The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia will host participants from around the country when the Episcopal Urban Caucus (EUC) gathers Feb. 22-25, 2006 in the Seattle area.
With a theme of "Weaving Together the Fabric of Justice," the gathering will focus on issues of economic justice, ethnicity and native peoples, homelessness and the environment in a time for learning, networking, worship and advocacy.
King County Executive Ron Sims and the University of Washington's Quintard Taylor, Jr., Ph.D., a foremost authority on the experience of African Americans in the West, are among keynote speakers at the week's events.
The Episcopal Urban Caucus was formed in 1980 to raise up issues of social justice within the Episcopal Church.
The gathering opens with a reception Wednesday evening hosted by Diocese of Olympia leaders Bishop Vincent Warner and Bishop Suffragan Nedi Rivera at the Holiday Inn Select in Renton. The reception features a four-directions blessing offered by First Nations peoples and a presentation by Cambodian youth from the Holy Family of Jesus Episcopal Church in Tacoma.
Part of the gathering is a focus on youth with a track dedicated specifically to those aged 14-20. On Thursday, February 23, youth will spend time in service-learning opportunities focused on homelessness, helping at a Tent City shelter and other site visits. On Friday, February 24, they will take part in a day-long training on peace and conflict resolution.
Five learning tracks, many site visits
The gathering features five learning tracks: economic justice, environment, homelessness, First Nations and ethnic migration. After a Thursday-morning program with keynote address by Sims, participants will attend a luncheon hosted by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship. Featured speaker is Joy Shigaki, capital campaign manager for the Wing Luke Asian Museum, which engages the public in exploring issues related to the culture, art and history of Asian Pacific Americans. The tracks then each have their own site visits on Thursday afternoon and their themes will be woven together in a Friday-morning panel and workshops.
In the economic justice track, participants will tour the Pura Vida Coffee Company, makers of Bishop's Blend coffee, and hear a presentation focused on issues of globalization.
The environment track features a visit and presentation at the Duwamish River Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site, guided by a representative from local non-profit organization People for Puget Sound. Participants then will tour Georgetown Gospel Chapel, the country's first Energy Star church. A presentation from Earth Ministry, a long-standing environmental program founded by Episcopalians in Seattle, will complete this learning track.
The homelessness track offers a trip to Tent City, a 5-year-old mobile shelter that has raised awareness of the 8,000 homeless people in the region... Participants will hear about a number of community responses to the issue of homelessness.
A visit to the Muckleshoot reservation, casino and race track is part of the First Nations track, with a discussion of the programs of one of the many vibrant First Nations people in the Pacific Northwest. The First Nations Committee of the Diocese of Olympia will lead this track and will invite elders of several area tribes to take part.
The ethnic migrations track features a trip to El Centro de la Raza, a community center founded by the illegal occupation of a city school building during the 1970s that has become the center of the Latino community in Seattle. This track will also visit St. Clement's Episcopal Church and learn the history of African Americans in the Episcopal Church in the region.
The assembly will meet Thursday evening at St. Mark's Cathedral for Eucharist featuring preacher the Rev. Canon Lloyd Casson, EUC's first president, followed by a reception and an evening on the town.
Friday evening features an assembly banquet with master of ceremonies the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, Ph.D., director of faith formation and renewal at St. Mark's Cathedral. Taylor will keynote, exploring jazz and blues as the music of justice and highlighting the role of Seattle as the cradle of West Coast Jazz. Seattle's interplay of Asian-owned nightclubs and African-American musicians playing for an interracial audience in a red-lined city is a little-known story of racial harmony and conflict. The evening will be capped off by a blues and jazz performance with dancing.
The gathering concludes Saturday, February 25 with a final plenary session including reports from the youth-track participants and a business meeting.
For more information on the EUC or its gathering, contact the Rev. Peter Strimer, missioner for communications and community ministries in the Diocese of Olympia, 206.325.4200, ext. 313, or email email@example.com