EASTSIDE INTERFAITH SOCIAL CONCERNSS COUNCIL MINUTES
P.O. BOX 662, Bellevue, WA 98009-0662
May 10, 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: Rev. J.C. Mitchell provided the opening prayer.
SELF-INTRODUCTIONS were made by 31 representatives and guests.
MINUTES of the April 12, 2016, meeting were approved as submitted.
PRESIDENT’S REPORT: Tony urged us to share what we learn at the monthly meetings with the members and friends in our home congregations. He also encouraged us to suggest programs and/or spotlights that we would like to see in future meetings with members of the board.
REFRESHMENT COORDINATOR: Many thanks to Nadine Bentsen, Jean Harris, Elizabeth Maupin, Steve Roberts, and Nickhath Sheriff for providing the day’s refreshments. Note that the host team had not prepared decaf coffee for the May meeting, as past experience has shown that very few people actually drank it. If you would like to have the decaf service continued for future meetings, please let Betty Spohn or Sandy Lewis know.
Backpack Meals: Jan Starr was not present and had not provided a written report.
Congregations for Kids: Nancy Jacobs reported that documents for the next drive would be going out that very day to past participants urging their renewed participation. A number of current and former participants have already indicated their intention to participate. They expect to provide backpacks and school supplies for as many as 1700 students in the next school year. For more information on the program, visit their website at www.congregations4kids.org.
Legislative Coordinator: Jean Harris was not able to attend our meeting in person but provided a report in advance. She indicated that she had attended the recent Alliance for Gun Responsibility lunch, and she urged us to support Initiative I-1491 which would temporarily halt access to firearms for people at high risk of harming themselves or others. She will bring copies of the petition to our next meeting.
Emergency Services Fund/Hopelink: Brittany Holmes thanked congregations that contribute to the Emergency Services Fund for their support. Hopelink has also been working with United Way to provide free tax preparation for those earning less than $62,000 annually. Their services are still available for persons who might have filed extensions for their 2015 taxes (see accompanying flyer). She also promoted the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program which provides checks for eligible seniors to use at Farmers Markets throughout King County. For more information about that program, visit http://www.agingkingcounty.org/sfmnp/ . For more information on Hopelink and the Emergency Services Fund visit their website at www.hope-link.org.
Access Opportunity Workshops: Marnie Maraldo of the Eastside Human Services Forum spoke of the workshops that they are promoting within communities on the Eastside. These 90 minute workshops deal with the wicked problems that face our communities for which we do not yet have good solutions. It is an opportunity to brainstorm problems to these problems and to develop possible projects and activities to take back for implementation. They are hoping to offer these workshops in a variety of local non-profit groups. EISCC will devote our entire October meeting to one of these workshops. Let Marnie know if you would like to offer such a workshop in another non-profit organization with which you are engaged.
Pacifica Institute: The scheduled spotlight presenter did not appear. We hope to reschedule his spotlight for a future meeting.
PROGRAM: New Bethlehem Family Day Center.
Madeline Stein spoke about the New Bethlehem Project, a Day Center for Families who are experiencing homelessness on the Eastside. It is a joint collaboration of Holy Family Parish, St. Louise Parish, Salt House, Catholic Community Services, and other faith communities and concerned organizations. It will be located at Salt House at 11920 NE 80th St in Kirkland, WA, (opposite Lake Washington High School) and will operate under the management of Catholic Community Services. Once operational, the project also expects to provide support for operations of the existing overnight Eastside Emergency Shelter operated by the Sophia Way and Catholic Community Services.
The lower level of the Salt House is currently being renovated (permits in process) for use as the day shelter. They hope to be able to open by the Fall of 2016. Expected hours would be 2 to 8 pm, Monday through Friday. They hope to provide showers, laundry services, computers, social services, classes, and meals to those families experiencing homelessness on the Eastside. In the second phase, they hope to expand the operations of the Eastside Emergency Winter Shelter to provide year-round services. In the third phase, they hope to work with others on the Eastside to provide a permanent shelter for homeless families on the Eastside.
What can you do to help? Educate the public and advocate. Help with communications. Help children with homework. Prepare and serve meals. Organize and sort clothing donations. Provide services (haircuts, health care, and other services). To volunteer or find out more about volunteer needs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about this project, visit them at their website www.nbpshelther.org.
Tony Copes reported that he had received a request from LifeWire (formerly Eastside Domestic Violence Program), requesting help in providing services to survivors of domestic violence. For more information, visit their website at www.lifewire.org.
