Forum participants warm up with lots of news

January 7, 2010 by

Sister Mary Jo Thummel, standing at left, asks a question of Sister Jean Rosemarynoski during Thursdays working lunch at the Nazareth Motherhouse.

Sister Mary Jo Thummel, standing at left, asks a question of Sister Jean Rosemarynoski during Thursday's working lunch at the Nazareth Motherhouse.


Sister Betty Suther, left, listens as Cecelia Green talks about plans for the community garden.

Sister Betty Suther, left, listens as Cecelia Green talks about plans for the community garden.

With single-digit temperatures outside making the spring growing season seem like a distant dream, community members Thursday heard about updates on plans for a community garden and a variety of other Concordia projects.


In the eighth community forum at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse, participants also learned that a nationally recognized expert on poverty will be in Concordia March 30 for a daylong workshop and an evening lecture.


And participants heard about another project that has grown out of the sessions started a year ago: A small group has now formed to work on organizing a mediation center in downtown Concordia.


Thursday’s “working lunch” was the latest in a process that started in the fall of 2008 with informal lunches at the Sisters of St. Joseph. In addition to identifying what participants see as the greatest needs in the community, the meetings have established smaller groups to seek solutions.


Past lunches have attracted up to 60 community members, but this week’s brutally cold temperatures and gusting winds kept Thursday’s number down to about 35.


Cloud County Health Center CEO Jim Wahlmeier explains continuing discussions to fund an emergency health clinic in Concordia.

Cloud County Health Center CEO Jim Wahlmeier explains continuing discussions to fund an emergency health clinic in Concordia.

Highlights included announcements that:


• Plans for the community organic garden in the northeast corner of the Motherhouse property are moving forward. The next planning meeting is Tuesday, at 7 p.m. at the Motherhouse. “If you can give advice to gardeners or want to be a gardener, please come,” said Sister Betty Suther of Manna House of Prayer, who is heading the garden committee.


She said the committee planning the garden hopes it can provide produce to help families eat a healthier diet while also educating gardeners about taking care of the land.


• A grant from the Cook Foundation is making it possible to bring Dr. Donna Beegle here on March 30. The “poverty small group” is still working out details, but Dr. Beegle will present a workshop on generational poverty and then present a free lecture at the Brown Grand Theatre in the evening.


Dr. Beegle, a national expert on poverty based in the Portland, Ore., area, grew up in a migrant labor family. At 15 she dropped out of school, married, and by 25 was a homeless divorced mother with two children. Through a pilot program that helped her gain self-confidence as well as connections to resources and mentors, she returned to school, eventually achieving a doctorate in educational leadership. For the past 17 years she has conducted research on poverty, authored “See Poverty… Be the Difference” and founded the non-profit PovertyBridge to work directly with people in poverty.


• Plans are now under way for a mediation center in Concordia, thanks to the efforts of Wanda Bachstrom and Kathryn Carter. The services it would offer would help people settle disputes without having to go into the legal system, explained Sister Jean Rosemarynoski, who is helping with the initial planning. The planners hope the center could be funded by grants so there would be little or no cost to those using its services.


• The deadline for signing the Civility Pledge, a project of the Concordia Year of Peace, has been extended to Jan. 19. The deadline had been the end of 2009, so the pledge could b a New Year’s Resolution, but the weather meant that many civic groups and service organizations cancelled meetings in late December at which the pledge would have been presented.


A copy of the Pledge — which says, “I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior, I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them and I will stand against incivility when I see it” — is available to be printed out and signed. The version for individuals is available HERE, while the one for groups is available by clicking HERE.


• Work is continuing on the new Neighbor to Neighbor center in downtown Concordia. This project of the Sisters of St. Joseph will provide a wide range of free programs and services — and a place just to get to know each other — for women and women with young children. Three Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia — Pat McLennon, Jean Befort and Ramona Medina — will operate the center and design the programs offered there, and are now offering an interim program on Monday and Wednesday mornings at the Motherhouse.


The next community forum is set for Feb. 16 at the Motherhouse. All residents of Concordia are invited to attend the working lunch.


For more information on that session or the forum process, call Sister Jean Rosemarynoski at 785-243-2149 or email her at sisterjean@csjkansas.org
Sister Marcia Allen, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, welcomes participants to the working lunch Thursday.

Sister Marcia Allen, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, welcomes participants to the working lunch Thursday.


Cheryl Sulkosky listens as Sister Loretta Jasper makes a point during the small group discussion of a new mediation center.

Cheryl Sulkosky listens as Sister Loretta Jasper makes a point during the small group discussion of a new mediation center.


Crystal Paredes, right, makes a point in the poverty small group as, from left, Sister Marcia Allen, Sister Pat McLennon and Everett Ford consider their responses.

Crystal Paredes, right, makes a point in the poverty small group as, from left, Sister Marcia Allen, Sister Pat McLennon and Everett Ford consider their responses.


Sue Sutton from Cloud County Community College explains that a Cook Foundation grant will make it possible to bring a national expert on generational poverty to Concordia in March.

Sue Sutton from Cloud County Community College explains that a Cook Foundation grant will make it possible to bring a national expert on generational poverty to Concordia in March.

Comments

4 Responses to “Forum participants warm up with lots of news”

  1. Christine Doman,CSJ on January 9th, 2010 11:58 pm

    The wisdom, insights, shared and considers by the community of Concordia and surrounding areas is a remarkable work of grace and love,with the heart which spells Con cordia in Latin.Congratulations on continued planning efforts.
    Christine

  2. Sister Philomene Reiland on January 8th, 2010 1:17 pm

    The Forum is busy getting things done and helping people. Would that all towns were as ambitious!

  3. Jo Foy on January 7th, 2010 10:32 pm

    Way to go! Kudos to Cecilia for community garden ideas. Also to the CCCC person who will bring a generational poverty expert to Concordia.

  4. Anne M. Reinert on January 7th, 2010 8:00 pm

    Seems to have been good steady work. Blessings

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