Friday, December 23, 2011

#OccupyChristmasPDX signup deadline EXTENDED TO 2PM SAT DEC 24

Scan this if you're an Occupier looking for a host

Host an Occupier on Christmas


More about #OccupyChristmasPDX:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Celebrate the Winter Solstice!

The Interfaith Guild of Chaplains will be holding two Winter Solstice Interfaith Peace-In to celebrate the longest night of the year and the subsequent return of the light.

Winter Solstice
Image by Matthew Burpee via Flickr
On Wednesday, Dec. 21, 9 p.m. in front of the Portland City Hall at the altar of the vigil in solidarity with the 24/7 vigil for the end of Portland's anti-camping ordinance.

On Thursday, Dec. 22, 5 p.m. at the new #OccupyPortland headquarters (aka Che Room), at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, to celebrate the move-in.

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The City Hall 24/7 vigil and sidewalk micro-occupation

For more information visit or join, or follow Twitter @OccuPDX4_PV.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Announcing #OccupyChristmasPDX

English: Photographs of Occupy Wall Street fro...
Image via Wikipedia

On Dec. 25, we are helping Occupiers occupy everywhere!

UPDATE (12/23 1:40PM): All existing sign-up have been matched.  Deadline has been extended to Saturday (tomorrow) at 2 p.m., but you will need to be able to access email tomorrow.

UPDATE (12/21 10AM): We are receiving quite a few occupiers on the list looking for a host; however so far there is ZERO on the host list!  While we understand family commitments and church activities as such, please step up to the plate and show some solidarity.  We definitely need to receive all sign-up entries by Friday 5 PM so we can match people and make sure they are in touch with each other.

On this Christmas, we are bringing the Occupy spirit everywhere! Host an Occupier or two, and hear from their experiences and engage in conversations and community building!

Built on the success of #OccupyThanksgivingPDX, with some twist, #OccupyChristmasPDX is a region-wide, decentralized, diversified event with two-fold goals:
  1. We recognize that for many without families and/or housing, including a significant number of active Occupiers, the Christmas Day represents deprivation, major inconvenience and isolation as virtually nothing is open and they may have limited or no access to their daily necessities as well as to social interactions. As a group committed to social and economic justice, we use this occasion not only to ameliorate the important needs but also to demonstrate such needs exist, and that in America, an observance of a holiday is a privilege for some.
  2. Christmas Day is often a slow-paced day with families and friends, regardless of one's religious affiliation. We find that this would present an ideal setting for conversations and learning; we bring Occupiers to your home and neighborhood through this program, and thereby bringing the spirit and energy of the Occupy movement where people live.

While we do this on Dec. 24/25, this is a non-sectarian and interfaith project. Neither the hosts nor the Occupiers are expected to, or required to, be Christians or participate in "traditional" Christmas activities. In fact, if you are an atheist, a secular humanist, a Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, or any other non-Christian type person and will be having the Sunday off, you are more than welcome to participate in this event!

Registration deadline is Saturday, Dec. 24 at 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23 at 5 p.m.!  Please spread the word widely on Twitter (hashtag is #OccupyChristmasPDX), Facebook, Google+ (hashtag is #OccupyChristmasPDX), Diaspora (hashtag is #OccupyChristmasPDX), email, and also very importantly, the good old-fashioned word-of-mouth!  If you are involved with any committee, caucus, affinity groups or work groups, please forward this information as well!   Use URL

To register to be part of this event, go to the online registration:
IMPORTANT: We at the IGC recognize that not everyone has an access to the Internet.  We will be doing an in-person registration on Thursday, Dec. 22 during the Interfaith Winter Solstice Peace-In (5 p.m.) at St. Francis Plaza (SE Oak & 12th) and at the Spokes Council Meeting (7 p.m., Che Room, 1131 SE Oak St.).
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Archbishop Desmond Tutu issues statement of solidarity

Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the One Young World...
Image via Wikipedia
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has waded into an ecclesiastical row over a New York church's refusal to allow protesters from Occupy Wall Street to camp on a vacant lot it owns. However, despite weeks of negotiations, pressure from other church leaders and a hunger strike by four protesters, the church has been steadfast it its refusal to allow a winter encampment at its site at Duarte Square, at the corner of Canal Street and Sixth.

