‘Working lunch’ focuses on events & work to be done

August 17, 2011 by

Sister Jean Rosemarynoski, right, offers a blessing after Sister Marcia Allen, left, welcomed participants to Wednesday's "working lunch" at the Nazareth Motherhouse.

At least a dozen local organizations and agencies will take part in Concordia’s first-ever Volunteer Fair, participants at Wednesday’s “working lunch” at the Nazareth Motherhouse learned.

And while plans for that event — designed to bring together groups that need volunteers and local residents willing to help — are being finalized, other new community events are being launched.

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Nearly 30 people attended the lunch, which was the 15th gathering in a process that started in the fall of 2008 and hosted by 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.

On Wednesday, a number of committees updated the larger group on upcoming events:

• Neighbor to Neighbor is hosting an open house this evening, from 5 to 7 p.m., to show off the just-completed renovation project that has doubled the space of the women’s center in downtown Concordia. The public is invited to stop by.

• A free showing of the 2004 movie “Hotel Rwanda” is set for Wednesday, Sept. 7, at the Cook Theater on the Cloud County Community College campus. Co-sponsored by the college and the Concordia year of Peace Committee, the 7 p.m. movie will be followed by a discussion led by Sue Sutton and Brenton Phillips.

• The Concordia Volunteer Fair is set for Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Motherhouse. Organizations and agencies, ranging from the Concordia Fire Department to the Brown Grand Theatre, will have displays, so local residents can find out more about how they can volunteer. Other groups that expect to have displays are Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Concordia POW Camp Association, the Salina chapter of the American Red Cross, the North Central Kansas Regional Medical Rescue Corps, Cloud County Museum, the National Orphan Train Museum, the Concordia School District, the city of Concordia, Manna House of Prayer and Neighbor to Neighbor.

• On Sunday, Sept. 18, the Motherhouse will host a Peace Fair, sponsored by the Justice and Peace Center of the Sisters of St. Joseph, the Concordia Year of Peace Committee and Pax Christi of Salina. That even commemorates the International Day of Peace and will offer a wide array of free activities for adults and children.

• The next presentation in the 2011 Concordia Speakers Series will be Monday, Sept. 26. Concordia City Manager Larry Uri will discuss “Building Community” in his talk, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Motherhouse Auditorium. All the presentations in the Speakers Series are open to the public without charge.

Also during Wednesday’s lunch, Year of Peace committee member Patrick Sieben reported on the National Night Out events in Concordia Aug. 2.

Sieben said “probably hundreds of people participated” in more than 20 neighborhood parties across the city as a part of the nationwide event, which was sponsored locally by the Year of Peace Committee and the Concordia Police Department. “This was a good, fun thing,” Sieben said, “and we’re going to do it again next year.” The national event is always held the first Tuesday in August.

New discussion that came up Wednesday included an idea to help local nonprofit organizations come together to raise funds.

Holly Brown, the former director of Big Brothers Big Sisters who has just started work in the Sisters of St. Joseph Development Office, asked those at the lunch meeting whether they would be interested in something like a “Christmas Tree Lane,” in which local organizations could decorate trees that then would be used as fundraisers. The event could be held in conjunction with the annual Christmas Open House at the Motherhouse, she said.

Brown is leading a committee to consider the idea.

Sister Marcia Allen, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, also asked the group if human trafficking and its connection to immigration were topics of concern. “There have been recent news reports of trafficking in the Wichita area, and I don’t know how much people here know about it, and think it’s an issue here,” she said.

Allen along with several other sisters recently attended a national conference held in St. Louis where human trafficking was a main topic on the agenda.

After more discussion, most of the participants said they need more information about trafficking and its impact locally.

The final working lunch for 2011 is planned for Nov. 16, with the quarterly meetings scheduled through the first half of 2012. Everyone is invited to join the process; you do not have to a have attended an earlier lunch or other meeting to take part now. If you’d like to be added to the list to receive an email reminder of the next lunch, contact Sister Jean Rosemarynoski at sisterjean@csjkansas.org.






2 Responses to “‘Working lunch’ focuses on events & work to be done”

  1. Loretta Jasper on August 24th, 2011 6:49 am

    There are many positive and constructive effects of the forums…the working lunches…for Concordia/Cloud Co.. All of the dear neighbors coming together to build a stronger community of citizens…meeting present and future needs.
    Sharing the concern about human trafficking in this venue is most important being on the crossroads of I-70, i-35, and I-80(somewhat). We always have the ability to expand our awareness and quality of response for systemic change.

  2. Jeanette Wasinger, csj on August 20th, 2011 8:43 am

    I find this account of the “working lunch” very interesting. I’m grateful that Marcia raised the topic “human trafficking” and that people wanted more information about it.While at the Neighbor to Neighbor Open House I heard a man who has a business in Concordia say, “I think the last Forum was excellent. Let’s keep it up!” Yes, let’s do!

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