Minutes of SJ meetings


Notes from Social Justice Committee meeting Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, St. Catherine’s

Present:  Chris Rehmann, chair; Tom Budnik, staff representative; Shari Reilly, past staff representative; Francis Todey, Parish Council representative; Fr. John Herzog, Felicity Douglas, Mary Ellen Wishart


Absent:  Kathy Trahanovsky, out of town; Liz Haut, student representative, in class


Guest:  Audrey Stromberg on Catholic Climate Movement


Chris began with a prayer and handed out an agenda, with our mission attached to the back.


Audrey asked for approval to have a petition for people to sign at all of the Masses The petition was created by the Global Catholic Climate Movement and will be sent to world leaders urging them to drastically cut carbon emissions.   Fr. Jon has OK’d it.  The committee supported Audrey and suggested that she contact Eric Evans and ask him to include a Sunday petition that reinforces this idea. Perhaps a study group could be formed about this topic, using the Pope’s encyclical “Laudato Si” as a base.


The main topics of the meeting were on what programs now fall under SJ and which ones we want to focus on for the year.  Here are some of the ideas that surfaced:


*Do we want to work with St. Cecilia’s and Sts. Peter and Paul and their SJ committees to be more efficient and accomplish more?


* Love Your Neighbor balance has suffered this past year, we think partially due to not having special giving envelopes in the parish envelope box.  People are not reminded of this major program.  Tom will review budget numbers, and, if warranted, either Chris or Francis will discuss this with Finance Council.


*Francis suggested When Helping Hurts as a possible study for our committee or a small group…suggesting how to be most effective in “giving” situations.


*Social Justice Grants:  Process and timeline need to be discussed at next meeting.


*It is uncomfortable that we have a sister parish which we basically cannot visit.  It would be desirable to have a Honduras committee person on our social justice committee so that we could explore ways to connect.


*Shari stressed that chairs of various committees need to be responsible for publicity, rather than the staff person.


*Food at First is under Fentons and Annette Mann.

*Blood drive is now under Lynette Wheeler

*Ames Ecumenical Housing has Joan Graebenstetter as board member.

*ERP has Shari and Dan Douglas on the board.

*AMOS has no parishioner participation at this time.  Discuss membership at next meeting?

*Belonging will continue to exist as a resource but is not actively programming at this time. 

*Student immersion trips have a huge financial reserve.  Something should be done to increase participation.

*Ramp sale proceeds will go into the fund for social justice grants.

*MICA collections, done 3 times a year, and Rice Bowl have, in the past, been the responsibility of staff.  Is this how we want to continue?

*Gifts for newborns has been handled by Shari.  This is primarily publicity only.  Should this continue to be handled by staff?

*Bobby takes care of 3 in 1 and other special collections.

*Appalachia is no longer a committee under SJ.

*Home for Awhile is now under the direction of Cornerstone Church.

*Mustard Seed Farm needs more workers.

*Respect Life may be looking for new leadership.


Next meeting:  Tuesday, October 11, 6:00 p.m.


Notes taken by Mary Ellen Wishart


Social Justice Committee Meeting: 11October2016

Attendees:  Paula, Kathy, Mary Ellen, Tom, Chuck, Chris, Felicity, Dave, and Phil (Honduras committee)


There was a motion to accept the previous meetings notes and post them on the parish website:  Motion approved.   Tom will post the notes.  

Tom and Chris worked on a listing of all the programs that Social Justice has or has had some role in overseeing or input into the program.  The programs were categorized into 3 groupings.  

“a” – programs that do not need oversight from SJ

“b” – programs that do need oversight but are currently running well

“c” – programs that need some attention or discussion


There was a question on whether the person running “meals for newborns” also covered “meals for people/families in crisis”.   Tom will check on this and report back.  However, generally this is covered by the parish family live committee.   

Chuck volunteered to the be the SJ leader to keep a connection to AMOS.  Chris will also help with this.

