Homelessness and camping on Mercer Island | Letters

Dear Mercer Island City Council,

We, the Mercer Island Clergy Association, feel compelled to address the recent ordinance regarding homelessness and camping on Mercer Island.

As people of faith, we are called to care for the homeless and marginalized in our community. We feel strongly that Mercer Island needs to continue to seek compassionate solutions and participate in serving members of our community who are without housing. We are not of one mind within our faith communities of the best way to approach this, but we do feel strongly that we have a responsibility when it comes to helping those in need. There is precedent and experience in some of the actions that have taken place in the past. Our hope is that the passing of this ordinance is the beginning of a wider conversation about how we can positively help those without housing.

We also share a deep concern about the tone of some of the community debate, particularly on the Nextdoor social media platform. We care deeply about the Mercer Island community. We are grateful to those who are working to suggest healthy ways to dialogue and tackle tough questions and conversations, and we offer them our support.

We are urging our city leadership to engage the community in education and conversation to work toward long term tangible actions that address the crisis of homelessness. We hope to be partners and advocates with city leadership in leading and demonstrating a different way to be in dialogue.


The Mercer Island Clergy Association:

Rev. Eugene W. Baade, Redeemer Lutheran Church; Rev. Kristy Farber, Mercer Island Presbyterian Church; Rev. John Go, Mercer Island United Methodist Church; Rabbi Jacob Herber, Herzl-Ner Tamid Synagogue; Lance Matteson, First Church of Christ Scientist Mercer Island; Rev. Lindsay Murphy, Mercer Island Presbyterian Church; Rev. Elizabeth Riley, Emmanuel Episcopal Church; Rev. Roberta Rominger, Congregational Church on Mercer Island; Rev. Julie Steel, Evergreen Covenant Church; Pr. Sue Wanwig, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Letters to the Editor

Guest editorial: A non-partisan election in Mercer Island?

Mercer Island City Council elections by design are nonpartisan. Given this, it… Continue reading

More Mercer Island candidate letters | Election 2021

Editor’s note: Due to the volume of letters endorsing Mercer Island candidates… Continue reading

Biking community mourns park’s temporary closure | Letters

Park’s closure disappoints family My family was deeply disappointed to learn of… Continue reading

Thank you, MICF | Letters

Thank you, MICF As summer comes to an end, we would like… Continue reading

Thoughts on climate change | Letters

If you were in town a few weekends ago when the “once… Continue reading

Shakespeare and MICF | Letters

Shakespeare, please Dear City Council members, I am a longtime Mercer Island… Continue reading

Support for Mercer Island candidates | Letters

Lisa Anderl I was delighted when Lisa Anderl was appointed to the… Continue reading

Benefits of ranked-choice voting | Letters

I believe we need change to our democratic systems. Over the past… Continue reading

Letters: Moms 4 Safe MI and Councilmember Salim Nice

Together we have taken meaningful actions to preserve and improve public safety… Continue reading

Homelessness and camping on Mercer Island | Letters

Dear Mercer Island City Council, We, the Mercer Island Clergy Association, feel… Continue reading

Letters: The time to stop AAPI hate is now

As King County elected officials of Asian descent, we are outraged by… Continue reading

While walking our dog on Mercer Island … | Letters

While walking our dog on Mercer Island … A couple of months… Continue reading