Forum process leads to Year of Peace and other progress
The results of citizens working together — from a completed Community Resource Guide to an official proclamation for the Concordia Year of Peace — led the agenda at Thursday’s community forum.
As each small group gave its report, it was obvious how far the process has come in eight months. Instead of talking just about the challenges the city of Concordia faces — and there was some of that — most of the discussion among the 40 people in attendance at the Motherhouse for the working lunch focused on what has been accomplished or is in the works.
In addition to residents from throughout Concordia, also on hand were Joel Wright of the Kansas-based consulting firm Team Tech Inc. and Lisa Koch, the public transit manager for the Kansas Department of Transportation. Wright and Koch play leading roles on the Salina Regional Transit Breakthrough Team that has been studying the problems of public transportation in a 10-county area and looking for solutions that can be the basis for a pilot project.
The team is looking at ways to coordinate services and better serve people in need for public transportation throughout the pilot project area, roughly from Ellsworth north to the Nebraska state line, Wright said.
“But this is not us coming in from the outside pressing our ideas down on people,” he added. “This is looking at ideas that come up from the local areas.”
Wright and Koch attended Thursday’s working lunch at the invitation of Judie Deal and James Quillen, both of OCCK Inc., who have been attending the Breakthrough Team meetings in Salina.
Wright also announced that the next Breakthrough Team meeting will be Sept. 24, in Salina. Anyone interested in attending should call Deal at 243-1977.
Local project updates at Thursday’s lunch included:
• The completed Cloud County Community Resource Directory, which was taken on by a small group led by Cecelia Thrash of Manna House of Prayer and Cathy Feriend of the Community Resource Center. The 30-page guide lists a wide variety of local social and health services plus emergency phone numbers and state and national hotline numbers. Anyone who wants a copy should call Thrash at 248-4428 or Feriend at 243-1065.
• The Neighbor to Neighbor center, which is beginning a limited program at the Motherhouse while its building in downtown Concordia is being renovated. The “interim program” begins Sept. 21 and will be from 9 to 11 a.m. every Monday and Wednesday in the Motherhouse Auditorium. There is no charge, and women and women with preschool children are invited to stop by and meet Sisters Pat McLennon, Ramona Medina and Jean Befort, and find out more about what will be offered. For information, they can call the sisters at 243-9689.
• The Concordia Year of Peace, which will kick off during Fall Fest Sept. 26. And it should be a showy beginning, complete with a float, T-shirts and polo shirts, posters, buttons and two songs composed by Patrick Sieben of Cloud County Community College.
Next week Mayor Greg Hattan is expected to issue a proclamation officially marking the Concordia Year of Peace, and the committee will have both a float and a booth during Fall Fest. Committee members will be selling Year of Peace T-shirts and polo shirts, and will have free activities and buttons available at their booth at Sixth Street and Broadway.
The Year of Peace Committee has received a $500 grant from the Community Foundation for Cloud County, to help cover some of its initial expenses. A fundraiser is planned in October.
Also in October, the committee is joining with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia and the Frank Carlson Library to offer a six-week study program titled “Engage: Exploring Nonviolent Living.”
The sessions begin Oct. 7 and will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the library. The program allows participants to learn, practice and experiment with the power of creative nonviolence to transform our lives and our world.
The only cost to attend is $22.60 to purchase the “Engage” workbook, and payment must be received by Sept. 30. To register or for more information, call Sister Anna Marie Broxterman at 243-2149 (office) or 243-2172 (home).
But discussion of successes Thursday did not completely overshadow troubling topics that have come up in earlier forums. Sister Marcia Allen, president of the Concordia congregation and emcee for Thursday’s lunch, said the next forum — on Thursday, Oct. 22 — will be an opportunity to “reconnoiter.”
“We don’t want to allow any of the ideas that have come up to fall through the cracks,” she said.
Thursday’s meeting was the sixth in a process that started in the fall of 2008 with informal lunches at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse, at 13th and Washington streets. In addition to identifying what participants see as the greatest needs in the community, the meetings have established smaller groups to seek solutions. Everyone in the community is invited to take part, and anyone can join at any time. If you’d like to be reminded of the next meeting, please contact Sister Jean Rosemarynoski at 243-2149 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
4 thoughts on “Forum process leads to Year of Peace and other progress”
Is is really marvelous to read about what community effort can do for a small town. Keep up the GOOD WORK!
I was completely amazed at all that been accomplished by the working sub groups from the on-going civic forums that have been going on for the past year or so. It was inspiring to see all that had been accomplished–the new directory of agencies, the extensive work of the peace committee, the transportation group. A beautiful example of what can be accomplished when people network and work together for a worthwhile cause! And we know that there are other goals we can work on together e.g. the problems connected with poverty, and we are sure that has not been forgotten. It will be addressed when we meet again, in October.
So many exciting things happening in Concordia and the involvement of so many is inspiring.
What a working group. Thanks S.Anne