Barricaded

By Dick Gillett

As I stepped outside my front door last week, anticipating a delicious macchiato at Herkimer Coffee on Phinney Ridge, I was unexpectedly confronted by a barricade. About five or six feet across, it stretched across the handrails in front of me, its multiple strands caught by the morning sun. At its center was a spider, only half as big as the head of a pencil eraser—the architect and engineer.

My wife, ever-admiring of the skill and determination of spiders, was close by and counseled me to leave the spider’s work intact and go out by the back door. I scoffed at her suggestion and crashed through the barrier, the tiny spider sinking to the ground as its net fell.

At Herkimer, I made a full report of this incident to Chad, one of the baristas that I’ve known the longest. He heard me unsympathetically and scoffed at my accomplishment: “Greatest Generation, indeed!” he said.

I scoffed . . . and crashed through the barrier, the tiny spider sinking to the ground as its net fell.

Kelly, the other barista on duty, heard my story and made a face. She related that as a young girl a spider had been trapped in her ear, and later had been bitten by a spider. Little sympathy there, either.

A harmless incident, not worth the telling? Perhaps. Yet as we encounter more and more spider webs these summer months, both my wife and I continue to be astounded by how these tiny arachnids accomplish such immense engineering marvels, the materials for which emerge from their own bodies. Think of their ambition! Even more, ponder their willingness to get up and try again after going down with their creations. Are these lessons worth pondering in our complex and confounding world?

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Author Dick Gillett is a Member of PNA Village, a retired Episcopal priest, and a regular contributor to our blog. His many articles include ““Generation Nice” at Herkimer Coffee”, “Martín’s Journey to the White House”,  and “Cell Phones, Conversations, and the Common Good”.

Do you like what you read on our blog? We’d love to hear from you! Please use the SHARE buttons below and COMMENT by clicking on “Leave a reply” or by clicking the gray dialogue bubble at the top right of each post!

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Village Game Group this Thursday

Do you have fond memories of playing board games with your family when you were a child, or as a parent? Or maybe you played word tile games with friends from school, or know folks who love playing games with number tiles or dominoes?

If any or all of the above apply to you, now is the time to check out the new PNA Village Game Group! No intense competition expected—just a fun time playing games together. We may have some of your old favorite games as well as ones that are new to you. You’re also welcome to bring your own favorite game!

Please join us on the 2nd Thursday of each month from 1:15 – 2:45 PM in the meeting room of the Broadview Branch of The Seattle Public Library.

SPL Broadview Branch
12755 Greenwood Ave N.

There is a parking lot available at the library. The location is also served by Metro bus routes 5, 345, 355.

(Event is not sponsored by The Seattle Public Library.)

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Your Village at the Phinney Farmers Market

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We’ll have an informational table at the Phinney Farmers Market tomorrow (Phinney Center Parking lot – 6532 Phinney Ave N), so please drop by to say hello!

Also, if you would like to help out with our table we have 2 shifts available: 3:30 – 5:30 PM and 5:30 – 7:30 PM. (If you can’t commit to a whole shift, no problem…we’d love to have you there just part of the time.) This is an awesome chance to talk to people who might not know about our wonderful village.

We will be there on the 3rd Friday of every month, so if you’re not available tomorrow but would like to help on another day, please let Rebecca know: call 206.789.1217 or email  rebeccaf@phinneycenter.org.

Hope to see you this Friday!

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A Mother’s Day Vigil

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Ninth Annual Mother’s Day Vigil at the Northwest Detention Center

By Teresa Burciaga & Dick Gillett

Dick and Teresa’s original article was published in the newsletter of Seattle’s St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the PNA. Please feel free to comment and join the conversation.  

On Saturday, May 13, more than 100 people gathered in Tacoma’s shabby industrial area, alongside the barbed wire-topped chain link fence surrounding a starkly nondescript prison: the Northwest Detention Center. After the crowd had laid down a mound of Mother’s Day bouquets near the fence, a Latino group played music and we prayed and chanted, hoping the prisoners inside would hear us and take heart. “No, No, No Basta Rezar,” the group sang, and we responded (No, it is not enough to pray).

We were gathered at the behest of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice, and the Washington Community Action Network. This was the 9th Annual Mother’s Day Vigil at the prison. The Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma is owned by the GEO Group, one of the largest security firms in the world—the same corporation that runs Guantanamo Bay.  It is the nation’s second largest for-profit prison operator, with a capacity for more than 1500 persons at the Tacoma facility.

