Minutes of SJ meetings

Saint Thomas Aquinas Social Justice Committee

Minutes of July 7, 2020 meeting (via Zoom)

Present: Chris Rehmann (chair), Tom Budnik (staff), Dave Dirks, Paula Friederich, Chuck Glatz, Fr. John Herzog, Francis Todey, Marianne Todey, Kathy Trahanovsky, Mary Ellen Wishart

Prayer: Chris


Minutes of June 2: Approved

COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Immigrants

Kathy reported that both the demand for funds and donations have been down.  The good news is that United Way received a $10,000 grant which can be added to the fund.  She expects that applications for funds will continue through August at least.  Though there are other agencies in town providing money for rent and utilities, some do not distribute funds to undocumented persons.

Kathy will wait until the end of July to ask Bobby to place a request for donations in the weekly email to parishioners.

Collection of food for MICA

            Chuck and Dave organized this drive.  Response to the request was minimal, possibly because this occurred on a weekday. Though 156 pounds of food/supplies was delivered to MICA, they suggested that it might be better to collect the food on a weekend now that some parishioners are attending Saturday/Sunday Mass.  Chuck is willing to try this again with modifications.

            Tom said that when parishioners call him about making donations, he suggests that they contact MICA directly.  If you donate this way, mention that you are from St. Thomas in order for the parish to get credit.

Drive-through sale of El Zapote coffee

            The coffee committee will be selling bags of coffee on the ramp this Saturday and next Wednesday in lieu of the regular sale in the church lounge.

Sunday morning seminars

Discussion was held.  Conclusion was that we would like to have something similar to Joe Weyers series on responsible citizenship which was held last fall.  Tom will talk with Joe about this.  The committee suggested that this also include specific promotion/directions for absentee voting. 

 A second suggestion was for a September or October program on “Laudato Si.”  Chuck will send copies of a brochure to the committee for our review and comments.

A third idea was on racism.

            The seminars will likely be over ZOOM and recorded so that some can attend and others can view the presentation and discussion at their convenience.

Pastoral Council picnic

            Francis reported that, in lieu of the annual transition picnic, the Pastoral Council is considering introducing council members and parish staff to the parish via a ZOOM meeting.  The program would also be posted on YouTube for viewing at a later time.


            The “New Deal Listening Campaign” discussed last meeting is now called “Consider-Connect-Create.”  The purpose of this campaign is similar to house meetings…trying to find out issues important to people and also to discover leaders who would work on these issues. 

Discussion was held about how we might implement this in the parish.  The goal is to hear stories from at least 25 people by the September 13 AMOS Assembly.  It was concluded that Chris and Mary Ellen will organize ZOOM sessions which will be open to all (and advertised in the weekly email) but with specific invitations to a few people each session in order to assure attendance.  Hopefully sessions will be held soon to avoid conflict with ISU fall startup.  Chris would be the presenter of an abbreviated version of the AMOS script and leader of the discussion.  Mary Ellen would work on recruiting participants. 

            SJC Mission statement  

            Fr. Herzog suggested that we definitely need to think more about ecumenical activities rather than limiting to St. Thomas agenda.  At Tom’s suggestion, we will devote the August meeting to our vision for Social Justice Committee.

Next Meeting: August 4 at 6:30 pm, via ZOOM

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Ellen Wishart

Saint Thomas Aquinas Social Justice Committee

Minutes of June 2, 2020 meeting (via Zoom)

Present: Chris Rehmann (chair) Tom Budnik (staff) Mary Ellen Wishart, Dave Dirks, Fr. John Herzog, Kathy Trahanovsky, Francis Todey, Chuck Glatz, Paula Friederich

Prayer: Chris

Wake me up Lord, so that the evil of racism

Finds no home with me.

Keep watch over my heart Lord,

And remove from me any barriers to your grace,

That may oppress and offend my brothers and sisters.

Fill my spirit, Lord, so that I may give

Services of justice and peace.

Clear my mind, and use it for your glory.

And finally, remind us Lord that you said, 

“Blessed are the peacemakers,

For they shall be called the children of God.” 

                 (USCCB; United States Conference of Catholic Bishops}


Minutes of May 5: Approved

Review statement on current social unrest and racism from Fr. Kyle

Fr. Kyle consulted Chris to review the statement, who brought the proposed text to the SJC for comments. After a lengthy discussion, several suggestions were arrived upon. Chris will condense the commentary and send it to Fr. Kyle for his consideration.

Mary Ellen questioned whether there still exists the Ames Ministerial Society.  If so, perhaps they could be asked to issue a joint statement to the Ames community in addition to Fr. Kyle’s message to STA.  

Tom offered a prayer on the subject which was issued by Catholic charities. Both this prayer, and the above prayer will also be submitted to Fr. Kyle for his review. 

COVID-19 response fund: 

Kathy reported that the fund is very active. Approximately 69K has been donated thus far with 51K having been distributed. Approximately 70 families have been helped in 140 encounters. Families/individuals are allowed to apply for this fund more than once, as many have done in the continuing pandemic. 

Kathy has asked Bobby to rerun the request for donations in the parish communications. 

It was noted that the Salvation Army is also distributing funds. 


Chris reports that there will be a meeting of the AMOS Delegates Assembly (via Zoom) on June 13 at 9:00 am.  It is to be moderated by Terry Potter and Courtney Dufford. Agenda items include installing Courtney as the new lead organizer, reviewing the 2020-2021 budget, and 

discussion of a proposal for a “New Deal Listening Campaign,” through which workshops may be held virtually. Participants must pre-register for this assembly meeting. Chris provided the website for registration.  

AMOS is in the process of requesting direct funds from the legislature to support mental health services. Additionally, the Ames AMOS cluster is sending letters of request to the city to appropriate a portion of the Community Block Development Grant (CBDG) for housing.

Sunday Seminars: 

Possible future topics include AMOS activities, Laudato Si materials discussion, student-led discussions on the subject of racism. It may be possible to conduct these seminars virtually but SJC will wait until there is further notice about re-opening the building. 

Food at First/ MICA:  

Mary Ellen reported that Food at First recently collected 2000 lbs of food donations and $5000 in direct funds.  

  Tom and Chuck discussed with the group the question of how best to support MICA during this time. Chuck suggested that there be a time set up for parishioners to gather food donations collections in the parking lot and put them directly in the trunk of their cars, who could then deliver them to MICA. Others felt it may be more helpful to solicit money donations to go directly to these organizations. Tom will seek advice from the staff. 

SJC Mission statement:  

Due to time constraints, this agenda item was postponed until the July Meeting. 

Next Meeting: July 7 at 6:00 pm, via ZOOM unless otherwise notified. 

Respectfully submitted by Paula Friederich

Social Justice Committee Meeting:  5May2020

Attendees:  Fr. Herzog, Chris, Chuck, Dave, Kathy, Mary Ellen 

Approval of 7Apr2020 meeting minutes:  approved

Social Justice Grants - were allocated by the SJ grant subcommittee.  The following grants were given:

Ames Ecumenical Housing  $800

AMOS $3,000

COVID-19 Fund $2,000

ERP $5,000

Food at First $5,000

Martha's House of Hope $1,000

Attat Our Lady Hospital  $3,000

Engineers Without Borders $1,500

Excel Inc. $1,200

Ghana Christian Foundation $1,000

Lila Mae House $500


Story Co. Total $16,800

Out of Story Co. $7,200

Total $24,000

Story Co. Fraction 70%

Catholic Charities need for rent assistance from STA was discussed via e-mail before this meeting.  SJ team was not supportive of using LYN funds in this way.  SJ Grant funds were also discussed.  However, Fr. Kyle in the end said the staff would take care of this in some other way.

Immigrant Covid-19 Fund STC – LYN committee was supportive of allowing applicants to the immigrant fund to also apply for LYN assistance.  Likewise, Good Neighbor is doing something similar.  The exact mechanism is still being discussed.  Immigrant fund donations have been quite strong in the last month.  There has been 50-60 applicants thus far.  Concern remains for how long donations will sustain as it seems certain that applicants will need help through multiple months.  United Church of Christ has given away $16K in just the last month as they are also seeing very high need.  Action:  Chris and Kathy will share to the UCC pastor that people coming to her can also apply to LYN.  

Review AMOS activities -

·         Follow up regarding responses from small group leaders to challenges parishioners are facing (Mary Ellen)

·         Report on meeting with legislators and Iowa Workforce Development regarding unemployment benefits plus follow-up actions (Chris and others) – IWD added 100 new employees as a response to the meeting.  Amos all asking a lot of questions to legislators about where the Covid funding from the federal government will be spent in Iowa.  Ames City Council member Amber Corrieri mentioned to AMOS that the city council is not hearing the issues and stories of the people who are struggling.  She thought that this could be a place that AMOS could help.  Joe and Shari from the parish staff are reaching out to the small group leaders for stories.  AMOS is also working on a proposal for how the Ames city council can help citizens with this funding. 

