EASTSIDE INTERFAITH SOCIAL CONCERNS COUNCIL MINUTES
P.O. BOX 662, Bellevue, WA 98009-0662, April 12, 2016
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 Tony Copes.
OPENING REFLECTION: Jan Starr provided the opening.
SELF-INTRODUCTIONS were made by 27 representatives and guests.
MINUTES of the March 8, 2016, meeting were approved as submitted.
PRESIDENT’S REPORT: Tony reported that the Board is trying to provide greater variety and outreach in the selection of programs and spotlights for our monthly meetings. Your suggestions are welcome. We are also hoping to encourage broader participation by groups across the full interfaith spectrum.
TREASURER’S REPORT: Our treasurer, Rev. J. C. Mitchell, presented his financial reports. Our current balance is $81,226.82, with most of that dedicated funds for our two sub-agencies: Backpack Meals and Congregations for Kids. Our unrestricted funds are $12,552.32. He is always open to your questions about our finances.
REFRESHMENT COORDINATOR: Many thanks to Jean Harris, Warren Marquardson, Diane Richards, Steve Roberts, and Jan Starr for providing the day’s refreshments.
Backpack Meals: Jan Starr reported that they are currently serving about 160 packs each week. They were very fortunate to receive approximately $1700 from a special fundraiser by the Cherry Crest PTA recently. They are looking forward to theMay 3 Give Big Day event which brings in much of their annual funding. She hopes that you will consider participating in that donation event. All monies received will go to purchasing food.
Congregations for Kids: Nancy Jacobs estimates that they will be serving upwards of 1700 children in next year’s program. Letters have been sent out to previous contributors urging their continued participation. For those interested in donating merchandise rather than funds, you can find the list of needed items at their newly redesigned website,congregations4kids.org. She shared several stories of children who had been helped by this project.
Legislative Coordinator: Jean Harris reported that the legislative session was now closed, after going into special session to complete its work. She was disappointed that more had not been accomplished on the issue of education funding, but there was some progress made. HB 1682 was passed, which establishes vouchers for homeless youth to provide their families with stable housing in their current school district. Breakfast After the Bell passed both houses. HB 1541, which closes the opportunity gap, passed. The I-405 HOV lanes will now be open on evenings and weekends. HB 2530 was passed to address the backlog of untested rape kits.
At the national level, HB 3700, The Housing Opportunities and Modernization Act, passed. The Faith Action Network suggests that you contact your legislator to express you appreciation for its passage.
Emergency Services Fund: Brittany Holmes thanked congregations that contribute to the Emergency Services Fund for their support. She provided the story of a nanny and caregiver that had recently broken her leg and was being threatened with eviction. Hopelink was able to provide help with her rent money while she recovers from her injury. Two new publications were made available: their 2015 Community Impact Report and their monthly newsletter, Pathways to Success. For more information on Hopelink and the Emergency Services Fund visit their website at www.hope-link.org.
Pacifica Institute: Tezcan Inanlar was called out of town at the last minute and was not able to be present. We hope to reschedule his spotlight for a future meeting.
Gardening for the Hungry: Jan Starr reported on this project at her congregation, Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Their property includes a large orchard which gets lots of sun. They determined to use this resource to help the wider community. Folks in the community can utilize their P-patch space to grow food for their own consumption, and they are encouraged to donate any excess produce to Hopelink. They were able to donate over 2000 pounds of fresh food to Hopelink last year. Their team would be happy to work with your group to help you develop such a project on any available growing space that you might have. Seattle Tilth is also available to consult on actual gardening matters.
PROGRAM: Open Gathering.
Pastor J.C. Mitchell is one of the principal organizers of the Open Gathering project, which provides open and inclusive worship opportunities and other connections for people of all abilities, genders, ethnicities, and orientations. They have worship and a shared meal on the first and third Sundays of each month at the Crossroads Mall Community Room through May. They have a mom’s group which meets on the first and third Thursdays of each month at the Starbucks in the Crossroads Mall. They are planning a Family Camp this summer, possibly on July 1 – 3. All families are welcome, especially families of children with special needs.
