Holy Love Experience & Reiki Share Spokane Yaga Shala - Contributed

Spokane Holiday Celebrations Outside the “Traditional” Box

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By Cassy Benefield

‘Tis the season for a full schedule clamoring for your attention, but just in case there are still some openings left, we, at Spokane Faith & Values, wanted you to know about several events in our local area you may not know about from our various faith, non-faith, and cultural communities.

Our holidays are often filled with the secular themes of Santa Claus and reindeer, Christmas decorations and gingerbread houses, and the non-secular celebrations of Jesus’ birth. However, there are several local events that are a little outside our traditional holiday celebration boxes, some even more so, that we wanted to let you know about. These events may add to your festivities a little more knowledge and joy from others who may think and celebrate this season a little bit differently than you do. A win, win in our books!

So break out your calendars, and see if you have an opening to “make merry” this season in a way you have never before.

Pride Holiday Party

Friday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for Spokane’s first ever Pride Holiday Party on Friday, December 13. Located at the Historic Davenport Hotel in the Marie Antoinette Ball Room, tickets are $15. The evening includes heavy hors d’oeuvres, a DJ and a dance floor, and a silent auction. Also on the agenda is a big announcement for Spokane Pride 2020. Wear comfy shoes or at least shoes that come off easily for this night of festive fun. Oh, and definitely dress to impress! More information at https://outspokane.org/.

Remember Him: A Community Christmas Celebration

Dec. 13, 6-9 p.m.

Dec. 14, 4-8 p.m.

Dec. 15, 6-7 p.m. (music devotional)

Put on by the Coeur D’Alene Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at their church on 2801 N. 4th Street in CDA, this Christmas event invites the community to celebrate Jesus, first through two days in an open house, casual dress setting where visitors will experience a live nativity, over 300 nativity displays from around the world, choirs and musicians from the CDA area, and a “sensational” cookie tent. It’s an invitational setting for anyone wanting to learn more about the LDS faith or for those who simply want to enjoy another faith tradition’s celebration of the season. On Sunday, there will be a Christmas Music Devotional from 6-7 p.m., which will be performed by the CDA Choir of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with members from the CDA/Post Falls Community. You don’t want to miss this musical presentation if you can make it. More information at https://z-m-www.facebook.com/events/2824018650964694/.

The Winter Solstice and Moon Celebration

Saturday, Dec. 14, 2-4:30 p.m.

Hosted by the Buffalo Trace Society, a group dedicated to sharing Native American inspired traditions, this Winter Solstice Celebration will take place on Saturday, December 14, from 2-4:30 p.m., at the Unity Center of Divine Light and Truth on 4123 E. Lincoln Road. The event will begin with a pot luck dinner as families as friends share food and fellowship and prepare for the coming year ceremonies and blessings. All activities are family-friendly. According to the event website, “Comfort and healing into the new cycle of seasons is the focus.” The event is free, but donations for use of the space are welcome. More information at https://www.meetup.com/Buffalo-Trace-Society/events/266250225/.

A Gospel Christmas Musical Concert

Saturday, Dec. 14, 7 p.m.

For those who love Christmas music, especially with a Gospel flair, the 3rd Annual Gospel Christmas Musical Concert may be the event for you. From the producer, Michael Bethely: “The Gospel Christmas concert is an opportunity for the Spokane community to come and hear an array of talented singers sing in a genre of music that may not be readily accessible, outside of Sunday service at our local churches.”The experience promises to delight the soul as much as the ears as it showcases the talents Gospel singers Yolanda Kinlow-Jones, Latrice Williams, Janese Howard, and Martin Herford.

More from Bethely, “Celebrating Christ’s birth sounds real good here.” The concert will take place at The Gathering House on 733 W. Garland, and tickets are $10 online and at the door. More information at https://www.bethelyentertainment.com/.


A Contemplative Christmas through Trees

Now through Sunday, Dec. 15, 4:30-8:30 p.m.