STA Discussion on “what we can do as a parish” – Brainstorming meeting was held within STA and many ideas were generated.  Tom Brum is working to generate neighborhood groupings of parishioners to improve community and connectedness.

Potential agenda item for next time – should we resume Sunday Seminars via a Zoom format. 

Next meeting: June 2, 6 pm  (most likely by zoom)


Notes from Social Justice Committee Meeting, Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 6 p.m. via ZOOM

Present:  Tom Budnik, Dave Dirks, Paula Friederich, Chuck Glatz, Chris Rehmann, Francis Todey, Kathy Trahanovsky, Mary Ellen Wishart

March minutes were approved as corrected and distributed,

Social Justice Grants

April 1 was the deadline.  Tom received 11 applications for $23,500 plus two unspecified amounts.  We have $24,500 to use.  Tom anticipates that the fund will increase with this month and next month’s tithe and private donations in case we need to think beyond the $24,500. 

There are four that seem to be “time-sensitive,” given the COVID-19 situation…Immigrant fund and Lila Mae House, for example. Two others have asked for $5,000, which is above our normal allocation but is possibly related to COVID-19.

Paula wondered if our policy needed to be amended if we give most of our money to local agencies.  Chris pointed out that our policy dictates spending at least 50% locally but does not limit the %.

Chris asked that a subcommittee form consisting of himself, Paula, Francis, and

possibly an ISU student, with Felicity Douglas being chair as last year if she agrees.  Chris will contact Felicity to see if she will chair.  If a student is available, that is a bonus, but not required.  Plans are to review applications next week and make recommendations as soon as possible.

AMOS activities

          AMOS would be interested in what we are finding out about local needs.  Dave reported that there has been overwhelming response to Jean regarding volunteers but only one request for help so far.  Mary Ellen will contact Emily, Shari, and Joe Weyers to see if they have had any responses from small group leaders who were to use the AMOS phone script.  She also will email the committee a copy of that script for their interest or use.

            The situation at ERP is dire…spending $2100 per week to house persons in the Ames Motor Lodge.  Courtney Dufford, AMOS coordinator, will draft a letter to Iowa Finance Authority seeking financial assistance for ERP. 

COVID-19 Emergency Funds for Immigrants

            Kathy reported that the fund is up and running, thanks to the cooperation and leadership of United Way and members of the STA/STC Immigrant and Refugee group and others.  The fund is housed at St. Cecilia’s and is available for donation and for application.  In this short time the fund has about $4000 and applications are coming in.  A small group, including Kathy, will review applications weekly, probably capping requests at $300 for the time being.

Love Your Neighbor

            A question was raised about whether we continue to require documentation as we have in the past.  Tom will clarify with Don Alexander what is being required.


            Mary Ellen will cancel the Sunday Morning Seminar scheduled for April 26 (Courtney Dufford) and the Wine & Wisdom (Immigrants and Refugees) scheduled for May 1.  We should look at ways to offer these adult education programs if social distancing continues.  A suggestion for future Wisdom and Wine was Self-help International with Jess Crawford and Norah Tobin.

Next meeting is Tuesday, May 5, 6:00 p.m.

Notes by Mary Ellen Wishart 

Notes from Social Justice Committee Meeting, Tuesday, March 2, 2020, 6 p.m.

Present:  Dave Dirks, Paula Friederich, Chuck Glatz, Jean Prestemon, Chris Rehmann, Francis Todey, Kathy Trahanovsky, Mary Ellen Wishart

February minutes were approved.

Sunday morning seminars

  1. The presentation on Catholic Worker House was attended by about 20 people.  Questions can be directed to Eric Evans regarding progress and requests for support.
  2. March seminar was canceled due to spring break.
  3. Courtney Dufford (AMOS) could present on April 19.  Since that is the same day as all-parish meeting, Chris will check to see if other dates are available.  Otherwise we will keep it on the schedule.

Wisdom and Wine on Immigrants and Refugees?

            The committee will plan an April 24 for wisdom and wine event to educate about immigrants and refugees. (Note:  I found out that W & W must have staff approval.  Also that Carpenter Shop was not on the calendar, but is scheduled for April 24.  So Tom Budnik is taking the idea to staff for approval March 10 and we have put W & W on the calendar for Friday, May 1, 6-8:30  (with setup/cleanup 4-9). Kathy T, Jean P, and Mary Ellen will coordinate. 

Language difficulty is a major problem for immigrants/refugees navigating in the U.S.  Jean mentioned that there are weekly practice sessions available through the Ames Interfaith Refugee Alliance.  See Jean for more information.

Religious article drive and international meals were discussed.  Action was put on hold for these two items. 

Mary Jo P is collecting pledges to assist Monica (our custodian) to help members of her family come to the U.S.  See Mary Jo for more information.

Should we plan any way to celebrate the anniversary of “Laudato Si”?  Committee members asked what St. Thomas had done to make efforts to reduce climate change…buying shares in the solar farm or???  Francis will check with Pastoral Council and Building and Grounds about what has been done or what could be done.

Immersion trip

Chuck reported that this is planned for second half of spring break.  Six students, Chuck and Kathy Glatz, Diane Lyon will be going.  Besides projects at the house for survivors of trafficking, the group may have a chance to visit an immigration house and attend citizenship classes.  Fr. Kyle will provide a formal parish sendoff/blessing on the day  they leave.

Parish spotlight on LYN

The spotlight was successful…generated one volunteer for sure and one possible volunteer to be interviewers.

Next meeting is Tuesday, April 7, 6:00 p.m.

Notes by Mary Ellen Wishart

Saint Thomas Aquinas Social Justice Committee

Minutes: February 4, 2020

Present: Chris Rehmann (Chair,) Fr. John Herzog, Kathy Trahanovsky, Jean Prestemon, 

Felicity Douglas, Tom Budnik, Francis Todey, Paula Friederich 

Prayer: Chris

My Lord God, I have no idea where I’m going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact  that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.  Amen.  (T. Merton)


Minutes of January 4: Approved

Sunday Morning Seminars:

The January 19 seminar was attended by 15-18 people. Joe Weyers presented part of his series on “Voting Responsibly/Faithful Citizenship,” which was well received.  Joe 

Will be repeating this discussion series for the STA community in the fall, prior to the general election. 

The next Seminar date is Sunday, February 16 in Prophets and Martyrs. Shannon and Eric Evans will present information about a potential Catholic Worker program in Ames.

Jean, Paula and Chuck will help set up the room. Chuck has put announcements in the bulletin and the parish email. It will also be submitted for the mass announcements.

The March Seminar Date was moved from March 15 to March 29, tentatively.  Chris will ask Courtney Dufford,  AMOS Regional Director, to see if she is available to present that day. 

Potential April date is Sunday, April 19. 

Immersion Trip: Chris reported that Chuck has arranged a trip to the Lila Mae in Sioux City House  3/19-3/22. 


Courtney Dufford will be in Ames on 2/10, 2/20 and 2/27 and would like to meet individually with persons interested. Chris can arrange times for people who can meet with her.

Mental Health and Housing: AMOS, ERP, and ANAWEIN (DSM) will coordinate a pilot project  to address the potential of Permanent Supportive Housing in Ames. 

Immigration: Jon Wolseth, Karen Stein and Chris are planning a house meeting to include 5-7 attendees of the Spanish Mass at STC, at a date to be determined. The purpose is to learn what problems and concerns they face in Ames. 

Community ID: Next Community ID drive will be Saturday, April 18 at St.Cecilia.

STA/STC Immgration and Refugee Committee

Paula  reported on the January meeting. There was much discussion about the problem of bullying in the Ames schools. Karen Stein said she thinks it is worsening. Awein Majak reported similar difficulties that the South Sudanese encounter in Ames. 

Paula will begin forwarding the meeting notes of this sub-committee to the entire STA/SJC committee for those who are interested in the activities of this group.  The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 27 at 1pm.  

Love Your Neighbor Ministry Spotlight: February  22/23 all masses. 

Dave will write the spotlight script to be read after mass. 

Next SJC meeting: Tuesday, March 3, 6pm 

 Respectfully submitted by Paula Friederich

Saint Thomas Aquinas Social Justice Committee

Minutes: January 14, 2020

Present: Chris Rehmann (Chair,)  Tom Budnik, Francis Todey, Felicity Douglas, Fr. John Herzog, Chuck Glatz, Mary Ellen Wishart, Jean Prestamon, Paula Friederich 

Prayer: Chris

O Lord, open my eyes that I may see the needs of others

Open my ears that I may hear their cries;

Open my heart so that they need not be without succor;

Let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong;

Nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich.

Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,

And use me to bring them to those places.

And so, open my eyes and my ears

That I may, this coming day, be able to do some work of peace for you. 



Minutes of December 3, 2019: Approved

Sunday Morning Seminars:

The December 15 seminar was attended by 16 people and presented by Jodi Stumbo; the director of the Emergency Residence Project (ERP) in Ames.  Mary Ellen has requested a specific list from Jodi of what STA parishioners may supply in support of their clients.