“They are mothers and fathers who have lived alongside us. They are our neighbors.”

Emboldened by new policies under the current administration, the Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agency has stepped up raids. These sweeps include men and women who have no criminal record— mothers and fathers who have held jobs for over 20 years; who have American-born children—that are being detained and deported. Civil rights don’t extend to these immigrants being held at the Northwest Detention Center. They can be held there indefinitely.

“They are mothers and fathers who have lived alongside us,” stated Teresa Burciaga. “They are our neighbors. Their children go to school alongside ours. They hold jobs, sometimes as many as three to make a living—and pay Social Security and Medicare tax. They shop at our supermarkets and stores and pay sales tax. They are good, law-abiding people. Now their lives are in jeopardy.”

There were testimonies at the Vigil. One young mother spoke of her hope for a better life for herself and her family. Another mother, a United Methodist lay woman, told us she was there to remember and pray for her son, two years after he was deported to Mexico. Many immigrants come to this country to escape chronic poverty, criminal violence and government corruption. The prayerful community gathered at the Vigil stood in solidarity for love, justice and compassion. As their signs proclaimed, “Love has no borders, ” and “No one is free when other people are oppressed.”

We have an opportunity now to stand up for them and create more sanctuary cities and states. And we’ve recently learned that St. Mark’s Cathedral is proceeding to become a sanctuary church. Meanwhile, we in the faith communities might work to eventually close down this private prison, the Northwest Detention Center.

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Author (Rev. Canon) Dick Gillett is a Member of PNA Village, a retired Episcopal priest, and a regular contributor to our PNA Village Connections blog. His many previous articles include, “Martín’s Journey to the White House”“”Generation Nice’ at Herkimer Coffee”, and “Johnny Cash & Global Warming.”

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What YOU Can Do For Our Newsletter

PNA Village Connections newslettersAre you interested in writing, editing, desktop publishing, or even seeing your writing featured on our blog? If so, we’d love to hear from you!

You can help your PNA Village Connections newsletter in any of the following ways:

  • Join us! The newsletter committee meets just four times per year for a planning session. You choose what you’d like to write and/or what tasks you can do. (You’ll need access to a reliable computer and the Internet, as this is the committee’s primary mode of communication.)
  • Suggest ideas or information you’d like to see covered in our newsletter and/or blog.
  • Write! We’re always looking for new topics to cover.
  • Take photos! Take photos of Village events and activities.
  • Help us mail the newsletter. We always can use help folding and preparing the newsletter for mailing.
  • Provide technical help. Two of our prime needs right now are for a person comfortable doing page layout for the printed version of the newsletter (using InDesign, Publisher or Word) as well as a person comfortable preparing the newsletter for email distribution using Vertical Response.

If any of these things sound interesting to you, please contact the Village office at 206-789-1217.

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When Did We See You a Stranger?

fall-2016-houseofhank-me

By Dick Gillett

Angelina (not her real name) has been cleaning our house in Green Lake regularly for almost ten years. Last Tuesday morning—November 15—when I greeted her at the door, she responded with her accustomed cheerful smile and greeting. Although she easily speaks English, we spoke in Spanish, a language I grew up with in my native El Paso.

I asked immediately how she was adjusting to the election results. She put on a brave face, but then teared up. “ We have done a lot of crying,” she admitted. Angelina and her husband are from Mexico, and are undocumented. Their daughters, aged 14 and 11, were born here and thus are U.S. citizens. Her husband is disabled and cannot work.
She said that as the election results became clear, she began to feel ill, and went to bed. Her children started crying and became terrified, but Angelina reassured them: “No nos van a matar,” she said. “They won’t kill us.” Such is the level of fright in our community, especially among children, as a result of the 2016 election vitriol.

“No nos van a matar,” she said. “They won’t kill us.”

Angelina spoke of a neighbor’s anguish after the election. This neighbor’s work ran later than usual that day. Her school-age son, accustomed to letting himself in the house after school, started fearing his Mom had been picked up. Terrified, he went to a neighbor’s house. The neighbors, American citizens, took him in. His mother arrived to find her son gone, and likewise panicked. Finally she located him at the neighbor’s house.

Angelina is an independent contractor whose work must support her whole family.
“I keep good work records, and I am proud to pay taxes,” she told my wife Anne in English. She worked early on to learn English, and her children go to an all-English school, although she speaks Spanish to them at home. It’s clear that a week after the election, Angelina remains deeply shaken.

