October 14, 2010 by Sarah
Bob Maxson’s “straight-up chili” — no cheese or chips on top, no sweets to finish it off — was the top votegetter in Thursday’s Chili for Charity. But everyone who showed up in downtown Concordia this evening received the prize of a beautiful October evening and a chance to support local organizations.
The annual outdoors Chili for Charity event drew eight contestants, which each offered a sample of homemade chili — some with fixin’s and others, like Maxson’s, unadorned. A few even sweetened things up with after-chili treats of mints, miniature cinnamon rolls and caramel apples. Maxson was serving his chili to support Breckyn Reynolds, the 2-year-old Concordia girl born with multiple heart defects. Representing the Sisters of St. Joseph were Neighbor to Neighbor and Helping Hands, the food pantry at Manna House of Prayer. The Neighbor to Neighbor chili makers were the defending champions from last year.
The event at Sixth and Washington streets was sponsored this year by the new Neighbor to Neighbor center, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and Cloud County Community College. Proceeds from the event make up the prize money, which is shared by the winners.
October 14, 2010 by Sarah
There were 30 questions on this summer’s countywide survey of people living in poverty — and even more as the results were discussed at the latest Community Needs Forum.
Fifty people attended the “working lunch” Thursday at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse, to hear what people from throughout Cloud County had said on the survey about what services they use and what help they need.
In all, 77 surveys were returned. And while that is not enough of the 600 surveys it make it “statistically valid,” according to Sister Jean Rosemarynoski, it does represent nearly 1 percent of all the Cloud County adults who meet the federal poverty guidelines.
The four top services used by those responding involved food: food stamps, food banks, free and reduced school lunch programs and commodities that are distributed free.
Food programs also ranked No. 1 in terms of services that have been most helpful.
The top services these people in poverty say they need in Cloud County are all health related: Dental care and vision or hearing assistance.
But, said Sister Marcia Allen, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia and a member of the poverty group within the Community Needs Forum that drafted the survey, “What we found, really, was that there is no general category of poverty; there are as many faces of poverty as there are people.”
Allen said she and the others who decided to try surveying people living in poverty “may have been naïve to believe we could categorize it; it is not a simple issue.”
Those at the meeting who work with local organizations providing services agreed.
Complications they cited included limited affordable and reliable child care, few “family wage” jobs, an unwillingness or inability to leave Cloud County for broader job possibilities, state regulations and red tape and even “pride that can keep families from asking for help.”
But for Everett Ford, the answer is simple.
To begin with, he said it was notable that only five of the 77 survey respondents were male.
Ford, who has been a regular participant in the 12 working lunches so far, said the answer has to be “better jobs. We’ve got to get more jobs in here.”
Kirk Lowell, head of the local economic development agency Cloud Corp., agreed — but even that is not simple, he said.
Lowell cited the Kansas Inc. “County Economic Vitality and Distress Report,” which ranks the state’s 105 counties by relative economic performance.
In 2008, the newest report available, Cloud County tied for 99th place, which was actually an improvement over the 102nd place for 2007.
“Everything that’s proposed to come into this community, it’s fought,” he said. “No matter what the project or idea, there’s always going to be for and against. But we’ve got pitchforks and torches in the meeting room.”
Local government and community residents have to be more pro-business, Lowell argued. “When we get the opportunity, we need to jump on it.”
But even that is not the whole solution, he conceded: “If the person in need doesn’t seize the moment, there’s not much you can do.”
Two things that have been done over the past year, those attending the “working lunch” agreed, are the Concordia Year of Peace and the Community Needs Forum itself.
Part of this session was to ask participants if the community meetings, which began in January 2009, are still serving a purpose.
“This is the only forum that brings everyone together, and very good things have come out of this,” said Crystal Paredes. She noted that she and others have learned a great deal about programs available for women and children — and she praised the work of the Sisters of St. Joseph in launching the Neighbor to Neighbor center in downtown Concordia. “But we also noticed there aren’t the same kind of services for men.”
So she and others through the Concordia Christian Church are working to create “The Father’s House,” which will provide mentoring and positive role models for men in the community. The program is a direct outgrowth of discussions during the working lunches, she said.
The Year of Peace project, scheduled to conclude in December, is another direct outgrowth. And Rosemarynoski announced Thursday that it will continue through 2011. “We’re calling it ‘Another Year of Peace,’ and we’ll have new shirts,” she said with a laugh.