Felicity noted that STA’s obligation to provide meals on Friday’s at ERP is continuing to struggle for volunteers. 

The next seminar is this coming Sunday, January 19, 2020.  Mary Ellen spoke with Joe Weyers who agreed to repeat  the first of his lecture series on the subject of “Voting Responsibly/ Faithful Citizenship.”

The February seminar is scheduled for Sunday, February 16. 

It was suggested that Eric and  Shannon Evans be invited to present their interest in beginning a “Catholic Worker Program”  at STA. Shari has identified at least one student who is interested in the project. 

Report to Pastoral Council

 December 10, 2019, Chris and Kathy  presented the annual update  to the Pastoral Council with other SJC members in attendance. Also presented was an appeal to the PC for a line item to be added to the general budget, which will cover the annual membership dues for STA participation in AMOS.  The information was well received by the council. The decision on SJC’s budget proposal is pending. 

Meet the new AMOS coordinator:   Courtney is scheduled to be in Ames on January 21 and 28. Chris has asked for volunteers to meet with her in order to learn more about organizing AMOS groups and activities.  Mary Ellen will meet with Courtney on January 21, and Chris will meet with her on January 28.  Fr. Kyle will also meet with her. Chris invites all SJC members and other interested parishioners to schedule a time with her.

Immigration and refugee efforts:

Chris reported that the recent Community ID drives in Ames and Marshalltown both had lower than expected turnout.  The reason for this is unclear.  AMOS is considering ways in which it might encourage more of the community  to get the ID’s so that they may become more used and recognized throughout local businesses and providers.  

Collegiate United Methodist  Immigration Epiphany/ Fiesta potluck, January 5:

Chris and Mary Ellen reported that 95 people attended; approximately 60 of whom were members of  the host congregation.  Congregants discussed difficulties encountered in the  Ames community and possible actions to aid our immigrant and  refugee population. 

Immigrant and Refugee Committee:

A sub-committee of SJC, recently formed by members of STA and STC social justice committee members.  The goal is to explore ways that our two congregations may help efforts to assist and support the immigrant population in Ames, in addition to and in  coordination  with other local churches and organizations.  

Immersion Trips:

Chuck and Shari have discussed a site of the Lila Mae House in Sioux City Iowa, March 19-22.  This facility houses victims of human trafficking.  Work on the grounds of the facility is needed and requested.   It is hoped that at least 6 students and two “leaders” will volunteer for this mission. 

Next Meeting: Tuesday, February 4, 6pm.

Respectfully submitted by Paula Friederich

Saint Thomas Aquinas Social Justice Committee

Minutes: December 3, 2019

Present: Chris Rehmann (Chair,) Francis Todey, Fr.John Herzog, Chuck Glatz, Paula Friederich 

Prayer: Chris

“Grant us, Lord God, a vision of your world as your love would have it:

A world where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor;

A world where the riches of creation are shared, and everyone can enjoy them;

A world where different races and cultures live in harmony and mutual respect;

A world where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love.

Give us the inspiration and courage to build it, through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Minutes of November 5, 2019: Approved

Sunday Morning Seminars:  

The next date is December 15. Mary Ellen has invited Jodi Stumbo, who is the new director of the Emergency Residence Project, to present a brief report about the function of ERP in our community. Mary Ellen has also invited other parish members to speak about other service organizations with which they are involved. 

Possible topics for the January seminar were discussed. Love Your Neighbor was suggested. There was also interest in doing a “faithful citizenship” discussion prior to the Iowa Caucus.  Francis will speak to Joe Weyers to see if he would be willing to do this or suggest someone else who might.  

SJC report to Pastoral Council: December 10, 7pm

Chris has written a proposal to add a $3000 line item to the general budget to cover the AMOS dues for STA membership. SJC approved the proposal, which will be submitted for inclusion in  the Pastoral Council information packet prior to the meeting. A review of LYN and other SJC activities will be included in the presentation.


Chris reports that the Mental Health and Housing team will contact the “Anawim” group in Des Moines to arrange a potential pilot project/study in Ames. 

Chris has asked that we identify people to meet with Courtney Dufford, the new lead organiser for the central Iowa AMOS, after she begins her work January 8.  Parish Staff, SJC and Pastoral Council members will be invited to attend a 30-45 minute session with her.  Chris will contact Paul Turner, who is the interim organizer, to determine possible dates that Courtney would be available to travel to Ames.

Community ID:  The next drive will be at the Ames Middle School, December 7, at 10 am and 2pm. 

There is still a need to identify a local  bank(s) or credit union that will accept the Community ID. 

Immersion Trips: Chuck is looking at possible sites/dates. 

Sanctuary:  Paula reported that members of the Social Justice committees from STA and STC met 11/21 to discuss how our parishes might become involved to assist immigrant/refugee persons  experiencing various difficulties in our community.   A working title of “Immigrant and Refugee Committee” was agreed upon by the group. Several members are gathering more specific information  about particular issues to be discussed at the next meeting. The group will meet again at STA on Thursday, December 12 at 1pm. All are invited. 


Chuck raised the possibility of STA/SJC sponsoring a “Poverty Simulation” session.  The Just Faith group in Des Moines conducts these sessions.  There is a $1000 fixed charge and a minimum of 50 participants are required.  The program takes approximately 3 hours. Typically,  there are people, who are affected by poverty,  invited to share their stories. 

This will be discussed further at future meetings. 

Chris announced that there will be an “Epiphany Immigration Fiesta/Dinner” on January 5 at 6:00 at Collegiate United Methodist Church, 2622 Lincoln Way. Speakers are being arranged to address immigration issues. It is a pot-luck and attendees are asked to bring 1-2 dishes to share. 

Next SJC meeting: January 7, at 6pm. 

Respectfully submitted by Paula Friederich


Saint Thomas Aquinas Social Justice Committee

Minutes: November 5, 2019

Present: Chris Rehmann (Chair,) Fr. John Herzog, Tom Budnik, Chuck Glatz, Felicity Douglas, Dave Dirks, Mary Ellen Wishart, Francis Todey, Paula Friederich

Guest: Mary Jo Pfeiffer

Prayer: Chris

Father, you have given all peoples one common origin.

It is your will that they be gathered together

as one family in yourself. 

Fill the hearts of mankind with the fire of your love

and with the desire to ensure justice for all. 

By sharing the good things you give us,

may we secure an equality for all our

brothers and sisters throughout the world. 

May there be an end to division strife and war. 

May there be a dawning of a truly human society 

built on love and peace. 

We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord.


Minutes of October: Approved

Website minutes: Tom reports that the minutes are current on the website.

Follow up on question of offering a Word and Communion service when mass is not offered. 

An opinion was received from Fr. Greg Bahl, Director, Office of Worship, Archdiocese of Dubuque.  Essentially, reception of Communion outside of mass is discouraged apart from extraordinary circumstances (ex: to persons homebound or imprisoned, etc.)  and should not be “scheduled.”  However, “praying a Liturgy of the Word  or Liturgy of the Hours could be encouraged.” 

Tom reported that Joe Weyers has had some discussion with Frank Montabon about the possibility of offering a Liturgy of the Word. Tom will follow up with Joe, Frank and Shari to learn if plans are being made for this offering. 

Sunday Morning Seminar:

The October 20 presentation led by Fr. Herzog was well attended (24) and well received. Most but not all participants were STA parishioners.  A number of people stayed past the one hour time allotted for extended discussion.

The next possible date is Sunday, December 15, 9:30 - 10:30 am. Possible topics for future presentations :  Sanctuary, What is the proper interpretation of Bible, socially responsible investing, LGBT, AMOS, LYN, homelessness in Ames, ERP, Mental Health issues/services. 

Dave will contact ERP to see if Jodi (Director) or Troy (Assistant Director)  might be available for the December 15 date. 

sentation to the Pastoral Council, Tuesday, December 10, 7:00pm:

Chris will lead a brief presentation with updates on SJC activities including LYN and AMOS. 

Francis suggested that a brief outline of the proposal to include STA AMOS dues in the budget be submitted approximately  one week in advance and included in their packets for prior review. 


Chris reports that a new regional organiser, Courtney Dufford, will begin work on January 8, 2020. She will be able to offer information and instruction about establishing a core team at STA.  Chris will contact her to see if she would be available to lead a 30-45 minute presentation to SJC and or STA staff. 

AMOS Civic Academy on Immigration, October 6, 2019:

Attendance was good, (approx. 75-80) including 12 + from STA. AMOS may pursue re-initiating “house meetings” for further discussion of these issues. 

Central Iowa Community ID

Chris reports that about 40 people received IDs at the last Marshalltown drive.  Approximately 400  total have been issued at various locations thus far.  The next drive will be December 7 at the Ames Middle School. 


