YOLO COUNTY NEWS

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The Belfry benefits from wine-tasting fundraiser

By From page A5 | May 16, 2013

Eight Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network volunteers and their sites will be honored at the annual wine-tasting fundraiser Sunday at Monticello Seasonal Cuisine, 630 G St. in downtown Davis. The event runs from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Nine wines will be offered and raffle items will be given out on the half-hour. Other items will be offered at a silent auction. Admission is $20; a youth jazz ensemble will provide music and the restaurant will serve up small bites. Wine-tasting and raffle tickets will be sold at the event: $5 for one taste, $25 for six and $35 for nine.

Several Lutheran and Episcopal churches in Davis and Woodland have been collaborating to offer UC Davis students a place of acceptance and support since the 1980s: the Belfry. In that decade, the Lutheran Church acquired buildings on A Street, and the Rev. Don Ranstrom, then-campus pastor at Davis Lutheran Church, and the Rev. Barry Beisner, then-rector at St. Martin’s and now the bishop of Northern California, crafted an agreement of shared governance and shared support, with contributions from individuals, congregations and the national denominational offices.

As individual contributions and national funding began to dry up along with the rest of the economy, current Belfry pastor Jocelynn Hughes got creative. The front building of the Belfry complex houses the kitchen, offices, gathering space and chapel. Until last year, students involved in the Belfry rented the apartments behind. Hughes saw these as an untapped resource, not just for the Belfry, but for the community.

The housing was converted to a Lutheran-Episcopal Volunteer Network network site. LEVN is something like AmeriCorps: Post-college volunteers commit to a year of service. In exchange for communal housing and a small monthly stipend, they volunteer in community organizations, who pay a $20,000 program fee to the Belfry, which provides for the volunteer’s housing expenses, transportation, benefits and formation program (retreats, etc.).

The sites parlay their limited resources into one fully committed, communally supported, full-time volunteer, while the Belfry parlays its resources to increase its service in the community.

This year, LEVNs worked at four sites in Sacramento: the River City Food Bank, the Sacramento Area Emergency Housing Center, Sacramento Steps Forward and St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. In Yolo County, LEVNs worked for the Yolo Interfaith Immigration Network, Yolo County Housing Authority, the Episcopal Church of St. Martin, Davis Community Meals and the Belfry. Through the program, the Belfry had an impact on more than 60,000 people in the local communities.

For more information or to order tickets online, visit thebelfry.org/wine-tasting-at-monticello or call 530-756-1550.

Enterprise staff

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