Director’s Message from Warren Light: DACA and Current Events

Dear Friends of Wesley,

This year has been a time of great challenge.  We have seen many of our deepest held values challenged not only by hooded thugs who do not respect the humanity of all, but also by the most powerful persons in government.  White supremacy and ethnocentrism are rooted in weakness and fear.

Mischaracterization and lies, including those of men in leadership, would obscure the reality that the greatness of this land has been the flower of our multiculturalism.  This land has benefited from the wisdom and values of the Original Communities.  We ignore their witness at the peril of the earth and all humanity.

African Americans, many of whom share an ancestry of persons forced into slavery, built much of this country.  Their work before and since emancipation form the basis of our national wealth.  We will never acknowledge this fact until we address the economic disparity that exists between the races that live together in our nation.

We also acknowledge that the hard work and creativity of immigrants and their families have allowed succeeding generations to inherit prosperity and opportunity.  Today’s immigrants are providing the insight and expertise to meet the challenges of the emerging global community.

This generation must not tolerate attacks on Native Americans [Standing Rock], all persons of color [Charlottesville], and our newest community members [DACA].  At stake is all we live for, all we love, and all we are.

The Wesley Community Center strives to be a place for all people, for justice, for the earth, and for young adults.  We will not relent.  We have worked with the Civil Liberties Defense Center this year to provide at least three “Know Your Rights” trainings.  Much of this time has been focused on solidarity with folks who are being targeted, especially immigrants and their families.  Programs have been shared to support the work of the protesters at Standing Rock.  More work is planned.

I want to share with you words written by the new bishop of the Oregon Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Church.  She is a living reminder that people of faith do not universally rubber stamp the whims of the current Executive in Chief.  Any powerful, wealthy figure can find “religious leaders” to endorse them.  This has been true since the invention of wealth and the creation of myths of power.

Real faith, real justice, real kindness – all – reject power myths and violence.  They cause us to stand up with and for persons whose rights are endangered.

The Wesley Community Center is a non-proselytizing place.  Everyone is welcome.  We have friends who are atheist, agnostic, and secular.  Friends who come from various spiritual disciplines and communities.

However broad our community is, it is sometimes appropriate to draw from leaders within the faith community.  I hope you will find the words of these folks helpful:

Kim Cape, General Secretary, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry

Greg Nelson,  Director of Communications, Oregon Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Church

Bishop Elaine JW Stanovsky, Oregon Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Take care – We Are Here For You.
Rev. Warren Light, Esq.
Director, Wesley Community Center
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Wesley Whale Watching Adventure: We had a Whale of a Time!

Last month, the Wesley Community Center took a group of students to a day of whale watching! Thank you to everyone who came. Check out our new photo album “Wesley Events” for some amazing pictures our students took. Shout out to Sohni and Maya for capturing the incredible sights!

Here are some reactions from student attendees:

“Our trip to Depoe Bay was one of the most enlightening and life changing experiences I’ve encountered. I would like to thank the Wesley Center, Warren, and Isabelle for all the hard work they put into making this trip happen. I will never forget this day and it’ll be remembered in my heart and mind forever. Thank you so much!!   -Haoua

“Thank you so much! The trip was amazing and something unlike anything I’ve experienced before. For me this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I would like to thank the Wesley Center for allowing me to come on board. Hopefully I’ll see you guys sago in Eugene!”  -Elizabeth

If this sounded like fun, please join the Wesley center in more upcoming events! The Wesley Center welcomes everyone and hopes to continuously bring together a fun and accepting community. Be sure to check our website for more information on future events.

 

 

Student Reflection: Preventing Domestic Violence & Making a Difference

Written by Michelle Schaefer, a Wesley Center Intern

Last month, I, along with three other Wesley interns, volunteered at the Domestic Violence Fatality Review and Community Based Risk Assessment: New Horizons event in Salem. This one-day training conference included presentations from national experts and workshops about community involvement to improve systemic responses to domestic violence. As volunteers, we had the opportunity to sit in on the presentations and assist with the workshop sessions.

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Intern, Adana Lindsley introducing one of the workshop speakers.

I was very appreciative for the opportunity to participate in this event because of the insights I would gain about preventing situations of domestic violence and supporting survivors. As a student attending a training conference for responding to domestic violence situations, one of the pressing questions I had was how could I, with no experience as a social worker and limited knowledge, make a difference in my community? While this was one of the focuses, the conference presented extremely valuable takeaways about the role of community in preventing domestic violence.

Listening is Key

One of the speakers at the event spoke directly to my question of how one can feel unable to help in these situations without having the knowledge or qualifications to assist. She spoke to how this assumption is harmful to communities and that in many cases, victims of domestic violence reach out to at least one person, not necessarily for advice, but just to listen. It is this act of listening as a community that gives survivors the safe space they need. It also enables communities to refrain from the bystander role in situations of violence. As a young member of my community, simply offering to listen, without judgment and with full support and compassion, to those facing situations of violence can make an impact.

Communities Can Act as Safe Spaces

In addition, communities play a larger role in creating safe spaces for victims by actively spreading awareness and educating members on how to support victims, what healthy relationships look like and building understanding for these victims, fighting against false stigmas and victim blaming among communities.

Becoming an Ally

My experience volunteering at the DVERT event was incredibly eye-opening and this event inspired me to be a more proactive member of my community.  I plan to continue to educate myself on how to further support victims of domestic violence and volunteer my time to help build the understanding community survivors need.

I realized how our actions as a community have an impact on younger generations and preventing future violence, and as a Wesley Intern, volunteer and community member, I strive to be role model by working actively to support victims and building an understanding community.

 

For more information about the conference and DVERT visit: http://ndvfri.org and https://multco.us/dv/domestic-violence-enhanced-response-team-dvert

 

 

 

 

Art Month Feature: Finlay Louden

16754598_10154640056984219_388864360_nFinlay Louden

My name’s Finlay, and I make paper and prop art. I’m colorblind so drawing with color is difficult–paper is easier for me to see and conceptualize. I graduated from the University of Oregon in 2016 with honors and majored in Comparative Literature with minors in Latin, Medieval Studies, and Creative Writing.


How did you first get involved with paper arts?

I got started mainly to see if I could make paper art that I enjoyed. Turns out that it’s incredibly soothing and easier for me to see than other traditional mediums. I didn’t have any instruction, I just did it.

Tell me more about your crafting process.

All my paper projects are entirely made out of cardstock and glue. That’s it. All details are hand cut by me, not with tools. It takes hours, sometimes days to make a piece. I like making smaller pieces rather than large ones, but I’ve made all kinds of projects.

Interested in Finlay’s paper art? Send commission questions to  finlay.louden@gmail.com with the subject line “Commission Question/Request.”