The general meeting of ASIP  will be on Monday, November 11.  One or more members of SJC plan to attend. 

Mary Jo reported that she was recently able to speak with the Archbishop regarding Sanctuary issues and community education  on this subject. She said he was very encouraging about the subject and wanted to be kept apprised of our activities. 

Chris will contact Nancy Heideman (St. Cecilia SJC)  so that future efforts and information may be coordinated between STA and St. Cecilia. 

Immersion Trips

Chuck is investigating the possibility of offering a shorter (3 days?) trip,  perhaps to a facility in Sioux City which is a home for survivors of trafficking and refugee center. 

Presentation to Youth Groups: 

Chuck will inform Jen that SJC will not make a separate offering this year but may assist with a  program if provided by STA/STC. 


Chris will follow up with the person(s) who contacted him to ask what particular concerns/interests may be addressed through STA/SJC. 


Other Business

Tom discussed that since Birthright has closed, there is no recipient identified for the STA annual “new-born gift” drive.  He will make some community contacts to see if there is a need for this or other items to be gathered and donated. 

Community Presentation

Francis announced that there will be a presentation sponsored by Bethesda Lutheran this Saturday, November 9, 7:00pm.  The speaker will be Davod Nassar on the subject of “peaceful resistance as he continues to prevent Isreali takeover of the West Bank legally held since 1916.”

Next Meeting: December 3, 6:30 pm (Note the time change for this meeting)

Respectfully submitted by Paula Friederich  


Saint Thomas Aquinas Social Justice Committee

Minutes: October 1, 2019

Present: Chris Rehmann ( chairman,)  Fr. John Herzog, Francis Todey , Kathy Trahanovsky, Mary Ellen Wishart, Chuck Glatz, Paula Friederich

Prayer: Chris

“Guide us to use the talents and skills you have so generously given us to work in collaboration with others to bring change to those who suffer and are oppressed in this world. 

Guide us to creatively educate and advocate for others who are denied a voice. Help us to be present to members of the global human family in many ways. Help us to recognize the systems and structures that deny the dignity of the human person. Help us to be engaged and fully focused so we may envision and develop effective strategies to further justice and to be your agents in the world. 

Keep us aware of the bigger picture and move us beyond our own self-interest so we may participate in solidarity with those who need our support. Help us to persist in the face of challenges. 

Renew our hearts and remind us that your grace is working in us and through us,  so we may play a small part in the building of your kingdom.” 


Minutes of September: Approved

Website minutes:  Tom will make sure that they are updated.  

AMOS Civic Academy on Immigration: Sunday, October 6: At this point, 12 people from STA/SJC  have committed to attend.  

Immersion trips:

Chuck will pursue the possibilities of future trips with Shari Reilly, on  behalf of the SJC. 

Chris will inquire with Shari about the status of formation of the student social justice team and how they might help. 


 SJC presentations: 

We will consult with Joe Weyers further, to see if he thinks it would be valuable for SJC to host another forum for young students interested in social justice issues.  If so, what subject would be appropriate  and not repetitive? 

Annual presentation to the Pastoral Council

Will provide updates to the PC at its November or December meeting, to be determined.  

There is a consensus among SJC that STA should remain as a dues-paying member of this larger community effort, AMOS,  and that these dues should NOT come from the Social Justice Grant funds. 

Sunday Morning Seminar:  SJC is hoping to revive these discussions and presentations, to take place periodically between  the 8:30 and 10:30 masses.  Subject matter will be current issues within historical  and religious context.

The first of these is scheduled for October 20


This group was formed many years ago at STA to support the Cathoilic LGBTQ community. Participation was eager at first, but dissipated over time. There is renewed need and interest in this ministry.  We will endeavor to gather information. 

Next  meeting:  Tuesday, November 5, 2019. 

Respectfully submitted by Paula Friederich


Notes from Social Justice Committee, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 6:00 p.m., St. Martin’s Room

Present:  Tom Budnik, Paula Friederich, Fr. Herzog, Jean Prestemon, Chris Rehmann,  Francis Todey, Kathy Trahanovsky, Mary Ellen Wishart

Guests:  David Hansen and Maria Alcivar from Ames Sanctuary Interfaith Partnership (ASIP)

The meeting was called to order at 6:00.  Minutes of August 13 were approved.

The primary agenda item was a presentation by Ames Sanctuary Interfaith Partnership about what “sanctuary” means and what the ASIP group requests of St. Thomas.

In general, people misunderstand “sanctuary” and think that it is hiding and housing people.  Sanctuary is not hiding people.  If a person is given sanctuary, they have essentially “outed” themselves because their location, though safe, is known by authorities.  That is different from “harboring.”  Another misconception is that offering sanctuary can only be done by providing physical space for persons to live.  Though housing can be one aspect of sanctuary, the Ames group is promoting the idea of giving support in a variety of ways…educating about rights, connecting people with resources etc.

Faith groups (as well as schools and hospitals) can offer sanctuary.  This is backed by a legal protection statement from Health and Human Services (formerly stated by Department of Justice). 

ASIP is asking each faith community they contact to consider forming a small committee to become part of a larger assembly to assure those seeking refuge that there are people who will help them as they consider what to do next in their lives.  The first meeting of the assembly will be in November.  Does St. Thomas wish to participate?

If a congregation forms a committee, they would select a leader and an alternate who would be the contact for central ASIP.  David stressed this as an opportunity to involve college students.  The assembly would meet once a month with the goal of getting commitments from each faith group about what activities they are willing to host, what they might share with other groups, and imagining what might be possible if there were more resources.

How would the word get out to people who need sanctuary?  The availability of sanctuary would be published via social media and through groups such as AMOS and the Community ID program.  Maria said there are very active lines of communication, especially among Hispanic population.

Next steps:

  1. Have as many people as possible attend the Civic Academy on Immigration on Oct. 6 (a potluck and program after the Spanish Mass at St. Cecilia’s).   Publicize this in the bulletin, speak to Shari about students who might attend, let the pastor know about it, contact last year’s time and talent list.  Who will do this?
  2. Discuss at our Oct. 1 meeting whether we wish to participate in ASIP and if so, what we must do to get permission .
  3. Consider scheduling a Sunday Morning Seminar October 20 to share information about sanctuary.  Mary Ellen will reserve Prophets and Martyr’s Oct. 20 8-11 in case we decide to do this. 
  4. Other actions:

Tom will remind Fr. Kyle of our request for pastoral letters about clerical abuse.

Paula, Kathy, and Mary Ellen will meet to prepare for presentation to Pastoral Council about AMOS…possibly for Nov. or Dec. meeting.  Notify Francis to have him request space on the agenda.

Next meeting:  Oct. 1, 6:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,    Mary Ellen Wishart

Social Justice Committee Meeting:  13Aug2019

Attendees:   Chuck Glatz, Dave Dirks, Tom Budnik,  Kathy Trahanovsky, Mary Ellen Wishart, Francis Todey, Fr. Herzog, Joe Weyers, Jean Prestemon, Paula Friederich

Minutes were approved from last meeting.

Proposal to have some discussion sessions during coffee and donuts on Sundays (Sunday Seminars).   Some ideas that were thrown out:  Church teaching on homosexuality, Belief in the real presence in the Eucharist, Diocesan upcoming capital campaign.   Joe shared a draft document for 2019-2020 STA Adult Formation Opportunities.  There would be sessions on Weds and Thursday evenings and Saturday morning.  Frequency would be 1 – 2 times per week and each are about 1 hour.  Saturday sessions are for DES Training (Discipleship, Evangelization, Stewardship).   Joe is open to us utilizing some of the session slots or potentially having another session on a Sunday.   SJC would need to organize the topic and the speaker.   

Joe is open for additional/repeat sessions for youth education.  Joe would like it to be something where kids and their parents can participate.   Past sessions were on trafficking and immigration.   Again, SJC needs to organize the session and work with Joe for an appropriate time slot and age grouping.    

Meeting with Father Kyle.  Meeting went well with good attendance from SJC.    Fr. Kyle took our draft and agreed to revise it by October 1. 

Ames Sanctuary Interfaith Partnership – They have asked for a meeting with STA – SJC  in September to discuss how we could partner.   This is separate from Ames Interfaith Refugee Association.   It was decided this would worth doing.  Action:   Mary Ellen will invite David Hansen and Maria Alcivar from the group to join us

Chris is working on a visit to the Story County Jail.   More to come at an upcoming meeting. 

There will be another ID drive on November 9 at Ames middle school.   The last ID drive was held at Northcrest. 

There is an Immigration Workshop coming up at STC, 6pm, October 6.   A meal followed by workshop.  There is a hope that STA will send at least 10 people.   We should discuss communicating this via the bulletin or other means in the September SJC meeting. 

Liz Hall is moving to California (leader of AMOS).  Paul Turner will take over temporarily until a new leader is selected.  Chris will participate on selection committee.  