MICA is currently out of food.  This is being driven by a surge from the Baaken pipeline construction workers.  The STA staff have agreed to hold one additional collection this fall to help MICA (in addition to our normal 2 food drives per year).  

SJ team needs to decide where to allocate the funds from the Ramp sale.  This was tabled until next meeting.  

There was discussion on Immersion Trips.  The money collected from Tom’s event has greatly exceeded the money used for immersion trips.  Chuck will share his knowledge of a Franciscan group that helps coordinate immersion trips to Eric and Shari.  Generally immersion trips are coordinated through the Campus Ministry team.   There was some discussions about the best way to help those in need (is it by going on trips or by simply sending money).  The conclusion was that the immersion trips are more about building solidarity and connection to those people and less about serving direct needs. 

Love your neighbor program is running very low on funds this year.   Demand is much greater than the number of people we can currently serve.  Funding for Love your neighbor has gone down significantly via 2 events.  A reduction in the overall collection plate tithe going to LYN and the removal of the special giving envelopes from the weekly envelope boxes.   In addition, there are a number of issues with the program which Tom detailed.  It was agreed that we will invite a Finance Committee member to our next meeting to understand if it is possible to reallocate some of the money from Tom’s event to LYN.  Also we will inquire about the giving envelopes.   Chris will make the invitation.  In addition, Dave will call together a sub-committee to make recommendations for changes to the LYN program and ideas to improve giving to the program (members will include Dave, Felicity, Kathy, and hopefully Don).  

Phil gave a general update from the Honduras committee including that John D. will be in Ames at the end of the month.

November 15th at 6pm is the next meeting.  Meeting Notes prepared by Dave Dirks


Minutes of the Meeting of the Social Justice Committee 6 November 2016 
Attendees:  Paula Friederich, Kathy Trahanovsky, Tom Budnik, Chuck Glatz, Chris Rehmann, Felicity Douglas, Francis Todey, Fr. John Herzog, Karen Stein (guest) 
Approval of Minutes Approval of minutes for 10/11/16 was moved by Paula F., seconded by Chuck G. and unanimously approved. 
Approval of minutes for 11/15/16 was moved by Francis T., seconded by Kathy T and unanimously approved. 
Actions to Support Marginalized Groups 
Karen Stein, a Hispanic parishioner of both STA and St. Cecilia reported that she had learned of fears among the Hispanic community—e.g., deportation of parents leaving behind US-born children and potential hazards of a raised profile if they were to seek other rights to which they might be entitled. Several options of support including those she and Chris had identified in previous conversations were discussed ranging from advocating for more just immigration laws to caring for those children left behind should parents be deported.  
Several members had suggestions for persons who could be resources for  “Know Your Rights” presentation to interested parishioners, likely after the Spanish Mass at St. C’s perhaps on Dec. 18. Resource persons suggested were Paul Odekirk, John McCully, the priest and nun involved in the Marshalltown and Postville raids, and Deacon Felix (Marshalltown) 
It was felt that it would be important to work cooperatively with others concerned with this issue. Chris will meet with Mary Ross, his counterpart at St. C’s, Karen will look into who would be good members of the Hispanic community to describe their needs after the Spanish Mass, John McCully will be brought in, and Chris (backed up by Chuck) will keep us informed of the issues that AMOS and the Ames Interfaith Refugee Alliance is identifying around Sanctuary Churches 
Love Your Neighbor Update   
Subcommittee recommendations (provided in an attached document) were reviewed by Tom Budnik. Plans for increasing communication via bulletin and web, reporting to Parish Council, limiting the number of grants an individual might receive, and altering the interview frequency are all being undertaken. It was suggested that a LYN Committee be established. Kathy T. suggested membership of two interviewers, an SJC rep, and Don Alexander (ex officio) as a way to structure the committee. Further suggestions from the SJC were that appropriate referrals to Stephen Ministry would provided a Christian-based follow-up and that there is a need to make the parish understand that LYN provides a chance for parishioners to walk with the poor that transfer of funding to Good Neighbor would not provide.  Tom gave examples of approximately $8000 in donations that have been received for LYN since the need for more funding was made known in the parish. He said he would also look into 
updating information being provided on the Social Justice grants as it was thought that website information was not updated and bulletin stories were not being submitted on that programs. Kathy reported that they are working in cooperation with MICA, ERP etc. to help meet their applicants’ needs. 
Budget for Coming Year 
Francis T. informed us that we should be notified in January of when budget requests are due and that we will need to be ready to respond promptly. Tom B. will investigate and inform Chris of the budget process. 
Next meeting: Jan. 10, 6 pm, Newman Room. 
Meeting adjourned at 7:20 
Respectfully submitted by Chuck G.


