On August 2nd a ceremony of pomp and glitter was held, a ceremony that was the coronation of Mr Spokane himself. The occasion featured pretty much anything you'd expect: a crown, a sash, a scepter, and a throne. Only the best is good enough for Mr Spokane!
And there was, of course, a speech. Entitled "Why Mr Spokane?", it was delivered by Barry Geraghty and you can read it in its entirety below. Don't worry if you feel tears start rolling, that is just the natural reaction to something as beautiful as this:
Why crown a Mr Spokane? When we arrived in Spokane we heard stories from long-time residents about the dark days of the 80’s and 90’s when downtown was a ghost town, the Davenport shuttered, people just waiting to leave. But in the 8 years since we came to this town we’ve gone from wondering if we’d have enough to do here to keep us entertained to being genuinely overwhelmed, never being able to take in all the events, parties, festivals and music. The number of truly amazing restaurants, wineries breweries, and distillers, so many less than 5 years old, is just stunning. The art and music scene have been on a steady upward trajectory, albeit with some bumps along the way. I’m not sure exactly when it was, maybe a couple of years ago, but we got to that point where we realized Spokane had grown up. It had grown up significantly in just the few years since we’d arrived. And it’s still growing. I think it’s now impossible to argue that the problems with Spokane are the things it lacks. The problem with Spokane, at this point, is that not enough people, including those who live here, know what it has.
So Spokane needs a voice, an evangelist. Not one of those perky, buttoned-down types who is so helpful with a travel brochure and has memorized the dates of Hoopfest, Bloomsday, and the Lilac Parade. Spokane needs an honest, sincere spokesman who can come forward and say ‘yes, I chose to live here every day, and the everyday living in Spokane is pretty awesome. There’s more here than you think. There are amazing people doing amazing things. There’s beauty, natural and man-made seemingly around every corner. You just have to get out there and discover it.’ Or, better yet, ask Mr Spokane and he’ll tell you.
And why crown a non-native as Mr Spokane? Mr Spokane is an evangelist. And the history of evangelism has taught us that the most powerful and passionate evangelists are the converts to a cause not those who were comfortably born in the fold. The word evangelism, originating from the greek ‘euangelion’, roughly translated to ‘I bring a message’ was rarely used before the Christian era. Although there is much debate over who was the first evangelist (maybe Mark, maybe Peter) there’s no doubt that they were a convert. And, the nascent church grew from almost nothing due to the strength and persuasion of its’ evangelical converts. Spokane, likewise, will grow from it’s converts. Those who speak up and say ‘Yes, I chose to come here from Portland, or LA, or the Bay Area, or Austin. And it’s awesome. I’m staying. And, you should come here too.’
I use the term evangelist deliberately and wasn’t fully aware of how perfect a term it was for our new Mr Spokane until preparing for this event. You see, if converting to Christianity includes promises of services or material benefits then it was not achieved through evangelism but through proselytism. The Catholic Church, in an attempt to clarify the difference between evangelism and proselytism published a text called "Doctrinal Note on some Aspects of Evangelization" which states "The incorporation of new members is not the expansion of a power group, but rather entrance into the network of friendship.” Jeremy, in his wonderfully soft-spoken voice, friendly and open demeanor, is the perfect evangelist for Spokane. He naturally invites friendship and not in any real or perceived attempt to increase his base of coffee driven power.
So now, Jeremy Williamson, please step forward to accept your robes of office as the new Mr Spokane.