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FāVS Religion News Roundup: April 19


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FāVS Religion News Roundup: April 19

Spokane hosts several Earth Day events, Dr. TJ Romano is named Spokane’s new Catholic education director, the Spokane River Forum opens registration for its H20 symposium and more are in this week’s FāVS Religion News Roundup.

News Story by FāVS Staff

Earth Day Celebrations

The Spokane community is gearing up to celebrate Earth Day with a series of eco-friendly events aimed at promoting sustainability and environmental awareness.

  • Spokane Central Library invites families this Saturday for an Earth Day Family Celebration from 1- 3 p.m. Participants can learn about sustainable practices through interactive booths and receive one of 300 free trees for visiting all partners.
  • Also on Saturday, the Inland Northwest Unitarian Universalist Community is hosting an Earth Day River Cleanup at High Bridge Park from 10 a.m. to noon. Volunteers will join forces to remove litter and debris from the Spokane River, with supplies like gloves and garbage bags provided.
  • Rounding out the celebrations, Second Harvest is offering a Zero Waste Kitchen: Earth Day Edition workshop on April 22 from 11 a.m. to noon. Attendees will learn practical strategies for reducing food waste through mindful shopping, meal planning and creative use of leftovers and kitchen scraps.

These events provide opportunities for Spokane residents to get involved, learn about eco-friendly practices and contribute to a more sustainable future for their community and the planet.

New Director of Catholic Education in Spokane

The Diocese of Spokane has named Dr. TJ Romano as the new director of Catholic Education, effective July 1. Romano has over 23 years of experience as a Catholic educator and administrator, including 17 years in the Spokane Diocese. He currently serves as principal of Assumption Catholic School, a role he has held for the past decade. Romano holds a bachelor’s from Santa Clara University, a master’s from Washington State University and a doctorate from Gonzaga University.

Bishop Thomas A. Daly expressed gratitude for Romano’s leadership at Assumption School and his commitment to furthering Catholic education’s mission. Daly said in a press release that he looks forward to working with Romano to strengthen the 17 Catholic schools in Eastern Washington, which have 300 teachers and over 4,000 students from preschool through 12th grade. Romano’s prior experience includes teaching, curriculum coordination and administrative roles in California before joining the Spokane Diocese in 2007.

Volunteers Needed to Support Aging Population

Aging & Long Term Care of Eastern Washington is seeking compassionate volunteers to support the aging population in their five county service region. Volunteer opportunities include Check and Connect providing regular phone check-ins, serving on the Planning & Management Council, supporting the Spokane Regional Dementia Friendly Community and helping as a Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisor to guide people through Medicare options. Volunteers of all backgrounds over 18 are welcome.

Whether looking to volunteer or needing community support, visit www.altcew.org or call 509-458-2509 to get involved.

Spokane River Forum Symposium Registration Opens

Registration for the Spokane River Forum’s Expo 50 H2O 2024 Water Symposium recently opened online. The all-day symposium will explore the theme “Calibrating Water Solutions in the Era of Climate Change.”

John Matthews, executive director of Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, will be the keynote speaker. He has been working at the intersection of water with climate adaptation and resilience since 2007. He has led development of new climate risk methodologies specific to water that are being used in dozens of countries. 

Regional speakers will share how communities are calibrating water solutions in the era of climate change. That includes the aquifer, water supply, stormwater, toxics, comprehensive planning, protecting lakes and streams and more.

The event will take place May 30 at the Spokane Convention Center. Tickets range from $25 to $60 per person. Scholarships are available. For more information, visit the symposium’s website.

WA Elementary Students Denied Interfaith Prayer Club Rights

Two elementary school students in Washington’s Issaquah School District took a stand against their school because they could not start an interfaith prayer group. This, a week after the school had approved a “Pride” Club.

The students and their parents, through the nonprofit legal group First Liberty Institute, argued in an April 9 letter that the school violated their First Amendment rights of free exercise of religion and free speech.

On March 8, Creekside Principal Amy Allison told the students “the process of establishing clubs for this school year has ended as of the end of October,” reported The Lion. Yet that same month, Allison permitted a Pride Club.

“As the Supreme Court has repeatedly held, religious clubs must be afforded the same recognition, access, and rights as other noncurricular clubs,” the letter read.

The letter also stated the school had until April 22 to approve the students’ request. If they don’t hear from them, they wrote their clients would likely pursue “all available legal remedies.” First Liberty won the Supreme Court case involving Coach Joseph Kennedy’s free exercise of religion. The Seattle-area man lost his assistant football coaching position for kneeling in silent prayer at games.

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