Minutes of the Meeting of the Social Justice Committee 17 January 2017 
Attendees:  Paula Friederich, Kathy Trahanovsky, Jacquie Novak, Tom Budnik, Chris Rehmann, Felicity Douglas, Francis Todey, Marianne Todey Fr. John Herzog, David Dirks (minutes) 
Approval of minutes 
Motion for approval of 6 Dec 2016 minutes: Paula, Francis (second).  Approved unanimously.  
Love Your Neighbor 
 Group agreed to move forward with LYN Committee and recommendations as noted in the 6 Dec 2016 minutes  $16K in donations for December.  Assistance level was similar to last December.  8 spots every two weeks seems to be working, but more time required to evaluate.  Plan to continue this way for February. LYN committee will review by e-mail once we complete a few more sessions.  Group agreed to move forward with a request to fill the potential LYN shortfall with surplus proceeds from TOMS Event.  Action:  Dave to contact John Moore and then Pastoral Council.    Francis has requested that both the SJ and LYN committees give a summary report of activities to the Pastoral Council at the 6 Feb 2017 meeting (7 pm start).   o Action:  Chris to prepare and give summary for SJ o Action:  Dave to prepare and give summary for LYN (Tom will provide financial report) 
Social Justice Grants 

Chris proposed a number of improvements to the SJ grant process as noted in the agenda. The committee agreed these were good changes and should move forward.  There was some specific discussion on how groups know about the grants and some ways we can better get the word out.   
 Publish/share SJG stories on the web site and monthly in the bulletin. Content should be client stories and SJG statistics.   Prepare and communicate SJG Report for SJC / Parish Council / Fr. Jon after awards are made.  Create a SJG committee reporting up through SJC with a parishioner leader.    Work to increase involvement of STA parishioners in SJG agencies and similar organizations. 

Support of marginalized groups 
 Chris went with AMOS people to visit the Story County Sheriff.  Sheriff maintains his policy of not detaining anyone without a warrant.     Jacquie is working to organize a prayer session / meeting in support of immigrants. Suggestions were made that the Wine and Wisdom or Carpenters Shop might be workable venues. 
Budget process is beginning.  Francis expect the SJ committee to be asked to prepare their budget sometime in February.  Action:  Chris and Tom will review the 2015 budget.   We will discuss budget at the February SJ meeting.   
Next meeting:  21 Feb. 2017 at 6 PM.


