Harp player’s concert at Everett church on Wednesday ‘a last hurrah for Christmas’
"There are 12 days of Christmas," said Journey, a harpist who performs all over the region. "If you think about the birth of a baby at Christmas, you don't go to the house before the baby is born. You go after," the Sultan man said.
Many Christian churches celebrate the annual festival of the Epiphany on Jan. 6, the 12th day of Christmas. In the Gospel of Matthew, it is when the Magi -- three wise men -- come bearing gifts for the infant Jesus, who is revealed to them as the savior.
Journey, his vocalist wife, Katherine Journey, and Everett violinist Wendell Browning will present their own gift at an "Almost Epiphany" concert.
"It's our last hurrah for Christmas," said the Rev. Jack Richards, pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. Richards said the concert in the church sanctuary will be a mini version of concerts the Journeys and Browning performed throughout the area during the holidays.
This will be the third year for the concert aimed at restocking depleted food bank supplies.
"We leave the tree up. It's a little bright spot," Richards said.
With experience in relief ministries, Richards knows that once the holidays are over, charitable giving falls off.
"January is a month when people tend to forget most of all," the pastor said. "We do our giving at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the shelves are really picked over."
Leann Geiger, director of food bank services at Volunteers of America Western Washington, told The Herald in November that the VOA Food Bank in Everett serves about 2,250 households -- almost 5,000 individuals -- per month. Volunteers of America is the lead agency for the Snohomish County Food Bank Coalition, which includes 20 food banks.
A simple meal before Wednesday's concert at Prince of Peace will do double duty, drawing attention to hunger and raising money for another charity. Donations from the 5:30 p.m. soup supper will benefit the Family Shelter operated by the Interfaith Association of Northwest Washington.
The shelter, in a former convent building across from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Everett, houses about 40 people, up to 11 families, said Mary Ellen Wood, executive director of the Interfaith Association.
Richards said the supper is open to members of his church and concert goers. Donations of all sizes will be accepted for the dinner. For $25 gifts, he said, donors will get handmade ceramic bowls crafted by Snohomish artisans.
At the concert, generous donations of nonperishable foods are encouraged, or checks to the VOA Food Bank. No gift is too small. "Last year, a lady of modest means brought a package of Top Ramen," Richards said. "She was worried it wasn't enough. We said of course it is -- you're here."
Wood said the Interfaith Association of Northwest Washington hopes to raise awareness of the year-round needs of charities, perhaps by planning a summertime event.
"There does need to be a way of educating people that there are homeless families on June 25 and on Christmas Day," she said.
Residents of the Family Shelter, she said, "are a representative sampling of the community."
"We had a woman give birth in the hospital and come back to the shelter -- a baby born into homelessness in Everett, Washington," she said.
Journey, the harpist, believes a divine hand was at play in bringing him to Prince of Peace for a charity concert.
"It had to do with a golf game," Journey said. The summer before last, he made a hole-in-one while playing at Monroe's Blue Boy West Public Golf Course. Richards, the Prince of Peace pastor, happened to see a newspaper item about Journey's lucky shot.
"Somehow, for some reason, he reads the sports page about people getting a hole-in-one," Journey said. "I'm a lousy golfer," he added. "That golf ball hit a tree branch, hit a rock, and made it out of the rough."
Out of the blue, Richards called Journey to talk about golf. The charity concert grew out of that conversation.
"To me, this is a real God thing," Journey said.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everett's Prince of Peace Lutheran Church will host an "Almost Epiphany" concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Performing will be harpist Bronn Journey, his wife vocalist Katherine Journey and violinist Wendell Browning. It will benefit Volunteers of America Food Bank. Admission is a donation of nonperishable food items or a check made out to: VOA Food Bank. A soup supper at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday will precede the concert, with a freewill offering to support the Family Shelter run by the Interfaith Association of Northwest Washington. The Eastmont area church is at 9320 Meadow Way.
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