Fig Tree Logo

Sounding Board

Supporters celebrate Fig Tree's 40th, sharing power of stories

On the DeRose-Hinkhouse 2024 Award for Periodicals: Wow!!! Congratulations, Mary, for piloting the Fig Tree ship across this finish line. It reminds me of the University of Washington's 1936 rowing team, with a crew of hard working, skilled, dedicated, undervalued, unsung heroes winning the gold medal in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. This is a signature recognition and long overdue honor.  We shower the Fig Tree crew with congratulatory confetti.

Darrel and Joanne Lundby

I rejoice with you as you celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Fig Tree. When we studied together at the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey in Switzerland, we learned how wide the Church is and how broad the world is. We called that "ecumenism." A few of us have taken that message with us to our respective countries and tried to make it real in our own contexts.

The Fig Tree has done just that. It has made ecumenism real to its readers by connecting us across oceans and great lands.

I send my good wishes to you and all who work for The Fig Tree. May you continue your good work for many more years.

With Prayers and Blessings
Bishop Kenneth Fernando, retired Bishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Great historical review article in April about your vision and implementation of the Fig Tree. You have grown so much, but stayed steady, for a long time. Wonderful story. Many blessings.

Jim Halfaker - retired Conference Minister of the Washington North Idaho / Pacific Northwest United Church of Christ

Bart Preecs

"The Fig Tree provides a forum to give voice and visibility for activities in the community, city, valley and beyond. What people do would not be visible to the community if it weren't for The Fig Tree.

It changes our mental picture of what our community is like if we know there are churches opening their doors for warming shelters or joining in pride festivals. We start thinking in broader terms. It's critical for the community's self-understanding or self-awareness if we know that there are people out there doing things.

If we think we live in isolation and don't understand what is going on, we may feel powerless or think that nothing we can do will change the situation. We might assume there will always be homeless people downtown and look the other way. If we hear of people doing things, we may ask, 'What can I do?' Then we may realize we can donate some clothes, drop a check in the mail and make a difference. 

Being able to make a difference makes people feel powerful.

Bart Preecs – The Fig Tree, delivery volunteer

Cameron Conner

I have been a lifelong reader of The Fig Tree. I remember coming down as a kid to the kitchen table seeing a copy of The Fig Tree lying there. I read stories about people in Spokane I didn't know. I felt, my gosh, there are many amazing people in my community. I want to be like those people someday.

I love The Fig Tree because for as long as I can remember, it has given me hope in the world, in the community and the people of Spokane. When I need inspiration, I turn to The Fig Tree to see that there are people doing good work, living out the values and faith they hold dear.

Cameron Conner
Fig Tree Columnist

Flora Bowers

I've enjoyed watching it grow. I read The Fig Tree faithfully every month cover to cover. The first thing I do is go to the back and look at the calendar to find what I want to do this month.

The Fig Tree covers every religious institution. It's ecumenical and interfaith.

It empowers people by the stories, enabling us to know that other people think the same things, want to do the same things or need people to help out. It gives me encouragement to know I'm not alone. It helps us join together. It says there are good and positive things happening in this chaotic world. There is hope.

Flora Bowers – retired United Methodist pastor who was on the Spokane Christian Coalition when it started The Fig Tree in 1984

Gloria Aston Baynes

The Fig Tree covers diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. I have read it for almost 30 years I have been in Spokane.

I'm inspired by the wonderful narratives by people and about people who are passionate about their faith, values, goals and activism.

I came on the board this year because I value the stories about the multifaith, multicultural and multiracial communities. While our community highlights Native American Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month and African American History Month, that's just three months. I like that The Fig Tree highlights these stories and honors diverse ethnicities all year round, despite the low percentage of people of color in Spokane.

Gloria Aston Baynes
Eastern Washington University Africana Studies and Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Naghmana Sherazi

I can open a copy of The Fig Tree and there is something about Sravasti Abbey or something happening in the Jewish community. There's also a list of all the faith festivals. It is non-judgmental and inclusive. The Fig Tree creates understanding of the larger community and the little people that are not in the mainstream.

The Fig Tree goes in depth and connects with people on a different level. For me, it fosters understanding about what my community looks like outside of my faith and circle of friends.

Naghmana Sherazi - Muslims for Community Action and Support
and The Lands Council

Copyright@ The Fig Tree, May 2024