We believe that Salem/Keizer will be the
healthiest community in Oregon - truly the

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Faith-in-Action News


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Dream Center runs on faith

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Vietnam vet helps local vets

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Faithfully Serving Salem's Schools

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Newest CaN Center and 'bike ministry'

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Keizer Church Serves Community

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City Vibe helps homeless find hope, a way forward

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CARECorp Teens in Salem

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A Crowning Achievement

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Free soccer camp gives kids skills on and off the field

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Church blooms at Battle Creek school

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Hub Gives Skills, Wheels

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CaN Center "Dreams" Big in West Salem

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Salem ranks 7th in country for volunteerism

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Churches share hearts and buildings with homeless families

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Free Clinic at Salem Alliance Church is "CaN" do

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CaN Center church has vibrant "Wood Ministry"

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Why I Like IKE: a Tribute to Isaac's Room ministry

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Four Corners Church Throws Block Party

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Fancy Dessert Tells Stories, Inspires Community
SLF Honored by School Board and Grant School
SLF News Archive

Amanda and Lindsey's Story

SOMA / Dinner on the Green

Holy Cross / La Casita

Capital Park / SENCC

IKE Box

Our Father's Porch

Church In The Park







Time of Advent

Thanks.

I’ve been thinking about that word a lot.  I injured my back and leg Nov. 15.  I wish I could tell you that I was stopping a runaway car or preventing a bank robbery.  I fell on my bum while putting composted leaves in the tomato garden.  Didn’t hurt at the time.  Worked all afternoon.  Felt just fine.  Until the following morning … It’s been a hard journey from such a simple stumble.  In the recovery process, I have encountered many emotions and thoughts.  But the one that keeps emerging is ‘thanks.’

In a world that’s increasingly faster and more competitive, where does gratitude fit?  In an age where screens (TV, phone, computer) often trump faces, is gratitude exchanged?  In a culture where elders and elder values are often minimized, is gratitude passed on?

Jennifer leads an ‘etiquette class’ at Grant School.  It’s an awesome curriculum of learning the sacred art of ‘please’ and ‘you go first’ and ‘thank-you.’  The kids learn basic meal-and-table manners, and then they organize a banquet for family members at the school.  They learn how to plan a menu, send invitations, and demonstrate their new skills over a meal.  Even more, they are learning hospitality, generosity and gratitude.  I sometimes serve as a waiter and I’m impressed with how they are learning and mastering manners.  But I’m also concerned that so many kids—from all cultures and economic backgrounds—don’t inherently know ‘please’ and ‘you go first’ and ‘thank-you.’ 

We just celebrated the official season of Thanksgiving.  I love Thanksgiving.   It has strong origins in the concept of “giving thanks to God.”  And, despite the over-commercialization of our culture, it still calls families together to express thanks and share with others.  Great and Godly ethics, to be sure.

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Peacemaker Training Seminar 2015 in Salem

Are you experiencing unresolved conflict with the people in your life? Learn practical ways to restore peace in your relationships by attending "Resolving Everyday Conflict" seminar by Peacemaker Ministries at Salem Alliance Church. The seminar features a powerful video presentation, live lectures, and interactive exercises to practice principles of biblical conflict resolution. The seminar consists of 4 consecutive Monday nights beginning January 19, 2015, in Salem, from 7:00 to 9:15 p.m. Then, two more weeks of optional advanced coaching practicum will follow on February 16 and 23.

The cost for the 4-week seminar is $20, which includes a study guide. Refreshments will be provided. The public is invited. The seminar location is Salem Alliance Church, Cedar Hall, 555 Gaines St. NE, Salem, OR 97301. For more information, directions and registration call 503-581-2129 or visit http://www.salemalliance.org/resources/peacemakers. Online registration can be found by selecting “Peacemaker Seminar Registration” from the left side list. Peacemaker Ministries has provided resources, training, and assistance in biblical conflict resolution for more than 25 years. The international headquarters is located in Billings, Montana. For more information on the program, visit the website http://www.peacemaker.net

Follow up: Paula Fontanini, 503-399-9532, member of Salem Alliance Church Peacemakers Ministry.

 
With Thanksgiving

November 2014

Years ago there was a dust-up in the community … A front-page article about whether it was appropriate for Young Life volunteers to come onto campus at North Salem High School.  Followed quickly by a vigorous community conversation:  ‘separation of church and state’ on one side and ‘freedom of religion’ on the other.  That’s always a worthy conversation, but the tempers and the rhetoric were heated.  (Similar to the recent situation in West Salem.)

