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Clergy ready to Occupy Spokane

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On Saturday Spokane area clergy will dress in their vestments and join the Occupy Spokane protestors in marching for economic justice. T

hough participants may be few (Episcopal clergy are in Yakima for the Annual Diocesan Convention), Methodist pastor Deb Conklin said she hopes the faith community's presence will be a strong witness that the church can still have a cogent voice.

“The whole corruption of the economic system is at the heart of hunger, at the heart of homelessness, at the heart of people losing their jobs, at the heart of people working forminimumwage and not making enough to support their families, it's at the heart of every social justice issue and people of faith are called to take action,” she said, citing Isaiah 58.

She said if clergy choose not to participate, they will have made true the notion that the church is no longerrelevant.

“The United Methodist Church at one point was a prophetic voice around social justice issues, when it came for the right for people to organize in the work place, the right for women and minorities to vote, and in the last 50 years we've lost that voice,” she said. “We're not even being challenged to be in forefront of this, we're simply being challenged to get on board a train that is already leaving the station.”

Saturday's march will take place at noon on the corner of Riverside and Monroe.

This event is in conjunction with the worldwide United for Global Change event. People from 868 cities and 78 countries are expected to participate. Local protestors will warm up on Friday with a peace march at 4 p.m. at the same location. On Oct. 24 faith leaders from around the country, including Spokane, are planning to gather for a demonstration at 10:30 a.m. There will also be lunchtime prayer vigils throughout the state on the last two Tuesdays of the month.

For information visithttp://www.occupyspokane.org/.

Tracy Simmons

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Lecture of Strategic Communication at the University of Idaho.

She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and for the Religion News Service.

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