Minutes of SJ meetings

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.” 

Business

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

Belonging

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.

AMOS

            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.

AMOS

    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.

Business:

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.”

Amen

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.

Business:

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

Business

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.

Refugees

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