Highlights from today’s SHARE shelter meeting

A meeting was held today at the Mosaic Coffeehouse, led by Pastor Jami Fecher from Gift of Grace, who invited the community to participate in an interactive discussion concerning the SHARE shelter.  He encouraged everyone in attendance to “engage with intentional good will,” and to be able to hear and understand one another.  Attendees of the 90-minute meeting included neighbors of the church, Gift of Grace congregation members, and preschool parents, among others.  Woody Pidcock, a member of the Gift of Grace congregation, served as moderator for the meeting.  Pastor Fecher clarified that Woody was not present to share his opinions, but to serve as moderator and to “help call on people and to keep things going in an orderly fashion.”

Neighbors—some of which were also parents of children who attend Huckleberry Forest—asked why they weren’t involved in the decision-making process to house the shelter at the church, and why a meeting [like today’s] couldn’t have been held six months to a year ago.  Another neighbor addressed issues of broken trust, but was hopeful that “we can make something more out of this,” though, he indicated, it would take a lot of work by the neighborhood and the church.  One woman remarked that her community had “changed overnight” and that many people share her concern for “fear of the unknown.”  She wondered how SHARE was willing to work with the community to ensure accountability.

A neighbor who identified himself as Mark said that he was glad he was there for the discussion and hoped the community can work together to make SHARE a better organization.  He explained his previous experience in working with homeless shelters in Washington, D.C., and said that ID checking is a common practice in other cities as the first step in breaking the cycle of homelessness.

Mark mentioned that in Maryland, a homeless person could get a letter from the sheriff’s office that indicates they have no criminal record; then, they can get a library card; then they can get a photo ID, and then, a job. Once they get a job, they can get housing.  He was concerned that he saw no evidence that breaking this cycle was a part of SHARE’s mission.  “It really makes me angry to see an organization of this size to be this bad at what [they] do.”

Pastor Jami said, “I have a hope that the Lutheran Pastors [who] are the hosts of shelters will get together to improve the processes.  I have good reason to believe that’s going to happen.”  He also hoped that the SHARE shelter would be an asset to the community and “especially the community right around the church.” Furthermore, he expects that SHARE will “abide by their agreement and keep things clean around the church.”

Rich Gamble, pastor of Keystone Church in Tangletown shared his experience in working with Nickelsville last year, when they phoned him looking for emergency shelter.   A decision to help the tent city was put to a vote by the congregation and then brought to the preschool, which was supportive of Nickelsville being onsite for a month.   Karen, a preschool mother at the Wallingford Co-op Preschool during that time added that “decisions were made quickly and there were obvious concerns, but the communications were made clear about the boundaries and the month went smooth.  As a parent, the safety of my child was never an issue.  I’m actually happy this is happening and I hope [it] to be as successful.”

Ana, who introduced herself as a part of the steering committee at the Gift of Grace addressed the question as to why the neighborhood hadn’t been informed earlier saying, “The reason may be completely naïve, I didn’t even think, ‘Oh I should ask the neighbors’. It didn’t even cross my mind.  I wish it would have, but it didn’t.”

Mark, the neighbor who spoke earlier, proposed to spend the last 15 minutes of the meeting coming up with a pragmatic approach to the issue.  He proposed an identification process for the members living in the shelter and “we determine within a reasonable amount of time—maybe a month—that we demand IDs of some portion of that population.”  He suggested maybe of the 15 people in that shelter, over time, 13 of them have ID.   “If there are 7 guys who are there night after night, they should have IDs.  Otherwise, it’s a hideout.”

“I don’t care if there are level 2 sex offenders staying in the shelter.  I just want to have them to have to register,” he added, “because that’s the community standard, and the community standard’s been violated.”

He said he had talked to neighborhood police officer, Loren Street, to be a part of the group as well and asked that neighbors, members of the church and SHARE to get involved.

The next meeting will be held on October 23, from 10:30-12:00 p.m. at the Mosaic Coffee House.

  1. taxidermist said,

    Getting ID can be VERY difficult for homeless folks and is almost impossible for those who can’t navigate the system or get around. Volunteering to assist one shelter member get ID could be a good way for Wallingford community members to accomplish several things. 1) become more acquainted with the human side of the homeless community, 2)ensuring the people who need a safe shelter have it and 3) have leverage in asking SHARE to require ID after a period when all members have been given the opportunity for assistance. While I don’t think everyone with a criminal history should be banned, as there are many ‘homeless crimes’ that are harmless and non-violent, I also don’t want level 2 or 3 sex offenders a block from my home. I would definitely offer my time or money to help in this way.

    Sat, September 18 at 9:10 pm
  2. Karla said,

    Interesting idea with assisting with IDs. As a person who worked as an overnight supervisor in several major urban shelters we had caseworkers that worked on this in the shelters as almost a full time job. Between the work involved to get the documentation required and then the turnover of people in the shelter the job never seemed to end.

    Sat, September 18 at 10:13 pm
  3. taxidermist said,

    Karla, I hear you that it is no easy task! I have also worked with homeless & mentally ill for a long time. I currently work in permanent housing for homeless and one of the major barriers for folks is getting ID and a social security card. I can’t help but think of how much easier that step would be for them, if when they came up on the wait list for low-income housing if they already had their documents in order, because the community around this shelter assisted them in getting it. At the same time it would give the whole community relief to know the risk factors of the shelter utilizers. Maybe I have my head in the clouds :)

    Sat, September 18 at 10:36 pm
  4. Guy said,

    What I’d like to know is if anyone brought up the issue of Pastor Jami lying to the preschool, lying to the media (and in the process impugning the preschool) and purposefully hiding the fact of the homeless shelter from his neighbors for a year? One year?! Regardless of every other fact, of any intent or result, here is someone who has abused his position of power and he should immediately be made to explain this untenable behavior. Hopefully the next business who spends thousands of dollars based on his lies to rent from him will not need to just throw that money away as this one will.

    Please do not let him or this group get away with this. Complain to his host organization (or at least raise the question). Ask him to prove any of his lies by producing the document(s) that he has said prove this. Ask the media to make him prove it. I guarantee you, he never will.

    Sun, September 19 at 3:20 am
  5. Muffin-Top said,

    Yes, “The issue here has never been about the homeless. It has been about lies” (Guy), and about dishonest manipulation, and about wild hypocrisy.

    But the question seems to be too scarry for some (who just move their preschool out of the way), and too complicated for others (who get lost in virtual statistical research). A simple question:

    WHO IS PROFITING from this unsheltering shelter, from the homeless, and from the neighbors at Wallingford?

    This has nothing to do with “Not in my back yard” sentiment? And nothing to do with “Homeless = “deserving”” either.

    Asking who is profiting is part of our demand for justice, and our determination to protect our families and belongings, and finally to truly care about the homeless.

    Wake up!

    Sun, September 19 at 5:17 am
  6. Wendy said,

    Guy, The issues of the Preschool was brought up. Pastor Jami did not “lie” to the preschool. Why do you assume it is the Pastor that is lying? Has it occured to anyone the Preschool is lying? I’m sorely tempted to say more but will refrain from doing so.

    Sun, September 19 at 5:53 am
  7. Anon said,

    As someone who has spent many, many hours involved in this conflict, I can say without a doubt that the preschool is not lying, Wendy.

    I do not necessarily think that Pastor Jami has lied outright to anyone, as Guy implied. But I think he was not as transparent and forthcoming as he could have been, and that is unfortunate. I am certain that a lot of this mess could have been avoided with better communication. One of the congregation members has recently apologized to the school and community for the fact that they did not communicate better with everyone and share their plans for starting the shelter in an open manner.

    Wendy, if you truly believe that the preschool has been lying, maybe you should get their side of the story. As my family and I have been struggling to make sense of all this mess over the past week, we’ve discovered that talking with people face-to-face rather than relying on hear-say has been the best way to feel out the reality of things.

    Sun, September 19 at 8:33 am
  8. Anonymous said,

    I was unable to attend yesterday’s meeting, and I’m glad to hear it went better than the debacle last Sunday.

    One thing I think I recall from last Sunday was that some sort of neighborhood task force was going to be formed to monitor the impact on the neighborhood. I have been reading the meeting summaries posted here and on mywallingford and can’t seem to identify who I should contact, (other than the police), if incidents occur. Some impartial party (read: not the church, and definitely not SHARE) who could track the nieghborhood impact.

    I noticed this post on the forum today regarding trash foraging: http://www.wallyhood.org/forums/topic.php?id=426#post-1290 (This is not necessarily associated with the shelter so don’t everybody jump on me, but the proximity is suspect). The post provides a description of the individual and could conceivably be compared to shelter residents (hey, maybe it wasn’t one of them?), but should at the very least be tracked.

    Sun, September 19 at 9:11 am
  9. P said,

    One thing from yesterday that still has me stumbling around was when Jami said that he didn’t think to notify us when the preschool moved in (“And there impacts could be much more negative due to traffic.”) so why would he reach out to the community when he moved a shelter in that has this sordid past.

    More later but didn’t see this reported.

    Sun, September 19 at 9:23 am
  10. Chris said,

    Wendy, as an HF preschool parent, I don’t think Jami/GoG lied, but I will say this all seems very strategically thought out and that they failed to “hear” the preschool’s concerns and instead focused on an air-tight lease that gave them the leeway to do as they saw fit later without saying too much more other than they are within their legal rights.

    The reason the preschool isn’t saying more is there is a ONE WAY non-disclosure clause which prevents them from doing so, but GoG can [selectively] discuss whatever they want. -And note they never quote the lease verbatim, they say “something like” or “substantially”.

    Also, note as a parent I have now seen the waiver (as required by the contract I believe) and the exact language in the waiver the parents were supposed to sign mentioned nothing about a shelter, and there was no way one would have taken it to mean anything beyond there will occasionally be homeless around. But it did ask us (parents) to sign away all rights to hold GoG responsible if something bad happens. So we have a one-way NDA clause in a lease they are saying was intended to force communication, and an indemnification waiver when there is supposedly nothing dangerous to worry about.

    Afaik, these are the only public facts about that situation based on the lease itself. Jami acknowledged to me there is an NDA clause and it is not reciprocal, and as a HF parent I have now actually seen the waiver. The rest will only come out if both parties are willing to publish this lease. As a parent of a preschooler, I would love to see GoG quote verbatim any and all passages there may be in that lease relating to the homeless, but I doubt that will happen.