I was talking to a local business/civic leader about the situation.  Her son was a North student. With some voices suggesting that Young Life should be kicked off campus, I asked what she thought.  “My son checked it out and he’s not interested.  We’re not much of a church-going family.”  Uh oh, I thought, as I gingerly asked if she wanted Young Life off campus. “Absolutely not!” she exclaimed. “Young Life’s value to our high schools is gold standard.  They might need to make a few adjustments, but I would never want to see them banned.”  Adjustments were made; relationships and ground rules affirmed; partnerships and positive outcomes retained.

I’ve been volunteering in Salem-Keizer schools for 18 years.  Back then, a little program called ‘Fantastic Fridays’ was setting the stage for church-school collaboration that has grown into scores of partnerships and thousands of volunteers.  It’s been a long history of servanthood, relationships and trust.  The School District—from superintendent to administration to principals to teachers—is committed to ongoing dialogue, relationship and partnership with people of faith. The infrequent hiccups that occur seem to come when there are staff changes at churches and/or schools.  The hiccups, and the headlines, provide good opportunities to assess and affirm.

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FAITH-BASED ESTATE PLANNING – DEC. 4

Estate-planning seminars are nothing new … two years ago SLF board member Ryan Collier developed a seminar for ‘Incorporating Faith into Estate Planning’ and the feedback has been tremendous.  We’ve scheduled the next session for Thursday, December 4, from 11:30 – 1 p.m.  A free lunch and plenty of free-and-useful information will be offered.  Ryan conducts estate-planning seminars for Marion-Polk Food Share, Union Gospel Mission and other highly respected non-profits.  Ryan is a past president of our board and loves to help SLF in any way he can (he’s one of our most enthusiastic RainFest golfers, for example).  Ryan is graciously underwriting the lunch at his corporate office near downtown:  Collier Law, 1020 Liberty St. SE, 97302.  Space is limited so please contact Desiree Hilliard here at SLF:  503-315-8924 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
La Casita at Holy Cross Lutheran, Another "CaN" do Church

The Little House (or "La Casita") is owned by the Holy Cross Lutheran CaN Center Church and is operated by community partners.  It opened a year ago as a resource center to families within the Washington Elementary Fostering Hope target neighborhood.  Tuesday March 6th was a Open House for the new Library with a emphasis on early literacy and school readiness.

The community partners for the library are:  Mano a Mano, Reading for All, Delta Kappa Gamma, City of Salem Lansing Partnership, Holy Cross Lutheran Church and Salem Leadership Foundation.  A special thanks to the Union Gospel Mission for the donated book shelves and furniture, all of the volunteers who categorized, labeled and organized the 1800 books and all the amazing "bakers" who provided the refreshments.

We had 22 children sign up at the Open House for their Little House Library Card.  Stay tuned for our summer literacy program in partnership with our friends at the Salem Library.  Another exciting project at the Little House is currently underway with the East Salem Rotary,  they are designing and building a "a children's garden" in the backyard.

We are currently looking for volunteers to help with our "children's garden" this summer and staff our library for our summer literacy program.  Anyone interested in becoming a Friend of the Little House contact Carrie Maheu - McKay Area Lightning Rod @ 503-559-5677 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 
Good To Be Back

October 2014

It’s good to be back.

I will also declare, it was good to be away.  After 18 years at the helm of Salem Leadership Foundation, it was time for rest.  For recharge.  For Sabbatical.

It was this time last year that I approached our Board and made my request.  The concept of sabbatical is a spiritual one … it is rooted in the word ‘sabbath’ (rest) and the Leviticus-25 principle of ‘sabbath year.’  Every seventh year was a year of rest for the land so it could recharge and be ready for new productivity.  In the modern context, sabbaticals relate more to overseas travel and extended periods of deep study.

