impetus for commitment to the mission to provide communication and connection came during his growing years as the son of editor, Mary Stamp, who started The Fig Tree when he was five years old.

He went to events with diverse people, sometimes listened in on interviews with people who make a difference and worked with the Spokane Council of Ecumenical Ministries, the name in the 1990s of the Spokane Christian Coalition, which helped form The Fig Tree. He also worked with the Interfaith Council for a short time when it was in an interim phase.

Through AmeriCorps, Malcolm began working with The Fig Tree in 2006 to prepare to publish the Resource Directory in June 2007, after the Interfaith Council was unable to continue it.

Now new media ventures are based "on our mission of promoting communication among people in faith and nonprofit communities. They will network to connect people to build relationships for common action for the common good," he said.

Along with having research skills developed over the years from studying history for a bachelor's degree in 2001 at Washington State University and a master's degree in 2005 at Eastern Washington University, he often volunteered with mailings and events.

During college, he was student leader with the ecumenical campus ministries board and participated with Lutheran, United Methodist, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim campus ministries in peace, justice, environment, diversity and leadership development efforts.

In addition, in 1993 and 1996, he traveled in Europe, attending the 50th anniversary of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey and studied a year in Vienna, Austria, in 1999 to 2000.

Currently he is working on a doctoral degree in leadership studies at Gonzaga University.

"As a volunteer, I was kind of waiting in the wings, going to agencies and congregations over the years and building an institutional knowledge of what existed within the community and region," Malcolm said.

"Now I apply that knowledge in my work. While we provide information in the printed and online Resource Directory, I know that information and am able to respond to requests that come directly to us," he said pointing out how fluid the research process is and that it's needed periodically through the year.

The directory is online as searchable pdf files arranged by type of services and the people served.

"We include nearly 12,000 agencies and faith communities. Online we cover Central Washington and include congregations in Eastern Oregon, Southern Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to include full regions, synods and dioceses in the area," he said.

"Our Google Asset Map had about 6,000 visits in 2023," Malcolm added.

Through regular research, mail, emails, phone connections and personal contacts, Malcolm updates information on congregations and agencies.

"I have a thirst for knowledge that's in service to the community to help make a difference in people's lives," he said.

"I'm proud to carry on my mother's vision of communication to make a difference in the community," he said. "I don't think that I necessarily intended to do this work originally, but it has become a calling over the years.

"Family can be a starting point for anyone's engagement in service to the human family and the values expressed by the peace and solutions oriented journalism," Malcolm said.

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Copyright@ The Fig Tree, April 2024