They also provide respite events for caregivers and advocacy work for those of different abilities – even for those not a part of their community. The project was initially conceived as a project of the Bellevue Christian Church, but they understand the need to grow beyond the congregation.
J.C. shared the story of a recent immigrant at a Kid Quest event who had a 3-year old child who had been diagnosed with autism and whose father was struggling to come to grips with it and to share that information with his parents, who were coming for a visit. After participating in the group, the father expressed his great appreciation for the help he had received relating to his situation and assistance in understanding it as a spiritual issue. J.C. then introduced Marilyn Lehman, a member of the Open Gathering group who offered her personal testimony to the openness and acceptance that she had experienced as a part of this group.
J.C. suspects that there are more people with disabilities in your congregations than you may even recognize. They are there to help you provide support. Let them know how he/they might be able to help. Folks are welcome to participate in their other programs even if they cannot participate in the worship. J.C. provided a flyer and urged us to visit their website atwww.opengathering.org for more information. Their phone number is 206-707-3731. You can reach him by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, they find that the Community Room at Crossroads Mall is a little noisy for their worship, and they would appreciate any leads that you might have for another, quieter space.
Tony Copes reported that the next session in the Standing Together series would be held on Sunday, April 24, at 4 pm, at Temple de Hirsch Sinai. The series is co-sponsored by the Church Council of Greater Seattle and the Muslim Association of Puget Sound. For more information, contact them at email@example.com. You can register at http://tinyurl.com/maps-ioc2016event.
Sandy Lewis reminded us that Resurrection Episcopal Church will be holding its annual Hearts and Hammersproject on May 14, 2016. They have over 150 people who have volunteered to provide services to neighbors in need on that day. They can help with repairs, yard work, and other similar tasks. They still have the capability of taking on one or two more projects, so let them know if you know of someone who could benefit from these services. Sandy can be reached at 425-562-1228.
Ngoc Nguyen of the Eastside Legal Assistance Program reported that their next lecture would be held on Tuesday, April 19th, from 7 to 9 pm, at the Renton Library, 2801 NE 10th Street. This will be a workshop on debt education which will help participants learn how to handle debt issues on their own and when to seek legal representation, how to deal with creditors, how to understand collection suits, and how to understand bankruptcies. A flyer for the event is attached with the mailing of the minutes.
Diane Richards spoke about a program that she had attended recently on the subject of Love in a Time of Fear: Muslims and Christians as Neighbors. She recommends it highly. It will be repeated at St. Mark’s Cathedral, 1245 10th Ave E, in Seattle on April 24 at 12:30 pm. The program will last about an hour and a half. For more information, visit their website at http://muslimsandchristiansasneighbors.com.
Gordon Wilson reported that there will be a Day of Service event organized by the Sammamish Hills Lutheran Church. It consists of a wide variety of potential service projects across the Seattle and Eastside area broken up into nice 2-3 hour chunks of time. There are 36 potential opportunities, ranging from helping at the Northwest Harvest warehouse in Kent to working on parks and trails in Sammamish to feeding breakfast to needy people in Seattle to packaging up food boxes for hungry children in the Lake Washington School District. If you go on the web tohttp://www.signupgenius.com/?go=s.tabGroup&tg=93D71DB0EA17-2016of you’ll be able to see the various projects and sign up for one of them.
Tony Copes indicated that there have been several interfaith events sponsored each month on the Eastside in recent months and suggested that you look out for them and consider participating. They have been very informative and help to build community.
CLOSING REFLECTION: Dick Jacke provided the closing.
THE NEXT EISCC MEETING will take place on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, 12:00 – 1:30 pm
PROGRAM: Day Center for Families
LOCATION: BRISTOL HALL, ST. MARGARET’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 4228 FACTORIA BOULEVARD SE, BELLEVUE (ACROSS FROM NEWPORT HIGH SCHOOL)