With a mission to promote communication among people in faith and nonprofit communities of the inland northwestern United States, The Fig Tree is operated by graduates of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Institute at Bossey.

Telling the stories of people who are living their faith and values—and lifting up multi-faith, multinational, and multicultural communities—is at the heart of the organization.

The World Council of Churches was pivotal in influencing the birth and ongoing life of The Fig Tree,” said Mary Stamp, editor and publisher.

She vividly recalls living for six months at Bossey with 60 people from 40 different countries in 1970, and how that experience deeply influenced her career. She worked as a freelance journalist before moving to Spokane, Washington (US), where she would start The Fig Tree in 1984. The year before—in 1983—she attended the WCC 6th Assembly in Vancouver, where the document Communicating Credibly” provided a vision for her editorial approach in covering religion and news.

Its telling about how people are doing ministries of caring and working for justice through the context of their lives,” said Stamp. 

Since she founded The Fig Tree, she has attended the 7th, 8th, 9th 10th, and 11th WCC assemblies. 

In 2020, The Fig Tree hired Marijke Fakasiieiki, Stamps daughter, who attended Bossey for four months in 1996 with 40 people from 30 countries.

Fakasiieiki said: Because Im in communication with colleagues around the world who are doing similar work. I hear stories of friends in Ukraine, or from someone in Japan when there is an earthquake there. Those stories are personal stories, so its important for them to be heard even here in the Inland Northwest. We know there is an effort to act worldwide.”

Stamp and Fakasiieiki are the second and third generations of their family who have been deeply involved with the World Council of Churches. Stamps father, Lloyd Stamp, attended Faith and Order, and Life and Works in Oxford and Edenborough in 1937 prior to the formation of the WCC. He also attended the WCC 1st Assembly in 1948 in Amsterdam and the WCC 2nd Assembly in Evanston in 1954, in addition to being involved in negotiations forming the United Church of Christ in the US in 1957.

The WCC ties have been crucial in our understanding of the need to communicate what people around the world are doing because of their faith,” said Stamp. 

The Fig Tree has a history of covering the active human rights movement, often countering mainline media. Shining a light on everyday concerns, injustices, struggles, and people is a way of making them visible, heard, and real,” said Stamp.

This vision is at the heart of the theme of The Fig Trees 40th anniversary: Sharing Stories: Empowering People.” The Fig Tree has invited Rev. Dr Karen A. Georgia Thompson, a member of the WCC central and executive committees, to serve as the keynote speaker for its 40th Anniversary Gala on 28 April.