This unique walk-through experience takes one on a journey through the Bible, told through beautifully decorated Christmas trees at the Corbin Mansion on W. 7th Ave., all at no cost. You can experience this quietly on your own or with friends and family as you walk through 12 Christmas tree scenes that artfully explain not only the story of Jesus Christ’s birth, but also “the story of God and man, in scripture, before and after the earthly life of Jesus,” according to their website. Each tree is also accompanied with binders of verses to consider as you investigate the particular decorations on the trees. Complimentary hot cider, hot chocolate and baked treats are also offered. More information at https://www.facebook.com/pg/AContemplativeChristmas.

Baha’i Fireside Discussions

Thursday, Dec. 19, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

While not a holiday specific event, this Baha’i Fireside Discussion in the Spokane Valley Library’s basement conference room on 12004 E. Main Ave. takes place during this celebratory season. Firesides for the Baha’i are intimate conversations that introduce attendees to the teachings of the faith. One such faith teaching includes the understanding that while this time of year doesn’t have any particular Baha’i holy days, December is a month in which Baha’i adherents often celebrate the holidays of other sacred traditions, such as Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, etc., believing that they all derive from the same source. All are welcome to these discussions. More information at https://www.spokane7.com/calendar/events/90163/244087/.

Winter Solstice: Seeing with Different Eyes (With Diane Sherman)

Friday, Dec.20, 5:30-8 p.m.

Many faith traditions have unique ways of celebrating the shortest day of the year, and while yoga and yoga practitioners may not follow any faith in particular, many would say their practice is deeply spiritual. Harmony Yoga, located on 1717 W. 6th Ave., invites others to explore the darkest time of the year inwardly through a deep yoga practice that combines yin and yang yoga, poetry, and nourishing self-reflection. According to their website, “The intention of this evening is to open ritual space to honor our own inner light, while not turning away from our own darkness, but to make space for ALL parts of ourselves.” Cost is $35. All students are welcome. More information or reserve a space at https://www.harmonyoga.com/workshops.html.

Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

Celtic Celebration for the Winter Solstice

Friday, Dec. 20, 7-9 p.m.

What do you get when you mix the topic of God’s light, some Celtic music and worship traditions, and a Holy Eucharist? Well, you get a Winter Solstice Eucharist celebration at St. David’s Episcopal Church on 7315 North Wall Street that draws its inspiration from Celtic and other spiritual practices. This service will offer members and guests a time to consider how they are reflecting God’s light through writings, prayers, and music from the Celtic tradition, as well as other readings that reflect Gospel themes. A potluck snack reception will follow the service. All are welcome.

More information at http://stdavidspokane.org/digital_faith/events/3182296.

Cosmic Advent Service

Tuesday, Dec. 24, 6-7:30 p.m.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane, located at 4340 West Fort Wright Drive, will host their annual candlelight Cosmic Advent Service on Tuesday, December 24, from 6-7:30 p.m. A congregation known for its inclusiveness of all beliefs and even non-belief, the UUCS will celebrate this service through singing traditional Christmas hymns, reading from a variety of faiths, and listening to short homilies to help celebrate the miracle of every birth and the birth of the Universe itself. Music for the service will be provided by the members. More information at https://uuspokane.org/WP2/find-meaning/upcoming-worship-services/.


Creator’s Table Christmas Eve Liturgy

Tuesday, Dec. 24, 10 p.m.

The Creators’ Table will host their Christmas Eve Liturgy at 10 p.m. at 1832 W. Dean Ave. Co-Pastor, Katy Shedlock says of these congregational gatherings, “Some things we do are very traditional, and some things are very experimental. Take what you like, and ponder the rest.” For their Christmas Eve liturgy, they will include some poetry and storytelling, something they also do every Sunday, as well as a time of sacred conversation. People can expect a very open vibe in a beautiful old church singing songs they know and love from inside and outside Christian tradition, as well as some images of the placenta on the high altar. More information about Creator’s Table at http://audubonparkumc.org/creators-table.


Holy Love Reiki Workshop Experience

Thursday, Dec. 26, 7:30-9 p.m.