Rev John Metz, of the Episcopalian Church of the Ascension, in Brooklyn, who is part of the Occupy In Faith NYC group, said collaboration between churches and the Occupy movement was gathering momentum. In front of St Paul's Cathedral in London on Wednesday, where he gave a speech hailing protesters as the direct descendants of the civil rights movement, Jackson said: "The church should be the headquarters for the Occupy movement.
Source: The Guardian

The statement from the Most Rev. Desmond Tutu:

Sisters and Brothers, I greet you in the Name of Our Lord and in the bonds of common friendship and struggle from my homeland of South Africa. May God bless this appeal of yours and may the good people of that noble parish heed your plea, if not for ease of access, then at least for a stay on any violence or arrests. You see, the heartbeat of what you are asking for--that those who have too much must wake up to the cries of their brothers and sisters who have so little--beats in me and all South Africans who believe in justice. I appeal to them to embrace the higher calling of Our Lord Jesus Christ--which they live so well in all other ways--but now to do so in this instance...can we not rearrange our affairs for justice sake?
Full text:
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

The IGC Weekly Newsletter, Dec. 15, 2011

MUNICH, GERMANY - DECEMBER 09:  A stall holder...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife
The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains
serving all #Occupy movements in the greater Portland/Vancouver metro region

From Sarah:
Mic check!  Wow, this past week has been freezing, and we have 10 days until Christmas.  In just over two weeks, the year 2011 is over.  This has been one of the most exciting years so far in my life.  As we conclude 2011, we are doing two major events: the Interfaith Winter Solstice Peace-In, and #OccupyChristmasPDX.  As a chaplaincy group, our main job is to support the movement by supporting the Occupiers.  In this sense, we are always in the background.  In #OccupyPortland we work closely with the Faith & Spirit Caucus, which is more geared towards faith-based political and social actions, and the IGC is represented by the FSC to the Spokes Council and we send one rotating delegate to the Spokes Council to vote with the FSC.  As I write, there is some talk that #OccupyGresham and #OccupyHillsboro are soon being launched; we hope a good deal of solidarity and collaboration with the Gresham and Washington County people as well.  This could potentially be good for some of the IGC's membership -- as we are a scattered group and we live anywhere between Vancouver, Washington and Tigard, Oregon.  If any of you who are reading this from #OccupyVanWA -- please contact me and let me know what is happening.  We have a couple of active chaplains who live in your world.

And we are still looking for a place or places to host the #OccupyChristmasPDX.  This will be much like the successful #OccupyThanksgivingPDX last month, except that it is all day long and is hoped to be indoors (due to obvious weather-related reasons) instead.  If anyone who has a garage or similar kind of structure in the back of their house, that might work very well.  Also, we are considering a possibility of instead pitching tents on a parking lot, a backyard or a farm, as it is highly unlikely that the city would be enforcing any building code on Christmas holiday.  Time is of essence now, and we also invite Occupiers from various committees, affinity groups and caucuses to join us in making this event happen.  We believe that this is an important justice matter for some of our fellow Occupiers who live outside and/or without family, as there is virtually nothing open on Christmas Day and they should not be left outside with nothing to eat or nothing to do.  In this supposedly the richest country on earth, celebrating Christmas should not be a privilege.

The City Hall 24/7 Occupy Prayer Vigil needs you!
The IGC now officially endorses the around-the-clock prayer vigil in front of the Portland City Hall for the repeal of the anti-camping ordinance.  As this vigil has entered its third week, it needs more people to get involved.  Use the online scheduler at

Upcoming Events

  • Winter Solstice Peace-In (1): Wednesday, Dec. 21, 9-9:30 p.m. in front of the City Hall
  • Winter Solstice Peace-In (2): Thursday, Dec. 22, 5-5:30 p.m. at Director Park
  • #OccupyChristmasPDX: Sunday, Dec. 25
  • No weekly planning meetings on Thursday, Dec. 22 and 29.  Regular meetings resume on Thursday, Jan. 5.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

City Hall Occupy vigil needs people!

City Hall of Portland, Oregon
Image via Wikipedia
The Interfaith Guild of Chaplains (IGC) now officially endorses the 24/7 Occupy vigil in front of the Portland City Hall to end the camping ban.  This vigil will continue until the Portland City Council suspends or repeals the city ordinance prohibiting camping on public and private lands within the city limits.

