Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Eastern Washington Legislative Conference examines state’s challenges

the Inland Register

(From the January 21, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

The 2016 Eastern Washington Legislative Conference will offer speakers and workshops calling people of faith to consider “Our Responsibility for the Common Good.”

The annual conference is scheduled for 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 316 E. 24th Ave. in Spokane.

Organizers include Catholic Charities Spokane, the Faith Action Network, the Inland District United Methodist Church, and The Fig Tree, a Spokane ecumenical newspaper.

Keynote speaker is Holy Names Sister Linda Haydock, executive director of the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center in Seattle, who will discuss “Connecting Global UN Goals with Local and State Issues.” Sister Linda is scheduled to give a presentation on how to engage in advocacy.

Bishop William Skylstad, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Spokane, will present theological reflections based on Pope Francis’s encyclicals, titled “Hope, Grace, Mercy,” and on the pope’s encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care of Our Common Home, on environmental concerns.

Dominican Sister Sharon Park, director of the Washington State Catholic Conference, and the Rev. Paul Benz, co-director of the Faith Action Network, will discuss the impact of two initiatives on wealth inequality. In addition, Sister Sharon and Rev. Benz, who are involved in legislative advocacy with the Washington State Legislature, will review issues before the 2016 session.

In a workshop on education issues, Jonas Cox of Gonzaga University’s School of Education, and Ivan Corley, principal of Grant Elementary School, will discuss issues related to funding schools and testing, curriculum changes, and struggles schools face.

Jessie Dye of Earth Ministry will discuss toxic-free kids, solar tax credits, pesticide notification, and reducing CO2 emissions. John Sirois of the Upper Columbia United Tribes will also share his observations as a participant in the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, as well as state and local issues on earth and river resources.

Phil Tyler, vice president of the NAACP-Spokane, and Layne Pavey, mental health clinician, and member of Smart Justice Spokane and I Did the Time, will inform participants about criminal justice issues before the legislature, including ban the box, abolishing legal financial obligations, and certificates of restoration.

Also bringing a global-local connections perspective will be Skyler Oberst, president of the Spokane Interfaith Council, member of the Human Rights Commission and legislative assistant with Spokane City Council, discussing policy recommendations from the 2015 Parliament of World Religions related to city and state issues.

Presenting reflections and prayers to inspire participation in the year’s legislative process will be the Rev. Dale Cockrum, Inland District superintendent of the United Methodist Church; Lutheran Bishop Martin Wells; and Episcopal Bishop Jim Waggoner Jr.

Nonprofit agencies and ministries will bring displays to share resources about legislative initiatives and their programs that serve people in the region.

“This educational event invites people of faith to consider how their faith teachings call them to be involved in having a voice on hunger, housing, creation, jobs, education, justice, equality, taxes and more,” said Mary Stamp, editor of The Fig Tree.

Fee is $20/person in advance by Jan. 20, or $25 at the door. A light lunch is included.

For information, call 535-1813 or email Fliers are at available online at

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