    That’s the only way people will move beyond trust/faith in deciding who is wrong here. But as I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t really matter now, the relationship is intractable and the divorce inevitable. But as we choose whether to live with either mom or dad, it doesn’t mean we have to hate the other.

    Anyway the lesson learned here is anytime one or both parties enter a contract negotiation trying to “win”, the deal and relationship will eventually fall apart and end badly.

    Sun, September 19 at 9:55 am
  11. #93 parent said,

    I only have time for a brief comment (out of town visitors) , but I strongly encourage the preschool parents to reach out and meet face-to-face with individuals within the congregation. I fully understand that Pastor Jami has lost your trust. I was the woman who asked pointed questions about the lease at yesterday’s meeting, and was also unsatisfied with his response. But I also spent time talking to two members of the congregation afterwards, and I found them to be open and genuinely interested in listening. I came away from the meeting believing that they were truly surprised by the turn of events as the preschool.

    Pastor Jami is only one individual within that community (albeit an important one). When and if you are ready, a whole lot of good can come from talking face to face. I know many of you are in shock, and feel attacked, and will need some time to refocus internally. As I have stated before, I’ve walked down this path before. You are all still connected. And face to face, one on one conversations can accomplish things that large group meetings cannot.

    Sun, September 19 at 10:02 am
  12. P said,

    My impressions from yesterday’s meeting.

    -I thought Woody did a fair job. He was in a tough spot. I wish he hadn’t put himself in that position, however. Several community members refrained from attending because they couldn’t see how a new parishoner of GoG would be the appropriate person needed to facilitate this conversation.

    -People were invited to speak and these kernels were then put on butcher-block paper. What I do not know is what happens once they are on paper. Will Jami then go through each of the points and respond to them via email? Is that the last time we will see those points?

    -I wish someone would have asked Jami something like this “Knowing what you know now, how would you go about things differently?” That would be a good October 23rd question.

    -I appreciated one of the congregation members explaining the context of this decision. “We have a declining congregation” as well as having economic complications.

    -I totally support the ID idea. Why did the neighbors have to pitch the solution? Where was the pro-active steps the congregation came with?

    -Would Jami like to retract his statement from last Sunday (“If you wanted a say in this, you should have joined the congregation.”) He walked close to this line again yesterday by mentioning that the GRACE Feast is open to everyone to pop in to see what’s going on with the church. Also, he said, “I’m not always sure what I need to communicate to the neighbors.”

    Sun, September 19 at 12:06 pm
  13. NancyM said,

    Oh to be a church and answer only to a handful of Land Use codes. Little insular vaticans surrounded by a greater community. The ELCA Office telephone answerer took a message from me but indicated that GOG Church’s pastor is supervised by an in-house (earthly) “council” and the larger Synod Office does not oversee; an e-mail to the Assistant to the Bishop there asking that she step in and help this congregation get their social justice act together has not been returned. (Don’t forget about heavenly oversight . . . must have been busy last week.)

    Down the road in residential Wallingford most neighbors have all kinds of notification, agreements, bring in the mail, cooperative committees like Block Watch, regardless of individual “faith.” It is common courtesy. Wallingford is not the historical “enemy” Catholic Church that traded prayers for donations and why the protesting Lutheran Church came to be (a long, long, long time ago).


    Sun, September 19 at 12:37 pm
  14. Wendy said,

    I’m a new member of the congregation and I have attended every meeting that has been held on this subject. I am not going to speak for the Pastor but I will speak for myself, and there other church members that may or may not agree with me. Hindsight is 20-20 and yes, in hindsight things should have been handled differently in terms of notifying the neighborhood. I wonder though, if the neighborhood was NOT notified of the fact that SHARE was occupying a completely different part of the Church from the Preschool between the hours of 7pm and 7am and just moved in without the notification of the neighbors or Preschool, if anyone would have noticed. SHARE is bound by many(!) rules and assuming these rules are abide by, their impact would be a nil (in fact if abide by there should be a positive impact). Should the Church notify the neighborhood that there are AA members using the facilities, what about the flute players, the folks that come for Sunday lunch at Grace Feast?

    I am sorry for the misunderstanding and communication problems that exist. There will be something posted on the Gift of Grace website posted soon along with next steps.

    This is a sad situation, and it appears to me that the old saying “No good deed goes unpunished” fits all too well with this scenario.

    Sun, September 19 at 1:43 pm
  15. Guy said,

    Wendy, the difference (and I’m sure you already know this) between the homeless at GoG and the AA members or flute players or diners on Sunday, is that none of the others actually lives in the building. There are a lot of different people who are in and out of a church building – usually with supervision or check in – but these groups generally are in the building for an hour or so once a week or once a month, not for 12 hours every single night for a year. I supposed you can concede that someone who has purchased a home here because it is a safe Wallingford neighborhood might be a little put out that their neighborhood church would change that without even discussing it with them.

    Also, saying that SHARE is bound by many rules and the impart should be nil, is like saying that a Christian can’t lie because he is bound by the rules in the bible. We’ve seen that SHARE’s rules haven’t prevented a level III Sex Offender from residing in a church in Ballard; in fact, SHARE’s record of back-checks and reporting on infractions is so bad that they consistently ruin their relationships in many of the neighborhoods that they inhabit (Bothell and Ballard are only two). Had GoG thought enough of their neighbors to begin this discussion a year ago and involve the neighborhood in the process, they could have all work together towards helping the homeless as a community, rather then as a confrontation.

    One thing that you said was accurate though. As for the “No good deed goes unpunished” it would appear that the good deeds of the preschool are continuing to be punished by this church. Such a pity that their Christian ethos extends only to the homeless, and not to honesty or to their renters or to the community they are a part of.

    Sun, September 19 at 2:24 pm
  16. Melissa said,

    I was unable to bring myself to attend yesterday’s meeting (for many of the reasons others have raised here and stated better than I could). Can anyone who did attend speak to the point raised by Anonymous #8? I would also like to know if provisions have been made for someone impartial to track the impact on the neighborhood, and I’m not sure if that has been addressed elsewhere?

    Sun, September 19 at 3:47 pm
  17. J. said,

    @P (#9): I’ve heard this excuse and seen it in print from both the pastor and church members, but that is a disingenuous argument. The city *required* that they notify the neighbor within 500 ft of the shelter. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall this being required for a daycare or AA meeting. To say that notifications of neighbors never crossed their mind is (and I’m calling it like I see it) pure BS. I’m sick of this twisting of the truth and I’m sick of people sugar-coating what is by definition a lie.

    lie (v): (1) to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive, (2) to create a false or misleading impression

    Someone needs to call him out when he makes such ridicules clams.

    Sun, September 19 at 3:51 pm
  18. Anonymous said,

    @Chris (#10): What you stated is so disturbing I am beyond words. To think that this young couple have been so poorly abused by the church with all these negative innuendos and yet are contractually bound in such a way that they cannot defend themselves is unAmerican. Here we have a young couple who has moved to America and started a business – all to get a piece of the American dream. This pastor has damaged more than their business, he has taken advantage of them and in doing so has put a dark cloud on what makes this country great. How dare he. I am outraged! This is a man who is the moral leader of a church?! We need to meet as a neighborhood w/ the Lutheran leadership. THis is just so disgusting – I don’t believe for a moment that the congregation is for this kind of behavior.

    Sun, September 19 at 4:02 pm
  19. Cathy said,

    I am one who chose to not attend with a moderator with vested interest inthe GoG side. I implore everyone to call their councilmen and women again. Call again and again.

    SHARE and GoG will continue smokescreen and to have problems with less than honesty. We live all around them. I have now seen 5 individuals who appear to be shelter folk in neighborhhoods and on 45th during the day time. While thi sis not bad in itself, I recall hearing over and over,” they will be gone at 7 am.” Gone from the church, maybe. In my neighborhoood with no food, clean clothes or anything to do. I am not secure with this knowledge.

    Sun, September 19 at 4:17 pm
  20. Guy said,

    I believe that this has gone beyond contacting your representative or the folks who are supposed to oversee this church. The politicians don’t want to look like they’re against the homeless, and the Church oversight group already said they won’t do squat. The one group that this pastor WILL respond to is the media. Contact those reporters who covered this story at KING, KOMO, KIRO & KCPQ and demand that they get to the bottom of this. Forward them some of the information revealed on Wallyhood. Tell them that pastor Jami Fetcher is hiding something in this “lease” document that has so frequently been cited, and not to stop until he gives them a copy to review. Why is there a gag clause? What’s up with this release for the preschool parents to sign if it’s safe? I am sure that the Preschool will have no problem with this document’s release. In fact, it would be a blessing. A few newscasts with the caption “Dirty Pastor Places Preschool Children Under Gag Order” might make him more forthcoming. They might also ask why they have so frequently attacked the preschool publicly, when the school has said nothing on the matter, and done nothing except be so foolish as to rent from them.

    The revelations about this disturbing document (see #10) raise one more alarming question: now that we have seen how awful he can be to the preschool, and that this draconian document is apparently so terrible, what might he have in store for this poor woman and her preschool next? If he isn’t held accountable now, we can be sure that there are more un-Christian actions to come her way…

    Sun, September 19 at 4:39 pm
  21. Karla said,

    Trust me I am *no* fan of Pastor Jami or the shelter concept either, but it does seem to me that there should be some accountability held with the preschool leadership as well. They have to be accountable for the contract they signed. A one way NDA, never a good sign. If they are living up to this NDA then all the discussion about what is or is not in the lease has to be mostly hypothesis as the information wouldn’t be available without someone breaking that NDA.

    As far as the parents signing the waiver, my understanding is that there is US case law showing that you can’t sign away your rights. It might make it a bit harder if things go to court but if they are liable for something due to negligence then you still have your rights.

    Sun, September 19 at 6:39 pm
  22. Cathy said,

    i disagree. My sense is that th epreschool may or may not wish to have the whole thing drag against their energy.

    I had soem good discussions with soem council members- my idea was to NOT fund SHARE when next cuts and budget coem up- rather fund other groups who do a better job interms of communication. it is a big subject definitely bu twe can handle it and so can city hall.

    Sun, September 19 at 6:40 pm
  23. Karla said,

    I love the idea of not funding SHARE and I also agree that the preschool should not let this change their energy or desire to move forward quickly with a new location. All of these seem like great ideas. I was more throwing out the accountability thing as a thought for all of us discussing it to remember not for someone from the school to actually step forward and say “I screwed up”. Sorry I should have been clearer. Although boy I would love someone (and it isn’t the preschool) to do that at this point!!!!!

