Minutes of SJ meetings

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, 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, 6 pm