The vigil was started on Dec. 1, 4 p.m. by Moses Wrosen and Andrea Townsend, and continues for nearly two weeks, despite the below-freezing nights and mornings.

This vigil has become a kind of mini-Occupation that is quietly continuing the visible presence by the city hall, although it has not attracted the kind of media and police attentions like some of the more spectacular demonstrations in recent days.

The vigil needs more people, as well as contributions of items such as hand-warmers, food and hot beverages.

To join the vigil, use the new online scheduler:

It is hoped that this will increase participation, and in turn reduce the physical strain on some of the people there.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

December 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe

English: Image if Our Lady of Guadalupe of Cebu
Image via Wikipedia
It is somewhat providential that today's major port shutdown action is taking place on December 12, the feast day for Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is often strongly associated with the Mexican heritage, but the Roman Catholic Church considers her to be the patron saint of the entire American continent.

In Hispanic Catholic parishes there are all-night celebrations of this observance.

Historically, Our Lady of Guadalupe has been a symbol of social justice, immigrant rights movement, indigenous struggles, and various other causes in the Americas.

Many scholars point out that it is highly likely that Our Lady of Guadalupe is an adaptation of an older Mexican Goddess, and the Mount Tepeyac, where the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe now sits, was an ancient holy place for Tonantzin, one of the major Aztec Goddesses.
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Immigrants are the 99%: International Migrants Day

Eleanor Roosevelt and United Nations Universal...
Image via Wikipedia
The United Nations has observed the International Migrants Day on December 18.

This year, on Saturday, Dec. 17, there will be an officially-endorsed Occupy Mega Marcha dedicated for the immigrant rights, at the Shemanski Park downtown.

Since the beginning of the Occupy movement, immigrants have been part of this movement, yet, in our quest for building a consensus for the 99 percent, immigrant issues have often become too invisible.  In Portland, the only other public action on this topic was the Diversity Day, which unfortunately was eclipsed by the eviction and only attracted a small handful of people.

The immigrant rights are human rights, and they are vital part of American economy, whether or not they are "legal."  Today, most undocumented immigrants are long-term residents among Americans, increasingly becoming part of our communities.

Yet, Nativist hate groups (the "Tanton Network" organizations and their affiliates) and private prison industrial lobby group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are busy peddling pre-written bills in state legislatures and Congress calling for severe violation of human rights, not merely deportations, of immigrants -- undocumented and documented, even many permanent residents.

In Alabama, the House Bill 56 (HB56) was passed in order to “attack every aspect of an illegal immigrant’s life,” in the words of its sponsor.  Now in Alabama, something unthinkable in America is happening in broad daylight:
  • A mother in northern Alabama was told she could not attend a book fair at her daughter’s school without an Alabama state ID or driver’s license.
  • A father called to report that his U.S. citizen daughter came home weeping from school after other students told her she did not belong there and needed to go back to Mexico—a country she had never visited.
  • A judge advised a lawyer that the lawyer had obligation to report her own client to ICE as undocumented. The same judge stated that he might have to report to ICE any person who asked for an interpreter, as such a request would be a red flag.
  • Latino workers on a construction jobsite were threatened by a group of men with guns, who told them to go back to Mexico and threatened to kill them if they were there the following day. They declined to report the crime to law enforcement because of fears of what would happen to them if they did.
  • A clerk at a store in Bessemar told a Latino man (lawfully in the United States) from Ohio that he could not make a purchase with his bank card because he did not have an Alabama state issued identification or driver’s license.
  • A victim of domestic violence went to court to obtain a protective order. The clerk told her that she’d be reported to ICE if she proceeded.
  • A local bar association has advised its lawyers that if they are asked to report information about their undocumented clients to law enforcement, the requirements of HB56 will override the legal obligation to preserve a client’s confidences.
  • By the first Monday after HB56 was allowed to take effect, 2,285 Latino students were absent from schools across Alabama; 7 percent of the total Latino school population. Since then, the Attorney General and the state have refused to share enrollment and absentee data to anyone, including the United States Department of Justice.
  • A public school in Montgomery asked already enrolled Latino students questions about their immigration status and that of their parents. As a result, some parents are keeping their children out of school.
  • In Allgood, the water authority posted a sign indicating that water customers would have to produce identification documents proving immigration status in order to maintain water service.
  • In Northport, the water authority provided notices to Latino customers that their services will be shut off if they didn’t provide proof of immigration status immediately.
  • In Madison County and in Decatur, the public utilities have announced that they will not provide water, gas, or sewage service to people who could not prove their status.
  • Numerous probate offices, including the Montgomery Probate Office and the Houston County Probate Office, have published notices indicating that they will not provide any services to anyone without proof of immigration status. As a result, many immigrants cannot request birth or death certificates.
  • An apartment complex manager in Hoover told residents they would not be able to renew their leases without proof of immigration status.
  • Legal immigrants, including those with temporary protected status, have been told that they cannot obtain drivers’ licenses in the state.
  • A worker called to say that his employer refused to pay him, citing HB56, and stated that the worker had no rights to be paid under this law.
  • A mother spoke to the local office of the Department of Human Resources about her U.S. citizen children’s eligibility for food stamps. The social worker told the mother that she would be turning the mother into the federal government for deportation. The family went into hiding.
  • Alabama Power told a family that they would not be able to have their electricity reconnected without providing proof of immigration status. That family left the state.
  • A husband called us to report that his wife, nine months pregnant, was too afraid to go to a hospital in Alabama to give birth, and that he was trying to decide whether to have her give birth at home or somehow to try to get to Florida.
  • A Latino man was arrested and detained. While in jail, he was told that he could not use the telephone to call his attorney because the use of the phone would be a “business transaction” prohibited by HB56.
Source: Southern Poverty Law Center