    Sun, September 19 at 6:47 pm
  24. Act Now said,

    Cathy, Guy, I agree with both of you. I have had some terrific conversations with some at the city, and the fact that pastor Jami is the first pastor in this situation who’s actually followed through on his promise to “engage the community,” albeit after the fact, may be a direct result of some of the information we all have passed along about the deceits we’ve been subject to, by SHARE and by Jami. Keep it up on that front. At this point, there’s nothing else we can do but hold them accountable.

    I think that if we pitched it properly, the media could eat up our story (and live off of it for months) and we can use this to our advantage to uncover the truth (sorry, I’m cynical about the media too). But somebody with *firsthand* information has to reach out to them.

    I’m a big fan of the preschool and don’t want to drag them away from what they need to do to rebuild their business. But an anonymous protected source, “just a parent,” might be just the right person to reach out to the media, and encourage them to dig deeper. I can’t think of a single reason the preschool would knowingly enter into such an agreement… but I can think of *dozens* of reasons why the presence of the preschool would benefit the church, or SHARE…

    Sun, September 19 at 7:10 pm
  25. Chris said,

    My last post wasn’t intended to make everyone now turn on GoG and go for the throat, it was to even out the story a bit because too many folks were taking HF’s silence as an admission of guilt and that would be bad for these good people’s business.

    At the end of the day, all that getting the media involved would do would just make GoG look worse, and prevent HF from focusing on their impending move date.

    It wouldn’t benefit the preschool one bit, because they don’t want the fight, they don’t want the negative energy, and the relationship is far beyond repair. They just want to move on, so let’s let them. And the more press this thing gets, the more people say “SHARE” and the more it plays into their free PR campaign and donation strategy.

    So let’s keep it off tv and focus on making SHARE accountable or finding a better org to run the shelter.

    Sun, September 19 at 9:45 pm
  26. Chris said,

    Oh and btw: It just occurred to me that if GoG can squeeze 15 people onto that balcony, they can potentially get another 30-40 into the space the preschool is vacating. So there’s potentially even more at stake now.

    Sun, September 19 at 9:47 pm
  27. #93 parent said,

    Escalating to the media will buy you more trouble, not less. This applies to both sides.

    Sun, September 19 at 11:14 pm
  28. Guy said,

    I understand that the school just wants to move on. But what is at stake is more than just not having to answer more questions. This pastor and this church have shown that they are not afraid to do what ever evil is necessary to forward their agenda. With as awful as this contract/lease that they’ve signed sounds, what is the chance that Jami or some lawyer doesn’t hit this preschool or this poor owner with some new atrocity of law that will further bury this school? Isn’t it a bit Pollyanna to assume that they will just go away? They need a scapegoat and have chosen the preschool. Unless the media is involved by someone outside the school, there is no reason that they won’t pursue this. I can not tell you how angry this entire situation has made me. Yes, the preschool should absolutely move on and have no further negative contact. But that doesn’t mean that those of us not connected directly can’t hold the pastor’s feet to the fire to prevent him from further evil. What will happen to the school, the teachers, the children and the owner, if they exercise whatever nazi provisos they have in that totalitarian document that they will show no one? If we do nothing, what comes next will be our fault.

    Mon, September 20 at 12:24 am
  29. #93 parent said,

    Guy, I get what you are saying, I really do. But give the congregation time to digest — they are hearing about the details as well, some for the first time. Pastor Jami may represent the congregation, but he is not the congregation in its entirety. And neither he nor his lawyer can proceed without letting their church know (at least, I hope that is the case).

    Before this spirals even further out of hand, I urge face to face talks between members of the congregation and the preschool owners. And not just Pastor Jami. The details of the contract matter, they do. And they should be brought fully into the light. Releasing the preschool owners from the gag clause would go a long ways, so they would be free to discuss this with the church members. But what matters far more, since this is a church we are talking about, is the spirit of the agreement that was struck, not just the letter of the law.

    If the church goes the strictly courtroom route, then everyone will lose. The preschool owners will very likely lose their business, the church will lose its income and its reputation (who sues a preschool under such circumstances? And who in their right mind would want to be the next tenant?), the children lose their beloved teachers, the staff loses their jobs, the community loses its faith. I see no winners here, except for perhaps the lawyers.

    If instead, the church chooses the route of goodwill and faith, and strives to seek understanding and healing, then there is far more to be gained for everyone. I harbor no illusions that the preschool will want to stay after all this. I think that damage has been done. But if the church can sit down and really listen to the owners and their understanding of the spirit of the agreement, then perhaps a clearer path will be revealed. If instead of fighting them, the church made the school transition an easy one, and helped them in their transition, then the owners keep their business, the church establishes a reputation as being an understanding landlord and can find more tenants, the kids keep their teachers, the teachers keep their job, and the community sees an open, transparent, and honest church.

    Taking the high road leaves far more options open for healing and understanding. But jumping immediately into confrontation, either the media storm or the judicial one, permanently closes that door, and leads to losses for every stakeholder.

    Mon, September 20 at 2:40 am
  30. Muffin-Top said,

    This is NOT about Church/Jami vs. Preschool. Church/Jami already won that case. The preschool is moving out of the way.

    This is about deliberately imposing an unsheltering shelter upon the neighbors at Wallingford. This is about imposing a shelter that is not run with any minimum control standards as far as health, security, or the law.

    This is about a bunch of dishonest and disgusting people trying to profit from the neighbors and the neighborhood.

    Let’s not move away from the main point here. We need to stop this shelter. If somebody wants to have a shelter, let’s start a discussion, let’s communicate, let’s meet and organize a decent plan, a plan that benefits us as well as the homeless, and that is safe for the community. If nobody wants a shelter, let’s do other things to help the dispossessed and the marginalized.

    We do not want THIS shelter. The way its opening has been managed, and the way it is managed and will be managed is UNACCEPTABLE. Our families and belongings are in danger. But don’t worry, if you do not go to the media, they will come to us as soon as some serious crime or health issue happens that is directly or indirectly related to the opening of the shelter. And then everybody will go out to the streets and mobilize.

    Mon, September 20 at 5:30 am
  31. Wendy said,

    Dear Muffin-Top

    “this is a bunch of dishonest and disgusting people trying to profit from the neighbors”….. How is that possible? Who is profiting? The Church?

    You saying the folks at the church are disgusting? You calling SHARE disgusting?

    Mon, September 20 at 6:13 am
  32. Anonymous said,

    Agree with #26.
    The press does not want to bash SHARE. So far their reporting has shown that. I have watched several broadcasts from different stations and noted that both times they stated SHARE has put several similar homeless shelters in other churches without any incidents.

    The press seems more interested in showing sound bites of ticked of NIMBY’s, I am sure it sells better.

    They will only report negative on SHARE if something terrible happens – not if it could happen!

    Best to keep media coverage to a minimum, because SHARE gets support from all of this coverage.

    Mon, September 20 at 8:52 am
  33. Wallingford Walker said,

    Just for the record I was out walking yesterday afternoon and evening.
    Mid afternoon I went Wallinford park and there was a frisbee game going on. I took notice of 3 older male individuals just hanging out at the park on a bench. This is of note because I frequent the park almost daily and this seemed odd. Not there is a stereotype for homeless folks, but they had dingy clothing and not shaven recently.
    They were not causing any problems.

    Later, several men whom I have never seen in the neighborhood walked from the 45th street area to the church then hung around outside for 15-20 minutes. Another came from the church grounds and strolled up Wallingford Ave. smoking a cigarette. Pacing in front of the 3 houses that abut the Church to the north. A man came out of one of the houses to observe and the man who was smoking quickly turned and went further north.

    Again – no problems occurred, but they do violate the SHARE rules.

    Question – Without knowing whom is staying or will be staying at the shelter, how can they be held accountable by SHARE. They are only accountable to the SHARE rules regarding being in the neighborhood and smoking around the church, but only a couple of days into this and already their own rules are not being followed.
    They have every right to be on public property. SHARE knows this so it seems their rules are just a smokescreen to pacify the neighborhood.

    Mon, September 20 at 9:45 am
  34. #93 parent said,

    Wendy, I took Muffin-Top’s comments to be about SHARE. They are a controversial group, and there have been negative reports about them and their leaders for years, and not just from people in the neighborhoods. Some of the former users of SHARE shelters and tent cities have also felt mistreated. There have been widespread reports that they do not always abide by their agreements. This has been somewhat documented in the media and in blogs at times, though #32 is correct.

    The other organizations in our city that provide shelter to the homeless do not draw anywhere near the same level of criticism. In full disclosure, I do not support SHARE’s tactics, and I am deeply disturbed by the reports that I have read about them over the last two years.

    Muffin-Top, I know that when SHARE brought Nickelsville to our host church, they were completely unaware of any of the controversy with this particular group. A lot of people only find our about their issues after an extended period of interactions. Please give the church the benefit of the doubt on this.

    Mon, September 20 at 9:53 am
  35. Chris said,

    I want to also point out that the preschool giving 6 weeks notice to vacate IS allowed by this lease afaik, as bizarre as that sounds given the NDA and waiver clauses. (Sort of like using really expensive vacuum sealed tupperware, then leaving the corner open). So the preschool chose to exercise this right, and they did not commit any breach by doing this. So hopefully they can move on without litigation,

    But I agree that if any litigation by GoG were to happen, it’s worth bringing the whole biz arrangement fully to light including how it came to be signed, so that HF doesn’t lose their business. I can’t believe the GoG congregation would allow that to happen though, despite whatever respect they have for their leadership.

    Mon, September 20 at 10:18 am
  36. Rondi said,

    Lutheran Churches (including Gift of Grace) are well aware of SHARE and its problems but they continue to work with SHARE to provide space for homeless shelters, regardless of valid concerns of neighbors. Calvary Lutheran in Ballard was the shelter that housed the level 3 sex offender and the issue of screening by SHARE was brought up by outraged neighbors well over 1 1/2 years ago. Trinity United in Ballard had a stabbing between two homeless men at the shelter. You can’t tell me that Gift of Grace wasn’t aware of these problems prior to agreeing to house a SHARE homeless shelter. Ending homeless is the Lutheran Church’s mission and is their main charity — whether it is through Compass Housing Alliance or agreements made with SHARE. Neighbors are never given adequate notification or consideration by the Lutheran churches before homeless shelters are occupying their properties. There are liability issues that the churches can avoid by using a screening organization — SHARE to select the people. Until the Lutheran churches are held financially responsible for activities on the church premises and surrounding neighborhood (such as the Catholic church), they will continue to impose their idea of the “greater good” on the neighbors.

