June Quarterly Community Meeting

What a great Community Quarterly Meeting we had last week!  Thanks again to Rev. Eric Jackson for hosting us!
 
Special thanks also goes to Tiegan Tidball from the City of Tacoma, Mike Yoder, Executive Director for Associated Ministries and Mark Merrill, Executive Director for Shared Housing Services for presenting.  Everyone did a great job!
 
Here are links to the materials we reviewed at the meeting:
 
City of Tacoma Temporary Aid and Sheltering
 
Slides for June Meeting
 
To keep everyone encouraged and energized, I would like to share a few results from the breakout sessions.  We had three breakout groups this quarter: Catholic Community Services’ Family Housing Network (FHN), Shared Housing Services, and the City of Tacoma, which explored ways the faith community could get involved to support the Emergency Declaration.
 
 
Catholic Community Services’ Family  
Housing Network Workgroup
The Family Housing Network Workgroup agreed to make some homeless kits filled with useful items for families experiencing homelessness. There was also emphasis on getting the word out in the community about this awesome program, so the workgroup is planning to have Alan Brown, the Director of Family Housing Network, present during scheduled community meetings.
 
 
 
Shared Housing Services Workgroup

The Shared Housing Workgroup took a similar path. They too wanted to get the word out about this great opportunity for the faith community. This workgroup plans to do more outreach in neighborhoods, congregations, neighborhood councils as well as some community gatherings.

 

City of Tacoma Workgroup

The City of Tacoma Workgroup came up with some pretty creative ideas about how the faith community can get directly involved to support the Emergency Declaration on Homelessness, including safe parking, permanent housing solutions such as rehabbing derelict houses or purchasing tiny houses, and exploring policy changes such as screening practices for rental applications.

 
The goal of the Community Quarterly meeting is to create an energizing space in Pierce County for people of faith and goodwill to share knowledge and act on strategies to end homelessness. 
Please plan to join us for future gatherings.  Upcoming Community Quarterly Meetings:
  • Thursday, Sept. 21st from 4-6 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 7410 South 12th Street, Tacoma, WA 98465.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 5th from 4-6pm at Bethlehem Baptist Church, 4818 East Portland Ave, Tacoma, WA 98404. 
 

Innovative Event to Address & Illustrate Homelessness (Save the Date!)

Associated Ministries will host a brand new event this fall entitled “AMAZING QUEST to Understand Homelessness.” This unique family-friendly event invites the community to take part in an exciting scavenger hunt-style challenge with the goal of better understanding the realities faced by those who are homeless in our community. It will be a bit like The Amazing Race television show, with activity stations and learning opportunities located at various landmarks throughout Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood.

AM executive director Mike Yoder is excited about the event’s potential to move the needle on homelessness awareness in Tacoma and Pierce County. “There are so many misconceptions about homelessness,” says Yoder. “This event will address these misconceptions, illustrating the daily struggles of our homeless neighbors, while fundraising to inspire change and make a lasting impact.”

The Amazing Quest will take place on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, beginning and ending at People’s Park in Tacoma. Teams of 2-8 people will visit various locations around the Hilltop and participate in challenges to win points. These challenge points will be combined with points earned during a fundraising period prior to the event, with prizes awarded to the winning team. Teams can consist of families and friends, church groups, office teams, and others.

Funds raised before and during the event will benefit Associated Ministries and its work to address homelessness and empower people to live stabilized lives off the streets. “Amazing Quest to Understand Homelessness is our way of not just telling Pierce County residents about the realities of homelessness,” says Yoder. “It’s our way of engaging them in an impactful and memorable way.”

Check the AM website in the coming weeks for more details and team registration information.

Because of Everyone

From the Tacoma Buddhist Temple: June 2017 Newsletter (MYOKYO); The Sensei’s Message:

We at Tacoma Buddhist Temple hold Sunday Service in the morning of almost every Sunday. I always appreciate that you wake up early in the morning of your precious day-off and come to temple. The other day, I heard the following from Rev. Yukawa. Rev. Yukawa, who usually sits on the balcony, counted the number of attendees at a Sunday Service. He said that on that Sunday, there were about 80 attendees, and 50 of them were non-Japanese people. Of course, anyone is welcome regardless of Japanese or non-Japanese. But when I heard it, I was so surprised, and at the same time, I was so glad that not only Japanese people, but many different people come to our temple.  

Buddhism is the path which each of us walks toward the Enlightenment by understanding and practicing Truths taught by Sakyamuni Buddha. Because of that, Buddhism is also said to be “Buddha Path”. Among Buddhist teachings, the most fundamental teaching is “the Truth of Causes, Conditions, and Results.”