I went with the Biblical concept.  I rested.  I unplugged from work (which many thought impossible!).  Our family went on several short trips:  The Wallowas, the beach, Hood Canal near Seattle.  I focused on exercise (daily walking) and made pilgrimages to Mt. Angel Abbey—a pair of practices I am continuing.  I also finished a long-overdue project in our 100-year-old Craftsman bungalow … our master bedroom.  We transformed an attic crawl space into a large dormer bedroom and my job was to outfit the room with vintage trim (baseboards, windows, doorways) that we’d salvaged from an old house before demolition.   Many have said, “that doesn’t sound like rest.”  Cutting-and-painting vintage fir was actually therapeutic for me, and you can’t imagine the peace I gained from finally finishing that project (don’t ask how many years it had been under construction …).

I want to thank our SLF Board for giving me the gift of sabbatical.   Similarly, I want to thank our amazing SLF Staff for keeping the ol’ SLF engine hummin’ during the two months I was away.  Special kudos to DJ Vincent, our South Salem Lightning Rod, who skillfully handled administrative duties for our team.  And to Carrie Maheu, who is mentoring the next generation of Lightning Rods (Kaleb Herring in McKay and Lindsey Walker in Keizer).  We have a great mission, great partners, and a great team at SLF.

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Back-To-School 2014

September 2014

It started as a dream four years ago.  Laurie Shaw with the City of Salem had a dream that Salem youth would be nationally known for their care and service of our community.  This kind of movement would need partners and momentum.  This is where SLF enters the scene.  Laurie already had Salem Keizer Education Foundation (SKEF) and the School District at the table talking about the dream  … called “CARECorps.”  They had the students and some of the resources needed.  When I sat listening to Laurie’s dream, I knew she needed to meet Mark Bulgin and hear the vision of Isaac’s Room, where formerly-divested youth become heroes.  In no time, Mark had agreed to house CARECorps at the IKE Box for the summer.  In the first year, eight Isaac’s Room mentors worked with AVID-trained teachers from the School District to harness the energy and passion of 40 high school students.  They used all their knowledge, skills and resources to help four nonprofits in Salem.  They didn’t just volunteer and complete some community service projects … they learned about the organizations and the people-in-need who would be impacted by their projects.  Moreover, each of the five teams provided more than 100 hours of work  and $4,000+ of in-kind donations.  This was Year 1 of Laurie’s dream-turned-movement.

Over the next three years the model grew:  cohorts of high schoolers becoming heroes through the ‘key ideas’ learned at IKE Box and serving in the neighborhoods of need.  SLF had the blessing of bringing partners to the table and providing staff support for projects across the city.  For example, the Community Partnership Team (CPT) I help lead—South Salem Connect—provided $100 mini-grants to each of the five teams which they leveraged into matching donation from local businesses.  As Laurie hoped and expected, the heroes created during CARECorps did not hang up their capes when they went back to school.  Teen Action Teams started energizing great work in every high school across the District.  Initiatives like ‘One Thousand Souls’ (South High) were started and shared from school to school.  Working together with nonprofits and churches, the process of collecting shoes began.  It’s been beautiful to see the mix of creativity and service meet urgent needs in our community.

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Herm's Hike

September 8-11...

A recap from Herm!
Day 7: 14 mile hike, from Muir Ranch though a beautiful canyon. Our very own Lindsey Walker and her artist's group came to mind... the place has a possible new canvass around every pass.
Day 8: Fifteen miles today, putting Andrew and Herm at mile 831 on the PCT. Wildlife included deer, a garter snake, some frogs, heard some coyotes, and a small rodent that looked l like a guinea pig but was gray like a mouse.
Day 9: 8 hours of hiking, traveling 12 miles... all up hill. First change in weather included on/off rain with a little hail! More deer on he trail today.
Day 10: Andrew on top of Pinchot Pass! They made it over two summits today, a total of 16 miles. Today they met people from Portland, Boston, Vail, San Francisco and Kentucky. More beautiful lakes were on route this day.

Its not too late to help Herm raise $40,000 for SLF:
• Donate $ _____ per mile or a one-time gift of any amount
• Donate $.25 per mile = $50
• Donate $.50 per mile = $100
• Donate $1.00 per mile = $200
• Donate $2.00 per mile = $400
• Be a “Trail Angel” by making a commitment of raising $500,
$1,000, $2,000 or more.

To register as a "Trail Angel" click HERE!
To make a pledge or donation to Herm’s Hike click HERE!

 

 

 

 

Thursday September 4... end of Day 5 and 13 more miles!