    When I found out about the Compass House they are attempting to build in Ballard, I told my vet who is a member of the First Lutheran Church in Ballard that I was mad at the Lutheran Church. She told me the congregation had been told of the building of the Urness House for the chronically homeless — they were not told it would be housing sex offenders. If the Lutheran Churches are not being honest with their own congregations who fund these charities — why would you think they would be honest with neighbors.

    Mon, September 20 at 11:50 am
  37. Cathy said,

    Not eot Wallingofrd walker
    Please call city concilmen. With this info EVERYDAY.
    Ijust drove up to Post Office and saw another new face goign south on Stone way..
    Please also call or write to GoG regarding these men. It wsas more or les sput to us that the men would use the busstop 1 block away.. bu t the 44 is more frequent and has better connections downtown so people will then be all over the neighborhoods.

    Mon, September 20 at 11:55 am
  38. Hayduke said,

    I was at this meeting. While I won’t straight out call Pastor Jami a liar, I’m very skeptical that he and GoG were simply “naive” about neighbors having issues/concerns with the shelter and that it didn’t occur to them to get feedback BEFORE inviting SHARE. What, so they were totally unaware of controversies at other SHARE and Nicklesvilles sites?
    And what about the fact that they admit they were worried about the preschool’s reaction and had them sign a waiver? Jami didn’t think that parents living nearby with young children might have issues as well? This doesn’t pass the smell test.

    And I very much resent his repeated admonition to join his ministry to have a voice in such matters. First of all, since we weren’t made aware of his plans for the shelter months ago, how would we know to join.
    Second, not everyone wants to spend their Sundays going to church. I get my spiritual renewal by going into the wilderness. His comment is insulting, and it once again implies that unless you’re involved with GoG, we don’t care what you think.

    Finally, as for the sex offender/background checks, why do I get the feeling that SHARE would resist that even if it was done free of charge for them by SPD or King Co. Sheriff’s office?

    Mon, September 20 at 12:18 pm
  39. Act Now said,

    I’m sure everyone saw this on the front page of Wallyood, but I wanted to bring it up as another avenue.


    There are a lot of folks here with a lot of great thoughts and commentary about SHARE, their lack of oversight and transparency, how they may be more concerned about pursuing their own activist agenda than serving those they purport to serve, all while strongarming money out of the city and hiding behind the church.

    As the city is more strapped for money than ever, let’s let these guys know what we think as they craft their next budget. Even if we can’t shut them down, we could at least use this as a venue to ask for greater accountability before we ship more money to this organization, and a better process for placing shelters other than “wherever there’s a church.”

    Mon, September 20 at 12:51 pm
  40. RJ said,

    It’s interesting to see your experience with the SHARE shelter at this church. Some people have been talking about the lack of transparency with the process and blaming the pastor. My neighborhood recently (and unsucessfully) opposed SHARE’s Tent City 3 coming into our neighborhood due to their unwillingness to provide any information about who will be living there and what we believe is deceptive propaganda about the actual impacts to the neighborhood. As to the church’s lack of neighbor involvement, we’ve had a similar experience with our neighborhood church. What was interesting was the pastor of the Maple Leaf Lutheran Church admitted to one of the neighbors that SHARE explicitly advised the Church to limit meeting with the neighbors before the vote. If we hadn’t essentially forced our way in, neighbor involvement in the decision would have been limited to a flyer on our door and a vote of congregation without any input from the neighborhood. SHARE is very good at what they do. Tent city passed with a vote of 63-18.

    Mon, September 20 at 2:05 pm
  41. APOCALYPSE said,


    Mon, September 20 at 2:07 pm
  42. taxidermist said,

    One way to know who is at the shelter is to volunteer there.

    Mon, September 20 at 2:09 pm
  43. Rondi said,

    Oh Apocaplyse get off it. I didn’t choose to move to a neighborhood with a bunch of homeless people. I chose to move to a decent neighborhood (Ballard) where people felt safe walking in the neighborhood at night. Kids could play alone out in the front yard and walk to school or the neighborhood park on their own. I didn’t want to ride the bus to and from work next to a homeless person that had “wet” himself (or worse). I moved to a neighborhood I could be proud of, where people kept their homes and yards up, said hello once in a while and helped one another out. I didn’t want to move to a neighborhood full of homeless people. I got my fill of transients, drug addicts and alcoholics living in San Francisco and chose not to live in Pioneer Square for that reason. I find that the city’s intent on moving the homeless to my neighborhood because they want the neighborhoods to “share” in the homeless issue is appalling when one of the reasons for the increased homelessness is the redevelopment of So. Lake Union and Pioneer Square.

    One thing I have recently learned is to never live close to a church again.

    Mon, September 20 at 2:45 pm
  44. Hayduke said,

    @taxidermist #42. That’s just like Pastor Jami telling us to join his congregation if we want future input into the shelter (never mind input 6 months ago). And sorry, the last thing I want to do is help out two organizations who don’t give a damn about what their neighbors think.

    Mon, September 20 at 2:56 pm
  45. J. said,

    @Hayduke: Ditto

    Mon, September 20 at 3:02 pm
  46. BlackSwan said,

    This is issue is not about homelessness. It’s about a church that snuck this shelter that will not run sex offender checks into Wallingford. It’s about a church that deceptively wrote a lease with a small business (see Chris’ comments). It’s about an organization that urges churches not to engage the community (although Jami told us otherwise on Saturday).

    It’s about a “self-help” organization (SHARE) that will not want to have IDs for their clients (it will play out this way when they tell us “We aren’t set up for that.” Really? Then change how you are set up.) It’s about a meeting on Sunday that was run by a church parishoner. It’s about a church that is starting to show cracks (see Saturday’s meeting (“failed” “cash strapped,” “we have a declining church congregation”) but a pastor that won’t own any of this (when asked for solutions on Saturday, he effectively threw his congretgation under the bus, “It’s not what I would do, it’s what we would do” pointing to his parishoners.) It’s about a church that could have but didn’t require background/sex-offender checks for our new neighbors.

    There’s a lot of stuff here but Saturday’s progress and good-will from the neighbors in a civil, productive, respectful conversation once again proved that this is not about homelessness.

    Mon, September 20 at 3:06 pm
  47. Act Now said,

    Go to the Seattle City Council Ideascale and vote on this item:


    It may not be the most eloquently worded statement ever, but there is room to leave comments to refine the idea. If it gets a lot of hits/feedback, it might become a topic for the City Council to focus on to drive better oversight.

    I tried to hone in on the fiscal responsibility/lack of transparency/driving out business side of the argument, because it’s a balance-the-budget suggestion site.

    Meadowbrook readers (RJ?), share this with your community, let’s be heard!

    Mon, September 20 at 3:07 pm
  48. Rondi said,

    Act Now — nice job on the statement.

    Mon, September 20 at 3:29 pm
  49. taxidermist said,

    Hi Heyduke, I don’t particularly care to help SHARE either and I am not trying to be controversial, tell anyone what to do or place blame/responsibility on people or parties. It seems at this point the shelter is a done deal and we, the people of Wallingford, will have to deal with whatever it brings to our neighborhood. I was only saying it may ease people’s minds to have a name and face to the shelter residents. I think it would benefit us and the homeless folks more than it would the church or SHARE.

    Mon, September 20 at 3:30 pm
  50. Anonymous said,

    If we could only get churches to pay taxes….

    Mon, September 20 at 3:47 pm
  51. Hayduke said,

    @taxidermist #49: Fair enough, and I appreciate your reasoned response. However, I have to disagree with you.

    It is entirely appropriate that the community identify those at fault and lay blame on them. I realize that like it or not, it’s a “done deal.” That doesn’t mean we just wash our hands of it and accept it sitting down. No, we need to make sure that SHARE and whatever future victim/accomplice church NEVER gets away with this BS again.

    IMO, that means at the very least having background checks as was suggested at the Mosaic meeting. It also means independent monitoring to make sure the rules are obeyed. (There are already reports, shocker!, that shelter residents are wandering around the neighborhood when we were assured they weren’t allowed to do so. How are those “37 strictly enforced rules” working out for you, SHARE?)

    But I believe more extreme measures are necessary. I’m not opposed to suing SHARE and GoG, but who wants that tied up in court for year after expensive year?

    As per post #47, apparently we the taxpayers give SHARE 80% of it’s funding. It’s time to take it back and give it to a more worthy organization. If that means the end of SHARE, good. And if the city council is too timid for that, as I suspect they are, then they should at least require that SHARE and the churches are mandated to actively seek neighborhood input well BEFORE, not after, an encampment moves in. And if they encounter significant resistance to a shelter, they should back off and look somewhere else.

    I know all you apologists for SHARE will wring your hands and say that neighborhood is being insensitive and elitist, but neighborhoods should be given the last word in self-determination. After all, it works that way when they want to build a Walmart, gas station, or a bunch of townhomes. I guess some people haven’t learned that if you want to be welcomed as a guest, you should go out of your way to ingratiate yourself to the homeowner/neighborhood.

    Mon, September 20 at 4:16 pm
  52. Anonymous said,

    So as I see it, SHARE is somewhat cash starved (as sounds like GoG is too).

    So I offer an economical incentive. Someone start up a Wallingford Charity and get neighbors to donate.
    Set conditions on SHARE getting this funding – similar to SHARE’s rules, but includes items requested by the neighborhood.
    For example lets say the Charity could raise a minimum of $1000 per month.
    If any of the rules are not enforced, SHARE would not get this funding for that month and the account would grow (if donations could still be gathered).
    If the account grew large enough the incentive could be raised to 1/12 (8.33%) of the total fund.

    From their leading paragraph on their web page they almost had to shut down in August, but then that was probably just another deceptive threat to get funding.

    Mon, September 20 at 6:10 pm
  53. Dietrich said,

    Hello neighbors. My name is Dietrich, and to put my comments in context, I am a newly minted member of Gift of Grace Church. These are my observations, and I make no claim that I speak on behalf of Gift of Grace, Pastor Fecher, or any other member.

    I have been attending since February. To put THAT in context, Huckleberry Forest was there since I started attending church there, but I did not know at the time that they had just moved in. I did know that the church had a regular and ongoing meal every Sunday after service, with an open invitation for anyone who wanted to attend: be they members, homeless persons, parents from Huckleberry Forest, Wallingfordians, whoever. And of course, we still extend that invitation.

