Tag Archives: Spokane Valley

Meet Byron Corbett, our Seventh-day Adventist contributor

Pastor Byron Corbett

Byron H. Corbett serves as senior pastor of the Spokane Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Before coming to the Spokane area he pastored two rapidly growing districts in western Washington for eight years, and served as an associate speaker with Amazing Facts, traveling extensively in both the United States and Canada presenting life change seminars.

His particular interests are Bible prophecy and current events. Corbett also enjoys aviation and outdoor sports, particularly skiing and snowmobiling.

“My greatest passion, however, is to share the hope Jesus Christ offers with people in a meaningful way and to help them be ready for Jesus’ soon return to this earth,” he said.

Corbett lives in Spokane Valley with his wife and three daughters.

Meet Matt Wise, our gospel philosophy writer

Matt Wise

Before earning his bachelor’s from Brigham Young University-Idaho, Matt Wise served in Japan as a missionary for the Church of Jesus of Christ Latter-day Saints.

He’s originally from Spokane Valley and is currently working on personal entrepreneurial pursuits and preparing for graduate school. He’s involved in numerous church activities and enjoys studying the scriptures, health, politics, news, history and business.

For SpokaneFAVS Wise writes about gospel philosophy and Christ-like attributes. From time-to-time he’ll also tackle news and politics.

Blessing Foods delivers food, hope as part of nourishing mission

Courtesy of Latter-day Sentinel

Most people have heard of the parable of the fish and loaves. Lisa Bickham is living it.

Spokane resident Lisa Bickham founded Blessing Foods Inc. in May 2009 by delivering donated food from the back of a truck. These days, Bickham provides nutrition to around 3,000 people throughout the region each month. Photo by Craig Howard

It began three winters ago when Bickham gathered frozen turkeys from Spokane-area food banks and navigated through the snow and ice to deliver Thanksgiving dinners to stranded residents. By May of 2009, Bickham was receiving donations from area grocery stores and dropping off food to shelters, group homes, retirement centers and apartment complexes.

A single mom, Bickham had relied on food banks herself for years. Now she was driving across Spokane County, carrying shipments of nutrition and distributing the Bread of Life, or in her words, “the good news of the salvation of Jesus Christ.” She calls the ministry, Blessing Foods Inc.

Read full post here.

Local woman a standout volunteer, athlete

Latter Day Sentinel

Trudy Reese has lived in the Spokane Valley area for 35 years. She currently serves as the Humanitarian leader in the Evergreen Ward of the Spokane East Stake. Contributed Photo.

Perhaps someday there will be an event that combines the challenge of a cross country ultra-marathon with the unique rigors of volunteer work. Participants would stride down forest trails and check in at designated stations, gathering supplies and rallying support for nonprofit causes along the way. Winning would be based on a calculation of time and overall community impact.

If that event ever does take place, chances are that Trudy Reese will be on the medal stand.

From visiting prisoners at the Eleanor Chase Halfway House to organizing clothing drives for homeless shelters, Reese sets an inspiring pace on the pathway of service.

Read full story in the LDS Sentinel.

Parting the sea of 2 faiths, the language that separates Messianic Jews

By Contributor Lace Williams-Tinajero

Lace Williams-Tinajero

One day Rabbi David D’Auria found a red Nazi swastika painted on the sign of his synagogue. Regardless, he answers with a firm “no” when asked if he has ever been targeted or persecuted for being a Messianic Jew. The leader of Kehilat HaMashiach, a Messianic congregation in Spokane Valley, says that anti-Semites, people who hate Jews, target all Jews. Even some of his fellows Jews are suspicious of him. For Christians the rabbi has to prove himself a true follower of Jesus. For Jews he has to prove he’s still Jewish.

At times, such “gross display of ignorance” makes living in Spokane difficult, D’Auria said. Larger metropolitan areas like Philadelphia, Miami and Fort Lauderdale have higher populations of Jews and Messianic Jews. Not so in Spokane, which is mostly homogeneous.

“Spokane is not this international community with many different cultures,” D’Auria said. “When you have interactions between different cultural groups, you have more openness. Spokane feels resistant and non-accepting of different groups.”

One word sets all Messianic Jews apart, Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus). The call for Messianic Jews is obedience to Yeshua while maintaining their Jewish identity. Yeshua is the center of their worship. Yeshua is also the eye of a storm of controversy that swirls around them.

“We are not part of what is traditionally considered Christian or Jewish because of our unique call; yet, we desire the unity in both groups of people — Christians and Jews,” said D’Auria.

As with any religious journey, it is difficult to walk a straight path. The difficulty for Messianic Jews is, “staying to the center of the road when there are two sides pulling you apart, Jews pulling you to be non-Yeshua, and Gentiles pulling you to be less Jewish,” he added.

Yeshua is the most descriptive word for Messianic Jews. It evokes hatred from some non-Yeshua believing Jews. D’Auria indicates for nearly 1,000 years, some ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox Jews refuse to utter the name Yeshua. Instead, they spit on the ground and shorten it to Yeshu, interpreted as false one or traitor. Non-Messianic Jews regard Yeshua as a blasphemous word. They disregard Yeshua because of the harm that has come to Jews in the name of Jesus. In defense of Yeshua, D’Auria rejects this conclusion as sinat hinam (hatred without cause), stemming not from theological reflection but from emotional reaction.