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me,” responds Jesus lovingly to the righteous who had seemed to doubt their own faith (Matthew 25:36). In these last days, we in the churches have been given the mission of giving thanks for, and welcoming, all the Angelinas and those like her and her family—immigrants, Muslims, people of color, native Americans, LGBTQ people—who make up the human family.

Can we take it on?

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Author (Rev. Canon) Dick Gillett is a Member of PNA Village, a retired Episcopal priest, and a regular contributor to our PNA Village Connections blog. His many previous articles include, “Martín’s Journey to the White House”“”Generation Nice’ at Herkimer Coffee”, and “Johnny Cash & Global Warming.”

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A Place to Share and be Heard

PNA Village writing group

By Alyssa McFarland

If you write—stories, memoirs, poems, haiku, what-have-you—and would like an audience to hear you read your writing out loud, there’s a group for that: the PNA Village Writing Group.

Carol Beach started the group in early 2015. She recalls, “After joining the PNA Village I felt a need to reach deeper into myself and pull out some life stories making them into poems, memoirs, and short stories. So I started the Village Writing Group and found that others felt the same way—a place to share and be heard.

“I think that we all need a space that allows us to explore what we think and feel…”

Typically, members go around the table taking turns reading something they’ve written. There’s no requirement that the work be new…some have read work that is decades old! You can ask for feedback if you would like it, but it’s not a critique group: it’s writers supporting other writers.

Wilma Bishop has shared some memoirs with the group, like the story of her first ride in a hot air balloon. She had previously been part of a memoir writing group that dissolved, and is hoping the PNA Village Writing Group will be just as rewarding.

Terry Cook has been sharing a serial story about a teenager in the 1950s working as a cowgirl. She joined the group to motivate herself to write. She finds it to be a “supportive environment to try out different stories.”

“I think that we all need a space that allows us to explore what we think and feel,” says Cook. “Writing is one way to do that, but being able to share that with others in an open forum validates our musings.”

The PNA Village Writing Group meets at Home Street Bank’s community room on the 4th Friday of each month, from 11am to noon. The group welcomes new members.

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Better Together

poc2016

Better Together: Power of Community Breakfast

Thursday, October 6
7:30-8:30 am (doors open at 7:15)
Greenwood Senior Center

Highlighting programs and services that support resilience and social connections for older adults in the community

Featuring keynote by Nancy Hooyman, Professor and Dean Emeritus, University of Washington, School of Social Work
There is no cost to attend, however a minimum donation of $50 is suggested.

Please RSVP by Wednesday, September 28.

RSVP NOW

(You may also call 206.783.2244 to RSVP)

Can’t attend? You can still donate to the event and support our senior programs!

DONATE NOW

 Thank you to our sponsors:

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About Those Ads

See an Ad you don't like? Find out what to do about it.

We apologize. At least one of our members got an unwanted political advertisement at the end of our Monday 9/12 blog post “A Chapter a Day.”

Ads sometimes appear at the bottom of our blog posts because of our free plan plan agreement with WordPress.com; in exchange for ads, we get the blog space free of charge. We did not expect that political ads would be used in this space, but we do not control the ads placed on WordPress.com. (To read more about WordPress.com’s ad policy, please see: https://wordpress.com/about-these-ads/).

Please email Rianan@phinneycenter.org if you have questions or concerns.

The good news is that the PNA Village Blog will soon move to a brand-new PNA Village website, which will be ad-free. Stay tuned for details!

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A Chapter a Day for Life

Recently published research suggests that the benefits of reading books might go beyond exposing readers to new ideas, new people, and new places: it may just include a longer life in which to read them.

In A chapter a day: Association of book reading with longevity, (Social Science & Medicine, Volume 164, September 2016, Pages 44–48 by Avni Bavishi, Martin D. Slade, Becca R. Levy) researchers examined “whether those who read books have a survival advantage over those who do not read books and over those who read other types of materials, and if so, whether cognition mediates this book reading effect.”

The research suggests a number of fascinating findings:
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  • Book reading provides a survival advantage among the elderly
  • Books are more advantageous for survival than newspapers/magazines
  • The survival advantage of reading books works through a cognitive mediator
  • Books are protective regardless of gender, wealth, education, or health

 

To view an abstract of the paper and the research methodologies used, see: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953616303689

To read an interesting review of this paper online in The Guardian, see:
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/aug/08/book-up-for-a-longer-life-readers-die-later-study-finds

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