Holding a Sunday Service, this is the “cause”. But Sunday Service does not stand only with this cause. Your attendance, people who are MC and a pianist, the Kansho bell being rung, our chanting sutras, my giving Buddhist talks and having you nod and laugh (my talks are not so funny often though). With all of these as the “conditions,” enjoyable “Sunday Service” is realized as the “result” for the first time. But, if no one attended Sunday Service, or if no one nodded or laughed to my talks, the result of “enjoyable Sunday Service” were not realized, and I had to stand alone in the hondo hall with loneliness. That is to say, our Sunday Service stands or arises as Sunday Service because of every one of you.

Everything in the world arises not only because of causes but also due to conditions. In other words, under different conditions, everything ends up changing. It is taught in the Sutra of Queen Srimala as following;

Just as there are causes for people’s suffering and there is a path for each person’s enlightenment, everything arises depending on conditions, and everything disappears depending on conditions. The rain falls, the wind blows, flowers bloom, and leaves fall. Everything arises depending on conditions, and everything perishes depending on conditions. This body of mine was born through the conditions of my parents, it is sustained by the food I eat, and my mind is nurtured by my experiences and knowledge. Therefore, my both my body and my mind arise depending on conditions, and, of course, they are transformed depending on conditions… Just as a net is made of meshes connected together, all things are connected together. It is mistaken to think that each mesh of the net exists independently.

When we think about ourselves, it is clear that our existence entirely depends on conditions. As the Sutra teaches about a net made of meshes, we exist because of infinite connections with others. We were born in this world depending on precious conditions, and live now while having being receiving an unimaginably great number of things from others. Our present life also depends on many other “Lives” we interact with. There is nothing that does not depend on conditions. We, through listening to Buddha Dharma, are receiving Buddha’s eyes of Wisdom which sees through the truth of cause, condition, and result, and awakens us to the connection of Life, and Buddha’s mind of Compassion which respects and appreciates each other’s Life beyond self-and-other.

Gassho with palms together,
Rev. Kojo Kakihara

Community Resource Connection Center in Action

Community Resource Connection Center in Action by Debra Cole

I would like to share with you about one of our Community Resource Connections Center clients, Susan* (*her name is changed). She was looking for resources to assist her in finding a recliner before she had to have surgery on her neck and cervical spine. Due to this type of procedure she was given a strict set of rules to follow, one being to limit her mobility; restricting her to a specific area in her home.

She was in dire need of a reclining chair, one that was easy to function and the correct size for her height, and had been searching for weeks leading up her procedure. I told her about the Northwest Furniture Bank, however they did not have exactly what she was looking for.  Susan then turned to Hope Furnishings, the retail part of the Northwest Furniture Bank, where they were better able to assist her and even gave her a discounted price.

Susan, due to a limited income, did not have the funds to purchase the recliner, so again we spoke. I told her about Associated Ministries’ (AM) Family Emergency Funds (FEF) and how it may be able to help with part of the cost, which it was, but not the full amount. The AM staff recommended I contact St. Leo’s Catholic Church, who was gracious enough to assist us with the remaining amount. To make things easier, I went over to St. Leo’s and met with Jessica to pick up the check to have ready when she came for the one from us.

She recently called to thank me and our team, as she is all set up with her new chair in the home. Susan was overjoyed that we were able to assist her and cannot thank us enough. This touched my heart, because what we do here at AM is life changing. We are capable of doing what seems impossible and I feel so fortunate to be a part of an amazing team!

 

 

 

Join Us for a Faith Community Meeting on Homelessness

You’ve likely heard that the City of Tacoma has officially declared a “homelessness state of emergency.” As response plans continue to be developed, local communities of faith will be called upon to be part of the solution; this is a unique opportunity for congregations to step up and demonstrate our compassion for those in desperate need. This is the time to be involved as never before!

In light of this emergency and the needs that are so clearly evident, we urge all people of faith to come together to better understand homelessness in Pierce County, to be introduced to programs and services offered by AM and other agencies, and most importantly, to learn how to take an active role in efforts to end homelessness.

Please plan to participate at AM’s next quarterly community gathering on Thursday, June 15, from 4:00-6:00 pm at Bethlehem Baptist Church, 4818 E. Portland Avenue, Tacoma. Among our guest presenters will be Pamela Duncan, Human Services Manager for the City of Tacoma.

We’d love to have representatives present from all congregations that are interested in addressing homelessness and effectively serving the vulnerable. Call Valorie Crout at 253-426-1508 for more information.

The Sacred Month of Ramadan

Ramadan, the most sacred of months for Muslims, begins this year on May 27th (ending June 25th). Most people think of fasting when they think about Ramadan; however, it is so much more than that for those who practice the Islam faith.  Ramadan is much more than just not eating and drinking; it is a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on Allah (God), and practice self-discipline and sacrifice.

