EASTSIDE INTERFAITH SOCIAL CONCERNS COUNCIL MINUTES
P.O. Box 662, Bellevue, WA 98009-0662 March 10, 2015
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 Elect Tony Copes.
OPENING REFLECTION: Jean Harris provided the opening prayer.
SELF-INTRODUCTIONS were made by 23 representatives and guests.
MINUTES of the February 10, 2015, meeting were approved as submitted.
TREASURER’S REPORT: The Treasurer was not present at the meeting. Diane indicated that a report had been received from the Treasurer and that it would be discussed at the next Board meeting.
REFRESHMENT COORDINATOR: Many thanks to Elizabeth Maupin, JoAnne Way, Tony Copes, Nina Weaver, and Warren Marquardson for providing the dayâ€™s refreshments.
Congregations for Kids: Nancy Jacobs reported that they had met last week to begin their planning for summer. This will be their 20th year! They have helped 1508 kids so far this year. Emails are going out this week to previous donor congregations and organizations inviting them to participate again this year. To find out more about the program or how to help, visit their website at congregations4kids.org.
Backpack Meals: Jan Starr reported that 14.3% of households in Washington State were food insecure in the last year. The economy is still weak, and food stamps do not come close to covering actual food expenses. They are very proud to be able to provide foods that the kids like for their weekends. Funds for food are always welcome. Donations can be made through their website at www.backpackmeals.org.
Legislative Coordinator: Jean Harris reported that Wednesday, March 11, would be the last day to support SB 5153 to support increased transparency of campaign contributions. You can also go to the Faith Action Network website at fanwa.org to track the progress of bills through the legislature. Jean also expressed concern about the 47 US Senators who broke with standard protocol and sent a letter to Iran which had the potential of undermining negotiations with that country on their nuclear program.
St. Margaret’s Thrift Shop: Kay Feldman reported on the work of this charitable organization, a project of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church. The Thrift Shop was begun in 1977, and has now donated over a million dollars to various community organizations such as Eastside Baby Corner, Congregations for the Homeless, Sophia Way, and the Emergency Feeding Program. They accept and sell clothing, household items, small furniture, tools, and other items that they receive as donations. For more details, you can go to saintmargarets.org and select the Thrift Shop tab under Service. You can also reach them by phone at 425-641-6830 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
They are looking for volunteers in the community who would be able donate time to assist with their work. They are open 37 hours per week (Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat 10 – 4; Wed 10 â€“ 5:30). At present, all of their staff is volunteer. Merri Day, the store manager, is accepting applications for volunteers now. Tasks include sorting, pricing, sales, etc.. They are especially looking to fill vacancies on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Young adult volunteers would be eligible to receive community service credit for their work. They are also looking for a paid intake person to receive merchandise 30 hours per week.
Meaningful Movies on the Eastside: Janet Farness spoke about this project, a joint effort of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church and Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Modeled after a similar program offered in Seattle in the Wallingford area, the Eastside version shows a variety of entertaining, educational, and topical films which have been selected for their quality, educational value, and potential for community dialog. Most of the screenings support independent filmmakers.
The Eastside program has been running for 4 or 5 years now, and they show films once a month during the winter and spring. This year, the films are shown on the third Tuesday of the month, January through May, at 6:30 pm. The next film, on March 17, at St. Margaret’s, will be The Wisdom to Survive on climate change, capitalism, and community. Suggested donation is $5 per person, but no one will be turned away. For more information, contact Janet at email@example.com.
PROGRAM: Veterans’ Issues
Rev. Daniel Sorensen of the Lutheran Counseling Network wishes to be seen as a resource for faith communities on veterans’ issues. He is a veteran himself. Nevertheless, he wanted us to know that he was speaking for himself and not for the Navy, the Department of Defense, or Veterans’ Affairs. He surveyed attendees at the outset of his talk, to be sure that he could cover all of the issues that were of interest to us.