Minutes of the Meeting of the Social Justice Committee 21 February 2017 Attendees: Paula Friederich, Kathy Trahanovsky, Jacquie Novak, Felicity Douglas, Francis Todey, Chris Rehmann, Fr. John Herzog, Chuck Glatz, David Dirks (minutes), Fr. Jon Seda Approval of minutes Motion for approval of 17 Jan 2017 minutes: Chuck, Paula (second). Approved unanimously. Belonging • Purpose was to provide a welcoming face from STA to the LGBT community • Participation has faded and there is only 1 meeting per year and no designated leader. The Wisharts were the last leaders of this group. Website is out of date. • There is some content on the website that Fr. Seda has received complaints about and that does not match Catholic teaching. Specifically, under resources and referrals there are links to some groups that are not aligned with Catholic teaching. One of the testimonials advocates for same-sex marriage. • Action—Chris: Temporarily remove the content that drew complaints but leave the welcome page intact. • Action—Kathy: Reach out to the Wisharts and get their thoughts on Belonging and thoughts on continuing, stopping, etc. • Action—SJ committee: Read website and prepare for discussion at next meeting • Action—Chuck/Jacquie: Search other Catholic websites to see their content on this issue Budget • Changes: No Honduras fund raiser planned due to adequate funds. Slight increase in LYN tithe. • Concerns: Income portion of budget sheet does not show income from tithe (for SJ grants and LYN). Also LYN tithe seems to be 1% higher than previous year, but this doesn’t match with the income numbers shown. • Action—Chris: Talk with Tom/John Moore about the concerns above. Discuss budget again at next month’s meeting Actions to support marginalized groups • A lot of concern in general relative to the fact that fear is increasing for this group • Planning to have a “know your rights” meeting after a Spanish Mass at Saint Cecilia. • Action—Chris: Get info and place in the bulletin at the appropriate time • SJ Committee agreed that we should move forward with trying to set up an educational meeting for our parish and other churches/interested parties in Ames. • Action—Chris: Continue trying to organize. Next meeting: 21 March @ 6PM


Minutes of the Meeting of the Social Justice Committee 21 March 2017 
Attendees: Mary Ellen Wishart, Tom Budnik, Kathy Trahanovsky, Francis Todey, Chris Rehmann, David Dirks (minutes) 
 Approval of minutes 
 Motion for approval of 21 Feb. 2017 minutes: Kathy, Francis (second). Approved unanimously.  
 Social Justice Grants 
 Tom put an announcement in last week’s bulletin and will do that again this week. The grant application deadline is Monday April 24. We need to review the applications sometime in May because Net needs a week or two to process and get the checks out in June. The review subcommittee last year was Paula, Felicity, Chris, Francis, and Liz H. (student). The committee will include the same resident parishioners, but since Liz is graduating and will likely not attend, we will need another student. 
 Action—Tom:  Work with Shari to find a student parishioner to join the subcommittee. Action—Chris: Ask Felicity whether she is willing to chair the subcommittee and call a meeting in May. 
 Chris reviewed answers to the questions from last meeting. John Moore said that we don’t need to worry about the difference between income and expenditures because it is monitored at an overall budget level and not at the level shown on our budget sheet. John has also advised that LYN and SJ budgets are approved separately. Both the Pastoral Council and Finance Council are aware of our request for Love Your Neighbor. No further actions appear to be required at this time for the budget process. 
Actions to support marginalized groups 
 1. Discernment for sanctuary: Chris shared details on meeting at Ames United Church of Christ on March 26, 9:15-10:15 am. 2. “Know your rights” meeting” on April 2 at St. Cecilia. They may need help with the meal.                  Action—Chris: Check to see if they need more volunteers for the meal 3. Request from Erica Johnson of AFSC relative to being a fiscal agent for donations for families affected by ICE raids: We have a concern that this may not fit well within the regulations for our 501(c)(3) status. We have had requests from Mustard Seed Farm, but we have declined due to the concern over regulations. We might be able to support our own parishioners (parishioner assistance fund). 

Chris has edited the webpage. Chuck and others reviewed other church sites. There were a number of e-mails on this through the past month. We decided to leave the Belonging funds unspent for now, and Chris will ask about a meeting with Fr. Jon and members of the Belonging group. 

Bread for the World 
Russ Melby offered to conduct a free training on a letter campaign to ask members of Congress to “make funding decisions that put our country and the world on track to end hunger by 2030.” 
Action—Mary Ellen:  Ask Russ Melby for more information on the training. 
Next meeting:  18 April @ 6PM