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

SLF Fancy Friday - June 2, 2017


SLF Fancy Friday
June 2, 2017

Interested in hosting a table for the lunch or dessert or both?
Please contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Make sure to specify which option you prefer!
You may also RSVP online HERE




Community Rewards FredMeyer


Here you can donate to SLF by linking your FredMeyer rewards card with Salem Leadership Foundation.
To enroll your card and link to SLF or to sign up as a new user Click Here
To view official flyer click Community Rewards FredMeyer.



SLF RainFest Golf Challenge - Tee it up with us?


The sixth-annual RainFest Golf Challenge will benefit Salem Leadership Foundation (SLF) and our mission to help Salem-Keizer become the healthiest community in Oregon; truly the City of Shalom.


This may sound crazy, and you may think we’re nuts, but WE NEED YOU to play 18 holes of golf  with us on Monday, February 27, and raise some serious bucks for SLF during the time of year we need it most.  It may rain, the wind may howl, the mud may muck … bring it on – FORE!


With hardy participation from 44 brave volunteers, our goal is to raise $100,000 in the next several weeks to support SLF and our work with churches and partners that helps kids, families, schools and neighborhoods more than 10,000 people were impacted last year. Even if you don't play with us you can support one of the golfers through our secure Rainfest donor page HERE!


Here is what each “RainFest Challenge Champion” commits to:
1. Show up on February 27th at 9:30 a.m. (breakfast and BBQ included) to play 18 holes at historic Salem Golf Club.  No matter what the weather, we’ll keep you warm, well-fed, and moving around the course.
2. Sponsor yourself for at least $100 (or more), and …
3. Give your best effort to make 25-40 contacts and raise $2,500 in pledges. This is easier than you think, as people will be more than happy to support you in your valiant “wind-and-rain” endurance to support SLF.  Last year we had 18 who raised that amount, and 3 who were over $5,000!


We've created a website for RainFest and it’s the key to our success.  It’s the easy-to-use place where you enter your sponsors’ pledge information.  The goal is to get pledges from folks you know: friends, family, colleagues, associates.  Our web site will send them a thank-you note, a tax-deductible letter, and details on how/where they can send their sponsorship amounts.  Easy as a tap-in putt.


Thanks "FORE!" considering our invitation. To get more information contact Jennifer Skillern at:
(503)315-8924 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots (You need JavaScript enabled to view it).

Sam "Snead" Skillern, 503-884-8194

To be a Team Captain or Golfing Participant click here

To Pay a RainFest Pledge/Sponsorship click here



There’s something about the breaking of the bread.


The Fancy Newsletter

October 2016

In a beautiful and familiar context, we remember the Passover (Last) Supper when Jesus took the bread and broke it, telling his disciple/friends of his upcoming passion and death. The breaking of the bread that night had both literal and figurative meanings; it also had both Old Testament and New Covenant connotations. Rich stuff. Well studied and celebrated.

I grew up in a great Salem church where Communion was celebrated every Sunday during the Eucharist. I worship today in a great Salem church where we take Communion once a month. From time to time I have pondered this contrast, not with any angst or criticism … but certainly with some lament. Was it just tradition and preference that caused me to yearn? Or something deeper.

One day I was reading a familiar post-resurrection story in the book of Luke. Cool story about two men walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus and talking about Jesus, his life, his crucifixion. A stranger (Jesus) joined them and the conversation continued … and deepened.

Seeking (and Discovering) God's Face

The Fancy Newsletter

September 2016





It’s a pretty familiar Scripture verse.  In some ways, perhaps even famous.  In recent years it’s been the clarion-call scripture for spiritual (and cultural) revival in America.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways -- then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

(2 Chronicles, 7:14)

I was in a small gathering this summer with some amazing people of prayer.  We were praying for the city, its people, our elected officials, the schools, the neighborhoods, the churches.

As we did, the 7:14 passage came into our prayer … and inspired beautiful phrasing around the facets of the verse: humility, prayer, worship, obedience, fellowship, repentance, confession, forgiveness, healing.  There was joyful yearning for how the coming Revival will bless; as well as candid frustration that it hasn’t occurred yet.

The Art of Neighboring


August 2016


Block parties.  Barbecues.  Knowing your neighbors.  Concepts you’ve read about often here in the Fancy Newsletter. ‘Loving Neighbor’ and ‘Building Neighborhood’ are familiar phrases, not just in SLF lexicon, but all over Salem-Keizer nowadays.  How thrilling it was one Sunday to learn our church was about to embark on a six-week series entitled “The Art of Neighboring,” based on a compelling book.  I heartily recommend it for your summer-reading list.  It’s by a pair of pastors who discovered the richness of the Greatest Commandment lived out in 21st Century urban and suburban American neighborhoods.  It’s common sense … it’s what our grandparents did routinely … it’s what the scriptures proclaim … all rediscovered and redeployed for the Gospel transformation of people and place.

The premise is simple.  Get to know the people and families on your block.  The statistics are shocking.  Only 10% of people can name eight neighbors who live around them.  Only 3% of people know something about their neighbors beyond their names.  The book encourages us to “meet and love your neighbors.”  Not with Bible tracts and crusade invitations.  Rather, with the simple acts of daily life.  Learning their names.  Their kids’ names.  Listening to their stories.  Eating!  Sharing life around barbecues, football games, favorite recipes, gardening, school.  It doesn’t mean you become everyone’s best friend.  But it does mean you know them, you listen to their stories, and you’re there for them when they need you.

Giving Thanks for my Friend Rockin' Robby Kasino

He wanted to be a radio disc-jockey with his bachelor’s degree in broadcast media from the University of Northern Iowa. His alter-ego was Rockin’ Robby Kasino, and he had a novel in the works. He loved animals, especially dogs. Animals don’t criticize, he once told me. They love you unconditionally.