Dan emphasized how difficult it is for some of the vets to access care â€“ especially mental health care â€“ due to the continuing stigmatization of such matters in the military culture in particular. Too often, vets believe that seeking care is a sign of weakness and, therefore, a sign of failure on their part. There is often a concern even in the counseling community that vets may be dangerous. As an example, Dan told the story of a vet going through a divorce who cried (not an unreasonable response at an emotional event) at the end of a supervised visit with his son. The notes of the observer at that visit were very positive about the vet’s behavior, but the court-appointed guardian thought that the crying might indicate that the vet was on the verge of a breakdown and might pose a danger to himself or others.
Dan emphasized that the funds that the Veterans’ Administration has available to treat vets is not unlimited, and there is a need to triage to see that those most in need of care receive it. This often leaves some health care needs unmet. As an example, he said that dental care is not generally covered unless the vet is a Medal of Honor recipient or has a dental claim related to his/her disability. Vision care, on the other hand, is open to all and is even proactive.
It is often difficult for vets to access care, because they must access care by providing essential paperwork showing their service record and, thus, their eligibility for such care. There is a system that has been set up to help vets get their paperwork with their name, rank, and Social Security Number.
Some vets don’t want to go to the VA for care â€“ sometimes simply because they don’t wish to be seen as needing care and other times because they are concerned about the quality of the care that they might receive. King County actually has its own VA services available to vets. They are very proactive and have outreach into the community â€“ often going out into the trenches (such as homeless shelters) to seek out vets who might be in need of their services. They try to minimize unnecessary red tape.
There is an ongoing discussion within the vet community about their real needs. When they are in the community, they often hear “Thanks for your service” but they sometimes feel that it is insincere and avoids the real question of how they have been affected by their service and what can be done about that. Often, these remarks come from people who are figuratively wringing their hands because they don’t know what to do. Perhaps the most important missing element is that of human connection.
An ongoing problem within the vet community is that of poverty and homelessness. His concern is that more proactive outreach needs to been done to this community.
As noted at the outset of his talk, Dan emphasized that he wishes to be a resource for faith communities on veterans’ issues. If your community would like to find out more about the issues and how they can be addressed, Dan can be reached at 253-839-1697.
Sandy Lewis reported that the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection will hold its annual Hearts and Hammers event this year on Saturday, May 16. This is a collaborative ministry supported by five congregations of the Lake Hills Interfaith Covenant. Over one weekend each year, teams of volunteers provide labor and supplies to help with major household repairs, small renovations, yard-work and cleaning for 4-5 local households. This ministry has been supported by fund-raising within the participating congregations. The work is free to recipients. Call 425-747-3594 to arrange a project. For more information on the program, visit their website at http://www.resurrectionbellevue.org/index.php/ministries/outreach/hearts-a-hammers.
Trish Rogers reported that Newport Presbyterian Church had recently taken part in a Poverty Simulation. She indicates that it was a very worthwhile experience and energized members of her congregation around poverty issues. She recommends it highly, and thinks that all congregations should have an opportunity to participate. Poverty simulations are offered by both the Seattle University Department of Theology (which presented the program at Newport Presbyterian Church) and Hopelink.
For information on simulations offered by Seattle University, look at the upcoming events at http://faithandfamilyhomelessness.com/ . For more information or to schedule your own poverty simulation, contact Lisa Gustaveson, Program Manager, Faith & Family Homelessness Project, at 206-296-2657 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
To find out more about the Hopelink program, visit the Hopelink website at https://www.hope-link.org/take_action/poverty_simulation/ . Such programs are generally open not just to members of the host congregation, but to members of other congregations and other interested participants.
Elizabeth Maupin had several announcements:
Antioch Student Hearing on Homelessness. Eleven Antioch University-Seattle students will be presenting testimonies on their solutions to homelessness at a public hearing before six Seattle and King County public officials on Wednesday, March 11, between 5 and 6 pm at the Antioch University campus, 2326 6th Ave, in Seattle. The event is open to the public. This hearing represents the conclusion of a winter quarter course taught by David Bloom, Adjunct Faculty member at Antioch and a long-time activist on housing and homeless issues in Seattle and King County.