This is reminiscent of the "Mark of the Beast" of Revelation chapter 13, in which no one can buy or sell without the mark -- and those without the mark was to be arrested and executed.  The Republican-dominated Alabama legislature passed this while claiming to support "traditional Christian values."

Unfortunately, Alabama is not the only place.  Oregon is in no way too far insulated from this kind of hate and injustice.  In every legislative session, there are at least a few bills introduced in Salem that are meant to attack "illegal aliens" and many of them are sponsored by Kim Thatcher from Kaiser, who is affiliated with the Oregonians for Immigration Reform, the state affiliate of the Tanton-related Federation for American Immigration Reform.

The Occupy movement must resist the temptation to be divided on this issue.  Immigrant rights are inextricably connected to workers' rights, unhoused people's rights, religious freedom, racial justice, women's rights and myriad of other human rights.  We are all in this together as the 99 percent, and injury to one is injury to all.

Occupy Mega March: Saturday, Dec. 17:!_12_17_11

When all the people of the world love,
Then the strong will not overpower the weak.
The many will not oppress the few.
The wealthy will not mock the poor.
The honoured will not disdain the humble.
The cunning will not deceive the simple.
-- Micius (China, 470?-391? BCE).

This is not an official statement of the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains.

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Incarnation and Occupation

English: Child lightes candles on Advent-wreath
Image via Wikipedia
By Sarah Morrigan

In the Western Christian liturgical calendar, this is the season of Advent, and the theology of incarnation is one of those things that are being often talked about in churches, leading up to Christmas.

Why did God -- infinite and almighty according to Christian cosmology and theology -- "become flesh"?  Incarnation has its own risks.  In making the infinite decidedly finite, positioning in a localized space and moment, God would have privileged the experiences of (especially if, as Christianity maintains, Jesus was the one and only incarnation of God for all universe) one ethnic group, one historic period, one religious tradition and one country over those of all others.

If God was truly infinite, then, God did not have to do this in order to save the humankind, either.  Though the Evangelical Protestants maintain that God had to do this in order to redeem the humankind, but even then, for God almighty, everything is a conscious, mindful, deliberate choice.  God has never been compelled to do anything otherwise.

Hence incarnation was an action in which God chooses to invade the human world and occupy a specific time and space, within the context of human social and cultural experiences.

There is something that is powerful about this.  In this age of technology and social media, we can experience whatever that happens in the world real-time.  Yet, there is still a difference between watching the port shutdown taking place today through Livestream and Twitter, while multitasking away in the safety and comfort of some remote location, and those who physically occupy the time and space on this wintry day at the Terminals 5 and 6 of the Port of Portland.