    So for further context, I have been following with increasing dread the course this thread and other threads on Wallyhood have taken. The tone is getting rather strident, and calmer and more moderate voices are getting drowned out with accusations of “lying,” “misrepresenting,” etc. Where is this contract? What is the church hiding, that the preschool is prevented from speaking about? Call the press! Call your congressman! Call the National Guard!

    Stay tuned. And I apologize in advance for this lengthy post, but I want to attempt to set the record straight about what I have pieced together from speaking to Pastor Fecher, reviewing intimately the lease contract, and even a lengthy letter sent by Mr. Mahmulyin of HF explaining their position.

    One of the main complaints I have been hearing a lot on the blog here is that this has been a “done deal” for a year now, and Pastor Fecher has been hiding the ball, and keeping this under wraps due to some nefarious strategy by SHARE to spring it on neighbors at the last moment to prevent them from organizing any resistance.

    This is hardly the case.

    First of all, this was not a “done deal” by any stretch of the imagination until the idea was bounced off the church participants in August (and btw, I say “participants” and not “members” because I was able to be fully heard at that meeting in spite of not being a member of the church at that point). Before the August meeting, it was in the discussion phase, when Pastor Fecher and the representatives from SHARE were discussing options and hammering out the working agreement.

    Aha, I hear the cry rising, this is exactly when the preschool should have been informed! Before they moved in!

    They were.

    This was discussed with the ownership. They were made aware that this was in the planning stages before they signed a lease contract and moved in. At first, it was contemplated that the SHARE persons could stay in the basement, since they would not be there at the same time as the preschool. HF said that this was a “dealbreaker.” At no time, however, were they ever informed that this amounted to an abandonment of the entire concept. In fact, that was why the contract was drafted in the first place. The church hired a lawyer to draft up the lease, contemplating very early on in the voluminous document the following applicable provisions (and it is written in all-caps and bolded exactly like this):


    B. Further Acts Relating to Homeless. Lessee agrees that it will obtain mutually signed, written contractual agreements with all third parties who will themselves or whose legal wards will frequent the Demised Premises, a clause in bold and all capital letters reading substantially as follows:


    SO, some observations about these clauses. First, it was asked why the lease was so one-sided. Well, that is what lawyers do. They draft up a contract as strongly worded for their clients as possible; then the other party has their attorney negotiate any wording that they have a problem with, and in the end, when an agreement is reached, it is signed. That is exactly what occurred here- HF signed this lease. They initialed each page. They either had, or had an opportunity to have, an attorney negotiate the lease differently. They were told that if the language of the clause for the parents was too strong, they could suggest changes. They did not. Nor did they seek space elsewhere.

    Why the parental clause in the first place? SO THAT THE PARENTS COULD BE INFORMED THAT THIS WOULD POTENTIALLY BE GOING ON. It was thought that it would be best for the ownership to approach the parents themselves, explain it in whatever fashion they thought would be best, to the persons who would be directly impacted by this. It is unfortunate that the owners, in spite of the opportunity to make the parents aware of the program early on, decided to ignore the situation. Why would they do this? Because they were afraid. Like Mr. Mahmulyin explained in his letter, “In this business, perception is everything, ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. Every word in every email responding to parents is carefully crafted and weighed… Perception is EVERYTHING and we are under constant stress as we are non-stop afraid that someone will find out and blow this out of proportions… this is a PR DISASTER. They get a note from you and we never told them anything about it…”

    They were afraid that the parents would not sign up with the school if they thought that homeless people would be spending the night in another part of the building. Keep in mind that until the August church meeting, this was not actually a done deal, but the very real possibility of it happening was definitely discussed long before. HF just thought that it would never in a million years come to pass. Why? Well, as Mr. Mahmulyin writes, “Many things are very common sense, like in America school and shelters do not go together, never mind preschools.” So in fear, they never informed the parents, like the contract required them to do “promptly.” The longer they delayed, the harder it would have been for them to comply. And why comply when they thought the church would never actually do this? Pastor Fecher repeatedly asked the management at HF to get those waivers signed. In spite of repeated requests, they never were. So when the decision was made to actually move forward with this particular church program for the homeless, they were left in non-compliance with their lease contract. HF knew they had a contractual obligation, and they knew this was important. Mr. Mahmulyin himself wrote: “Honoring a word or a contract is not a joke; it has real serious implications and is not to be treated lightly.” One does not honor a word or contract by hiding their head in the sand.

    When the first neighborhood meeting took place, HF ownership was present but had stridently informed Pastor Fecher that he was not to discuss their business arrangement. Pastor Fecher complied, still under the impression that the situation had not degraded to the point of “divorce.” (Incidentally, he also thought at that time that the non-disclosure agreement worked both ways. The attorney hired by GoG corrected that misunderstanding later). The steering committee also wanted HF to be able to save face by coming to the parents themselves. They didn’t want to make HF look bad. Even after that first neighborhood meeting, HF still had time to come clean with the parents, disclose to them that they had been required since January to explain what had been going on and have them sign some kind of waivers. What would have happened had HF done what they were required to do is anyone’s guess. HF’s fears might have been realized, and all their parents would have signed up somewhere else or pulled their children in fear. Or, perhaps less fear-driven parents might have left their children there, either in knowledge that there would be no impact or thankful that their children would have another learning opportunity. I guess we will never know, because HF didn’t give the parents a chance to choose; or time for more open-minded parents to replace those who found this unacceptable. I have a feeling, having read some of these blog entries and listening to parents at the meetings, that a lot of them would have stayed.

    At this point, though, GoG had a choice- either to proceed with the SHARE program as the membership had decided, or to allow HF to dictate to the church what programs for the homeless they could run. The steering committee decided to tell HF that they were in non-compliance and that they would lose their right to possession if they did not comply with the terms of the lease (something it was still hoped they would do); and HF responded by announcing that they would take advantage of the six-week “escape clause” in the lease, which allowed them to leave. (Not really so one-sided a lease, eh? I’ve never seen such a clause in a commercial tenancy). So they decided it would be too much of a challenge to stay and be a partner, and instead chose to play the part of the victim to alleviate their “PR disaster.”

    So why wasn’t the neighborhood informed earlier? Again, this was not a “done deal” until August, and like Pastor Fecher and the steering committee said, they didn’t anticipate the level of…interest? Outrage?…that has been manifested. I will let him speak to that if he feels it would be necessary or helpful.

    I just wanted to set the record straight about why the parents thought they had been blindsided by this situation. It wasn’t through any lack of trying on the part of GoG. I’m not posting this to demonize HF, but to prevent more demonization of the church and its pastor.

    Oh, and regarding the one-sided non-disclosure agreement: HF was hand-delivered a waiver of that provision at 3:00 pm on September 15. They have been free to discuss this lease at any point since then. I really have no idea other than strong drafting on the part of the church lawyer why it was even in there to begin with, but it is moot now.

    Mon, September 20 at 6:40 pm
  54. NancyM said,

    I am curious why you (Dietrich) decided to become a member of Gift of Grace Lutheran Church (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Synod) at this time. I am in to information and did a little research (#13). Does being a member jive with what you wrote above?

    Mon, September 20 at 7:03 pm
  55. Tim said,

    Who would Jesus lie to?

    Mon, September 20 at 7:06 pm
  56. TH said,

    I’m posting from Meadowbrook. The recent process regarding the decision to host Tent City 3 in December at Mapleleaf Community Church in Meadowbrook was equally controversial. The pastor there, Julie Blum, has been strongly advocating the hosting of Tent City for quite some time. Similar to the Wallingford situation, we have often felt that Julie was not honest and straightforward with us (the neighborhood). The “process” was managed by a hand-picked group of congregation members who were strong Tent City proponents (the “Task Force”). Their intent was to drive the congregation to a decision without any input from the community at all. When the neighborhood found out that Tent City was being considered, and all requests for a dialogue were rebuffed, the neighborhood organized. (see http://www.meadowbrookneighbors.org) The Task Force did all they could to limit information flow to the congregation and when concerned neighbors were finally able to speak out either as invited guests of the church or at the meeting of the Meadowbrook Community Council, the church’s “outreach director”, Terry Vogel, attacked them personally in the church’s newsletter and in speeches to the congregation.

    The presentation from the task force to the congregation on Sunday did not cover any of the concerns of the neighborhood or any of the controversies about SHARE. It was completely biased. I feel a bit sorry for the congregation. They have no idea what they have gotten themselves into.

    Hearing about the SHARE controversies at so many other ELCA churches (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) and the complete lack of response from the regional ELCA synod, I begin to wonder if the strategy and tactics are actually being encouraged and maybe even funded by the larger ELCA organization. How are pastors evaluated and rewarded within the ELCA hierarchy?

    SHARE is good at this. Tent City is run by the “professional homeless” who have been through the shelter and Tent City debates many many times. Their strategy is to delay notification to the community as long as possible so resistance will be disorganized at best. They realize that once they jam a shelter or Tent City through, most opponents run out of time and energy to resist. They also take advantage of the fact that the resistance is spread out both geographically, and over time.

    So, how do we coordinate the energies of all the communities that have been run over by SHARE? For starters, how can we coordinate the effort of the Wallingford neighborhood with those of us in Meadowbrook who in a similar struggle against SHARE and a church who is trying to force its charities on us?

    There are many organizations that are funded by the city to run homeless shelters. Why does only SHARE generate so much controversy and anger? Where there is smoke, there is fire. I agree that the city needs to stop funding SHARE. Let’s work together to make that happen!

    Mon, September 20 at 7:54 pm
  57. Fellow parent said,

    @Dietrich. I’m just curious as to why the church would go to such extent to get waivers, indeminification and hold-harmless agreements in place rearding the homless, yet are defensive to the reaction of neighbors. It seems the church gave itself the opporunity to protect it’s interests, yet never gave that same opportunity to the individuals that share it’s neighborhood. It seems a little hypocritical.

    Mon, September 20 at 8:11 pm
  58. walkinroun said,

    As a resident of Wallingford and neighbor of the GOG church, I would like to welcome the shelter residents to the community and extend my warm regards to the GOG congregation for their efforts to walk their talk. There but for the grace of God go I.

    Mon, September 20 at 8:22 pm
  59. Anonymous said,

    It would be interesting to see some kind of map (that doesn’t identify specific homes) of where the GOG members live wrt the church/shelter. I suspect some drive the talk.

    Mon, September 20 at 8:32 pm
  60. #93 parent said,

    #38 – It is my understanding that the warrant and sex offender checks performed by SPD and King County Sheriff’s office are free to groups like SHARE.