Lowell called the Year of Peace “the best thing that has happened in this community in 50 years; we can actually talk about some things.”
October 12, 2010 by Sarah
In this issue you can find coverage of the St. Joseph Home Reunion in Abilene, a feature on Sister Generosa Walker celebrating her 100th brithday and photos from the Concordia Fall Fest, at which the Sisters of St. Joseph were honored as grand marshals. And as a special feature, we are honoring everyone who gave to the sisters in the past year. The “Development Office End of Year Report” is 12 pages acknowledging all of you who generously gave gifts supporting our sisters and our missions from July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010.
In fact, the 28-page issue is so large that we have to make it available in three separate PDFS:
CLICK HERE FOR PAGES 1-13, for reunion coverage, Sister Generosa’s birthday, special messages from Sister Marcia Allen and Jean Rosemarynoski, plus a variety of other features.
CLICK HERE FOR THE CENTERSPREAD, pages 14 & 15, highlighting the sisters’ role in Concordia Fall Fest.
CLICK HERE FOR PAGES 16-28, for the End of Year Report and the eulogy for Sister Marie Coleman.
October 8, 2010 by Sarah
Join us for “Dare Your Heart’s Desire,” a very special spiritual retreat for women in their 30s. It is grounded in Ignatian spirituality and designed to provide nourishment for the spiritually hungry.
WHEN: From 7 pm Friday, Oct. 29, through 5 pm Saturday, Oct. 30
WHERE: Manna House of Prayer, Concordia, Kan.
COST: $40, which includes lodging and all meals — or just $30 with a coupon from csjkansas.org. CLICK HERE for coupon.
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Oct. 22
To register or for more information, contact Sister Beverly Carlin, CSJ — phone 785/220-7996, email email@example.com, Facebook S Beverly Carlin.
October 2, 2010 by Sarah
The oldest of friends and the closest of families plus scores of others who cared about them all crowded the Parish Hall at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Abilene Saturday (Oct. 2) for a unique reunion.
The focus was St. Joseph Home and Orphanage, which has not existed in this small town for 51 years. But that didn’t dampen the memories, or the laughter, of the former residents, day students, relatives and friends who gathered for the first-ever reunion of anyone connected with the long-time orphanage and school. Also on hand were three dozen members of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, the religious congregation that ran the facility for 43 years, from when they opened it in 1915 until it closed in 1958. The building on the north edge of Abilene, just off Buckeye Avenue, was demolished in 1959.
These three slideshows are from Saturday’s gathering. The first has 32 photos; the second and third have 24 photos each..
September 25, 2010 by Sarah
The Sisters of St. Joseph led off this morning’s Fall Fest Parade as Grand Marshals of the annual Concordia event.
About a dozen sisters rode the “We Love U Concordia” float while several others walked along side. Still other sisters and Motherhouse employees took spots along the parade route to cheer them on.
The Fall Fest committee honored the sisters for our work this year in establishing the Neighbor to Neighbor center for women in downtown Concordia and for leadership in the Concordia Year of Peace effort, which kicked off at last year’s Fall Fest.
Neighbor to Neighbor also had a Fall Fest booth, to sell a variety of handmade items, including Christmas tree angels made by women who have visited the center at 103 E. Sixth St. Also available for sale were “Heavenly Bits” dog biscuits, which are made by sisters to help support the center.
September 22, 2010 by Sarah
The logo for the newly created “Neighborhood Initiatives Inc.” is a globe surrounded by more than a dozen symbols representing projects and missions of the Sisters of St. Joseph. But the symbols might just as well represent the balls that will have to be kept in the air by whomever is hired as coordinator for the new nonprofit corporation.
The sisters began advertising for the new position this week, and are accepting resumés until Oct. 1.
Neighborhood Initiatives was incorporated earlier this year, and the structure will be used to identify works of service sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, projects initiated and sustained by the congregation and activities the sisters undertake in partnership with others.
The new coordinator — who may be a lay person or a member of a religious congregation — will be responsible for ensuring that all those projects complement each other and for seeking out opportunities for new projects and partnerships.
