Gorge Ecumenical Ministries (GEM)
To connect with our larger community and to amplify our work for Peace and Justice, Bethel is an active participant in the Gorge Ecumenical Ministries.
GEM is made up of representatives from many different faith groups in the Gorge. GEM members participate in education and action around various issues of justice and community building.
GEM programs and fiscal sponsorships include:
- Aging in the Gorge Alliance (AGA)
- Columbia Gorge Climate Action Network (CGCAN)
- Emergency Voucher Program (EVP)
- Immigrant Relief Fund (IRF)
- Somos Uno (We Are One)
Through these programs and other efforts, GEM founded Fish Food Bank and Hood River Shelter Services. They were also crucial partners with The Next Door in founding the Grocery Card Program which helps supplement food purchases primarily for our Native American and immigrant neighbors, and the Hood River County ID program.
Through Somos Uno, GEM organizes the annual Martin Luther King Community Celebration. Somos Uno also organized and coordinated the weekly vigils for peace and justice for over a year following the murder of George Floyd and continues to be active organizing and promoting racial and other justice issues in the area.
Through CGCAN, GEM supports the area Earth Month programs and activities as well as Gorge area activism and advocacy for ending coal and oil transport through the Gorge and the building of new fossil fuel processing and shipping facilities in OR and WA.
The Immigrant Relief Fund (IRF) is a new program in partnership with Matthew 25 The Gorge that began in response to our immigrant neighbors who "fall through the cracks" of other assistance programs. Since its inception just over a year ago, the IRF has financially helped with legal fees, housing security issues like electricity, roofing, and rent assistance, transportation, and help for families whose sole breadwinners were suddenly deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The Emergency Voucher Program (EVP) is currently hosted by St. Mark's Episcopal Church and is broadly supported by faith communities and others in the Gorge. Providing once-per-year emergency assistance to all, The EVP provides financial aid for hotel housing, gas, groceries, and other essentials.
Aging in the Gorge Alliance (AGA) is a broad coalition of partners throughout the Gorge providing educational and material support to our elder population and their families. They also have advocated for our local cities/counties to be designated as "Dementia-Friendly Communities", providing education about recognizing and helping those struggling with dementia at home, in stores, and in other public spaces.
GEM also partners with the following groups
- Columbia Gorge Peace Village
- Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
- Faith in Action
- Church World Service/CROP Walk
- Mount Adams Ministerial Association
Bethel Recipients of GEM's Annual
Inspired Service and Action Award
Inspired Service and Action Award
The 2014 Inspired Service and Action Award was presented to Bethel's DeLona Campos-Davis for her service and action with Bethel and the Columbia Gorge Peace Village.
The 2013 Inspired Service and Action Award was presented to Bethel's current Pastor, Andy Wade, for his work helping to found and run the Hood River Warming Shelter (now, Hood River Shelter Services).