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Photo of Compassion Games courtesy Joan Broeckling

Compassion Games coming to Spokane in September

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By Matthew Kincanon

One Peace, Many Paths is inviting people to participate in its fourth year sponsoring the Global Unity Compassion Games that will take place in Spokane from Sept. 9 to 24 as a way to increase expressing compassion through “random acts of kindness, community events and group service projects.”

Hank Broeckling, co-director at One Peace, Many Paths, said the organization has been hosting the games in Spokane as a means to “helping people to know and experience peace.”

“When you have compassion, you’re at peace,” Broeckling said.

Photo courtesy Joan Broackling

The opening event, co-sponsored by World Relief, will be a “Know Your Neighbor Dinner” on Sept. 11 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Northeast Community Center, where people are encouraged to meet “their neighbors,” whether they be “native born or have come here as a refugee or immigrant.”

Attendees are asked to bring a food dish to share that does not include beef or pork, as well as any of the following items for World Relief; trash bags, baby wipes, baby diapers sizes 2, 3 or 4, toilet paper and laundry detergent.  Reservations for the event are required by Sept. 7.

Broeckling said the dinner is a way to break down stereotypes through meeting others.

“It kind of tends to break down maybe stereotypes you have or pictures of how somebody is,” he said.  “Until you know them, you don’t know what it’s really like.”

The second event, co-sponsored by Gonzaga’s Institute for Hate Studies and SNAP, will be the Imagine Spokane Forum and Resource Fair held on Sept. 16 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  at Gonzaga University’s Hemmingson Center with Spokane City Councilman Ben Stuckart speaking.

The goals of the forum, according to a document, is:

1) To increase community awareness and support of existing and innovative/”seed” organizations and projects that contribute to a more compassionate community

2) To break down more barriers stemming from “fear, stereotyping, and unconscious bias”

3) To provide opportunities for strengthening the volunteer base and networking among organizations and agencies working for a more “compassionate, just and sustainable community.”

There are two major “content threads” for the Forum, relating to four of the 17 United Nations “Sustainable Goals for Development.”  These two content threads are ending poverty and hunger in Spokane and establishing the Spokane region as a “safe, just and inclusive community for all who live here.”

The first thread will relate to sustainable goals one (ending poverty in all forms) and two (ending hunger and achieving food security).  The second thread will relate to sustainable goals 11 (making communities “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”) and 16 (promoting “peaceful and inclusive societies,” and providing access to justice for all).

The resource fair will consist of collaborating organizations to have “an informational/volunteer recruitment booth.”

Joan Broeckling, co-director at One Peace, Many Paths, said the goal is to increase community involvement through volunteer work, raising awareness, and “greater communications and understanding.”

“That’s why we do not just the forum but have a resource fair with it so that it gives people a way to connect with the agencies who are focusing on specific aspects of dealing with those issues,” she said.

The third event, co-sponsored by Gonzaga’s Institute of Hate Studies and Pax Christi, will be the World Peace Flag Ceremony held on Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Hemmingson Center.

According to a flyer, the ceremony is where attendees will “participate in a powerful and visually beautiful ceremony as we honor all the nations around the world.  The flag of each nation will be presented as we send a declaration of peace to all nations on Earth.”

The Neema African Refugee Children’s Choir will be performing at the ceremony.

“It’s more really to celebrate the possibility of peace in the world,” Joan Broeckling said.  “We do that by naming each country of the world and then the whole group declares ‘May peace prevail’ in Angola, or in Cuba, or in Syria or wherever it is.”

Other service projects and events held throughout the games include Fall Clean up Drumheller Springs (Sept. 11, 9 a.m. at W Euclid Ave and North Ash Pl), Northwest Harvest Food Packaging (Sept. 14, noon to 2 p.m. at 3808 N Sullivan Road) and many others throughout the month.

“I think main thing people take away is that what you put out is what you get back in the world,” Hank Broeckling said regarding his thoughts on what people take away from the games.  “The compassion games are about helping people to understand if you act compassionately then you’ll have compassion in your life and so it’s really about people understanding that they can make a difference in the world just by being compassionate.”

He added that “one kind act can affect many different people,” and compassion “isn’t just a theory it’s actually something that really works and they take it out into the world and make a difference in the world with it.”

Throughout September, individuals or groups can record their acts of compassion on the Compassion Map online at compassiongames.org.

Organizations partnering with One Peace, Many Paths for the games include Alternatives to Violence Project, Fig Tree, I Did the Time, Refugee Connections, Lutheran Community Services, Baha’i Community, People First, Upper Columbia United Tribes, YMCA and many others.

“The thing that excites me the most is the coming together of so many people from so many groups and organizations and agencies kind of all coming together as a community saying, ‘Hey we are compassionate and we can do more’,” Joan Broeckling said.  “Just kind of an affirmation of all the positive things that are going on in the face of negativity that we’re fed all the time.”

For more information visit OnePeaceManyPaths.org or call 509-536-2811.

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Matthew Kincanon

About Matthew Kincanon

Matthew Kincanon is a journalism and political science major at Gonzaga University. His journalism experience includes working at the Gonzaga Bulletin, and now SpokaneFāVS. He said he is excited to be a journalism intern at SpokaneFAVS because, as a Spokane native, he wants to learn more about the religious communities in his hometown as well as the religions themselves.

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