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June, July, August 2023 Newsbriefs



Research for directory reveals demographic info

In his research to update listings in the 2023-24 Resource Directory, Malcolm Haworth, directory editor, has observed some demographic trends. There are fewer congregations, which reduces access to food and other services.

"In the last four years, I have seen a reduction of about eight pages in the Congregations section," he said. "That includes both church closures and consolidation of data. For example, The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints decided to list only stakes, not branches."

While many report about mainline churches closing, he has also found that many fundamentalist churches are among those closing and consolidating. In addition, he noted more international priests serving area Catholic churches.

"Because of federal cuts to food and meal programs in recent years, there is one less page of Spokane County food banks and meal programs. Some close, along with other outreach programs, when churches hosting them close," Malcolm added.

Other areas where he has seen cuts are in rental assistance, foster care and adoptions, domestic violence crisis lines, domestic violence shelters, health care services and in-home care and retirement communities.  

Some cuts are in health care are the result of worker burnout. Some social service cuts are from grant and resources cuts.

"We have also made some changes, such as designing the Seniors section with larger type and setting it two columns wide to improve readability," Malcolm said. "In addition, we have reorganized some content, placing it in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math section, which includes foundations, research organizations, science jobs, kids robotics and more."

For information, call 535-4112 or email to order copies before publication.

The Fig Tree marks a year of growth

The Fig Tree Board Annual Meeting will be held from 1 to 3 p.m., Thursday, June 1, in person at Emmanual Family Life Center, 631 S. Richard Allen Ct., and online on Zoom.

The board will receive reports from staff and leaders giving an overview of the organization's accomplishments and challenges during the year.

Those achievements include for the first time earning more than $200,000 and qualifying to file a 990 tax form rather than a 990-EZ, noted editor Mary Stamp, pointing out that funding from all sources is increasing with added time of Marijke Fakasiieiki, the development and editorial associate.

A subcommittee of the board presented and adopted a three-point strategic plan, geared to The Fig Tree's unique size and operation—focusing on building collaborative relationships for common work, building revenue and resources, and building external partnerships and community relations, especially through a proposed networking initiative and interfaith dialogue.

"After celebrating the 50th year of the Resource Directory, we begin our journey to celebrate the 40th anniversary of founding The Fig Tree in May 1984," Mary said. "We invite the community to join us on the way."

For information, call 535-4112 or email

NAMI has new location with more space

NAMI Spokane, which empowers people affected by mental illness through advocacy, awareness, education and support, has re-located its office to 152 S. Jefferson St., Ste 100.

They will host an Open House from 1 to 3 p.m., Wednesday, June 21, at that location.

Their new building will help them host support groups and do programming.

Community members with questions about their services or needing help to navigate the mental health system can visit from 8:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, or from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Fridays.

"In our new location, we will be able to house our programs and support groups in one location. We hope our community will learn where we are and know we are here to help support them on their mental health journey," said Chauntelle Lieske, executive director.

NAMI Spokane has been serving people with mental health conditions and their families in Eastern Washington since 1980.

For information, call, 838-5515, email or visit

Make a Splash teaches children to swim

"Make a Splash in a Kid's Life" raises awareness about drowning risk in the region. With more than 70 bodies of water and 12 aquatics facilities in the Spokane area, the Spokane Parks Foundation (SPF) seeks to remove financial barriers so children can learn to swim and enjoy their summer safely.

"Drowning is a leading cause of death for children under 14, but it is preventable.  According to USA Swimming, 79 percent of children in low-income households have little to no swimming ability. Lessons can decrease the risk of drowning by 88 percent," said Yvonne Trudeau, executive director for SPF.

Its Make a Splash program increases access to swim lessons, drowning prevention and water safety swim clinics.

It also provides free swimsuits for children in need. Appropriate swim attire is required for entry to local pools.

In summer 2023, they will host the first adaptive water safety clinic for children with a visual impairment.

Through donations, SPF funds free open swim opportunities and neighborhood pool parties each year.

For information, call 280-1664 or email

Church aids local efforts to feed people

Each week, the shelves and refrigerators at NewbyGinnings in Post Falls are often empty or close to empty, said Chris Ford, volunteer coordinator.

At the Post Falls Food Bank, more than 500 new clients signed up last year, said Jeff Eastwood, warehouse manager. Each day 100 families come.

Chris and Jeff appreciate a May 16 donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that included a dozen pallets of shelf stable goods for NewbyGinnings and a dozen pallets of dairy products for the Post Falls Food Bank.