The hearing panel will include Seattle City Council members Sally Bagshaw, Sally Clark, Michael Oâ€™Brien, and Tom Rasmussen; King County Councilmember Larry Gossett; Director, King County Committee to End Homelessness and representing King County Executive Dow Constantine; and Mark Putnam. The hearing will be held in Room 100 off the main lobby on the Antioch campus: 2326 6th Ave. in the Belltown neighborhood at the corner of 6th and Battery. It begins at 5:00 pm and will run for about an hour. For more information, contact David Bloom at 206-941-8068 or email@example.com .
The Snoqualmie Winter Shelter at Snoqualmie United Methodist Church, 38701 SE River St, in Snoqualmie will be reopening. They need volunteers. A training session will be held at Snoqualmie United Methodist Church on Thursday, March 12th, from 6-8pm. Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP for this training by replying to firstname.lastname@example.org . (Note: Anyone interested in volunteering in any capacity outside of providing meals will need to complete their 1-night training session and consent to a background check.)
March 14, 2015, from 10 am to 4 pm, Creating Healing Communities will be held at the First A.M.E Church Seattle; 1522 14th Ave, Seattle, WA. A free training led by Rev. Doug Walker who started the Healing Communities program in the Washington DC area. Ideally, they would like two people from each community that attends. Please forward far and wide to your communities!
The Rev.Terri Stewart, youth chaplain, dreams of communities that â€œare welcoming to those affected by incarceration. That they will be able to walk with them. Provide resources. Advocate for them. And become places of hope and freedom. Leading to less incarceration. I always tell the kids I meet in detention, â€˜Don’t take this wrong, but I don’t want to meet you again!â€™â€ Contact: email@example.com .
March 19 – 21, 2015, the Fourth Annual Thriving Communities Conference will be held at the Whidbey Institute, 6449 Old Pietila Road, Clinton, WA. This year’s focus will be on shelter. Standard registration is $149. Scholarship rate of $99 is available for those in need of reduced tuition; catalyst rate of $199 is available for those who can help fund that support. For more info, go to http://whidbeyinstitute.org/event/thriving-communities-2015/or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
March 24, 2015, the Issaquah Nourishing Network meets from 3 to 5 pm. Contact Cori Walters email@example.com to get on the email list and for details on location and agenda.
The University of Washington will sponsor of the latest LiveWire series, Priced Out: The Struggle for An Affordable Seattle. UW Provost Ana Mari Cauce will give the opening remarks before Seattle Times business reporter Sanjay Bhatt moderates a timely conversation about housing affordability. Join professionals from Zillow, Red Fin, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and Spectrum Development Solutions for this important discussion. Tuesday, March 31, 2015, 6:30 – 8 pm in Kane Hall, room 130. Free but registration is required. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/priced-out-the-struggle-for-an-affordable-seattle-tickets-15797171766 .
May 2 – 3, 2015. A 2-day workshop â€œDREAM BIG, LIVE TINYâ€ on tiny houses in Olympia, WA. More info at http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/ .
Karen Studders reported that Women in Black would be holding a memorial program on Wednesday, March 11, at noon, to honor and recognize the homeless persons in our community who died in the last year.
Dick Jacke reported that WAmend is launching an initiative drive to address the issue of big money in politics. In particular, the initiative would declare that corporations are not people and money is not speech. If you would like to be a part of this effort, you can find out more about the drive, volunteer, or donate to the cause at their website at www.wamend.org . They can also be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com .
Linda Hillesheim reported that 21 Acres has a half-acre Veterans’ Garden that helps vets through farming activities. Some of the produce is provided to local foodbanks. They are looking for additional farm locations. For more information, visit their website at http://www.21acres.org/aboutus/the-veteran-half-acre .
CLOSING REFLECTION: Janet Farness provided the closing prayer.
THE NEXT EISCC MEETING will take place on Tuesday, April 14, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
PROGRAM: Eastside Human Services Forum
LOCATION: BRISTOL HALL, ST. MARGARETâ€™S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 4228 FACTORIA BOULEVARD SE, BELLEVUE (ACROSS FROM NEWPORT HIGH SCHOOL)
Dick Jacke, EISCC Secretary