2015 – “Together We Can!”
We are giving thanks here in the FAN office for the success of our 2015 Annual Dinner on Sunday, November 15. A capacity crowd filled the Renton Pavilion to celebrate that Together We Can create change for justice. FAN co-chairs Rev. Carol Jensen and Rev. Rich Gamble presided over our program, and Rabbi Zari Weiss of Kol HaNeshamah and Imam Jamal Rahman of Interfaith Community Sanctuary offered blessings for our time together. Rev. Dr. Carey Anderson, pastor of First AME Seattle, provided a prophetic keynote of challenge and inspiration: “Something is going on beneath the waterline–and I submit to us tonight, structural racism is happening beneath the waterline,” he said. “We cannot sit idly by. We are the somebody that must address what is going on beneath the water.” He continued, “We must equip our people with a new language. We must enter into a new conversation, a language of love, a language of harmony, a language of social justice. A language that says injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” He called us to see ourselves connected by head, heart, passion, faith and social justice. Share in Pastor’s Anderson message by watching the video on our YouTube page.
Faithful FAN supporter Rick Steves made a special video to challenge attendees to raise their giving by 50%. He ignited us by offering a $30,000 match, which generated $37,835 that night to #FANtheFlame of advocacy! We are giving thanks for each gift large and small that will help us do the work of justice together in the year ahead.
Five awards were given during the course of the evening to outstanding advocates and partners in the work of FAN:
Legacy Award: Honoring Rev. Loren Arnett’s Legacy
Tending the flames of ecumenical collaboration, and inviting others to “do justice, love kindness, & walk humbly with God”
Loren Arnett died September 30 of this year. We honored Loren’s ecumenical legacy as the first Executive Minister of the Washington Association of Churches (WAC), one of our founding organizations. His wife June Arnett accepted the award in his honor and joined an overflowing table of colleagues and Friends of Loren. We are grateful for his spirit and vision which lives on with us through the foundation he laid for ecumenism in our state, which has grown into interfaith collaboration at FAN and beyond.
We highlighted the career of Senator Rosa Franklin as a dedicated public servant and faith advocate for social justice. Her daughter Sara Franklin accepted the award for her and said her mom is still actively engaged in her Tacoma community, even though she retired in 2010 from her service in the state legislature. Rosa is a long time member of Southside Baptist Church in Tacoma.
We honored Jerry Large for faithfully highlighting people and organizations working for justice and equity. We will present him with this award at our Seattle Summit in spring 2016. He told us, “In my writing I try to encourage people to think more about how we came to be where we are and how we might keep making improvements to our constantly-evolving country.”
Imam Mohamed made the journey with his family from the Tri-Cities to receive the award. Originally from Egypt, he serves the Islamic Center in the Tri Cities, where he collaborates closely with FAN faith communities to build interfaith community. He spoke passionately about the connection of love, faith and humanity, which is why he planted a pear tree in front of Shalom United Church of Christ as a reminder of peace and connection between all people.
The Ronald United Methodist community broke ground in October on their church property for Ronald Commons, a partnership with Compass Housing and Hopelink. Ronald Commons will bring 60 units of affordable housing, a food bank, and other resources to support homeless and low-income residents in the Shoreline community. Pastor Paula spoke to the importance of advocacy, and was joined by Building Committee Chair Phyllis Johnson, Social Advocacy Committee Chair Carla Corsilles-Roque, along with three tables of church members.