    Mon, September 20 at 8:44 pm
  61. Hayduke said,

    @ #53:Thank you Dietrich for a pro-shelter and reasoned view that for once doesn’t simply demonize the opposition. (I must admit I have always been so saintly myself).
    But i do find it curious and ironic to note the wording of the lease you posted, such as, “MAY CAUSE OR CREATE UNTOLD MISCHIEF, DISRUPTIONS, NUISANCES, VIOLENCE OR OTHER HAZARDOUS CIRCUMSTANCES.”

    Well now wait a minute. I thought we nasty elitist NIMBY’s were just stereotyping the homeless. They’re so harmless, right? That lease that Pastor Jami and GoG seems very “hateful” of and stereotypical toward the homeless. If GoG isn’t worried about what one or more of the shelter residents might be capable of doing to a neighbor or their property, then why draw up they lease like that in the first place?
    Oh i get it, you’re just covering your butts, “just in case.”
    Well, now you understand how WE FEEL.

    Mon, September 20 at 9:00 pm
  62. Chris said,

    Thanks Dietrich for providing the lease clauses verbatim, people would have thought I was being hyperbolic about the extent to which the church has sought to indemnify themselves from liability arising from the actions of the homeless. The same homeless that we parents are getting called NIMBY for because we wanted screening for sex offenders.

    This is awesome that it’s out in the open now and I hope it gets over to KOMO and KING who were so pro church on this one…

    A couple of notes on your post in no particular order

    >>At no time, however, were they [HF] ever informed that this amounted to an abandonment of the entire concept [of a shelter]

    So when HF said “dealbreaker” and the landlord never came back to close the loop, they should have naturally assumed a shelter was still on the table even though they were ardently opposed to it? Your right, they shouldn’t have taken it on good faith that the landlord would come back to them, I mean it’s not like they should assume good faith when dealing with a CHURCH. BTW: timeline wise this was probably December or Jan, or even earlier?

    >> That is exactly what occurred here- HF signed this lease. They initialed each page. They either had, or had an opportunity to have, an attorney negotiate the lease differently. They were told that if the language of the clause for the parents was too strong, they could suggest changes. They did not. Nor did they seek space elsewhere.

    You left out the part where the HF owners were already doing tenant improvements to the space prior to signing the lease with Jami’s ardent approval because they thought they had a good faith relationship and were close to agreement. So HF had already sunk thousands of dollars of their own money in to TI’s when they finally got this lease to sign. Which was delivered when? A few days before the school was to open in Feb, no? So did they really have a choice but to sign this?

    >> First, it was asked why the lease was so one-sided. Well, that is what lawyers do. They draft up a contract as strongly worded for their clients as possible

    Really? A One-way NDA in a commercial lease? I’ve never seen an NDA in *any* lease before, have you? In fact, I’m pretty sure you can buy software for $24.95 that spits out a fairly reasonable commercial lease, and I’d be willing to bet that you can’t even select an option to put one-way confidentiality in there.. You would have to actively go put that language in to any template you started from. This was handcrafted for a strategic reason. Additionally, a lawyer usually asks his client to read through the contract. The church could have changed anything they wanted to upon reading it, but chose to leave it one-sided.

    >> Even after that first neighborhood meeting, HF still had time to come clean with the parents, disclose to them that they had been required since January to explain what had been going on and have them sign some kind of waivers.

    If as a parent i had signed that waiver back in Feb thinking it was because there were a couple homeless people around the building on a regular basis and then you back up the moving truck and put in a full blown shelter, I’d feel very duped, by both HF and GoG alike and I would have pulled my kid because of a loss of trust.

    Also, you guys keep glossing over the fact it’s not a notification and you weren’t just hoping for “notice”. It’s a WAIVER. GoG was asking parents to sign away all rights to take action if something bad happened. GoG may have wanted HF to notify us, but you also wanted your ass covered before the shelter went in. You’ll also notice that this WAIVER doesn’t expire even if I leave HF. You’ll also notice it doesn’t say SHELTER anywhere, so how in the world would the waiver have been a vehicle for letting the parents know this was coming? Was there another clause not printed here that says HF was supposed to communicate impactful news from the Landlord? I’m confused.

    Mon, September 20 at 11:52 pm
  63. Guy said,

    What is up with the church desperately needing to paint the preschool in a bad light with the parents (Diederik #53, Woody Pidcock slamming the preschool in a post just before “impartially” moderating the last meeting). It is interesting that we are now finally getting some truth – misrepresented, but there is truth in there. The first few bits of this evil document.

    So it would seem that at some point before signing the lease the preschool was asked about the church housing homeless, and the preschool said that would be a “dealbreaker.” And this is what the church is pointing to saying that the preschool was informed? This would also explain delays on the preschool’s side – thinking that they had an assurance that this would not happen (unless there is some other definition of dealbreaker). How could the school inform the parents of the program, as you ask, that they felt they had been assured would not happen?

    So exactly what part of “ARE FREQUENTED BY HOMELESS,” and “FROM TIME TO TIME” would tell the school or a parent that there was a bus-load of homeless starting a shelter in the church? I think that the homeless woman living in a shed in the church parking lot dumping urine down a drain was a pretty good give away to the parents that there were homeless around. There is nothing in this release that informs parents of anything other than that the homeless are at the church “from time to time” and that the church is so worried that they want everyone associated with the school to sign a waiver?

    As for the preschool having plenty of time to get this contract looked over, even though the school had asked for months for the contract, it was given to the school TWO DAYS before opening, on a Friday evening;school opened on Monday. Well, that certainly seems like the actions of someone hoping to not get this document scrutinized. Good luck getting an attorney Friday night to look over a contract that Herman Goering would have been proud of before Monday. Not provide revisions, ask questions, they had the first day of a new school two days later – a deadline that the church was aware of by the way. Thus the delay.

    As for the PR disaster that Mr. Mahmulyin mentioned in his note, perhaps that might pertain to “THE RISKS OF COMMUNICABLE DISEASES, SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES, VIOLENCE, AND OFFENSIVE BEHAVIOR, AND THAT LESSEE WILLINGLY ASSUMES THE RISKS, INCLUDING RISK OF INJURY OR DEATH.” What parent wouldn’t want to bring their child into that? The PR nightmare was not the homeless, it was the release itself.

    The next slight of hand “The steering committee also wanted HF to be able to save face by coming to the parents themselves.” Is this why the church ignored the continual requests for an emergency meeting as soon as the school was informed, second-hand in an email sent to the parishioners? Not directly – they were CC’ed in an email to the church parishioners. If there was any consideration for the preschool, why ignore these requests? Ignore them for weeks! The school waited to inform parents until they could understand what was up, understand what part of “dealbreaker” the church did not understand. Well, it is true that there was information passed in January before the lease was signed. The information was that having a homeless shelter in the church would be a deal breaker. Apparently the church decided to break the deal.

    p.s. Wallingford families, here is the first information in print that the church put in place about the homeless shelter:


    Sounds safe to me!!

    Tue, September 21 at 12:11 am
  64. Susan said,

    As a parent of a child at the preschool, I have some thoughts about #53 Dietrich’s comments and I do not speak on behalf of the owners of HF preschool.

    HF owners said that the homeless shelter moving into the same space as the preschool was a “dealbreaker” as Dietrich stated. Pastor Jami did not discuss the idea of a shelter with the owners after they said it was a dealbreaker. The owners assumed that the pastor understood their feelings about the shelter and was abandoning the idea because he wanted the preschool on the premises. They trusted the pastor.

    The preschool’s owners were given the lease agreement on the Friday before the preschool was to open the next Monday. They were in the middle of renovating the basement. They did not have time to find an attorney and have the lease reviewed, nor did they realize that they needed to have an attorney look it over. They trusted the pastor.

    The owners did talk to Pastor Jami about the hold harmless agreement and were told by the pastor that an alternate one that they had written into their school contract was sufficient. They believed they were meeting the terms of their lease. Again, they trusted the pastor.

    The hold harmless agreement that was written into the lease does not inform parents that a shelter is going to move into the church, so the owners did not hide anything by not having the parents sign that specific one.

    The owners tried over and over again to talk to the pastor about the shelter moving in after they received meeting minutes from the church in August. The pastor never responded to them. The owners wrongly assumed his silence meant that a shelter was not being put in place.

    The provisions of the lease agreement that were disclosed by Dietrich do not scream a homeless shelter is allowed to move into the church. In fact, I believe since the provisions discuss homeless persons specifically and do not mention homeless residing in the church, the church is precluded from having homeless reside in the church unless they modify the lease agreement with the preschool owners. The church is violating the terms of its contract.

    Finally, when the owner was stating his feelings about the PR nightmare, I am pretty sure he meant that having a homeless shelter in the same building as a preschool is a PR nightmare. The reality is that some parents will choose a preschool that is not in the same building as a shelter.

    It’s interesting that the church recognized in the lease that there is risk INHERENT in the presence of homeless including risks of communicable diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, violence, offensive behavior, injury and death.

    It is my belief that the pastor wanted the preschool to make improvements to the basement (thousands of dollars worth) and then move the shelter to the church knowing full well that the preschool would move out. That way they could get a nice basement for the shelter to move into.

    Tue, September 21 at 12:19 am
  65. Hale-Bopp said,

    And remember folks, free Kool-Aid at the church tomorrow!

    Tue, September 21 at 12:33 am
  66. Cathy said,

    Call and write.
    Get those council people to pull SHARES money.
    BTW the monister of GoG gave hi s phone number and promised to get back to people.. he didnt return my call last week.

    Someone please let HF know I will help them to pack etc..

    Tue, September 21 at 5:49 am
  67. BlackSwan said,

    Dietrich and Irwin’s Coffee Shop, Could you pull out the part of the lease that mentions that a homeless shelter that doesn’t check for sex offenders is moving into the same building as HF?

    Also, as Chris said, my attorney would second the fact that NDA’s in lease agreements are extemely rare.

    One last question here: So Jamie would go to these exteme lengths with HF and this lease spelling out every possibility, but you never thought about notifying the neighbors? As Jami said on Saturday, “we didn’t think we needed to.” It wasn’t that you didn’t think of it though as you would have us believe, it’s because your Perry Mason told you that you weren’t legally required to do so.

    The jig is up.