Mary Ellen is proposing that we reinstate a line item in the SJC budget for AMOS dues.  Francis suggests that we should propose this at the November or December meeting when SJC will also speak to pastoral council on SJ Grants and LYN.   Action:   Paula will prepare this with help from Kathy

Immersion Trip update:    Chuck sent an updated list of possibilities with Shery and they have discussed.  There is no “Toms Event” this year (due to lack of an organizer).   Sheri is still looking for an organizer if someone is willing.  A number of students have been going to the Focus Conference which does its own appeal to parents, etc….   NCYC trip will use the majority of the funds from last year.  

Next meeting is set for September 3rd (2nd Tuesday is busy with pastoral council and several other meetings).   Action:   Mary Ellen will reserve a room with Don for the meeting

Minutes of the July 2, 2019 Social Justice Committee Meeting

The meeting began at 6 p.m. in the St. Martin Room at STA. Present were Kathy Trahanovsky, Mary Ellen Wishart, Francis Todey, Paula Friederich, Fr. John Herzog, Chuck Glatz, Dave Dirks, and Chris Rehmann.

Minutes of the 6/4/19 meeting were approved.

Chris gave two updates relating to immigration. (1) The third Community ID event was held in Marshalltown and 201 ID’s were issued in the two sessions (both filled to the limit).  Previous sessions had issued 110 and 180 at St. Cecilia’s.  Chris was serving on the photo team.  Next event will be 7/27 at Northcrest Community Room in Ames. (2) Liz Hall is working at getting the AMOS Immigration Team, which as only been informally part of AMOS, to a more formal basis and working to organize a Fall program at St. Cecilia’s after the Sunday Evening Mass.

Chris had incorporated additional materials received from Lynn Osterhaus, Fr. Seda, and Joe Weyers into the document prepared by Mary Ellen. The committee had further questions on the information from the Archdiocese. Tom Budnik will try to speak to Lynn Osterhaus by phone to make sure she addressed what we were seeking to learn.  Chris will send Tom a list of the questions to be pursued. Fr. Kyle was unable to attend this meeting and Chris will seek a selection of times that Fr. Kyle could meet (offering flexibility on time and place with only a subset of the Committee needing to be present. The aim of the meeting will be to review with him how he wants the information presented to the parish, presumable in a series of bulletin announcements per Mary Ellen’s outline.

The idea of presenting programs for the parish in the coming year, perhaps in the form of a Sunday Seminar in conjunction with coffee and donuts, on the general theme of Church Reform. Chris will seek to have Joe Weyers attend a meeting to discuss format, audience and topics. Dave recommended the book “It’s Not Necessarily So” by Rents as being very interesting and a source of topics that might be used. Some others had or were reading the book and agreed – Dave has an extra copy or two that he could provide to committee members.

An early August meeting date will be set after Chris determines when Joe could attend.

Submitted by Chuck

Saint Thomas Aquinas  Social Justice Committee June 4, 2019 
 Present:​ Chris Rehmann, Kathy Trahanovsky, Fr. John Herzog, Chuck Glatz, Mary Ellen Wishart, Francis Todey, Jean Prestamon, Paula Friederich 
Guest: Shari Reilly (Staff)  
 Prayer​: Chris 
 Minutes of May 8​: Approved 

 Student Trips: Shari led a discussion of current difficulties with planning and arranging immersion trips.  Transportation is difficult and expensive because of various restrictions imposed by the Archdiocesan insurance policy covering these trips. It is difficult to find drivers who are 21+,  and most rental require drivers to be 25 or older. Staff is not always available to accompany these trips. Also, by policy, a group may not travel more than 500 miles in a 24 hour period. 
Chuck and Shari will gather information of what are all the specific requirements in order to help plan what locations for trips may be feasible in the future.  Any such trips must be planned many months in advance.  
Shari also discussed that there is currently no coordinator for the TOMS event. In the past, she has supervised student coordinators who planned these events. No students or residents are currently identified to plan the TOMS event. Some of the previously collected monies will go to support NCYC participation. 
Co-chairs for the student Social Justice Team have been identified, and ideas are being discussed as to what activities they will pursue.

 Clerical Sexual Abuse​: Mary Ellen drafted a statement  which Fr. Kyle may use as an outline to update the parish. Chris will submit this document to Fr. Kyle and invite him to the next SJC meeting  for further discussion.

 Social Justice Grants:​ Approved funding for the grants will be mailed soon to the recipients. 
 (Discussion of further agenda items was postponed due to time restrictions) 
Next Meeting: Tuesday, July 2 
Respectfully submitted by Paula Friederich  


Wednesday, May 8, 2019   6:00 PM   St. Catherine’s

Present:  Tom Budnik, Dave Dirks, Chuck Glatz, Fr. John Herzog,                                           Jean Prestemon, Francis Todey, Kathy Trahanovsky,

Nicole Trice (new member), Mary Ellen Wishart

Absent:  Chris Rehmann, Paula Friederich, Annette Forbes, Linda Shickell

**Early alert:  Our next meeting will be Tuesday, June 4, 6:00 p.m.  (THIS IS A CHANGE FROM WHAT WAS DISCUSSED AT THE MEETING.)

Dave Dirks was acting chair for this meeting.

April minutes were approved.

Social Justice Grants

            The social justice grant selection committee met this month.  Francis Todey distributed copies of their recommendations for 2019.  He answered questions regarding some of the agencies unfamiliar to SJ committee members…St. Paul Parish (Fr. Charlie), Attat Our Lady (hospital), Martha’s House of Hope (home for pregnant women without families).   JKLW is the one applicant still pending.  The applicant been asked to provide information about the agency’s  use of previous grant dollars.

Proposed allocations (without JKLW) are $24,750. Social justice grant funds not allocated (between 5 and 10%) will be held in reserve for emergency requests.  It was noted by both the subcommittee and the SJ committee that ERP had not submitted an application.  Dave will bring that to the attention of one of the board members (who is an STA parish member) to alert him for next year.

            To conclude, the SJ committee agreed with the recommendations of the grant subcommittee and asked Tom to proceed with the distribution of funds.

Tom, with the help of Net, will prepare award letters and checks by June 1.  He will compile agency descriptions and amounts awarded for publication on the website and in the bulletin. 

Francis will review this information with the Pastoral Council in June and give them a “heads up” that the SJ committee may be proposing that AMOS dues be made a line item in the 2020 SJ budget rather than seeking money from the grant fund.  (SJ committee will need to follow through on meeting with PC regarding this request.)

Clerical Sexual Abuse

Tom presented information from Joe Weyers on how volunteers and youth are educated/screened.  He talked with Lynn at the diocesan office seeking information about the diocesan review board.  In response to committee questions, Tom will recontact Lynn to find out how the diocesan review board is selected, what their brief bio’s are, and how they function.  Have they been needed recently?  What have they done?  When?

The idea was raised that we might create posters or bulletin board summarizing the main points and contact information on this topic…possibly the lower lounge bulletin board.

Mary Ellen was asked to propose an outline/document  for Fr. Kyle of what the committee feels needs to be said to bring the parish up to date on this issue.  She will include the information/websites we have gathered so far and will send this document to SJ committee for review at our next meeting.

(Proposed schedule…my ideas, not discussed at the meeting.  Create the outline by May 17.  Email to SJ committee asking them to respond with suggestions by May 24.  Make corrections/additions.  Bring to next meeting June 4 for committee approval.

Central Iowa Community ID drive is May 11 at St. Cecilia.


            Kathy continues to attend the mental health housing research team meetings.  Progress is forward, but slow.

            Mary Ellen reported that there will be a “free” AMOS fundraiser on June 28.  Purpose is to spread the word about what AMOS has done and is doing locally and to meet others who support the mission of AMOS.  Donations will be encouraged but not required.  Goal for Ames is $5,000.  Evening program, games, refreshments to be held at UUFA.  Time to be announced.

            SJ will try to get on the PC agenda in fall to discuss funding AMOS dues as a line item in the SJ budget rather than an SJ grant. 

There needs to be an effort to create an active AMOS core team for STA.

Next meeting possible agenda items 

            Shari Reilly would like to be on the agenda to discuss spring trips.

            Approval of clerical abuse document for Fr. Kyle

            Plan for creating an AMOS core team and for funding proposal to PC

Date: JUNE 4

Notes by Mary Ellen Wishart


Tuesday, April 9, 2019   6:00 PM   St. Catherine’s

Present:    Chris Rehmann,  Jean Prestemon,  Mary Ellen Wishart,  Kathy Trahanovsky,  Mia       Powers( student),  Fr. John Herzog,  Tom Budnik

March 9 minutes were approved.  (NOTE Chris Rehmann should be listed as present)

Discussion of actions to be taken regarding clerical sexual abuse

    It was agreed that policies and guidelines should be published in the Bulletin.  The content of articles would be based on Archdiocese of Dubuque policies and information from the Kentucky  diocese. Fr. Kyle would like to have ownership of these articles which would be published with his signature.  SJC will submit drafts to him.  Committee members will prepare drafts based on the agenda items labeled as Weeks 1-6.  Mary Ellen and Annette will discuss what is in place in the Archdiocese(weeks 1 and 2); Tom Budnik will ask Joe Weyers about requirements to be a volunteer and how youth are educated about this topic(weeks 3 and 4);  Chris Rehmann will contact Fr. Seda to inquire how seminarians are screened, educated and mentored (week 5); and he will also look into who to call about suspected abuse(week 6).  Jean Prestemon suggested that  there should be a local Victim Assistance Coordinator.

