The Rev. Michael Curry, left, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church who gained international fame with his sermon at the royal wedding last month, was in Aberdeen on Saturday afternoon for a rally that sought to highlight homelessness. Photo by Scott Johnston

The Rev. Michael Curry, left, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church who gained international fame with his sermon at the royal wedding last month, was in Aberdeen on Saturday afternoon for a rally that sought to highlight homelessness. Photo by Scott Johnston

Bishop Curry speaks at Aberdeen affordable-housing rally

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church gained international fame with his sermon at the royal wedding last month.

By Scott D. Johnston

The Rev. Michael Curry, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church who gained international fame with his sermon at the royal wedding last month, joined about 100 participants in a tour of downtown Aberdeen and vigil at City Hall Saturday afternoon that sought to highlight homelessness in the city and push for 2,000 new affordable housing units. The event was organized by “Harbor Rising,” a new group that includes representatives from Chaplains on the Harbor, Democracy Rising, Blind Justice and Harbor Roots, all of which have advocated for the homeless.

“A movement starts small and keeps on growing,” Bishop Curry told the crowd outside City Hall. He cited the biblical parable of the tiny mustard seed that eventually grows into a tree, and proclaimed, “This is a mustard seed movement!”

He encouraged people to expand the push for local housing solutions and urged them to embrace the notion that, “We are a family that doesn’t let anybody go without a home.”

According to Rev. Sarah Monroe from Chaplains on the Harbor, Curry had been touring the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia and became interested in joining the Aberdeen event. His visit to the Northwest was scheduled before his royal wedding sermon was broadcast and replayed around the world. Bishop Greg Rickel of Olympia accompanied Curry Saturday.

The event began in the parking lot next to Jay’s Farm Stand at Heron and G Streets. Following some Native American songs and prayers and a few preliminary remarks, the group walked behind a Harbor Rising banner down to the railroad tracks near an area with the Harbor’s largest homeless encampment.

Monroe said 22 of the county’s homeless have died “on the street” over the past two years.

“We’re here to remember the people we have lost and to demand that the city and county center and prioritize affordable housing,” Monroe stated.

Organizers claim that research and surveys show approximately 1,000 people are homeless in Aberdeen, and that for the nearly 3,500 extremely low-income and very low-income households in the county, only about 1,200 affordable units are available. They added that 862 units stand vacant in Aberdeen, most of them currently unfit for human habitation.

To empower its vision that 2,000 units be built or restored in Aberdeen to fill the gap in affordable housing availability, Harbor Rising “imagines responsible agencies partnering with local organizations to provide housing including pathways to home-ownership and employment in housing construction and restoration,” according to their press release.

Along the way from the homeless encampment to City Hall, the group stopped by some sites they said might represent possible housing locations and a potential low-income detox center. At City Hall, the group set up a vigil for those lost, and Curry, Monroe and others spoke.

Curry said he came to Aberdeen to support the event because, “What I hope for is an awakening of awareness of the need to care for the homeless in ways that are just and loving.”

The vigil continued through the night, as eight people slept until Sunday morning in a small tent city they set up in front of City Hall.

__________

This story was first published in the Aberdeen Daily World.

More in Northwest

Exit poll indicates Washington voters still support climate change action

State environmental organizations’ poll points to continuing support for carbon-reducing measures.

Attendees gather after the Dec. 21, 2018, meeting at Seattle’s Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center.
Washington indigenous communities push for action to address violence against women

A new law seeks to strength data collection on missing and murdered indigenous women.

Wikimedia Commons CFCF photo
Proposed law would raise age limit for tobacco sales in WA

Lawmakers cite health concerns over tobacco and vape products

Gift creates Karalis Johnson Retina Center at UW Medicine in Seattle

Donor is passionate about finding a cure for macular degeneration

AR-15 rifle and a loaded magazine that were recovered from a suspect in a shooting incident at the Kent Station parking garage. Photo courtesy of King County Sheriff’s Office
Democrats to focus on 30-round magazines and ghost guns in 2019

Following gun control success on the November ballot, state Democrats are eyeing further regulation.

Rape allegation against Sen. Joe Fain divides King County Council

In a recent interview, Councilmember Kathy Lambert blamed Fain’s accuser for the alleged rape. Then Lambert’s colleagues distanced themselves from her comments.

Safeco Field. FILE PHOTO
King County’s Safeco funding package might go to referendum vote

The initiative, filed by a group called “Citizens Against Sports Stadium Subsidies” could put the $135 million spending plan on the ballot early next year

Palouse wind farm in Eastern Washington. COURTESY PHOTO, Chris Weber, Flickr Creative Commons
Report reveals inequities of climate change in Washington

The poor and communities of color are affected the worst, according to UW study

Photo by Cacophony/Wikipedia Commons
Safeco Field will get a new name next year

Seattle Mariners could make more than $100 million from naming rights.

The man on Iron Mountain

Chuck Pillon has been living on a 10-acre junk-filled property near Renton for decades.

Safe consumption part 3: The opposite of addiction

Final episode of our three-part series on controversial supervised consumption sites

Safe consumption: The debate

In the first of a three-part series, we enter into the heated, emotional, and sometimes bitter debate around one of the most controversial policy proposals in the country.