    Tue, September 21 at 6:50 am
  68. Anonymous said,

    Wow, I cannot believe that given these recent revelation that someone would want to worship at this church. There are so many alternatives in this city. As more details come forward I can say for myself that I would not want to be a part of this type of behavior. Helping the homeless does not negate the fact that one should follow Christian teachings with ALL people. Personally, I find the wording in the waiver to be the most insensitive stereotyping that I have seen anywhere on these blogs. It is funny (funny strange, not funny “Haha”) how the church members were so angry with the neighbors over fearing the homeless, when they unknowingly were propagating fear through their own wavier. Again, I’m not sure how I could reconcile this and still be a member of this church. The Pastor has done a injustice to his congregation and to the church.

    Tue, September 21 at 7:38 am
  69. Hale-Bopp said,

    Yeah, isn’t the church supposed to, um, love thy neighbor or something? I guess responsible neighbors and innocent children don’t measure up to the spiritual fulfillment achieved by harboring “indigent, destitute, and vagrant” people who have the potential to cause “disease, injury, or death”.

    Tue, September 21 at 8:07 am
  70. Cathy said,

    I am no t likely th eonly one who read Ken Schram’s article abo ut a homeless tent city coming to Maple area. He says these places end up a blessing. I can no longer trust KOMO’s reporting. I wonder where he lives? Is there a Lutheran church nearby?

    Tue, September 21 at 8:18 am
  71. #93 parent said,

    Hale-Bopp, I know you are quoting the lease, but my own son is homeless by choice. Please remember that we are still talking about people here.

    I also urge people to remember that the lease was originally negotiated between the pastor, his lawyer, and the two owners. The congregation is only finding out the details about the lease now, as are we. It is natural that they support their pastor, but they were not part of the negotiations, nor were they aware of many of the details now surfacing. Attacking them as a group will only make things worse, not better. Give them a chance to process all this.

    Tue, September 21 at 8:20 am
  72. You people are insane said,

    People! Get a reality check. Letting the folks from SHARE use a space FAR AWAY from the Preschool…. AT DIFFERENT TIMES than the Preschool is open. STIPULATING THEY HAVE TO LEAVE THE AREA during the time the Preschool is open…not to mention the DISCUSSIONS and LEASE and HOLD HARMLESS agreement … shows that the Church did its due diligence.

    The Church does what a Church does. Helping the needy. Arrgh. The Preschool had very strong language in the lease stating that frankly may be overly cautious but as Dietrich said it is what lawyers do. All this ruckus about a dozen men and women who need to get off the streets for 12 hours a day and have to follow rules or be out on the street again is crazy.

    Why don’t you do something constructive, put together a neighborhood watch if you want… Post someone outside the Preschool while it is open and watch … watch carefully because God help the little children should they see someone homeless.

    It is more than likely that one of your relatives or neighbors is a freaking child molester than one of the SHARE folks.

    Get some frigging perspective!!!!

    Tue, September 21 at 9:25 am
  73. Hale Bopp said,

    #93, I fully respect the choices others make (even if I don’t agree), and I expect the same respect from others. I take no issue with homeless people unless they create an issue with me or others in our community. I’d have the same viewpoint about any other person regardless of lifestyle.

    My comment was not about me, OR the congregation. It’s about JAMI’s views on the community and what was in HIS contract. And, as we’ve seen, it pretty much speaks for itself.

    Tue, September 21 at 9:26 am
  74. Anonymous said,

    As someone who works with a legal department on T&Cs routinely, I can say that I am ultimately responsible for the content of these documents. The lawyers provide legal framework. So to blame this on the lawyer is disingenuous. I’ve seen some pretty creative finger-pointing directed at many sources by this pastor. No ‘buck stops here’ coming from this person…

    Tue, September 21 at 9:36 am
  75. Anonymous said,

    Please remember to write directly to the city council. Don’t rely solely on the voting poll link to get your message out. The city budget is stretched and cuts need to be made somewhere. If homeless funding does get cut out of necessity, it should come from places that are not serving the greater cause. We don’t want a different program cut and SHARE to continue to get funding. That would be an injustice. Please write. Thank you.


    Tue, September 21 at 9:41 am
  76. Hale Bopp said,

    Hey 72, maybe if you step back for a second you’ll get a little more perspective yourself and realize the main issue isn’t the homeless people themselves. Maybe read through the thread again.

    Tue, September 21 at 9:46 am
  77. iyqtoo said,

    @ Dietrich. i wonder if you can clarify something for us? When you say the ‘church’ hired a lawyer to create the lease, are you saying the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or the Gift of Grace Church in Wallingford?

    Churches are widely recognized as some of those huge and notoriously political bureaucracies where individual accountability gets lost in the finger-pointing by design. While it’s easy to believe his earthly bosses up there on Cap Hill gave one lowly Pastor Jami Fecher the marching orders to carry out their agenda–and become accountable for any negative consequences–if he wants to keep his job, it’s very hard for me to believe anyone up there gave him the autonomy to create, negotiate, execute and speak on behalf of his congregation regarding the ‘church’s’ contract with the day care center. I’m curious to know which organization drove that process.

    Tue, September 21 at 9:52 am
  78. NancyM said,

    On that note – #77, regarding political bureaucracies – what if everyone in Seattle read the same book: The Family, by Jeff Sharlet

    Tue, September 21 at 10:59 am
  79. You people are insane said,

    Hey Hale Bopper….. what the heck is this thread about aside from bashing the Pastor, speaking on behalf of what someone who runs the Preschool based on what they are saying to the parents, (and believing every word), trashing SHARE…

    Enlighten me please!!

    Tue, September 21 at 11:08 am
  80. Anonymous said,

    IrwinLady: Let me step in and say that ‘trashing’ SHARE is quite easy if you look at their track record. They have done this to themselves. If you want to bury your head in the sand, so be it. Don’t expect others to follow.

    Tue, September 21 at 11:25 am
  81. Hale Bopp said,

    79, I don’t see much bashing going on other than your original, and highly subjective comment. What I do see is responsible members of the community asking questions and uncovering facts about a questionable contract that should concern everybody, the content of which speaks for itself.

    Tue, September 21 at 11:46 am
  82. WallyResident said,

    Call and write the city council and the Mayor. They are responsible for funding SHARE.
    There are other homeless groups that are more transparent and work with our neighborhoods better.


    Tue, September 21 at 12:07 pm
  83. Rondi said,

    Ken Schramm is hosting SHARE’s annual fundraiser at the Nile Country Club on October 17, 2010. Cost is $65. Doors open at 3:00 p.m.

    Tue, September 21 at 12:24 pm
  84. You people are insane said,

    Hale Bopp – Your kool aid remarks and the following isn’t bashing?

    Hale-Bopp said,
    Yeah, isn’t the church supposed to, um, love thy neighbor or something? I guess responsible neighbors and innocent children don’t measure up to the spiritual fulfillment achieved by harboring “indigent, destitute, and vagrant” people who have the potential to cause “disease, injury, or death

    You are a moron!

    Tue, September 21 at 12:53 pm
  85. You people are insane said,

    Hale-Bopp I apologize for my name calling re #84 I’m getting off this blog because I’m getting way too angry.

    Tue, September 21 at 1:12 pm
  86. Anonymous said,

    Let me get this straight… you are angry at *Hale-Bop* for quoting words from a church document? It’s him, is that what you are saying?

    Tue, September 21 at 1:32 pm
  87. Hale Bopp said,

    Good choice. Thank you.

    If you happen to check back, just re-read #53 and you’ll see what I was quoting. The only thing I think it’s fair to retract is the Kool-Aid remark.

    Anyhow, let’s move on. I’m more interested in where #77 is going..

    Tue, September 21 at 1:40 pm
  88. Guest said,

    The lawyer that GoG used – is this legal counsel provided by the Luthern church, or a pro bono SHARE lawyer?

    Tue, September 21 at 2:02 pm
  89. Cathy said,

    OMG That expalins his lack of concern fo rneighbors or families caught by their snares.

    WHEW I wonder again where he lives an dif his house is within 2 miles of a homeles sshelter.

    Tue, September 21 at 2:14 pm
  90. Guy said,

    I have been re-reading #53 Diederick’s entry, and there is something that is giving me a rising sense of dread:

    “Pastor Fecher repeatedly asked the management at HF to get those waivers signed. In spite of repeated requests, they never were. So when the decision was made to actually move forward with this particular church program for the homeless, they were left in non-compliance with their lease contract.”

    WTF?!!! Does this mean what I think it does? Is the church hinting at suing the school? Convenient that is coincides with the school’s notice to vacate. He is of course referring to the school parents (many of whom are neighbors) waiving their rights to sue the church if the homeless kill, mutilate, maim, sexually transmit disease, etc. And the waiver lasts forever. Is that what that is?

    If anyone with the church is reading this, I’d like to get some clarification on this immediately. What exactly happens if the school is in “non-compliance with their lease contract”? After all the evil they have put this poor woman through, the lies, delays deceit and bad mouthing, to then sue them, or worse… With all of the unbelievable things that they have done so far, and Dr. Mengele’s Contract of Doom, who know what the hell they can do. I can promise you, if that is what happens there is going to be outrage that make all of this so far look like sunny days.

    Tue, September 21 at 5:56 pm
  91. reality said,

    I would appreciate all the naysayers to name ONE group they support that takes care of homeless. Please state how you support them, how much time or money you have given to them and why you support them over SHARE. (You have given this much energy to your hate speech- I’m sure you’ve given to take care of the needy)

    Wed, September 22 at 1:28 am
  92. whatareyounew said,

    How are you all forgetting that the pre-school sighed a lease?! They agreed to the terms! They took your money and now pretend that they were oh so safe innocent pre-school teachers who were taken advantage of. They TOOK YOUR MONEY AND KNEW THE TERMS OF THE LEASE! No matter how nice they are they are a for-profit! Get a f-ing clue Wallingford!

    Wed, September 22 at 1:43 am
  93. parent #93 said,

    @reality, I think people all over Seattle help in many and varied ways, and do not need to justify their personal charities to anyone. I do not think that you only get a voice in your neighborhood if you have contributed to a particular cause. Nor do I think that raising concerns about this shelter, or SHARE, means you are anti-homeless. I personally do not support SHARE because I think they ultimately do more harm to the chronically homeless population than they help. This is based on my personal, multi-decade experiences with chronic homelessness within my own family.

    Having said that, I am happy to share our long history of helping those in need.