    Drafts should be available for discussion at the May meeting.  The finished product will be placed on the website as well as in the Bulletin.  Tom Budnik suggested that it be shared with St. Cecilia’s and St. Peter and Paul.

     Members present agreed that there is still a need for broader discussion or action with respect to loss of trust and the need for church reform.

Social Justice Grants

     Tom Budnik distributed packets of Social Justice Grant applications for review.  A subcommittee will meet in the next couple of weeks to decide on allocation of funds.  $32,250 has been requested; there should be at least $25,000 to give out.

Community ID Drive

     Chris reported that the March 30 session at St. Cecilia’s went well.  101 people received the IDs.  Law enforcement gave a presentation on what the IDs may be used for.  The next session is scheduled for May11 at St. Cecilia and another will be held in June in Marshalltown.


    Chris met with AMOS organizer Liz Hall to discuss STA’s dues obligation.  This year we are asking for a Social Justice grant to pay our dues.  Next year we will ask for a line item in the budget for the dues.  Liz suggested house meetings to generate a core team.  Chris will invite Liz to a future SJ meeting.

Other topics

    Fr. Herzog brought up the possibility that some parishioners might find it useful to have resources or presentations to help with budgets and financial planning.

    Some members expressed an interest in knowing what the parish is doing in the area of energy conservation.

Next meeting

It was decided to move the next meeting to the first week in May and to meet on May 7 at 6 PM.

(Note: The meeting day has since been changed to Wednesday May 8 at 6 PM)


Social Justice Committee Meeting MArch 12, 2019

Present:  Tom Budnik, Chuck Glatz, Fr. John Herzog, Francis Todey,

Kathy Trahanovsky, Mary Ellen Wishart

Absent excused:  Dave Dirks, Paula Friederich

Guests:  Fr. Kyle, Annette Forbes, Linda Shickell, Jean Prestemon (representing Ames Interfaith Refugee Alliance {AIRA})

Feb 12 minutes were approved.

Discussion of what actions to take locally regarding church sexual abuse topic

            Mary Ellen presented a summary of what has been done in the Lexington, KY diocese and what is in place in the Dubuque Archdiocese.  While they are similar, the information in the Dubuque Archdiocese is relatively hard to locate, while the KY diocese has an excellent publication and website.  Fr. Kyle was open to suggestions from the group regarding trying to repair broken trust and also be clear about what procedures are to be followed in case of current issues.        

            Three recommendations:  ***Note.  The tasks below include several ideas (in italics) which were spoken informally after the meeting.

  1. Develop a series of bulletin announcements about various topics (which would probably be drafted by SJ and then edited and published by Fr. Kyle) Also have the small business card of the Victims Assistance Coordinator (VAC) in weekly, if possible.
  2. Publish the letters from Fr. Kyle in a very visible place on our website. (Diocese website very hard to navigate)
  3. After the series is completed, schedule a staff person from Dubuque to facilitate a discussion (possibly to include St. Cecilia’s and St. P & P) about the issues.  This might be held in church between Masses to capture the most people and not impose on the already packed building use.
  4. Should St. Thomas remain a member of AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy)?  How should membership be funded?

            Kathy T and Mary Ellen attended a leadership conference and were challenged to seek approval by the Pastoral Council for continuing membership in AMOS.  Since the budget is already determined, we will need to apply for a SJ grant to fund for this year.  Chris and Mary Ellen will work on the application.  The next step will be to present the case to Pastoral Council for having AMOS be a line item somewhere in the parish budget.  (For next meeting, need further discussion, consensus by SJ about membership, and what happens next, depending on the “vote.” Then, if “yes,” need to form a core committee.)

Bowl-o-rama benefits social justice grants

The 4:45 music group held its annual “fun-raiser” and will be contributing $5,072 to social justice grants.

Community ID

Chris reported that March 30 at St. Cecilia’s is set for the first push to assist people in getting an ID if they have none.  This is in cooperation with and supported by the sheriff, police, hospital.  The ID cannot be used to board a plane, but it will serve as verification that you are who you say you are for medical purposes or if needed in civil situations.  Those who attend will be expected to go through an orientation to what the ID means and will need to provide several pieces of identification in order to receive the ID.  Other sessions are schedule on April ___ in Ames and on May 11 in Marshalltown.

Immigration talk sponsored by UCC at Memorial Union

Several SJ members attended and felt it was very informative.

Next meeting:  April 9, 6:00 p.m., STA

Notes by Mary Ellen Wishart


Social Justice Committee Meeting:  February 12, 2019

Attendees:   Chris Rehmann, Chuck Glatz, Dave Dirks, Tom Budnik,  Kathy Trahanovsky, Mary Ellen Wishart, Mary Ann Todey, Francis Todey     

Approval of Jan 2019 meeting minutes:  approved

Mental Health First Aid – program was well attended.  Mary Ellen and Kathy attended from SJ Committee.  ERP, YSS, Friendship Ark, some students, etc… were also represented.   Total attendance was 25.  This course could be good for STA staff and LYN interviewers (at least a short course).   Comments were generally very positive.  

Housing First Program – Permanent Supportive Housing – Program will be held to begin to discuss where we are at in Ames, and where we might go.   At the Gateway Hotel, Feb 20.  Registration 9:30.  Meeting 9:30-11:30am .   This is sponsored by Amos.   Both Kathy and Mary Ellen plan to attend.   Amos is requesting some monetary help to differ expenses.   We would suggest $50 be taken from the SJ budget for this.   This was motioned and approved.   Action:  Tom will take the action to have this money transferred to Amos for the event.  

ERP Homeless Outreach.  – Tom was going to put something in the bulletin relative to collecting items for “care packages”.   Tom did not receive a response from Carrie.   He will continue reaching out to her and put it in the bulletin if we get the proper information. 

Poverty Simulation –   There is a group that has the materials available to do this.   SJ needs to understand if we would want to do this.   Action:  Chuck will gather more information and come back. 

Refugees – Ames Interfaith Refugee Alliance.   Jean Prestemon has volunteered to represent STA.   We have asked Jean to give the SJ committee periodic updates.   Chris has added Jean P. to our SJ e-mail list. 

UCC Theologian in Residence Program – Chuck believes that the Library will be showing the Postville documentary film on Tuesday Feb 19, 6:30pm.    Tom got approval for use of our parking lot for their Friday Dialog event with Attorney General Tom Miller at the Union (Friday March 1, 7-9pm). 

AMOS Civic Academy – This will be an AMOS event to educate people on immigration.   Chris will give more details in future meetings.  The event would be after Easter. 

Abuse in the Church – Mary Ellen sent out a link to a paper from the Diocese of Lexington.  This Diocese has taken some innovative actions.   This is a good potential reference for other diocese’s.     As a committee we are waiting to develop actions until the Bishops meeting is finished (it starts next week).   Father Kyle is taken some actions at STA.  Action:  Chris will invite Fr Kyle to attend our next meeting on March 12 to get his view on Bishops meeting and actions for STA

Budget – Tom working on SJ budget with the budget committee.   LYN, Honduras, and SJ grants will be moved out of the SJ budget and moved into the charitable giving budget.   The percentages are not expected to change, just the category in the budget that these items fall under.   AMOS has been funded by grants the last few years.   Mary Ellen would like to see our membership dues put back in as a line item in the budget (we think this is $3000).    We can put it in as budget line item for SJ but it may not get approved.  Action:  Tom will add a line item for AMOS at $3000.    Action:  Mary Ellen will investigate what is requested by AMOS to remain a voting member, etc…  Tom has put in for slightly more SJ funding (office expenses 1770à 2000, workshops 200à400, lay leadership 300à500). 


LYN fund – It is in good financial shape.  About 30,000$.   Strong donations in December and January. 

SJ Grants – We currently have ~$16,000 built up.  

Next Meeting – Tuesday March 12



Social Justice Committee Meeting:  January 15, 2019

Attendees:  Fr. Herzog, Chris, Chuck, Dave, Tom, Paula, Kathy, Mary Ellen, Felicity,  

Approval of Dec 2018 meeting minutes:  approved

Charles Kniker from UCC –“Immigration Matters Journeying Together, Responding to Crisis”

·        Rev Dr. David Vasquez-Levy (President of Pacific School of Religion, and Theologian in Residence at UCC) will do a dialog with Attorney General Tom Miller on Friday March 1, 2019; 7-9pm at the Pioneer Room ISU Memorial Union.  The title is “Love and Story:  Reframing the National Conversation about Immigration”

·        Saturday March 2, 2019; 9:15am – 3:30pm at the Ames United Church of Christ there is a program called “Immigration Matters:  Joined Together, Finding Solutions”.  David Vasquez-Levy, Luis Argueta, Sonia Parras Konrad, Erica Johnson, and Violetta Aleman will be presenters.  This is free and open to the public. 