Interestingly, though aided greatly by the modern Internet and electronic communication technology, the Occupy movement made a powerful statement worldwide by using that technology to physically occupy -- and live in a primitive condition in tents, and even risking violence at the hands of riot police. In this day and age, we can do many things without leaving our armchairs; yet, thousands of occupiers chose to occupy a time and space together in solidarity, and the energy that comes from actually putting bodies on the Occupation has indeed helped us organize and accomplish so many things in a very short time.

St. Irenaeus famously said (and repeated by Frithjof Schuon): "God has become a human so humans may become God."  In the Eastern Orthodox theology, incarnation is explained more extensively.  The concept of Christus Victor postulates that Christ invaded the humanity in order to help the humanity triumph over the evil; while the theology of theosis explains that through the incarnation, humans are being sanctified and made like God.

God has occupied in solidarity, and to speak out against the injustice and corruption of humankind.

Incarnation, in this sense, is the prototypal Occupation.

This is not an official statement of the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains.

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Let's organize #OccupyChristmasPDX!

christmas 2007
Image by paparutzi via Flickr

Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011

I am getting this event organized quickly due to a relatively short timeframe, and I thought you might want to get involved in this. As you may already know from your interaction with the Tribes and other
unhoused people, Christmas day is perhaps the worst day of the year for those who live outside. Basically, to make a long story short, nothing is open -- and that means no place to be, and no access to
food or other necessities. Added to this is the weather. Long-term forecasts predict a pretty nasty weather towards the final two weeks of December both in temperature and precipitation.

Therefore, if there is any small thing we can do to become a part of the solution -- and to take a first step towards solidarity and justice -- is to ameliorate the conditions for this particular day. As much as I hate having to say this every year, in this predominantly Christian-based country, observance of Christmas has become a privilege.

Building on the success of #OccupyThanksgivingPDX, I am putting together an all-day (possibly 24-hour) indoor mini-occupation on Christmas Day (or a period running from late Christmas eve). And in
the spirit of social justice and solidarity that is at the heart of the Occupy movement, we try to do this entirely apart from the conventional charity model. Rather, I hope to use this occasion for community-building and to talk about issues that matter to participants in their daily lives, while also having a fun, memorable holiday.

Let me know if you have any input.

Sarah Morrigan
#OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains

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Real Christians don't occupy?

English: Headquarters of the US Christian Comm...
Headquarters of the US Christian Commission.  It looks like occupying a farm. Image via Wikipedia
By Sarah Morrigan

I was reading this article from the Christian Post, a known right-wing publication by American Evangelical Protestants.  The article predicts that "real" Christians would soon have to go "underground" as Mainline Protestant churches "have slipped away from their foundation on the Holy Scriptures and adopted more and more secular tenets and leftist, politically correct, philosophy until they have become only a shadow of the true followers of Christ."  The alarmist tone of this article decries not only the historical Mainline denominations (which it calls "social clubs with nationwide franchises") but also the "diluted" Evangelicals (such as the emergent churches), and expresses the fear that in the near future "real" Christians would be persecuted.

Given their political influence this article is laughable, yet it illustrates the false dichotomy between the "Great Commission" and the "Great Commandment."  Bruce Bawer, in his book Stealing Jesus, has delineated this dichotomy as a tension between two types of American Christianity: "the Church of Law" and "the Church of Love."   However, this black-or-white linear thinking is scripturally unsound.

The commentator quotes the Great Commission, without thinking much of its context:

The Great Commission stated in Matthew 28:18-20 reads: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
That commission from Christ is the sole reason why the church exists today, Longstreet stressed.
“To fulfill that mission the church must stand firmly upon the foundation of the Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Christ. That means insisting that the standard(s) set by Christ are, and remain, the guiding force behind everything the church does ... that means pastors are compelled to preach that those things the Scripture marks as sin are duly, and publicly, noted from their pulpits as SIN. If a church is reluctant to do this, or refuses to do this, then, in my opinion, that church is not a Christian church.” 
What is, then, "teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you"?  Perhaps one of the most important of such teachings is the Great Commandment -- and many teachings against oppressing people in the names of law and order, teachings against greed and corruption, teachings against using religion and religious traditions as fodders to promote evil, and the list goes on.  Yet this list would not include anything about defending capitalism, patriotism for America, support for police state and militarism, lower taxes for the rich, de-funding of social services, hatred for immigrants (undocumented or otherwise), promoting American imperialism, armed invasions of other countries, homosexuality, abortion, or even "family values."

