September 16

Gift of Grace pastor sets community meeting



In last Sunday’s community meeting about the SHARE homeless shelter coming to Gift of Grace Lutheran Church, Pastor Jami Fecher promised to set up a series of meetings to further discuss the issue. The first of these meetings will be this Saturday at Mosaic Coffeehouse (corner of 2nd NE and 44th NE).

Here’s Pastor Fecher’s letter to the community:

Dear Friends and neighbors,

As promised I am (barely) meeting my deadline to communicate with you. This initial communication is purely an effort to set up further communication. The thing we are communicating about is presence of the SHARE shelter at Gift of Grace. At the informational meeting with SHARE last Sunday, hosted at Gift of Grace, among the many thoughts expressed, I am lifting out two things that can help us move forward: 1) an open and broad public forum 2) a team of people who more or less monitor any impact the SHARE shelter is having on the Wallingford neighborhood.

Since there have been many concerns raised there is a lot to sort through. One articulate neighbor suggested that we proceed with public conversations in a two-pronged way, 1) an immediate public forum to hear and understand concerns 2) a forum planned further out that considers how those concerns are addressed after a reasonable period of time, like 6 weeks or so.

I invite you to a public forum this Saturday, 10:30 AM –NOON PM at Mosaic Coffee house the corner of 2nd NE and 44th NE (right behind Dick’s Hamburgers). The coffee shop will not be open, but a staff person will serve us drip coffee. The purpose of the meeting is to hear concerns and understand them and see where we might move from here. Perhaps it would be a time to try to set up the team who would monitor the impact of the SHARE shelter on the neighborhood.

I also invite you to a second follow-up public forum, to be held at Mosaic, Saturday, Oct 23rd, 10:30 AM – NOON.  No RSVP’s required for either meeting.

Finally, I left my phone number and email address for anyone who wanted to communicate with me. Some of you have called and/or written and I have responded. Others have not heard back from me. This is not an intended slight. It has simply been a matter of my time constraints. So, please be patient. If you have not heard from me by next Friday, please call me again.

To reach me by email it is best NOT to reply to this address, but to write me at


Pastor Benjamin Fecher (Jami)

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  1. At least your pastor is making a gesture and following thru on his promise to communicate with the neighbors. He sounds like he really wants to work with the neighbors and listened to what you all had to say.

    Unlike the pastor in Greenlake – he made the same promise and did not follow thru on his commitment to have a follow up meeting. havent heard anything since from him.

  2. Quote from pastor Jami's letter:
    “two things that can help us move forward: 1) an open and broad public forum 2) a team of people who more or less monitor any impact the SHARE shelter is having on the Wallingford neighborhood.”

    1) Kinda like how Grace and SHARE were open with the neighborhood about their intentions months ago when they decided to blindside us?

    2)As for the “monitors,” per response 1), SHARE has repeatedly demonstrated they cannot be trusted at all, and that also applies to the congregation of Grace, to a lesser extent. I strongly urge that the monitors are neighborhood residents totally unaffiliated with either organization.

    It's time that SHARE and these churches, those both gullible and dismissive of their neighbors, are taught a lesson. They need to learn that they are not an island, and that they can't just throw their weight around, hiding behind the skirts of the homeless whenever people want the truth and a fair and open process. They act this way and then they're surprised there's outrage and pushback?

  3. I applaud Pastor Jami's offers to help organize continued community discussions. I am a parent of a preschooler at HF and my position on the situation is that it would be best if the school and shelter co-exist in the same building. Given that this may not be possible, I will remain committed to this preschool in whatever form it takes in the future, on- or off-site of the GOG church. It is a wonderful and loving environment for my child, and I trust the directors.

    Though I very much appreciate Jami's call for a meeting and the fact that he has provided ample advance notice, I have serious concerns about Jami's judgement and intentions given that he has unilaterally appointed one of his congregation members as the moderator of the meeting. The discussion on included questions about who the moderator will be (it's not mentioned above). Yesterday, this moderator proceeded to post a very inflammatory statement on the wallyhood blog about the details of legal contracts between HF and the church. I encourage anyone who is interested in working towards the success of these community discussions (whether you are from the church, the school, or the surrounding community) to review these postings.

    Many of us believe in the democratic process and hold tight to a vision of a strong, healthy community that is considerate and giving towards people in need of food and shelter. Please, Jami, help us work towards this vision by conducting the community discussions in the fairest way possible.

  4. CL, you own these meetings just as much as the church does. I think the community should seek out its own independent moderator not affiliated with anyone, and not wait for the pastor or the church. They have had multiple chances, now, to try and get this impartial discussion thing down, and have not yet been successful. I think it is time to seek some outside help.

    I don't have a kid at the school, and I don't live in the neighborhood, so this is just the opinion of an outside observer. But I can say that I would be really, really pissed at how this was handled by the church, if I were directly affected.

  5. I questioned the appropriatenes sof the moderator choice immediately when reading the anger and vested interest the mod has.

    We have a wallingfod Chamber of Commerce and Council.. they have excellent skills and are one clear channel of cooperation as well as longstanding respoected vehicle in our community.

    I do nto have a tv.. mayeb I shall go to this meeting for my share of drama. however, given the preview of the GoG meeting and th epastor's attitude.. “been there, done that..”.

    The school is moving. Good choice,

  6. I think the only reason he is following through is because of the preschool. There is a landlord-tenant arrangement that was put into jeopardy when the shelter was brought in.

Comments are closed.

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