EASTSIDE INTERFAITH SOCIAL CONCERNS COUNCIL MINUTES
P.O. Box 662, Bellevue, WA 98009-0662
January 14, 2014
The meeting was held in Bristol Hall of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church beginning at 12:00 noon.WELCOME: The meeting was called to order and conducted by EISCC President Warren Marquardson.
OPENING REFLECTION: An opening reflection from the Koran was shared by Susan Morrisson.
SELF-INTRODUCTIONS were made by 28 representatives and guests.
MINUTES of the November 12, 2013 meeting were approved as distributed.
TREASURER’S REPORT: The Treasurer was not present at the meeting, but the latest financial figures can be found at the EISCC website.
REFRESHMENT COORDINATOR: Many thanks to Katherine Jordan, Sandy Lewis, Elizabeth Maupin, Anne St. Germain, and Tom Steffen and for providing the day’s refreshments.
Election of Secretary: Dick Jacke had been appointed as Secretary to fill the vacancy left by the departure of Brian Anderson. The Nominating Committee recommended Dick’s election to Secretary for the remainder of the current term. Dick was elected by acclamation.
Dues: Warren Marquardson indicates that the annual dues letter will be going out soon. Watch for it!
Contributions for Minutes: Warren also reminded representatives and guests that they can most effectively promote their programs and activities by providing the EISCC Secretary, Dick Jacke, with electronic or hard copies of materials that they have shared in our meetings so that they can be most accurately and completely reported to the membership in the minutes.
Congregations for Kids: Nancy Jacobs reported that there has been a lull over the holidays, as school was not in session for much of that period. They are serving about 1600 kids – an increase of about 100. Their website has now been updated. Check it out at congregations4kids.org.
Backpack Meals: Jan Starr reported that the program is currently serving 104 to 110 kids each week. This is an increase of about 40 kids per week over last year. Brochures and cards are available to promote this program within your congregation.
Legislative Coordinator: As the main program for the day was legislative advocacy, there was no report from the legislative coordinator.
Men’s Eastside Winter Shelter:
Steve Roberts reported that this program is now in its sixth year. At the urging of local cities, it provides a meals and a place to sleep for men in need of life safety. The program is run by Congregations for the Homeless. Its main shelter facility is at a new location this year in a building owned by Metro Transit – the former International Paper building near the Lowe’s Hardware Store in Bellevue. The address is 1899 120th Ave NE. The program is currently serving about 70 men, and they currently have no waiting list. The men can stay overnight from 8:30 pm to 7:30 am. A second facility, which serves roughly 40 men, is located at the Community Church in North Bend. For more information, go to their website at http://cfhomeless.org/
Help with food and meals is always welcome. A meal calendar can be found at their website. They are also looking for volunteers for food preparation a couple of nights each week. Volunteer hours would be roughly 8:15 to 9 pm. Also, their current freezer is not adequate for their use, and they would appreciate donation of a functional upright freezer. They can pick up, if necessary.
Clearly, the men’s shelter program does not serve women. However, a winter shelter for women at the Redmond Family Church is currently run by Sophia’s Way. They will be moving soon to the Bellevue First Congregational Church.
Native Women in Need:
Norine Hill, Executive Director of the Native Women in Need project, introduced us to this program. It is designed and serviced by Native American credentialed Elders who apply culture to their clinical practice. It is geared to enrich the women’s overall wellbeing with the ultimate goal to inspire women to become independent, overcome addiction, domestic violence, and/or homelessness and find their place in society with dignity and pride. More information can soon be found at their developing website at http://www.nativewomen.net. More details about new programs will also be forthcoming at a future EISCC meeting.
If you are interested in supporting this project, the group is currently looking for space in which to conduct workshops. They will also be looking for financial support as soon as their 501(c)3 certification comes through. Flyer distributed at the meeting.
PROGRAM: FAITH ACTION NETWORK (FAN)
Rev. Paul Benz was the Director of the Lutheran Public Policy Office of Washington before becoming the Co-Director of the Faith Action Network. FAN is a growing network of faith communities which pledge to partner with FAN to advocate in state, county, and local legislative venues. As the current legislative session gets underway, their top two issues are preventing gun violence (Initiative 594 on universal background checks) and preventing wage theft (elements of which will be offered in four separate bills). Additional issues that are of concern include creating sufficient revenue for the state budget, preserving the state’s safety net, dismantling the culture of violence, and supporting passage of the DREAM Act. Find out more about FAN and the issues for which it advocates at their website at www.fanwa.org. Use the Advocacy tab to find out what hearings and votes are happening when.