The position “requires creativity and organizational skills … for collaborative research, development and administrative support of both new and continuing ministries,” according to the job posting released by the congregation. It will also require that the coordinator “understand and apply the values and mission of the Sisters and St. Joseph,” and to be flexible in working with the Neighborhood Initiatives board of directors as the new corporation finds its footing.
The coordinator will be a full-time, salaried position and will be based in Concordia. Qualifications include a college degree or equivalent experience in leadership, management or human resources related to an organization focused on service and charitable works; experience developing and managing an annual budget; strong communication skills with an emphasis on collaboration; creativity and initiative in conceiving, researching and launching projects; and flexibility as the new position and new venture evolve.
Anyone interested in applying for the new position is asked to send a cover letter and complete resumé, including salary history, by mail to Human Resources Director, Neighborhood Initiatives Inc., PO Box 279, Concordia KS 66901; by email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or by fax to 785/243-4741.
September 19, 2010 by Sarah
September 19, 2010 by Sarah
From filmmaker Ana Sofia Jones, producer and director of “Fresh”
1. Buy local products when possible, otherwise, buy organic and fair-trade products. Ask your grocer or favorite restaurant what local food they carry and try to influence their purchasing decisions. You will support your local economy and small farmers, reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides, improve the taste and quality of your food, and protect the environment from fertilizer and pesticide run-offs.
2. Shop at your local farmers market, join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and get weekly deliveries of the season’s harvest, and by buy from local grocers and co-ops committed to stocking local foods.
3. Support restaurants and food vendors that buy locally produced food. When at a restaurant, ask (nicely!) your waiter where the meat and fish comes from. Eventually, as more and more customers ask the same question, they’ll get the message!
4. Avoid GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)! When buying processed food (anything packaged) buy organic to avoid GMO. (Since almost all the soy, corn, and canola in the US is genetically modified, over 70% of all processed food contain GMOs from by-products of these grains.)
5. COOK, CAN, DRY & FREEZE! Our culture has forgotten some of the most basic joys of cooking. Not only is cooking at home better for you and more economical, but it’s an invaluable skill to pass on to your children.
6. Drink plenty of water, but avoid bottled water when you can. Water bottles pollute the environment and bottled water is often mere tap water. Plastic is harmful to your health and to the environment. Buy a reusable water bottle and invest in a good water filter.
7. Grow a garden, visit a farm, volunteer in your community garden, teach a child how to garden. GET DIRTY! Have fun!
8. Volunteer and/or financially support an organization dedicated to promoting a sustainable food system. Stay informed by joining the mailing list of the advocacy groups you trust.
9. Get involved in your community! Influence what your child eats by engaging the school board, effect city policies by learning about zoning and attending city council meetings, learn about the federal policies that affect your food choice and let your congress person know what you think.
10. SHARE your passion! Talk to your friends and family about why our food choice matters.
And organize a FRESH screening.
September 14, 2010 by Sarah
The International Day of Peace was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981 for “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace within and among all nations and people.” In 1991, Sept. 21 was designated as the permanent date for this observance. It has become a worldwide movement to create a global day of peace and nonviolence.
Here are some suggestions for doing one thing (or more) for peace on Sept. 21:
• Go to http://www.internationaldayofpeace.org to learn more about “peace building” and the meaning behind “Peace Day.”
• At noon on Sept. 21, stop what you are doing and spend one minute praying for peace in our world: “Let peace prevail on this earth.”
• Plan a peace service in your school or church congregation. You might organize a ceremony to send your prayers or wishes for peace to every country of the world.
• “Prayer from the heart can achieve what nothing else in the world can,” said Gandhi. Begin and end the day with a prayer for peace.
• In order to create a peaceful world, we must learn to practice nonviolence with one another in our day-to-day interactions. Make amends today. Apologize to someone you may have hurt and mean your apology sincerely.
• Have a conversation with someone today about what the world would be like if there were no weapons nor any need for them. Imagine such a world.
These are just a few ways of moving the world in the direction of peace. Be creative in thinking of other ways to accomplish this goal. Remember that we learn peacemaking by first speaking and acting with respect, honor and reverence for our own being; learning to practice nonviolence with one another in our day-to-day interactions; and then taking action that honors the dignity and worth of every living being and the planet.
Make Sept. 21 truly a day of peace, a day when peace-lovers become peace-makers.
— Sister Carolyn Teter
Pax Christi Salina member