Social justice is, and has always been, an important part of vocation as Christians throughout history (even Aimee Semple McPherson, the founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, did quite a lot).  Therefore real Christians ought to occupy their time and space pursuing the real righteousness -- not just a self-righteousness -- after all, faith without works is dead.  The Occupy movement has been decrying the sins of this nation, like the Hebrew prophets, all day, every day.  It's high time that we see more of the Evangelical Christians open their eyes and come occupy.

This is not an official statement of the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains.
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Friday, December 9, 2011

The IGC Weekly Newsletter for Dec. 9, 2011

The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains
In solidarity with all Occupy movements and communities in the Greater Portland-Vancouver Region

Dec. 9, 2011

From Sarah: Mic Check!!  The winter is felt these days in the morning and at night.  Many of our Occupiers in Portland area are in need for a safe place to sleep.  I have been, in recent days, seeing some distancing away by the larger Occupy movement from these issues and it is troubling. I have been in contact with someone who is very passionate on this matter -- and I hope many of our fellow Occupiers take this -- the lives of real humans and their basic human rights -- seriously.  As I have written extensively on this topic of late elsewhere, I need not repeat it here.

As the IGC is working very closely with other groups, OP committees, caucuses and workgroups on a more increased capacity, there are many ways for you to get involved.  This week's newsletter is primarily a list of what we are doing and call for volunteers.

In solidarity,

Sarah Morrigan
Program Coordinator
The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains

1. Current and Upcoming
  • Thursday, Dec. 22: The Winter Solstice Interfaith Occupiers' Peace-In.  Celebrate the shortest day of the year and return of the light with this short ceremony drawn from many cultures and traditions.  6:30 p.m., at Director Park, 850 SW Taylor St., Portland, Oregon 97205.  We are looking for people who can either contribute some easy-to-serve food items and/or hot beverages, and/or someone with a kitchen and transportable containers (like a Cambro) so we can prepare them earlier on that day.  Contact Sarah if you are able to help.
  • Continuing now: 24/7 Candlelight Prayer Vigil against Camping Ban.  In front of the Portland City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave., Portland, Oregon 97204.  The group is looking for people who can cover a shift on a regular basis.  Call Andrea at (503) 453-9937 to join the vigil.
  • IGC rotating delegates for the Spokes Council: We participate in the OccupyPortland Spokes Council through our membership in the Faith & Spirit Caucus.  We are looking for two more active IGC members to act as our official rotating delegates to represent the IGC to the greater movement, and also to be a liaison between the Spokes Council and the IGC.
2. Organizing in Progress
  • #OccupyChristmasPDX: Building on the success of #OccupyThanksgivingPDX, we are hoping to put together a 24-hour, indoor mini-occupation retreat for Christmas.  The leading impetus for this event is that there are many Occupiers outside who may otherwise be left outside with no access to food and other vital needs on Dec. 25, potentially in a bad weather; however, this event seeks to be more than a charity or a hand-out; we are using this opportunity to build community and relationship, and talk about issues that matter, while also having a great fun time to make this holiday a memorable one for all participants.  To be part of the planning, or if you have an offer of a building (an empty garage would even do), contact Sarah by email or phone (503) 427-8269.
  • Occupy Churches! This project is essentially a touring mini-encampment that would go to various faith communities (by their invitation and request), set up a miniature occupation (no bigger than two tents, a table, and a few chairs) for a period of 24 hours (or a weekend) to engage members of these churches in conversations and learning about the Occupy movement and what it is about.  This may start some time in January.
  • A workgroup for solidarity with unhoused Occupiers: Now that the OccupyPortland's GA and Spokes Council appear to be somewhat giving up on this issue, and that the homeless advocacy committee once active at the first Occupation is seemingly dead, it is time to regroup and restart.  As the winter climate sets in, this is a serious life-or-death matter.  Contact Miranda at (503) 289-0555, or contact Sarah.
This week's meeting notes:

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Call for immediate help! Solidarity!

Play voice message above (Flash)

It has been below-freezing at nights and morning hours, and there are many occupiers who are still outside.  Let's show some serious solidarity with all occupiers.