The Washington State Constitution provides several options for initiatives – sending issues to the legislature or to a public vote. I-594 will be considered soon by the House Judicial Committee. The I-594 campaign has cards that you can send to your legislators in support of this issue.
Wage theft deals with a variety of related ways in which wage earners can be shorted for monies that they have earned. This includes overtime earned but not paid, fraudulent procedures for checking in and out for shifts, benefits not paid, as well as others. The Department of Labor and Industries will eventually adjudicate claims that are made, but victims of wage theft can feel the economic pinch immediately. Making a claim can also put a worker’s job at risk. If you know a victim of wage theft, please let Paul know. He can be reached at 206-390-4133.
If you would like to weigh in with your legislators about one or both of these issues, please do so soon. The Legislative Hotline is 1-800-562-6000. You can leave messages for your senator, your representatives, and the Governor.
In the area of criminal justice, FAN is supporting higher education opportunities within our prisons to help reduce recidivism. This is seen as being “smart” rather than being “hard” on crime. They support passage of the DREAM Act, which would allow the state to provide financial aid to undocumented aliens in Washington State. This bill is already out of the House and on its way to the Senate. 2014 FAN Legislative Agenda
The Interfaith Lobby Day will be held this year on Thursday, January 30, 2014, in Olympia. Information about registering for that event can be found at the FAN website. For those who are unable to attend a weekday lobbying event, consider attending the Poverty Action Day on the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday – Monday, January 20, 2014.
In his final remarks, Paul wanted us to know that it is important to be in communication with our legislators throughout the year – not just during the legislative session.
During the question and answer which followed Paul’s presentation, a question arose about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is currently being considered for fast track authority in our Congress. The treaty has been negotiated secretly with considerable corporate and very little citizen input. Fast track authority would allow the President to negotiate this treaty and send it to Congress for approval without the opportunity for amendment or filibuster. Because there are concerns about the effects of provisions of the treaty on health and safety regulations, environmental and labor standards, financial regulations and many other matters included in the treaty, it seems that a wise first step might be to reject fast track in favor of more open consideration of the treaty terms. More information on this issue can be found at the Public Citizen Global Trade Watch website at http://www.citizen.org/trade.
BRIDGE DISABILITY MINISTRIES. Sunday Evening Celebration for February will be held on Sunday, February 9th, 10:30 am-12:30 pm, at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 3604 NE 10th Ct, Renton, 98056. Dinner will be provided. Join us for Fun, Food, Faith & Fellowship! There is no charge, everyone is welcome and volunteers are very much needed and appreciated. Call (425)885-1006 ext#118 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
THE SOPHIA WAY Annual Dinner Auction “Springtime in Paris” will be held on Saturday, March 15, 2014, 5 pmat the Bellevue Hilton (300 112th Ave SE in Bellevue). For more information please contact Srijan email@example.com or visit their website at http://sophiaway.org. Invitations should begin going out this next week.
AMERICAN WINTER will be screened at Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church (308 4th Ave S, Kirkland) in partnership with Sophia Way on Friday, January 17, 2014, at 7 pm. Shot during the winter months of 2011-2012, the film follows eight Portland, OR, families facing overwhelming financial challenges and a shrinking social safety net. Effects of the mortgage lending crisis, unemployment, a broken health care system, and budget cuts to social services are presented through the eyes of these families, all falling into poverty for the first time and struggling to keep their kids fed, clothed, and with a roof over their heads. For more information, visit their website at http://www.northlakeuu.org/
movies. Free to all, but donations gratefully received.
FAMILIES IN CRISIS – A program looking at families in crisis will be held on Sunday, January 26, 2014, from 2 to 5 pm in the Student Center at Seattle University. Flyer.
The first EASTSIDE CROP WALK ORGANIZING MEETING will be held at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church onTuesday, January 21, from 6 to 7:30 pm. Dinner will be provided.
TENT CITIES – Both Tent City IV and the more recent Camp Unity are in immediate need of new sites when they are forced to leave their current locations. Tent City IV is also looking for help with food. A meeting was to be held the night of our EISCC meeting at the Sammamish City Hall where they would be considering a moratorium on encampments in their city.
CLOSING REFLECTION: The meeting ended with a closing reflection from Sandy Lewis.
THE NEXT EISCC MEETING will take place on Tuesday, February 11, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
PROGRAM: BACKPACK MEALS.
LOCATION: BRISTOL HALL, ST. MARGARET’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 4228 FACTORIA BOULEVARD SE, BELLEVUE(ACROSS FROM NEWPORT HIGH SCHOOL)