Sandy Lewis reminded us that Resurrection Episcopal Church would be holding its annual Hearts and Hammers project on May 14, 2016 – the Saturday after our meeting and probably before you receive these minutes. They now have over 200 people who have volunteered to provide services to neighbors in need on that day. They have 8 projects scheduled and will be getting help from members of the sponsoring congregations as well as Mormons, Muslims, and others. Sandy can be reached at 425-562-1228.
Elizabeth Maupin alerted us to the Issaquah Tools for School Backpack project (similar to our own Congregations for Kids program, but for those in the Issaquah schools). The backpack pick-up event will be August 20, 216, from 10 am to 3 pm. Their current needs are $5,000 additional for purchase of backpacks, donations of backpacks and supplies, and hair stylist volunteers to provide back-to-school trims for students. For more information, visit their website at www.isfdn.org/programs/tools-4-school or contact Krista Holmes, the Tools 4 School Coordinator at Krista@isfdn.org or 206-659-8152.
Elizabeth also urged us to participate in some of the events around Affordable Housing Week, May 16 to 22, 2016, including a number of Eastside activities (including open houses showcasing affordable housing in Bellevue, Kirkland, and Redmond) and a presentation Tiny Houses at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound, on Wednesday, May 18. To find out more about all of the events and activities, visit their website at http://www.housingconsortium.org/affordable-housing-week-2016/
Karina O’Malley was pleased to announce that the Sophia Way would be extending the life of this year’s Winter Emergency Shelter, now scheduled to close on May 31. They still need help with meals. She also reported that their day center is looking to recruit volunteers to help with organizing, categorizing, and sorting donations and handling fulfillment of requests from stocks. They are in a back room of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.
Karen Studders urged us to invite our local elected officials to the Affordable Housing Reception for Elected Officials which will be held at El Centro de la Raza; 2424 16th Ave S; Seattle, WA; on Thursday, May 19, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.
Rabbi Lipper of Temple B’nai Torah; 15727 NE 4th St; Bellevue, WA; will be holding two events at their temple next week. The first, I Am My Brother’s Keeper, is a conversation about helping refugee settlement in the Pacific Northwest. It will be held on Saturday, May 21, 4:30 to 6:30 pm, in Oneg Hall. The second, Crime, Justice, and Punishment, will be a discussion led by King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Stephen Herschkowitz on how crimes are prosecuted in the county and how to keep the community safe while staying committed to justice. That program will be held on Sunday, May 22, 10 – 11:30 am. It is free.
Fran Wessling promoted the Dinner Dialogues being sponsored by Fostering Interfaith Relationships on the Eastside (FIRE). The next dialogue will be on Sunday, May 15, 2016, from 5 to 8 pm at Northlake Unitarian Universalist Church; 308 4th Ave S; Kirkland, WA. The topic will be “Making Meaning in a Culture of Entertainment: Are faith, religion, and spiritual growth counter-cultural?” This will be a panel discussion from the perspectives of a variety of world religions. Fabulous potluck dinner! Please come, bring your favorite dish, and enjoy a stimulating evening of Interfaith dialogue! RSVP to RSVP@fire-wa.org
Kami Bratten of the LDS Church indicated that she would be moving and would no longer be attending our meetings. She did want us to know that there will be Mormon missionaries looking for opportunities to engage in service projects in our area. They would not be proselytizing, but doing service. If you have a project that might be able to engage such folks, Kami suggested that you contact Gordon Wilson or Warren Marquardson about possible opportunities.
Gordon Wilson promoted a JustServe.org, the website which matches volunteers with service opportunities that has been built and maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). Use of this site is not limited to Mormons, and he urges interested parties to check out the site for volunteer opportunities or to offer volunteer opportunities. The site has been set up so that you can search for opportunities within a desired distance from your home or other location.
Tony Copes indicated that the final program in the Standing Together series will be held Sunday, May 22, 4 pt 6 pm, at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound (MAPS), 17550 NE 67th Ct, Redmond. The topic of this final program is “Human Family” Values and the Work Ahead. Interfaith dialogue, followed by small group work and planning for next steps.
CLOSING REFLECTION: Rev. Karen Studders provided the closing blessing.
THE NEXT EISCC MEETING will take place on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, 12:00 – 1:30 pm
PROGRAM: City of Bellevue Issues Update
LOCATION: BRISTOL HALL, ST. MARGARET’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 4228 FACTORIA BOULEVARD SE, BELLEVUE
Dick Jacke, EISCC Secretary