I met my friend Rick Levitt at Grant Community School in 1999. We were volunteers in the Fantastic Fridays afterschool program, which set the stage for the many fine afterschool programs in place today. Rick signed up as a general volunteer, but had big ideas for a radio class and a Karaoke class. He was always on time and very dependable. He was awkward socially, which created some cautions and concerns. But you could always count on Rick … until the drinking started. Rick was a teetotaler when we first met—his girlfriend had significant addiction issues and he didn’t want to follow the same path. But when she broke up with him, and broke his heart, he turned to the bottle to ease his pain.


It turns out Rick had mental-health issues and deep hurts, which were made worse by his drinking. He had a complex family history, which included a loving mom but fathers who were lousy dads. He longed for positive role models and friends who would see past the awkward (and increasingly angry) attitudes. Despite my inclination to lean away from Rick and his dysfunctions, I felt the Lord urging me to lean in. At first I had the misguided and prideful notion that somehow I would help solve Rick's problems. It took a while, but I began to realize that God was working on both of us.


Practice (Serve) then Preach (Politics)

With politics dominating the headlines and the newscasts, I’ve been thinking about a meeting I had several years ago. The community organizer from Portland was putting together a faith-based coalition, and he wanted to identify the key players in Salem. SLF is always willing to help, especially when the topic is churches serving neighbors in need. We chatted. We shared stories. It was affirmed that Salem-Keizer is ahead of the curve when it comes to ‘church and state’ working together. I also learned that the spectrum (Mainline, Evangelical, Catholic) of churches who are working restore shalom (peace and well-being) here is much broader and deeper than most communities.

Suddenly, he jolted me with a question: “What is SLF’s political agenda?” I told him about our Vision (Salem becomes healthiest community in Oregon) and our Mission (people-of-faith and people-of-goodwill collaborating). “That’s great,” he said, “but what’s your political agenda?” I explained that we have strong working relationships with elected officials and government agencies. Still, he persisted. “How many activists do you deploy to galvanize the grassroots? How many marches have you organized at the Capitol? How much legislation have you formulated with lawmakers?” Um, none, I answered haltingly. “Then how can you have any influence?” he asked. “How can you help the poor if you don’t have a political agenda?”

Safe Families -- Your Family -- Can Make a Difference

Jennifer and I were privileged to be a ‘safe family’ before there was a Safe Families for Children. It was 2004.  Our boys were students at Grant School right across the street. We were volunteering there (still are!).  SLF was soon to be a partner in the “No Meth/Yes Foster Care” initiative that would transform the community in so many ways—a legacy that still has impacts and influences today.

One of Samuel’s best friends was named Crystal*. We got to know her and her family through the rhythms and intersections of grade school. Her parents were nice, but something was wrong. Crystal was coming to school late, often hungry, in clothes that were increasingly mussed. Mom was often late to pick her up from the after-school program; sometimes she was on edge and volatile. We soon learned that meth, pot and alcohol were plaguing both parents, who had recently split up. (*Not her real name)


One day Mom was at our door. High. Someone had reported her and DHS was investigating. The estranged Dad was unfit to take custody. The girls were headed for foster care, and the whole “No Meth/Yes Foster Care” concept went from ‘macro’ to ‘micro’ for us in 48 hours. In order to keep the girls together and Crystal in her neighborhood school, DHS and Mom were looking for a Grant-area family to take the girls in – maybe for a few weeks, maybe for a few months. Mom asked Jennifer and I to be that family. She signed a make-shift permission slip giving us authority to make certain decisions. We were fingerprinted and quick-certified by DHS, and the girls came to live with us.

A Salute to Mentors (thank one today!)

Everyone needs a mentor. Everyone needs to be a mentor. Both historically and spiritually, there is ample evidence for the value of mentors—that caring someone who takes another person under his/her wing and walks alongside them through the seasons of life.

My first mentor was actually a peer. Jim Goodwin was a popular 4th-grader at McKinley Elementary when I made my way there from little Baker School (1st – 3rd grade) with my Fairmount-Hill tribe. The first few weeks of fourth grade were terrifying as we navigated larger hallways, larger classrooms and larger kids. I don’t know what Jim saw in me, but we clicked and he soon became not only my best friend, but my advocate. He had older siblings, so he was experienced in the neighborhood, in sports, in music (Beatles, Guess Who, Credence Clearwater Revival), in road trips (Prineville), and in zest for life. Jim urged me to join his City League baseball team (the Wolverines), which set a course for self-esteem, confidence and success all through my school years. Jim moved to Portland the summer before our  7th grade year at Leslie Jr. High, but he made an impact that has borne fruit for nearly 50 years. Every time I drive past the white Dutch Colonial at High and Rural I think of Jim and the Goodwin family.

A 'CaN-do' Church Births a Movement ... GOAL!

Everyone knows by now that the Portland Timbers won a thrilling nail-biter last month to earn the Major League Soccer (MLS) title. Did you know that two Salem-Keizer schools, Auburn Elementary and Scott Elementary, are co-Champions of GRASSP (Grass Roots After School Soccer Program)? You haven’t seen these young athletes on ESPN (yet!), but they play with everything they’ve got and have tons of fun doing it. GRASSP is a free soccer-and-academic program that was birthed through the CaN Centers Collaboration (video story at www.salemLF.org). It serves more than 200 local 4th- and 5th-grade students every week through soccer and character development. The volunteer coaches teach soccer skills on the field and character skills off the field: servant leadership, pride in school and family, winning with humility, losing with dignity, and teamwork.


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