"It will give us the ability to plan long-term to address the food insecurity of families in our area," said Chris.

Jeff said the fresh dairy products were not close to expiration, "a rare and tremendous blessing."

Latter-day Saints Charities sponsors similar projects in 160 countries to relieve food insecurity, improve access to clean water and sanitation equipment, eliminate disease with immunization, respond to emergencies, support refugees and provide wheelchairs and eye care, said Jennifer Hicks, communications director of the Greater Spokane Region.

"Donations from members through the church's Humanitarian Fund are key to its effectiveness and reach," she said.

Its support of the food bank will also help a backpack program that provides weekend food for kids in need in more than 1,300 families each month. It also supports organizations like Ronald McDonald House and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Mike's Market is the food bank of NewbyGinnings that received the donation. Theresa Hart started NewbyGinnings in 2013 to honor her son, Nicholas Newby, who died while serving in Iraq.

For information, call 270-4950 (Jennifer), 208-995-5799 (Jeff) or email

Unity in Community will be August 12

The 29th Annual Unity in the Community from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 12, at the Riverfront Park Clocktower features multicultural entertainment, a Youth Fair, Career and Education Fair, Health Fair, Early Learning Fair and General Vendors.

Families can watch performances, wander among the different booths and have lunch.  Last year there were more than 150 vendors and the event drew more than 10,000 people.

A variety of cultural groups will perform on the stage, volunteering their talent singing, dancing, reading and more.

Unity in the Community is designed to expand diversity and cultural awareness as a resource to improve lives for everyone in the Inland Northwest with community education that fosters equity and inclusion.

The Cultural Village gives children who complete "passports" a bag with back-to-school supplies. Organizers are planning to distribute 1,200 bags of school supplies.

Aug. 4 is the deadline for donating school supplies. Supplies may be delivered to Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 645 S. Richard Allen Ct.

The event relies on volunteers, to help with setup and preparations from 1:30 to 5 p.m., Friday, Aug. 11. On Saturday, volunteers help at the information booth, assist other volunteers in the Youth Area, Cultural Village and Stage Area, and tear-down and clean-up after the event.

Unity in the Community began in 1994 to showcase Spokane's diversity and bring the community together in respect, trust and collaboration.

Event co-chairs are Mareesa Henderson and April Anderson

For information,

Meggan Manlove is new ELCA bishop

On April 29, the Northwest Intermountain Synod of the  Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Assembly in Pasco elected Meggan Manlove to serve a six-year term as bishop.

Since 2010, Meggan has been the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Nampa, Idaho.

She follows Kristen Kuempel, current bishop, who was elected in 2017 and has served one term as bishop. The Assembly gave a standing ovation to Bishop Kristen in gratitude for her service in that office.

Meggan begins on July 1 and will be installed Oct. 7 at the Cathedral of the Rockies in Boise.

She earned her bachelor's degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., in 1998, and a master of divinity from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2002. In addition, she earned a doctor of ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 2021.

From 2004 to 2010, she served as pastor of Soldier Lutheran Church in Soldier, Iowa.

With their theme "Bega Kwa Bega" (shoulder to shoulder), assembly participants celebrated their ministries in partnership with the Lutheran Diocese of Ulanga Kilombero and their ministries throughout the synod. An offering of $6,424 received during opening and closing worship was split between the Wells Endowment for Campus Ministry, Lutheran Disaster Response and Ulanga Kilombero Diocese Girls' Scholarships at Tumaini School.

For information, call 838-9871 or visit

Global Neighborhood Thrift holds block party

Global Neighborhood Thrift will hold a Block Party from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 8, at Brick West Brewing Co., 1318 W. 1st Ave. Geared toward all-ages, this family-friendly event will feature food from Feast World Kitchen, live music, games and community.

In its thrift and vintage store, Global Neighborhood offers pathways to employment for neighbors who have come to the Inland Northwest as refugees.

For information,

Harmony Woods offers 'taste' of programs

Harmony Woods Retreat Center will hold "Taste of Harmony Woods" from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, June 10 at 11407 S Keeney Rd. in Spokane. They will share some of their multiple offerings, including art and yoga for children, spiritual speakers and meditation, Tai Chi and yoga for adults, batik painting, song circle and live music, Dances of Universal Peace, Intro to Christian Mystics, silent auction, raffles and local vendors.