·        The UCC group would like to help other congregations get more involved in immigration issues. 

·        They would appreciate using our parking lot the evening of the Friday dialog at the union.   They would also like us to publicize the programs in our bulletin.  Action:  Tom will check with Bobby about using the parking lot and including a note in the bulletin.    

·        Info is also on the UCC website.   www.AmesUCC.org/TIR

Refugee Presentation on January 8.   Attendance was fairly small, about 25 people (probably 10 students and 15 parents).  But the presentation was very impactful.   Also the presentation was videotaped.   The second presentation will be at STC March 13th.  Planned to start at 7:30pm.  Chuck is coordinating for the social justice committee.  Chuck is also communicating this to the STC social justice committee and to the Amos Interface Refugee Alliance.  

Ames Interface Refugee Alliance:  We would like to have a volunteer to be our representative to the Amos Interface Refugee Alliance.   Action:  Chris and Tom will send the list of e-mail addresses from Time and Talent and our Ministry Spotlight to Chuck.  Chris will send out the request to this list of names

Mental Health First Aid:  Currently we have 8 people signed up.   We believe 3 more will come from ERP.   We need 10 minimum and it will appear in the bulletin again this week, plus some staff may still sign up.  It’s also posted in the lounge.    Tom says we have money to pay for lunch.   Room is ready and will work well (Prophets and Martyrs).  

Clergy Abuse Crisis:   Action: Chris will send out a list of actions being taken by a very proactive diocese in Lexington, KY.     The Bishops meeting is Feb 21 – 24thin Rome. 

ERP Homeless Outreach Program:   ERP is collecting donation items for “care packages” for a homeless outreach program.   STA is being asked to donate hygiene items and some specific food items.   We’ll try to put it in the next bulletin and set a donation for the Feb 2/3 weekend.  Dave volunteered to drop donations at ERP once collected.    Action:  Tom will get this put in the bulletin and verify with Carrie that our dates still match with her deadline.  

Next Meeting:   February 12, 2019  6pm


SOCIAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE  Minutes, 12/18, 2018

Present: Chris Rehman (Chair)  Tom Budnik (Staff) Fr. John Hertzog, Kathy Trahanovsky, Mary Ellen Wishart, Francis Todey, Chuck Glatz,  Dave Dirks, Paula Friederich

Prayer: Led by Chris.

Dear God, help us to hope when it makes no sense. Give us imagination to see what a peaceful and reconciled world could look like and the strength to do the daily hopeful work that leads to your restored kingdom. Amen  

Minutes of November, 2018:  Approved.


Pastoral Council, presentation:  Chris and Dave reported to the PC at its December 11, 2018 meeting.  Information about Love Your Neighbor and the upcoming events being planned by SJC was provided to the council. The PC seemed positive and supportive of the SJC.

Refugee presentation, January 9, 2019:

Chuck and Chris have been coordinating this presentation with Joe Weyers.  The decision was made to limit the audience to STA middle schoolers and their parents. Members of staff/ SJC may also attend.  Joe will give an introduction, and a program has been planned which will include 2-3 speakers, and or video about the subject.

Mental Health First Aid Education,  presentation: February 9, 2019

The agreed time is 8am-4:30 pm with a 30 minute catered lunch break (pizza was suggested.)   

Mary Ellen and Tom will try to get commitments  from interested members of the Stephen’s Ministry and the STA staff.

AMOS/ Community ID Drive:

Chris reported that AMOS is actively promoting this program and it is heavily encouraged by local law enforcement, health-care and service organizations. AMOS  is planning educational meetings in March of 2019.

Ministry Spotlight:

There was some discussion and disagreement about whether  (and  how)  best STA should continue  with the spotlight announcements in order to inform our congregants of the  various activities of the committees present at STA, and of their work.

Tom will continue to discuss this with the staff.  Additionally, Tom is working on streamlining the SJC page on the STA website.

Next Meeting:   January 15, 2019

Respectfully submitted by Paula Friederich


Social Justice Committee Meeting:  Nov 6, 2018

Attendees:  Fr. Herzog, Chris, Dave, Tom, Paula, Kathy, Mary Ellen,  Felicity, Franny Nielson,

Approval of October 2018 meeting minutes:  approved

·        Social Justice Grants – Action:  Tom will take the verbiage out of the guidelines that says:  “90% will be spent and 10% will be saved”.   Normally we give out all of the funds during the once per year application process.   So we would like the guidelines to reflect this. 

·        Web page for SJC – this could use an update.   Tom recently removed many of the past minutes stored on the site.   Mary Ellen has reviewed it and says it has far too much stuff.   Action:  Tom will review and make changes and report back.   We will endeavor to leave 6 months of past minutes on the website. 

·        December 11 pastoral council meeting – Action: Chris will report out for SJ activities and Action:  Dave will report out for LYN activities.   Meeting is at 7pm. 

·        Sex Abuse Crisis:  Action:  Dave to share his most recent letter to the Archbishop and his response to the committee.   Action:   Fr Herzog will send a list of suggested agenda items for the November Bishops conference on sex abuse.   We are still planning to organize  some sort of group discussion on this after we see the response of the Bishops in their meeting in November 12-15. 

·        Trafficking – 9th of January we will do a presentation on human trafficking for middle schoolers and their families here at STA.    We believe Chuck has all the materials. 

·        Mental Health First Aid – Lisa Turner (Catholic Charities).  Lisa has offered several dates for providing the training.  We would plan to open this up to all STA.  We will preference a Saturday in February from 9 – 4:45pm.   Action:  Chris will communicate our preference back to Lisa.   Jo Myers is offering a special art fundraiser activity that funds will then support the Siouxland Restoration Center which supports female victims of trafficking.   Feb 2nd is clear for the lower lounge.  Feb 9th could also work, but another activity at 7pm.   The other 2 Saturdays are booked. 

·        Ministry Spot Light Follow up

o   Social Justice volunteers – Chris has contacted all signees.  Action:  Chris will offer to meet with these signees in person as a second follow up. 

o   Emergency Residence Project:  Action:  Felicity will reach out to the people who signed up.    

o   Amos, Habitat Store, Food at First:  Action:  Mary Ellen will reach out to the people who signed up

o   LYN:  Action:  Kathy will reach out to the people who signed up

Dec 4th 6pm -  next SJC meeting  


Minutes, September 18, 2018

Present: Chris Rehmann (Chair), Tom Budnik, (STA Staff), Fr. John Herzog, Mary Ellen Wishart, Kathy Trahanovsky, Francis Todey, Paula Friederich

Guest: Frank Montabon

Prayer: Led by Chris

“Loving God, you are the author and sustainer of our lives. You know the anguish of the sorrowful, you are attentive to the prayers of the brokenhearted. Hear your people who cry out to you in their need; strengthen their hope in your lasting goodness.

We pray today for those who have died because of violence. Draw them to yourself; let your face shine upon them. May they be greeted with choirs of angels and experience your eternal peace and joy.

Be near to all those who have been touched by violence, those who have been hurt, lost their loved ones, or lost their sense of security. Be for them a steady comfort and safe resting place.

Soften the hearts and steady the minds of those who would do violence to others. May hate be replaced with love, violence with peace, and darkness with Your Light.”


Minutes of August 21 Meeting:  Correction: The STA staff did not receive the full program of “Mental Health First Aid” training, as was stated in the minutes.  Rather, the STA staff was introduced to the program outline, which they encourage SJC to pursue. The minutes will be corrected to reflect this change. With this exception, the minutes were approved.


SJC is continuing to consider sponsorship of an educational program; “Mental Health First Aid.” Lisa Turner has agreed to assist us in either teaching or coordinating this effort. Tom will ask Lisa to forward materials about the program to the SJC for their review, prior to the next meeting.

Lisa had earlier stated that a minimum number of 10 participants would be needed in order to plan and schedule the workshop, which would be given in one 8 hour session or two 4 hour sessions. It was discussed that at least some of the STA staff would be likely to participate, as well as would some members of SJC. In addition, members of the “mental health task force,” a subset of AMOS, may be interested in attending. SJC is confident the minimum number of 10 can be met easily, and still plans to open the registration to the all the STA parish and possibly others. SJC will review the forthcoming materials and proceed with planning at our next meeting.

Trafficking Presentation: SJC will sponsor a presentation for Middle School aged children and their parents, if such a presentation is desired and can be coordinated with STA Faith Formation staff. Further inquiries will be made and discussed at the next SJC meeting. If SJC proceeds, such an event would likely be offered in the spring of 2019.  