 

Herm is checking in and they are having a good time!  The weather has been great.  There are a few blisters, but it is expected with averaging 14 miles a day.  Spirits are high and they are seeing some beautiful country, hiking about 11 to 12 hours per day, which can make it grueling.  Herm sent pictures at halfway up a 2,000 foot elevation gain.  Herm and Andrew are seeing deer, marmots, and trout in the streams.  Herm thinks of friends, knowing DJ and Dwayne would enjoy the lakes along the trail.

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer 2014

Volunteers help make first “MOM” in Salem a Huge Success!
If you attended or volunteered for Salem’s first Mission of Mercy event in July you might have met a volunteer named Steve.   Those who have been around Salem for a while might have thought they recognized Steve as a man who had held a sign on Mission Street for more than 12 years.  Some may have thought his face looked familiar from articles in the Statesman Journal for having the most vagrancy tickets in the City of Salem’s history.  This was Steve’s past, but it is not his present or future.


Steve has achieved three years sobriety, obtained housing and serves as a weekly volunteer.  Steve gives his time weekly to Church@thePark (C@tP) where he has found acceptance, family and advocates for five years.  Steve also works with Marion Polk Food Share and Hope on Wheels to deliver food bags to those still living in their cars and tents.  Steve was just one of 10 volunteers at the Mission of Mercy event from C@tP who have transitioned from just receiving help to giving back to their community each week.  One of Steve’s friends on the C@tP team commented on Friday at the end of volunteer shift, “serving others is better than getting high.

C@tP was joined by nine other groups recruited by SLF Lightning Rods, Herm Boes & DJ Vincent, and our amazing summer intern Matthew Rawlins, to provide food and encouragement for the 1,255 patients waiting in line to receive dental assistance.  The numbers are in: patients received 6,533 different procedures totaling $738,299 worth of free dental care.  The Oregon Dental Association spearheaded the event, which is duplicated all over the nation.  A total of 998 volunteers gave their time over 3 days to see this outreach happen at Chemeketa Community College. Thanks to all who faithfully served!

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People and Place

July 2014

Ever since the stately 1876 Capitol Building burned in 1935, Salem has had a disease.  It's called "Teardownitis."  The collapse of that beautiful copper dome into the raging flames on April 25 seared the civic soul of Salem.  So much so that, in the ensuing decades, any building that "might burn" or "might need seismic upgrades" has crumbled beneath the wrecking ball.

R.I.P. … The Marion County Courthouse, 1952 (you can still visit Lady Justice, the bronze statue, in the lobby of Willamette's Law School building).  Salem City Hall, 1972 (you can still tell time by the tower clock which was relocated to downtown Mt. Angel).  Churches.  Banks.  Theaters.  Schools. Perhaps worst of all, the 24-square block ‘Victorian mansion district’ that became the Capitol Mall
for state offices.  We are fortunate to have Bush House and Deepwood Estate as properly-preserved museums, but we should have whole districts full of such houses. 

“But Sam,” you might say, “SLF's ministry is about transforming people, not buildings.”  Quite true. People are more important than buildings.  Eternal souls much more important than bricks and mortar. Totally agree.  However, people and place are not mutually exclusive.  Especially when 'our place' is Shalom, Oregon, the city of peace and the capital city of Oregon.  What a history of people and place! The Chemawa and Chemeketa tribes of the Kalapuya nation.  Jason Lee and his band of Methodist missionaries.  Father Francis Blanchet and his mission priests in French Prairie.  The covered wagons and Oregon Trail pioneers.  Salem is steeped in history … the history of people, ministry and place.

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As the Dust Settles

June 2014

‘NEIGHBORHOOD’ GROWS AT FANCY DESSERT! They packed-out the Salem Convention Center last Friday, May 30, to enjoy the 2014 edition of the SLF Fancy Dessert.  More than 750 folks cozied together to hear how SLF and its partners are “Growing Neighborhood”  across Salem-Keizer.  We had fun with our “down-to-the-farm” theme in both décor and message.  Over the course of the evening we were able to demonstrate the power of SLF’s “Leverage Value” through Lightning Rods (our field staff) and CaN Centers (Churches serving as Neighborhood Centers.)   One dollar turns into thousands through SLF leverage.

As always, the highlight of the evening was the ‘Neighbor Stories’ that we captured and conveyed on film. 
This year we went back in time to catch up with five stories featured at previous events.  It was amazing to see God’s expanding grace and impact on individuals, then families, then neighbors, then community.

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