For information, email

World Refugee Day welcomes new citizens

World Refugee Day will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, June 17, at Nevada Park to celebrate the courage, determination and strength of people who fled persecution and violence in their homelands. Feast World Kitchen will provide food. There will be cultural songs and dances by performers from around the world, a citizenship ceremony and speakers. There will also be a Community Agency Resource Fair.

For information, contact

St. David's plans Celtic Summer Solstice service

St. David's Episcopal Church celebrates the Summer Solstice in a Celtic Service with ritual, music and Eucharist from 7 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 21, at 7315 N. Wall St.  Celtic harpist, Ellicia Jones, will perform and Kimmy Meinecke, vicar of St. David's, will preside. The church has a Celtic Service at 11 a.m. every Sunday.

For information, call 466-3100 or email

Kootenai Task Force speakers give perspective

The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations (KCTFHR) June Luncheon will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Thursday, June 22, at the Best Western Coeur d'Alene Inn at 506 W. Appleway in Coeur d'Alene. Presenters will speak on "The Rise and Fall of the Aryan Nations: Are Extremist Groups on the Rise Again in the United States?"

Norman Gissel, the KCTFHR's attorney for many years and the attorney for victims Victoria and Jason Keenan, will tell the story of the Aryan Nations and the civil case that ended their activities in Northern Idaho.

Rhodes scholar and Washington State University (WSU)political science professor Cornell Clayton will place today's extremism in historical perspective, explaining its relative dangers through American history. He is executive director of the WSU Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service. In April and May, he was a senior Fulbright specialist at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, lecturing on human rights.

For information and to pre-register, call 208-765-3932.

Mujeres in Action expands to build Casa MiA

Through a new capital campaign, Mujeres in Action (MiA) is expanding services beyond crisis intervention, legal and medical advocacy, housing navigation and a 24/7 bilingual helpline. Based on a study with Empire Health Foundation and Community Frameworks, MiA plans trauma-informed and culturally appropriate supportive housing for survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual assault.

At a cost at $4.2 million, Casa MiA would fill a gap in the Spokane community by removing barriers many immigrant-survivors face when searching for safe housing.

Through fundraising efforts, such as "Sequins and Velvet" on Friday, Sept. 15, "Casa MiA is a step for the Latinx community to claim space by living in a community that sees us and welcomes us without minimizing us," said Hanncel Sanchez, founder and executive director of MiA. "This project will bring hope to survivors by showing them that it is possible to be in a community that embraces who they are and lifts them up."

For information, call 599-5527, email or visit

Bike ride raises funds for LCSNW

Lutheran Community Services of the Northwest (LCSNW)invites bicyclists in Eastern Washington to join in its annual 8 Lakes Bike Ride on Saturday, July 15, through the scenery of Spokane, West Plains, Medical Lake, and Cheney.

Routes will be marked and include food stops, plus medical and mechanical support. The ride ends with participants and volunteers eating pizza and ice cream. 

The ride attracts several out-of-town riders from Washington, Oregon and Idaho, helping raise funds to support the programs of LCANW.

Riders choose from a 30-, 45-, or 75-mile route. All leave from Kaiser Permanente's corporate office off Sunset Hwy.

"Pledge riders provide generous financial support," said Christie McKee, advancement manager of LCSNW. "Our goal is to raise $70,000 to benefit the programs of LCSNW. 

"For nearly 70 years, Spokane LCSNW has offered hope, resources, and healing to thousands of Spokane-area residents affected by violent crimes and other traumatic, life-altering events.  We touch the lives of people of all ages, cultures, and faiths.  We walk side-by-side with them on their journey to find health, justice and hope," she said.

For information visit

Second Harvest appeals for funds to feed children

Summer break should be a time for children and teenagers to have fun and unwind, but for many, the three months without school meals mean they are more likely to go hungry.

One out of seven children faces hunger in Eastern Washington and North Idaho, said Jason Clark, CEO of Second Harvest of the Inland Northwest, appealing for donations to help local children and youth get the nutrition they need this summer.

To help inspire giving, Corwin Ford Spokane has offered to match every dollar donated up to $15,000 to provide healthy food to children in need this summer.

"I hope we can earn your support to help area children and teens enjoy summer as it should be—one without worrying about food," he said.

In addition to its Feeding Children First focus so no child goes to bed hungry, Second Harvest offers mobile markets to bring food to high-need communities, a hunger relief network of 250 food pantries and meal sites, and nutrition education with cooking classes.

For information, call 747-6678 or visit




Copyright@ The Fig Tree, May 2023