January 8, 2013 minutes

EASTSIDE INTERFAITH SOCIAL CONCERNS COUNCIL MINUTES

P.O. Box 662, Bellevue, WA 98009-0662

January 8, 2013

The meeting was held in Bristol Hall of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church on January 8, 2013, beginning at 12:00 noon.

WELCOME: The meeting was called to order and conducted by EISCC President Warren Marquardson.

OPENING REFLECTION: An opening reflection was shared by Pastor Tom Steffen of St. Peter’s United Methodist Church.

SELF-INTRODUCTIONS were made by 28 members and guests.

MINUTES of the November 13, 2012 meeting were approved as distributed.

TREASURER’S REPORT: President Marquardson reported that now that disbursements have been made to the separate Congregations for the Homeless and Sophia Way accounts (following their separation from EISCC), EISCC has assets of about $1,800 in addition to those held for Congregations for Kids.

REFRESHMENT COORDINATOR: We would like to thank the following individuals for providing today’s refreshments: Trish Rodgers, Tom Steffen, Dave Emery, and JoAnne Way.

THE SOPHIA WAY: Karina O’Mally (karina@sophiaway.org) reported that the opening of the Sophia’s Place at St. Luke’s has fundamentally changed services for Sophia Way clients.  Having their own space, storage and raised bed all shows them greater respect.

The Winter Shelter continues operation with numbers only in the low 20s per night so far.  It seems it is taking families longer this year to find out about the shelter.

The Sophia Way Thrift Store is set to open in early February.

CONGREGATIONS FOR THE HOMELESS – CFH Executive Director Steve Roberts (206-295-7803 or stever@cfhomeless.org) reported that the program is “fully stretched.”  There are 35 men in the shelter, 62 men in housing, and the Eastside winter shelter is serving 50 men a night.  A new Winter Shelter has been opened in North Bend with CFH’s help.  This is for men, women and children and is serving 10 to 12 people per night.

The new men’s drop in center will open tomorrow and will be open from 8am to 3pm Monday through Friday at First Congregational Church at 752 NE 8th st. Bellevue WA 98004. The Day Center will provide a place to relax and access lunch and drinks. In addition, showers, laundry, hygiene items, bus tickets, computer access, resume and job search help, one-on-one case management, nurse support, and clothing donations will be offered to those in need of these services.

CFH’s King County Housing grant has been renewed which will allow the program to continue to serve and grow.

Congregations are encouraged to help provide meals for either the Winter Shelter or the Day Shelter. Information can be found at http://www.cfhomeless.org/.

EASTSIDE WINTER SHELTER INFORMATION

Eastside Men’s Shelter

Hours: 8:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.

Place: St. Peter’s United Methodist Church (17222 NE 8th St., Bellevue)

Bus Route: 226

Open from 11/15/2012 to 3/15/2013

Call: 425-614-8544

Eastside Women and Children’s Shelter

Hours: 8:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.

From 11/1/12 to 11/30/12: Redmond United Methodist Church (16540 NE 80th St., Redmond). Bus Stop: Redmond Transit Center

From 12-1-12 to 1-/31-12: Bellevue First Congregational Church (752 108th Ave NE, Bellevue). Bus Stop: Bellevue Transit Center.

From 2/1/13 to 3/15/13: Redmond United Methodist Church (16540 NE 80th St., Redmond). Bus Stop: Redmond Transit Center.

Snoqualmie Valley Winter Shelter

Hosted by: North Bend Community Church, 146 E Third Street, North Bend

Doors open to patrons at 8:30pm to 10:30pm

Serving men, women, & families with children needing a safe, dry place to sleep with a hot meal and a warm place to sleep in a caring environment.

SVWS is substance-free, weapon-free, violence-free shelter. They screen for sex offenders.

The Winter Shelter hours: 8:30pm to 8:00am, 7 days a week.

If you’d like to help or share your time or talent with shelter operations, contact our volunteer coordinator at svwsvolunteer@gmail.com for more information.

WHAT IS EISCC?

Since Congregations for the Homeless and the Sophia Way began operating as separate 501(c)(3) nonprofits, the EISCC Board of Directors has been looking into EISCC’s future.  This is how EISCC’s current bylaws define the organization:

We, Eastside Interfaith Social Concerns Council, believe that we are guided by the moving of God’s spirit in our community to work together in a spirit of caring and celebration.  We honor and respect each others’ religious heritages, welcome and pray for each other, and share information about pressing community needs.

We provide a forum to educate, advocate, initiate, coordinate, support, and through task forces, or other means, work for the common good of the Eastside community to address human needs and improve the quality of life.  To carry out this mission statement, EISCC is currently managing three agencies which operate under the EISCC 501(c)3 designation.  These are: Congregations for the Homeless, the Sophia Way, and Congregations for Kids.  EISCC is open to consideration of managing additional agencies depending on need and EISCC resources

EISCC serves two purposes: to provide a forum and, when called upon, to nurture new initiatives, providing support until they are ready to go out on their own.

