May our presence be a positive influence on the Bainbridge council | INTERFAITH
August 20, 2012 · 11:26 AM
BY SUSAN R. ANDERSON
As the Bainbridge Island/North Kitsap Interfaith Council concluded its work prior to a summer recess the group passed a resolution that I, as incoming president of the council, would like to share with our community.
It was co-written by Dee Eisenhauer, the pastor of Eagle Harbor Congregational Church, and Paul Stumme-Diers, pastor of Bethany Lutheran Church. Here it is:
“Several 2012 meetings of the Bainbridge Island City Council have left many members of the Interfaith Council concerned about the state of civil discourse in the council and in the wider community.
“Perhaps as citizens we have not done all that we can to encourage civil discourse and government that seeks compromise in the interest of the common good. In truth, our own faith communities do not always live up to our ideals in terms of civil discourse in our local and regional gatherings. We could all do better to heal the divisiveness that taints so much of our public life.
“We are resolved to send ambassadors of the Interfaith Council to Bainbridge City Council meetings for the next six months (at minimum). We cordially invite all city council members to visit our faith community gatherings as well (www.binkinterfaith.org).
“At council meetings, our duly sent ambassadors may engage in one or more of the following actions on our behalf.
Silent meditation or prayer for peace and civility during the meeting.
Bringing greetings from the Interfaith Council during open comment periods.
Thanking public officials for their service.
“IFC ambassadors will not comment on specific actions of the council on behalf of the IFC, since that does not fall within the mission of the IFC, nor could the comments of any one person possibly represent the range of tradition and opinion among the faith communities.”
As one of the ambassadors to the council, I have attended two meetings since the resolution was passed. In the role of a supportive observer, I am grateful for the thoughtful public service our city council members give. There may not be agreement, but for the most part there is respect and civility. And city council members have expressed gratitude for the presence of Interfaith Council members.
I believe this attention will help uplift and support the city council in its difficult job of considered decision-making.
Susan R. Anderson is president of the Bainbridge Island North/Kitsap Interfaith Council.