Call Miranda at (503) 289-0555.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Trinity Wall Street calls NYPD on OWS occupiers

English: NYPD officers stand at the west end o...
Image via Wikipedia

Occupy Wall Street protesters have been desperately searching for a new home in Lower Manhattan ever since they were violently evicted from Zuccotti Park. And Trinity Wall Street Episcopal Church has a vacant lot just a mile away that could be an ideal location.

As a group of occupiers put it in an open letter, "We have asked the Church time and time again to grant us political sanctuary on their unused lands. It is time for Trinity to decide whether it is a Church or a real estate company. "

The group began a hunger strike on the site over the weekend, and Trinity responded by calling the New York Police Department and having the protesters arrested.

Pertinent contact information for immediate actions:

The Rev. Dr. James Herbert Cooper, rector of Trinity Wall Street

The Rev. Canon Anne Mallonee, vicar for mission and ministry

The Rev. Matthew Heyd, director of Faith in Action

The Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk, 15th Bishop Ordinary of New York
Diocese of New York

The Rt. Rev. Catherine S. Roskam, Bishop Suffragan of New York
Diocese of New York
202-316-7408 (fax 212-932-7345)

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Occupy City Hall - a prayer vigil for human rights

Representation of the Declaration of the Right...
Image via Wikipedia
Occupy City Hall: A 24/7 Interfaith Prayer Vigil

Safe sleep is the most basic of human rights. End homelessness or end the camping ban. A round-the-clock vigil will continue until the ban is lifted or until we re-occupy in defiance of the ban.

ALL faiths and ALL forms of prayer to ALL available Powers are welcome. There's plenty of space on the Prayer Warrior Schedule, sign-up for a shift.  No sleeping, but we can kneel, sit, walk, and stand all blessed day and night. Chant Down Babylon! G-d (or whatever you believe in) help us!

Portland City Hall, 1221 SW Fourth Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97204

Contact: (503) 453-9937

This is not an official IGC action; however we encourage everyone to support in solidarity as their capacities allow.  Thank you.
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Dec. 1, 2011 meeting notes

#OccupyPortland Spiritual Life Newsletter, Dec. 2, 2011

The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains
serving #Occupy movement and Occupier communities in the Greater Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area
Twitter: @OccupyPDXigc #ChaplainsOccupyPDX | Facebook:
IRC: #opdxigc on NewNet

Dec. 2, 2011

Notes from Sarah: Mic check! December already. Streets, retail windows and shopping malls are all decked up for Christmas. In a hollow gesture whose main motive is marketing for what is supposed to be the biggest retailing season of the year, symbolism of Christmas (in turn, those of earlier winter holidays of Europe predating the arrival of Christianity there) is exploited and co-opted for the pursuit of Dollar Almighty.  While many small business owners who are barely surviving in this economic climate are also counting on the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve to make up for the year's loss, it is often the big box retailers that report retail figures that would ultimately affect Wall Street stock prices and indexes (and in turn, the value of the U.S. Dollars against foreign currencies).

"View in Wall Street from Corner of Broad...
Image via Wikipedia
Who had imagined, a year ago, the still-nascent popular movement in northern Africa would blossom into what is now a worldwide phenomenon?  At the same time, we also live with the risk that the messages of #OWS may be exploited and co-opted for the pursuit of electoral partisan politics for 2012, by and for the very One Percenters who ultimately do not give a rodent's bottom about the concerns and grievances of the 99%.

Keeping true to the spirit of the message is always a challenge.  Christianity, too, in its long history has lost its original message -- and even became implicit in bloody acts of genocide, war, plunders and other evils, as the Church became co-opted by the Roman Empire and subsequent political entities of Europe and later Americas.  Lest one may falsely think Christianity is the only culprit, even Buddhism, Neo-Confucianism and Shinto have been used to promote militarism and imperialism in Japan during the first half of the 20th century,

This holiday season, we explore what our message is -- both as Occupiers and as people of various spiritual and faith traditions.  Most, if not all, religions in the world have since time immemorial, emphasized that people have a moral obligation to care for the vulnerable and disadvantaged.  The Occupy movement has done this remarkably, without resorting to oft-hypocritical, and unnecessarily paternalistic and disempowering, language of conventional religions.  While doing so, the Occupations throughout the world also fulfilled an important prophetic role in reminding the people to care for one another.  Yet, this aspect of the Occupy movement has been one of the most attacked and vilified by the politicians, government bureaucrats, and the mainstream media.