The annual act of fasting (sawm) during the month of Ramadan is considered one of the 5 Pillars of Islam.  The other pillars, which shape a Muslim’s life, include daily prayer (salat), charity (zakat), professing one’s faith (shahaadh), and pilgrimage (hajj) completed at least once in a lifetime.  Every year, Muslims take an entire month to observe this strict fast and rededicate themselves to worship and faith.

Each night of Ramadan, Muslims end their daily fast at sunset with a celebratory meal called iftar, literally translated as “break fast.” 

In partnership with the Pacifica Institute and University of Puget Sound, Associated Ministries would like to invite you again this year for an interfaith iftar dinner on June 14th at UPS, from 8:00-10:00 p.m.  This event and dinner is free; however, registration is required.  Register at https://associatedministries.org/event/iftardinner2017/

We hope to see you there.  Until then, salaam alaikum (peace be upon you)!

Ready to Serve in Times of Disaster

All of our communities will one day be affected by a disaster – whether natural, such as storms or earthquakes or a volcano erupting as Mt. St. Helens did 37 years ago today, or caused by accidental or deliberate human conduct. When that time comes, will you be ready to help?

Learn more about how you can help in times of disaster at a Care Teams training! Disaster Response Care Teams are groups of trained volunteers who provide support, compassion, and resources to those affected by disasters.  Training and materials are free!

The next Care Team training will take place on:

Saturday, June 10, 2017, 9 – 11 AM
Bethlehem Baptist Church
4818 Portland Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98404

The topic is Psychological First Aid – understanding the impact of disasters, and how to be a calming presence and emotional support to survivors. Coffee and refreshments will be served.

For more information visit our website at www.associatedministries.org.

Call to Faith Communities: City’s Homeless Encampments

City of Tacoma’s Explanation of Declaration of
State of Emergency Responding to
Homeless Encampments 

The City of Tacoma has called a meeting to explain and discuss the recent declaration of a state of emergency responding to homeless encampments.  Agenda is attached here.

Thursday, May 18
3:00 – 4:30 pm
Tacoma Municipal Bldg. North
733 Market St., Room 16
Tacoma 98402

Main meeting topics will include:
  Explanation of the Declaration
  The City’s Response to the Declaration
  Aligning the Response with Coordinated Entry & Pierce County
  Forming a Data Committee
  Next Steps

Faith-based organizations interested in participating or who have additional questions can respond directly to Tiegan Tidball with the City of Tacoma at 253-573-2320 or ttidball@cityoftacoma.org.

Your collaboration and support in this endeavor to support the homeless in our community is appreciated.    

Volunteer with Paint Tacoma

“I cried tears of joy. It looks beautiful. My house is beautiful.”

“On Social Security, I can’t afford to pay someone to paint my house. The volunteers’ help means the world to me.”

 “The crew was awesome. I’d be happy to recommend Paint Tacoma to anyone.”

These are a few of the words of gratitude shared by homeowners served by Paint Tacoma volunteers last year! You, too, can bring joy to low-income homeowners – most of whom are elderly or disabled – by serving as a Paint Tacoma volunteer.

Gather together friends, family, group members or coworkers to form a paint crew, or sign up as an individual and we’ll place you with a paint project. Whether you can serve for one day only, or can work on a project from start to finish, we can use your help!

Not into painting? There are other ways to get involved, from repairs, to supply delivery, to photography. For more information, contact Wendy Morris at wendym@associatedministries.org or 253-426-1501.

Sign up to serve as a Paint Tacoma volunteer today! www.PaintBeautiful.org.

Local faith leaders pledge ‘respite and refuge’ from immigration raids

Churches, synagogues, mosques and temples and the wider faith community are united by the perennial tradition of welcoming the stranger as neighbor, alleviating suffering, removing fear and humanizing situations of injustice through solidarity and systems change. Faith communities have long exercised their spiritual commitments of hospitality, accompaniment and rapid response as part of the equity and social justice movement of liberation; “no one is free until we all are free.”

With that commitment in mind, the Church Council of Greater Seattle invited all faith communities to come together on May 1 at Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle for a meeting to launch a local expression of the Sanctuary Movement. Participants included congregations who are declaring themselves to be a sanctuary congregation, congregations in discernment, supportive congregations, rapid response hubs and satellites, congregations who confront the targeting of certain groups, congregations committing to accompany and offer solidarity to immigrants and refugees and friends rooted in social justice.

During the meeting several local congregations pledged to serve as places of respite and refuge on a short-term basis in the case of local raids, sweeps or communal fear of harassment or hate violence. SeattlePI.com covered the meeting: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/politics/article/Churches-in-May-Day-pledge-of-respite-and-11112559.php#photo-12828489

To learn more about the local Sanctuary movement, contact Michael Ramos of the Church Council of Greater Seattle via his assistant Ann Erickson at aerickson@thechurchcouncil.org.

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