    Our primary charity for financial donations is HopeLink. We support them because of their long, positive history and many programs in helping families who find themselves homeless, or close to it. They provide transitional housing assistance, food bank, help with move in costs and bill paying in emergencies, counseling and training during times of stress, and other similar services. http://www.hope-link.org

    We also support the Morningsong preschool that serves homeless kids and their families, via Wellspring Family Services. When my children were smaller, they were the primary charity for inkind donations, and we still make financial donations to them as well, now that our children’s items are too big. http://www.family-services.org

    Our primary charity for in-kind donations is the International Rescue Committee, which assists refugees who have been admitted to our country under dire circumstances, many of whom arrive with only the clothes on their backs (literally). We have provided new and gently used housewares, furniture, culturally-appropriate clothing, toys, and pretty much anything that you need to start up a new life. I plan on donating my time with them as well, by assisting with their training programs, when my schedule allows it in the future. http://www.irc.org

    I also grew up in a family who’s designated charity was the local women’s domestic violence shelter, back in Texas. We regularly my made both in kind donations (toys when I was a small child and I am sure my mom made financial and in-kind donations), and now that I am an adult, my mom asks that we send monetary donations to them in her name in lieu of gifts.

    We also support many other non profit charities with purposes other than helping the homeless.

    My first husband’s ex-wife was homeless herself, by choice, for most of her adult life. We took in my stepson and raised him, and I personally made dozens and dozens of arrangements for a safe and secure place for their visits to take place. I spent a lot of time in the many and varied places she chose to live, from beach camps, month to month rentals, weekly motels, SROs (visits were elsewhere there), a trailer in back of a friends house, her car, and so many others. We supported her financially on many occasions as well, helping her with rent and motel money, buying her a used car once, countless meals, and of course took care of all the expenses of raising her first child (willingly and with much love, I might add). I was personally the driving force making sure she kept contact with her son throughout the years.

    Later, when my stepson developed his own sad problems and decided to follow his birth mother and live as a “free spirit” himself, we supported him financially as well whenever he came home to us. I will not go into all the details, but we went through many iterations of rehab, rent and motel money, court hearings, airline tickets and countless other costs, in an effort to help him out of chronic homelessness. Our efforts failed, and he moves in and out of homelessness in a fashion similar to his mother, for many of the same reasons, and most likely always will. He always has a home with us, and a standing offer for financial and social service assistance, but he has chosen another path for himself. I pray for him every single night.

    Not everyone’s history will be like mine, but I can say that there are few who choose to live in places like Wallingford, or any of the neighborhoods of Seattle, who are not supportive of such charities and their work. They may choose a different set of charities than mine, but I have never lived in such a supportive and active community. And I have lived all over the San Francisco Bay area, Santa Cruz, and Austin, all highly liberal enclaves, so that is saying something.

    The issues that have been raised by the Wallingford community have nothing to do with hate or fear, but concern that this charity (SHARE), with this history, may be doing long term damage to its client population, the neighborhoods, and the perception of homelessness problems. And that this church, in this specific case, may have not been a good neighbor. SHARE has been bringing controversy and division to neighborhoods and church congregations for a long time now, in ways that other Puget Sound charities do not. I think you can support the many and varied needs of homeless, but not support how SHARE operates its business. They are not mutually exclusive positions at all.

    Wed, September 22 at 8:54 am
  94. BlackSwan said,

    There’s only a few things that I can control in this whole situation. One thing is that I will no longer partronize Irwin’s. Additionally, I will spread the word as to the link between Irwin’s and GoG.

    Wed, September 22 at 11:58 am
  95. iyqtoo said,

    Thank you #93 parent for sharing your experience. My family also has a situation that will likely force us to spend the rest of our lives treading the sometimes razor-thin line between enabling bad behavior and empowering the individual to live a full life.

    As much as the political incompetance behind funding SHARE with tax dollars, this situation has me fried becuase of the scarce community resources, including the energy and love exhibited by all those church congregations, that are being squandered on what is essentially bad parenting!

    Wed, September 22 at 1:13 pm
  96. citizen11 said,

    There seems to be a lot of prejudgment of people who are without a home…without a place to shower, without a place to use the bathroom, without a place to cook about how negative they are for our community. These are human beings. The fact that the church chose to give them a place to sleep at night is commendable… if only more people/city/state etc put such energy into treating these persons as human beings as well, and provided for our needy. I don’t know all the ins and outs of who’s is telling the truth or not when it comes to the church and the daycare. But what I’m hearing from many of these comments is cruel, biased judgment against people who they don’t know and are already assuming to be a nuisance to their community. It’s sad.

    Wed, September 22 at 3:22 pm
  97. BlackSwan said,

    Citizen11, What’s really sad in all of this is that Gift of Grace is not running background checks for sex offenders. You’re right. Very sad. Now go back to running Irwins.

    Wed, September 22 at 3:58 pm
  98. Cathy said,

    The church gave them a place to sleep by lying to their leased tenants and by hiding the info from neighbors and in addition promising rules which are not being followed.

    On top of that yes, a place to sleep, but NO food preparation, NO showers, no place to clean or store belongings. Thus we have hungry, poorly clothed, dirty people in our neighborhoods with nothing to do and little resources.

    The pastor was hoosegowed and now we are all paying.

    Wed, September 22 at 4:31 pm
  99. Woody Pidcock said,

    The notes from the September 18 meeting are now available on the Gift of Grace website at: http://www.giftofgrace.org/?p=62.

    Current persons identified as being initial members of this team:

    Mark Mirabile – Wallingford neighbor, Huckleberry Forest preschool parent
    Valerie Hunt – Wallingford neighbor
    Lauren Street – local police (not present)
    Jocelyn Skillman – Gift of Grace church member
    Tim Linnemann – Gift of Grace church member (not present)
    Mark Kanning – Wallingford neighbor, Huckleberry Forest preschool parent
    TBD – SHARE resident (not present)

    In Community,

    Mon, September 27 at 4:54 pm
  100. Cathy said,

    I am curious if anyone from the Wallingford Chamber or Council woudl be willing to be a part of these meetings.

    Mon, September 27 at 5:29 pm
  101. Recovering Lutheran said,

    I wish the people who have volunteered to be on the “team” luck. Too bad the church essentially volunteered a situation where your time and energy are needed. Writing concerns on paper does not end the concerns. Talk about (GoG) having all the answers and a heavenly stamp of approval.
    [From the GoG website:]
    >>God’s Work at 40th and Meridian<<

    (Q&A) 5.Did SHARE coach Pastor Jami Fecher to not communicate with Wallingford neighbors about plans to host a SHARE site?
    Answer: No.
    (Q&A) 6. Why didn’t the church engage the Wallingford Community like it is doing now 6 months ago?

    Answer: The church didn’t think that homeless persons arriving after 7pm by bus in front of the church, staying inside all night, and leaving by bus at 7am would have any impact on the neighborhood. It is difficult to know when a church needs to notify its neighbors formally regarding activities related to its mission. Gift of Grace didn’t do it when the church decided to host the preschool. Gift of Grace also didn’t do it when the church decided to host Alcoholics Anonymous or the Flute Players. And, Gift of Grace didn’t do it when the church began Grace Feast a year ago, which has been attended by some of the same persons who are now residents in the SHARE site.<<

    Mon, September 27 at 5:41 pm
  102. Guy said,

    As for SHARE not coaching the pastor, I mean come on! We have seen info from other churches saying that they did it there, and we’ve also seen this pastor is not afraid to lie – and lie often – to get what he wants. Oh, he’ll claim he’s not lying, but he seems very comfortable twisting facts or omitting them altogether to get what he wants (still waiting to get his definition of “deal breaker”).

    Yes, the church didn’t think there would be any issue with bringing a bus-load homeless from downtown to live in Wallingford for a year – that’s why they gave the neighbors one-week’s notice, and then only those within 500 feet. Everyone else found out two days before, if they happened to read the GoG website.

    “Gosh, but we didn’t notify the neighbors that a preschool was going in (there were signs prominently posted) or about AA or the often mentioned Flute Players (both supervised and happen once a week for an hour), or Gracefeast (also supervised, once a week for an hour).”

    Fetcher really does the whole disingenuous thing well. I’m surprised there wasn’t another mean swipe at the preschool in these selective notes, although I noticed in reading them that, even though the preschool was one of the things brought up at the meeting, it is nowhere represented in the notes posted on GoG’s site:

    Mon, September 27 at 6:43 pm
  103. Rondi said,

    I don’t know if anyone is still following this post, but the Rev. Bill Kirlin-Hackett, Director of the Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness, Church Council of Greater Seattle has posted a comment in response to the City of Seattle Ideascale #47 on this site as follows:

    The collective ignorance posing as intelligence from those seeking to end the funding and thus the work of SHARE is not surprising. With regard to the reality of homelessness, opinion is abundant. Sadly and almost every time, the lack of intelligence where opinion degrades those working to end homelessness and/or provide a safe place to sleep every night is evident. Critics, including the hallowed web collections like the hate-mongering tent city solutions leader(s), rely upon never looking at a whole picture. Their ability to describe reality is always jaded by their hatred of the poor. Sorry intelligensa of Seattle, this manifest opposition to SHARE is indeed hatred of the poor. You are now fully part of the Bot-hell movement, red-state inspired and trickling into where you live. It’s hate now issuing from you. It is most evident in how those of you complaining fully ignore the poor and homeless until they come within sight of your neighborhood. Shame on you. And yes, please oh please, bash me next, because that is one of the few tools available to those who hate. I’d rather you bash me and then leave the homeless using indoor congregational shelters to get a good night’s sleep; something, to be sure, you clearly take for granted as valuable. A safe place,.. what a concept, clearly beyond your comprehension! You want fancier indoor shelters? You want better housing than tents? Put up or shut up; but if you can’t shut up, come after me, because there is no amount of your garbage I’ve not heard (and dismissed as ignorance), and I can take all you can give so long as it deflects from your direct hatred toward the homeless. I repeat, shame on you. If you have children, measure this as the teaching you provide so they too know how to hate as they grow. The alternative is teaching them how to love. Up to it? I think you might watch the children who do visit the homeless and know by nature how to care for their neighbors in need. If you are ignorant how to do that, how to care for your neighbors in need — who by the way also pay taxes thanks to the shelters in which they stay being largely funded by sales taxes — be in touch. Though, I must add, you will have to stop this rant of hating that is so easy, so convenient, and lest you haven’t noticed, so wrong.

    I find Rev. Kirlin-Hackett’s post very insightful as to the position of the churches on homeless issues. If we disagree we are haters.

    Thu, October 7 at 1:47 pm
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