Technology brings Values in Actions Conference to Spokane

Guest column by Rev. Kristi Philip

If I were to start listing some of the values we profess and hope to live, the list would be a long and rich one.  It would include values like justice, dignity, peacemaking, fidelity, forgiveness and love, just to name a few.  As Christians we build a sense of what we value largely from the teaching of Jesus and from other Scriptural texts, and I would also assume that many of the values we embrace are also embraced by other religious traditions.

But how do we put those values into action, both as Christians and people of other traditions?  That is a question that the Trinity Institute asks this year at its annual conference in New York Feb. 2 and 3.  This conference is offered every year with an array of speakers who address the theme being explored and is offered by Trinity Church Wall Street, a historic Episcopal church.

This conference, for most of us, is often too expensive and too far away to attend.  But the good news is that it is also available via internet streaming at many conference sites across the nation.  St. John’s  Cathedral is one of those sites.

For a few months, a steering chaired by the Rev. Rick Matters, has been planning this event and inviting co-sponsors, which include St. John’s Cathedral and the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane.  Among the other sponsors are Spokane Churches Against Racism, the NAACP, Morning  Star Missionary Baptist Church and a variety of other churches and community and academic groups.

In my experience over the years, this conference has emphasized reconciliation and hope, but that does not mean that it does not invite a variety of quality speakers, with a variety of perspectives.  This is true as well this year.

Principal speakers include the Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,”  Pa’draig O’ Tuama, poet theologian and mediator; the Rev. Elizabeth Edman, Episcopal priest and author of “Queer Virtue: What LBGTQ People Know about Life and Love and How it can Revitalize Christianity,” and Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker.

Their presentations will be followed at the Spokane event by opportunities for conversation in moderated small groups. The committee hopes that the participants who join in these conversations will bring a rich variety of experience and diverse backgrounds to the table as we examine how to live out the values we profess.

The event will begin Friday evening (Feb. 2) from 7 to 9 p.m. and include Curry’s sermon at the conference’s opening worship.  The conference will continue from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 3).  Morning refreshments and lunch will be provided.

The registration fee for the gathering will be $20 for general admission and $15 for members of sponsoring organizations.  There is also a ‘living light’ registration for students, seniors and others who need a discounted rate.

Watch for a registration link on the cathedral and diocesan websites soon. The conference promises to be a rich experience. I plan to be there and hope many of you will as well.


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