The Rev. Michael Harrington didn’t come to the Valley just to organize youth group meetings and afternoon potlucks.
The new associate pastor at Zion Lutheran Church, 8304 E. Buckeye, wants to reach the young people who only get close to a church when they want to spray graffiti on it.
Harrington said his calling is helping gang members and others he says are overlooked by organized religion.
“There’s plenty of religious stuff, but as far as being a spiritual agent of change, we’ve been pretty bad about it,” he said. And when it comes to understanding how gang members think, he said “the church doesn’t have a clue.”
Harrington’s last assignment was in San Antonio, Texas. Last year, he worked with that city to initiate a “gang summit.”
“We stood up, and said ‘Enough. No more violence,”’ he said.
How? It works like the name “gang summit” implies - by connecting directly with those living on the street.
“Who are the experts on gangs?” Harrington asked. “The experts are the gang members.”
A drive around the Spokane area showed him many of the same challenges facing San Antonio are now here.
“I saw kids with backpacks, kids with no shoes and kids selling themselves,” he said.
Western Day at St. Joseph’s
Folks looking for something to do today need only mosey on over to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Otis Orchards.
The church holds its Western Day today, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the church grounds, 4521 N. Arden Road.
Organizer Jill Somers said it’s bound to be a roundup of fun. There are games for kids planned all day, a poker walk raffle at 9 a.m., a fiddle performance at 10:30, lunch at 11 and line dancing at 11:30. At 1 p.m., there will be an auction, including a chance to bid on a car.
The highlight of the event is the “cow plop” raffle. If you can guess where the cow will, er, do its business, you can win $2,500. There are also eight prizes of $75 and 16 prizes of $25. Tickets for the raffle are $3. Just don’t forget your boots.
Help for Madagascar
Spokane Valley Church of the Nazarene recently shipped 1,200 boxes of clothes and medical supplies to Madagascar.
It took 25 people one hour just to load and label the items, including walkers, crutches, quilts and blankets. Church members even packed a bicycle, said volunteer Jim Weisen.
Weisen said the church plans to ship goods abroad every six months, as part of its “Compassionate Ministries” program. That next shipment should contain a lot more two-wheelers.
“We have 18 to 20 bikes we didn’t have room for,” Weisen said.