To move forward, more open dialogue in place of emotionally charged reactions is needed. D’Auria answers “yes” to the question of whether it is possible to understand one another’s beliefs based on language.

“From a Messianic Jewish standpoint, belief in Yeshua breaks down some points of compatibility,” he said.

He stands firmly in his belief that Yeshua is God’s promised Messiah to the Jewish people. His sincerity and courage give insight into his character and why he continues on a path that others find so suspicious, even if it comes in the form of a red swastika.

Gays welcome: local church becomes open and affirming

By Tracy Simmons
RELIGION NEWS SPOKANE

It’s been a long and difficult conversation.

For two decades the Pacific Northwest Conference United Church of Christ tabled the gay issue. Should homosexuals be welcomed into the church? Should they be allowed to marry? Participate? Be ordained?

Until last year no one could agree.

Rev. Linda Crowe, of Veradale United Church of Christ, has been rooting for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), rights the whole time.  It’s no wonder her voice rings with excitement when talking about her congregation’s recent decision to become open and affirming.

“I recognized as we were going through this process that it was sacred work,” she said. “And I was aware that what we were doing was historic in the life of the church.”

For 17 years she’s served as the pastor the Spokane Valley church and said in that time she’s watched the 100-member congregation evolve into a social justice machine.

At a leadership retreat last year church members agreed on a new mission statement for Veradale UCC, “Worshiping God in Christ, welcoming all, working for justice and peace.”

Members noted, however, the mission statement would only work if the church officially became open and affirming.

For years Veradale UCC has had gay members in its pews. Last year it adopted several people from Emmanuel Metropolitan Community Church, a gay church that had to close its doors.

“Why do we have to do this if we’re already welcoming?,” some Veradale members asked.

Crowe said the church’s LGBT members have learned the hard way that some churches aren’t as welcoming as they seem.

“A lot of churches don’t mean it. Their welcome is limited,” she said, adding that some churches won’t allow homosexuals to teach classes, serve on the vestry, etc.

Rev. Mike Denton, conference minister, said going through the open and affirming process makes a loud statement.

“There are several churches that are essentially open and affirming but haven’t gone through the process and I’ve come to recognize the importance of doing it in a public way.”

Carol Ehrhart, president of the Inland Northwest LGBT Center, agreed with Denton.

“Many people in the gay community feel, or have felt, victimized by their church,” she said. “Many people, 20 or 30 years after they left the church, still feel very torn about their beliefs, who they are and how they were created … so when churches do open and up say, ‘Hey we’re affirming, you’re welcome here, we understand you’re God’s creation, you’re the way you’re supposed to be and we accept that,’ it’s a very powerful statement.”

In the UCC decisions come from the ground-up. Denton said major verdicts are up to the congregation, but added that he’s always happy to hear about church voting to open its doors to the gay community.

“Anyone who knows me knows I’m supportive when churches make this decision,” he said.

The open and affirming process, organized by the UCC Coalition for GLBT Concerns, includes several months of discussion groups, workshops and forums. Crowe said her church also studied UCC history.

“We looked at antislavery issues and other social justice issues that the church has been involved in to help frame the conversation about why becoming open and affirming is a social justice issue,” she said.

Though opening its doors to gays and lesbians was the main issue, the congregation took it further by adopting a statement that included people of all ages, genders, gender identities, races, national origins, faith backgrounds, marital statuses, family structures, mental or physical conditions, economic statuses and educational backgrounds.

“Jesus openly affirmed diversity and so do we,” it reads, “We believe all people are created in God’s image and all people are loved equally by God.”

Crowe said Veradale is starting its 101st year as a fresh, new church.

“We’re not wringing our hands worrying how to survive,” she said. “We’re gung-ho about the future.”

In the past year the church has gained 25 new members and didn’t lose any during its open and affirming process. Crowe said some church shoppers are looking for a welcoming church; others may walk out the door when they learn about its progressive stance.

“There are plenty of conservative churches here, plenty of choices for them,” she said.

According to the Affirming Christian Church Directory there are less than a dozen open and affirming churches in Spokane.

The last United Church of Christ congregation in the immediate area to become open and affirming was Westminster UCC in 2005. Rev. Andrea CastroLang, pastor of Westminster, said the process was unnerving. She wasn’t sure if there would be picketers and, just to be safe, the police gave the area some extra attention.

Thankfully, CastroLang said, the church only received some “nasty emails.” She said Spokane has changed since then.

“I think that Spokane’s insular community identity is really changing,” she said. “A lot of folks from other parts of the country are moving to Spokane and it’s changing our demographics in a good way. So now we’ve got a better chance of being an open and affirming city.”

Denton said several UCC churches in the conference are currently going through the open and affirming process.

“The conversation has changed a lot just in the past 10 years,” he said.

Meet Diane Kipp, our LDS blogger

Diane Kipp

Diane Kipp is a life long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon).  She graduated from Brigham Young University“Long ago in the previous century,” she said.

Kipp currently lives in Spokane Valley with two of her four adult children, her mom, one dog, three cats, and her “extraordinarily patient husband.”

“I look forward to writing about how living the LDS faith looks in my daily life,” she said.

Her daughter, Laura Kipp, is also a SpokaneFAVS blogger.