The Holy Love Reiki Workshop Experience will be hosted at Spokane’s Yoga Shala located on 731 St. Garfield Street, and as the title suggests, it’s not just a workshop but also an experience. Attenders can expect an evening that includes a hands on Reiki experience and energy share of Holy Love that provides healing for a range of issues. The event is donation-based, with a donation of $10-$25 suggested. No experience is necessary, and attenders are encouraged to bring a mat, blankets, and pillows for seated and lying meditation. An optional light kundalini yoga warm-up sequence will start the evening. More information or reserve your spot at https://spokaneyogashala.com/holy-love-reiki-workshop-experience/.

A Celebration of New Year Traditions from Around the World

Saturday, Dec. 28, 2-4 p.m.

As part of the 2nd Annual Winterfest in NorthTown Mall, the Celebration of New Year Traditions will take place on Saturday, December 28, from 2-4 p.m. It will be a chance to see how other cultures ring in the New Year. Visitors will get to meet and greet representatives from local cultural organizations, see live performances, and sample New Year cookies from around the world. Free children’s books, provided by Value Village, will also be given away, while supplies last. More information at https://www.facebook.com/NWWinterfest.

Kwanzaa Festival at NorthTown Mall

Sunday, Dec. 29, 2-5 p.m.

Another Winterfest event our readers might enjoy is the Kwanzaa Festival also at NorthTown Mall. Kwanzaa is a week-long annual celebration, from December 26th to January 1, which is held in the United States and other nations with African descendants in order to honor African culture and heritage. This particular Kwanzaa event will be celebrated on Sunday, December 29, from 2-5 p.m. Visitors will get to meet Kwanzaa Queen, Stephy Nobles Beans, and Kwanzaa King, Cecil Jackson. They will also get a chance to hear a performance by the Spokane Community Mass Choir, poetry by Gaye Hallman, and African drumming by Roberta and James Wilburn. They will also get to experience some African dance, as well, by Nesha and JaNese Howard. More information at https://www.facebook.com/NWWinterfest.


Buddhist Mochi Fest

Sunday, Dec. 29, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Making mochi is a cultural, rather than religious, Japanese New Year’s tradition, and the Spokane Buddhist Temple, located on 927 S. Perry, invites the community to experience this festival of rice cakes with them. On Sunday, December 29, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Temple volunteers will be selling mochi in its various forms, other bake sale items, and other Japanese and Buddhist items with all proceeds going to the education of their ministers. More information at http://www.spokanebuddhisttemple.org/.

Joya-E or “Bell of the Last Night” Japanese New Year Buddhist Celebration

Tuesday, Dec. 31, 7-7:45 p.m.

Also called Joya-E, the “Bell of the Last Night Service” is a cultural and spiritual Buddhist observance where everyone participates to “Ring out 2019” and “Ring in 2020” on Spokane Buddhist Temple’s Kansho Bell. This short, family-friendly service ends with everyone ringing the bell one of 108 times, which symbolically “Rings Out” the 108 delusions of woman and man and “Rings In” aspirations to overcome ignorance, greed, and anger in the coming year. The service includes a short Dharma message. Buddhists and non-Buddhists are invited. More information at http://www.spokanebuddhisttemple.org/.

Cassy Benefield

About Cassy Benefield

Cassandra Benefield mostly goes by Cassy (pronounced like Cassie but spelled with a 'y'). She is a wife and mommy, who married at the age of 37 and had her baby girl just shy of 39. She has moved around all her life, first as an Army brat. She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer to Romania where she taught Conversational English, Modern Literature, Creative Writing, U.S. Culture, U.S. Geography, and U.S. History (the last two subjects she was so not qualified to teach!). She is a Journalism major from Cal Poly Technical University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. She finds much comfort in her Savior, Jesus Christ, and considers herself a Bible nerd who is prone to buy more theology books than she is ever able to read. Morro Bay, California, is her favorite place on earth ... with the exception of being in the center of God's will. From time to time, you will find her writing devotions on her blog underhisshadow.blogspot.com.

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