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FāVS Religion News Roundup: Nov. 29


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FāVS Religion News Roundup: Nov. 29


Invocations and prayer groups in city halls, a university trying to build understanding in the Israel-Palestine conflict and holiday festivities taking place this weekend flesh out this week’s roundup.


News Story by Tracy Simmons | FāVS News


The FāVS website redesign has hit a snag and the new site won’t launch now until next week. We apologize for any inconvenience.

In the meantime, here’s a look at what’s happening locally in religion news.

Coeur d’Alene City Council Invocations Resume


After an 8-month hiatus, invocations will resume before Coeur d’Alene City Council meetings in 2024. The city is holding a lottery for nonprofit, faith-based groups to sign up to deliver the opening prayer at one of the 24 meetings next year. According to the Couer d’Alene Press, the mayor believes the invocations still have value as long as they are inclusive. 

Invocation guidelines include: no more than three minutes, not seeking conversion or disparaging other faiths, avoiding politics or threats of punishment and addressing universal values.

To register for the invocation lottery, go to www.cdaid.org/invocation.

Puyallup Mayor’s Prayer Group


Meanwhile, in Puyallup the Freedom From Religion Foundation is insisting that the mayor stop holding weekly prayer sessions inside City Hall. Mayor Dean Johnson hosts a prayer group in City Hall every Wednesday morning.

A community member brought it to the attention of the Foundation who wrote a letter to the mayor saying, “As a government official, you are tasked with upholding the Constitution of the United States — including the Establishment Clause. By holding prayer meetings at City Hall during the workday, you do the opposite.”

GU on Israel-Palestine Conflict


Earlier this month Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh released a statement addressing the Israel-Palestine conflict and its impact on GU’s community, following a student walkout protest criticizing the administration’s lack of response.

The Gonzaga Bulletin reported that McCulloh expressed solidarity with Muslim, Arab, Palestinian, Jewish and Israeli community members affected by the crisis and said GU is committed to inclusive civil discourse and building understanding between groups, though activism around this crisis has increased discrimination on some campuses.

‘Tis the Season Festivities


Finally, the holidays are upon us and KREM has a holiday guide featuring everything from Christmas light displays to holiday craft markets. The popular Christmas Tree Elegance is on display at the Historic Davenport now through Dec. 10. Proceeds from the program benefit the Spokane Symphony.

Journey to Bethlehem, organized every year by Spokane South Hill Adventist Church on 57th and Freya Streets, will take place this weekend. This walk-through Christmas pageant features a cast of over 100 actors from eight denominations and many live animals, including sheep, goats, donkeys and a camel. Doors are open from 6-8 p.m on Friday night, and 4-7 p.m on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Also on Dec. 1 Unity Spiritual Center (2900 S Bernard St.) will host a “Ringing in the Holidays” concert featuring Villa Blues n’ Jazz, Ukuladies, Spirit Voice, Unity Choir, Gatieh Nacario, Scott Jamison, Judi Jamison and other performers. Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. concert are $25 at the door.

Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting and digital entrepreneurship. In her approximate 20 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, Connecticut and Washington. She is the executive director of SpokaneFāVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Washington. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and national publications. She is a Scholarly Assistant Professor of Journalism at Washington State University.


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