Candidate Forum:  Chris informed SJC that AMOS will host a forum, expected to be attended by candidates for the State Legislature, on Thursday, October 18, at the First Christian Church in Ames. Registration is open to the public and will begin at 6:30 pm prior to the 7:30 pm start. Chris has asked that at least 10 STA parishioners participate in this event. Chris will write announcements for the Bulletin and the parish email. In addition, a planning meeting for the forum is also scheduled for Thursday, September 27, at 6:30 pm also at the First Christian Church in Ames.

Ministry Spotlight: SJC is scheduled to present at 4 masses on the weekend of October 27 and 28. Presentations are recommended to be limited to approximately 90 seconds in length. The purpose is to give a general overview of the SJC. Chris will write the announcement to be read.

Mary Ellen and Fr. John will compose a descriptive flyer to be made available at the information table. A sign-up contact sheet will also be available at the information table for those who are interested in learning more about the activities of SJC and who may wish to participate.

Social Justice Grant Applications:  The SJC received copies of the existing policy and proposed changes to its wording. It is necessary for SJC to define more specifically who is eligible to apply for these grants. SJC discussed whether it should require that applicants be officially and currently registered at STA. Concerns were expressed that there are active parishioners who may not submit registration forms but may wish to apply for these grants.

Also discussed was the concern whether grants should be allowed only to an organization and not to any individual. This concern was generally not thought to be a problem since the majority of applicants are for identified organizations.

SJC members are asked to review the language changes in the grant applications which will be further addressed at our next meeting.

Sexual Abuse Discussion/Action: Due to several of our members’ obligations to other meetings, SJC needed to be adjourned prior to this agenda item. This discussion will be set as a priority on the agenda for our next meeting.

Adjourn: 7:10 pm   

Next Meeting: Tuesday, October 16, 6pm

Note: It was brought to SJC’s attention that our meetings are overlapping with other STA committee meetings in which our members are involved. SJC may consider and discuss moving our time or dates of scheduled meetings in order to better accommodate our members. 

Respectfully submitted by Paula Friederich


Minutes:  Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Present: Chris Rehman, Tom Budnik, Fr. John Herzog, Dave Dirks, Francis Todey, Kathy Trahanovsky, Chuck Glatz,  Paula Friederich

Prayer: Led by Chris

Minutes of June 12 meeting: Approved


Review of actions on mental health education:

Mary Ellen has spoken with Lisa Turner about SJC potentially sponsoring an 8 hour workshop entitled “Mental Health First Aid.”  Lisa and two others are able to provide instruction and participants would receive a 3 year certification. The purpose of this training is to help people identify certain mental health issues which may require immediate assistance and/or referral.  Tom said this workshop was given to STA staff in June which was helpful and well received. He also said the program is popular throughout the Archdiocese. Since 10-30 participants are required, It was decided that Tom will ask Lisa if there are materials which can be forwarded to SJC for review.  If SJC still wishes to sponsor this event, we could survey parishioners to see if we can get the minimum number of 10 people interested, and if they would prefer two 4 hour sessions or one 8 hour session.  Depending on the level of interest, we may then also open registration to other parishes.If SJC proceeds in sponsoring this event, we will cover the cost of materials ($20 per person) for STA student and resident parishioners.

It was also noted that AMOS is compiling a list of mental health resources in Story County to make available for referral purposes.

Review of actions on the subjects of refugees and trafficking:

Chuck and Kathy said that Diane Birt of the Ames Interfaith Refugee Alliance is available to offer presentations and/or source materials on refugee issues.

Also, he and Tom will contact Anna and Joe W. to see if they are interested in SJC sponsoring a trafficking presentation for STA middle school students.  SJC may consider this, or sponsoring a presentation to a wider audience.

SJC will potentially sponsor three events in the 2018-2019 year on these subjects: Mental Health Education, Trafficking, and Refugee issues.  It was a agreed that 3 events per year is appropriate for SJC sponsorship.

Review of Communications/Ways in which SJC can improve:

Tom has been updating the website with the minutes and also new information about LYN and the Social Justice Grants.  This information is also published periodically in the Bulletin. 

It was agreed that a few changes and additions should be added to the Social Justice Grant Guidelines prior to their next publication.  Tom will send these to SJC for review and these will be discussed at our next meeting.

It was also suggested that SJC get on the Calender  for a Ministry Spotlight. He will schedule SJC for a weekend, likely  in October or November.

We will have handouts available at the information table with information about the various programs and activities of SJC, as well as contact information cards to be filled out by those who are interested in learning more about SJC.


Other Business:

Tom brought two requests for SJC to consider:

STA was contacted by Geneveve Loraditch who is requesting our participation in “40 days For Life “ campaign which she will lead in Ames. She is looking for a team of participants to conduct “12 hours of prayer on the sidewalk everyday for 40 days.”   This was  referred to SJC from Fr. Kyle who suggested that we consider this as an SJC project.

After discussion, it was the consensus that although this is a worthwhile effort, it is not a good fit for us at this time.  Our reason is that: We are already planning 3 events in which  we will seek wide participation from the parish community,  and also because other groups which have been started at STA for the purpose of organizing efforts on behalf of the unborn have not had steady participation from the community.

Also brought to our attention was an upcoming workshop at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames , to discuss Climate Mobilization and environmental issues, on September 8, 2018, 1-4 pm. The workshop is free but RSVPs are requested to Erv Klaas, The Climate Solutions Circle, UU Fellowship of Ames,  515-451-0919.  Tom will put an announcement in the bulletin and on the STA email.  Several members of SJC expressed interest in attending.

Discussion: Current news of sexual abuse within the church

After a lengthy discussion of yet another disturbing report of widespread abuse and cover-up within the church, all of SJC present agreed that more must be done to reach to both Archbishop Jackels and to our parish to address this matter directly.

Tom informed us that Fr. Kyle had already composed a letter which had been shown to staff and which Fr. Kyle intends to publish to the STA community in the coming days, but it was not available to SJC at the time of our meeting.

Also, prayers for the victims will be included in this weekend’s Prayers for the Faithful at all masses.

Because we felt that this matter needs to be urgently addressed, it was agreed that a letter from SJC  to Archbishop Jackels be composed and, with Fr. Kyles review and approval,  hand- delivered to the Bishop after the 10:30 mass on Sunday, August 26.  The Archbishop will be at STA for Fr. Kyles Installation mass.

SJC will review the drafted letter and have it ready by Sunday. Any member of SJC not present at this meeting will also have an opportunity to review the letter and add their name to it before it is presented. Francis, who also serves as Chairman of the Pastoral Council will present the letter. Further actions  and ideas of how SJC may help STA  will be discussed as further responses develop in the coming days and weeks.

Adjourn: 7:50 pm.

Next Meeting: September 18, 2018 at 6pm.

Respectfully submitted by Paula Friederich


Minutes of Social Justice Committee    Tuesday, June 12, 2018 6:00 p.m.

Present:  Tom Budnik, Dave Dirks, Paula Friederich, Chris Rehmann, Francis Todey, Kathy Trahanovsky, Mary Ellen Wishart

The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by chair Chris.  Minutes of May 8 were approved.

Social justice grants

Tom reported that all monies have been dispersed.  He has received several thank you notes, which he will gradually insert in the Sunday bulletin, the weekly reminders, and post on the website.  Francis will provide details to Pastoral Council about the grants.  Tom will provide the information to Bobby LeBlanc, who is preparing a summary of the year’s stewardship activities.

Wine and Wisdom: racial equality

Sr. Anne Clifford’s presentation on Martin Luther King was well received by a group of about two dozen people. 

Mental health

Mary Ellen reported that the AMOS Mental Health and Affordable Housing research teams are collaborating to assess resources available in Ames and Story County. Tom reported that Lisa Turner, Catholic Charities, proposed to STA staff a training program “Mental Health First Aid.”  The purpose would be to assist staff and other parish leaders to appropriately identify and react to situations involving mental illness.  Several on the SJ committee described instances where such training would have been helpful.  Mary Ellen volunteered to contact Lisa for more information.


Diane Birt, president of the Ames Interfaith Refugee Alliance, sent Chris a copy of a PowerPoint presentation on refugees. The AIRA is eager to give programs about this topic.  SJ committee is asked to review the PowerPoint and provide feedback at our next meeting.  Meanwhile Chris will let Diane know we are considering this. 

Teen programming: trafficking, DACA, refugees?

In the past year, the SJ Committee organized three events: an adult/teen program on trafficking, a DACA dinner, and the Wine and Wisdom talk on racial equality. We have planned to present trafficking information to middle schoolers, who were not included last year. Suggestions for an event for high school students and families include testimonials from DACA recipients and information on refugees. Chris will talk with Chuck about working with Anna Kaminski and Joe Weyers on topics and a schedule.  

Next meeting:  Tuesday, August 21, 2018 6 pm