We need to stay true to our commitment for social, economic and cultural justice -- among several other messages.  To ignore or downplay it is to allow the Occupy movement to be co-opted by the very system of oppression at its own peril.

IGC news: 
  • We have officially adopted a statement of solidarity with all regional Occupy movement in the greater Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area.  We are here to stand in solidarity with all manifestations of the Occupy movement in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties in Oregon, as well as Clark County, Washington.
  • We have three new chaplains join our team this week and now we are 22-member strong, attesting to the continued strength of the Occupy movement.  New members are: Aurora WindDancer, Alethea K. Devi, and Shannon Batts.
  • The Order of the Serene Wisdom is drafting its monastic rule, which is largely derived from Benedictine tradition and from the Rule of St. Basil the Great (which promotes a more "horizontal" and communitarian/collectivist form of monasticism, than the Rule of St. Benedict, which has a more hierarchical, "vertical" outlook), but rewritten to reflect the unique needs of a truly interfaith community in the #Occupy era.  To participate in this project, join the OSW Facebook group.
Upcoming events and announcements:
  • Thursday, Dec. 22: Winter Solstice Interfaith Peace-In.  Time/location TBA.
  • We are requesting donations of blankets, sleeping bags, and coats for the Occupy Giving! event on Saturday, Dec. 10.  Details will be posted as soon as available.  If you are connected to a faith community, we encourage you to get the word out there.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Statement of solidarity and support with all regional #Occupy movements

Portland, Oregon. Mt. Hood sunrise.
Image by SoulRider.222 via Flickr
Recognizing that the #Occupy movement is a decentralized and free one, and that there is no singular, central organization that controls all actions occurring in Portland, Oregon and its vicinities, and that there have been several attempted actions, squats and encampments independent of the #OccupyPortland General Assembly or its Action Committee, we hereby express solidarity with, and support of, all expressions of #Occupy movement everywhere; specifically, we strive to expand our chaplaincy, outreach and other ministries to any known Occupation in Clackamas, Clark, Multnomah and Washington counties, and/or support the formation and organization of similar chaplains group in such Occupations, or if there is any chaplains group already in existence, we shall stand in solidarity with such a group and work closely with it to further common missions while respecting its local autonomy and independence.

Officially adopted by consensus of the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains in its weekly meeting, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011.

Explanatory Statement by Sarah Morrigan
This is not part of the official statement.

Background: During the past week, an independent Occupation called #OccupyGateway arose briefly in the Rocky Butte State Park near the Gateway District of Northeast Portland.  The decentralized and spontaneous nature of the Occupy movement makes it possible for any group of people to start their own Occupation, without necessarily having to go through the General Assembly (GA) of an existing Occupation framework.  This is not without precedence; the Occupation at the Terry Schrunk Plaza was technically speaking independent from #OccupyPortland, as the said action has never been officially approved by the General Assembly of #OccupyPortland (however, OP did formally state its solidarity with the Terry Schrunk group).  Additionally, there is an active #OccupyVanWA on the other side of the Columbia River.  The Interfaith Guild of Chaplains (IGC) was founded in the Camp Beta of the first Portland Occupation in October, 2011 -- and its initial emphasis was on serving the community of Occupiers at the downtown encampments.  However, its members come from all parts of the Greater Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan Area and it makes a perfect sense to expand its outreach to any other current and future Occupations and Occupy-related actions.

Summary of the Statement of Solidarity -- What it means and what it does:

  1. We support and we will stand in solidarity with #OccupyPortland, #OccupyVanWA, and any other known manifestations of worldwide #Occupy movement in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties of Oregon and Clark County, Washington, and we do not limit our work to actions or encampments officially authorized by the Portland GA. (IGC is an independent organization, not a committee, caucus or work group of #OccupyPortland.)
  2. We are open to the idea of expanding our ministries and activities to other such Occupations in the said region, and/or offer assistance in organizing their own, independent, chaplains group there, with a recognition that such groups arising in other Occupations are free to decide on their own affairs autonomously and independently.  If there is already an active chaplains group in #OccupyVanWA or any other future Occupations we will still work closely with them in the spirit of solidarity and mutual support. 

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Finding Oregon

Finding Oregon from Uncage the Soul Productions on Vimeo.