Lunch group endorses Year of Peace for 2012

November 16, 2011 by

Bruce Nutter, a regular participant in the "working lunches," asks a question during Wednesday's event at the Nazareth Motherhouse.

During Wednesday's lunch meeting, Sister Jean Rosemarynoski explains a survey she created asking for feedback on the Concordia Year of Peace.

Those taking part in the 16th Community Needs Forum “working lunch” Wednesday were fewer in number, but bursting with ideas about the future of the nearly 3-year-old process. They were equally enthusiastic about one of the best-known projects that grew out of the forum: The Concordia Year of Peace.

In recapping the idea behind the Year of Peace, Sister Jean Rosemarynoski — who has chaired the committee guiding the effort — said that when it began in September 2009, it was intended as a 16-month effort. It was expected to continue through the end of 2010 and to celebrate peace and teach about living a nonviolent life. When “Another Year of Peace” was announced for all of 2011, committee members committed to another year of regular columns in the Blade-Empire plus a book of past columns, radio commentaries on KNCK, peace-related films at Cloud County Community College and partnerships to help organize the National Night Out in August and the Peace Fair at the Nazareth Motherhouse in September.

The committee wants to continue its efforts into 2012, Rosemarynoski said at Wednesday’s lunch, and needs opinions about what Year of Peace efforts have been most effective as well as suggestions on how to move forward.

Participants at Wednesday's lunch took a couple of minutes to complete the Year of Peace survey.

Earlier this week, she posted a short online survey to gather information. Anyone in Concordia or Cloud County may complete the survey, which is available at this web link:

“I really liked the National Night Out event,” said Melina Hemphill at Wednesday’s lunch. “It was something that really worked. We should do that every year if not twice a year.”

Holly Brown agreed. “The National Night Out was totally fun. We had three or four blocks, with people of all ages. It was nice to meet our older neighbors and have our kids meet them.”

The Year of Peace Committee and the Concordia Police Department co-sponsored Concordia’s participation in the National Night Out in early August. Some two dozen neighborhoods hosted block parties or other activities so neighbors could get to know each other.

Melina Hemphill of the Concordia office of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilation Services gave an update on changes in the state's "Temporary Assistance for Needy Families" program that took effect Nov. 1.

Sister Betty Suther called the regular columns written by community members and published in the Blade-Empire “exceptional.” “They keep us thinking about peace,” she added.

Others cited a number of other Year of Peace activities as particularly important: The Civility Pledge, “Engage” book study and workshop, the Peace Fair (in partnership with other groups) and “Year of Peace Supporter” signs posted around town.

Sister Bette Moslander noted that since 2012 is a presidential election year, the Year of Peace could focus on” humanizing the political process — to help keep the conversation respectful and meaningful.”

Or, suggested Crystal Paredes, “Maybe we should change it up a little, so make it a Year of Giving for 2012.”

The Year of Peace Committee is expected to meet soon to consider all these ideas and information from the online survey, and then will announce plans for 2012.

The two dozen or so lunch participants also had ideas about the future of the Community Needs Forum, which started in the fall of 2008 with informal lunches with the Sisters of St. Joseph. Wednesday’s lunch was the 16th meeting in the process.

“At the beginning, we asked you what was important to you,” said Sister Marcia Allen, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph, which has hosted all the meetings. “Now we’re asking you that again.”

Community issues raised during the meeting included homelessness as we go into the winter, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and challenges getting information out to the community.

The next working lunch is set for Thursday, Feb. 23, at the Nazareth Motherhouse, and everyone is invited to take part. You do not have to have attended earlier forums to join the process now. If you have questions or would like more information about the Community Needs Forum, contact Sister Jean Rosemarynoski at 243-2149 or




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