The EISCC Board of Directors is currently considering bringing on two such enterprises: Backpacks for Kids which is already serving students in the Bellevue School District and a new Mental Health Ministry which would be designed to help faith communities understand the unique nature of mental illness issues and to help congregations address people dealing with severe and persistent mental illness in a helpful and appropriate manner.

More information will follow as these discussions continue.

PROGRAM: FAITH ACTION NETWORK

Rev. Paul Benz, Co-director of the Faith Action Network, (benz@fanwa.org) was on hand to describe their social justice work in the halls of power.

Faith Action Network (FAN) is a statewide interfaith advocacy 501(c)3 non-profit organization through which thousands of people and almost 60 congregations across Washington State partner for the common good. Together, they are a powerful voice of the faithful building a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

FAN provides advocates and advocating congregations with:

  • Resources, training, and strategy for effective advocacy

  • Skilled staff members  for preaching and teaching

  • Opportunities to connect with other congregations across the State

  • Regular legislative updates and alerts via email

  • Representation in the halls of the State Legislature.

  • Opportunities to meet legislators and attend FAN’s Interfaith Advocacy Day

  • Assistance in coordinating public forums or community forums

FAN’s faith communities are committed to education:

  • Advocates invite staff from FAN to teach and/or preach in their faith community

  • They convene advocacy study groups related to their faith tradition’s scriptures or texts

  • They host forums with elected officials and/or on critical social issues

FAN’s faith communities are committed to public witness

  • The collect offerings of letters from members to legislators on critical social issues

  • They send members to Interfaith Advocacy Day in Olympia each February

  • The help organize or attend marches, rallies, or other courageous public actions

FAN’s faith communities are committed to the financial support of FAN

  • They attend the Faith Action Network Annual Dinner and Awards Celebration

  • They make FAN a line item in their faith community’s budget

  • They collect a special offering for FAN from their congregation

FAN’S 2013 Legislative Agenda “Do No Harm – Invest in People!”

This year, Faith Action Network will focus on the following issues:

  • FAN will work to prevent wage theft

  • FAN will work for adequate funding for Health and Human Services (including food assistance and farm to school programs, the Housing Trust Fund, and Medicaid expansion).

  • FAN will work for reforms to create sufficient revenue to balance the budget (including the capitol gains tax, tax exemption accountability and repeals).

  • FAN will support criminal justice reforms (including the Second Chance Act and the repeal of the death penalty, and gun prevention legislation).

  • FAN will work for immigration reforms (including the Voting Rights Act, Washington State DREAM Act, and human trafficking prevention legislation).

What can you or your congregation do to help?

  • Be heard. When you want to weigh in on a matter before the Washington Legislature just call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000.  One call to leave a message for the Governor, your Senator, and your two House Representatives.

  • Consider becoming a FAN Advocate or Advocating Congregation

  • Sign up for FAN Action Alerts

  • Join FAN at Interfaith Advocacy Day in Olympia on Wednesday, February 20th. This is an opportunity to join other faith communities to learn more about important issues of social justice and to meet face to face with your representatives to let them know what you think.  Registration is now open.

Visit FAN at www.fanwa.org for more information.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

F.I.R.E. (Fostering Interfaith Relationships) is planning a potluck to discuss Karen Armstrong’s book “Twelve Steps to a More Compassionate Life.”  It will be held on Sunday, March 10, 2013.  More details will be available soon.

THE KIRKLAND INTERFAITH NETWORK AND HOPELINK are sponsoring a Poverty Simulation on Saturday, March 2, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to noon at Lake Washington United Methodist Church (7525 132nd Ave NE, Kirkland 98033).  Participants will be introduced to the complexities of living in poverty day-to-day, get a sense of how difficult it is to juggle time and finances when living in poverty and gain environmental and emotional insights to the challenges faced by Hopelink clients.  For more information visithttp://www.kirklandinterfaith.net/povertyFAQ.htm.

FESTA ITALIANA: The Sophia Way’s Benefit Dinner and Auction will be held Saturday, March 2, 2013 at the Hilton Hotel in Bellevue (300 112th Ave SE) beginning at 5:00 p.m. with a hosted bar and cocktail hour.  You can register online athttp://thesophiawayitalianfiesta.afrogs.org/user/manage/index.html call Sirjan at 425-463-6285 x111 or email srijan@sophiaway.org.

CLOSING REFLECTION:  The meeting ended with a closing reflection from Anne St. Germain.

NEXT MEETING:  Tuesday, February 12, 2013, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

PROGRAM: EASTSIDE MENTAL HEALTH NETWORK.  Former EISCC President Dave Emery will be on hand to talk about his new effort to help Eastside faith communities better understand mental illness issues and to help them address people dealing with severe and persistent mental illness in a helpful and appropriate manner.

LOCATION: BRISTOL HALL, ST. MARGARET’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 4228 FACTORIA BOULEVARD SE, BELLEVUE (ACROSS FROM NEWPORT HIGH SCHOOL)

Brian Anderson, EISCC Secretary

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Together we are building a caring community