The Oak Tree working to change faith in Spokane

There’s a lot of symbolism in an oak tree. It has deep roots that suck in nutrients to make it tall and strong. And in the Celtic tradition it symbolizes a door where different worlds come together. It’s no wonder this tree is an image of power and community. The Oak Tree is the perfect name for a new grassroots organization trying to gain some steam here in Spokane.

Spearheaded by Joel Williamson, a 29-year-old Spokane resident, the Oak Tree is a new faith community focused on building a people of power. In a recent email Williamson said the group will fight powerlessness by, “actually telling and hearing our stories (which define the experiences which shaped us and our values), and then acting in the community to create/shape it based on those values instead of simply struggling and adapting to the community which is shaped for us by the wealthy, corporations, and ideology. ”

On Thursday evening a group of eight people met to discuss the new group (which is applying for grant money). At the meeting Williamson said that the institutional church is no longer a place of authenticity and embodiment. This group, he hopes, can change the community by giving people the power to do “something with our faith.”

“This is an action group to build power and take action on what we care about,” Williamson said. “We can be a force to make things happen locally.”

The Oak Tree is backed by some local mainline Protestant church leaders (Episcopal, Methodist and Lutheran), but it’s open to anyone and everyone.

This group is just getting started, but trust me, this isn’t the last you’ve heard of them.


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