Department of Social Concerns
of the Diocese of St. Cloud
Blest Post Election to You!
Where is time going! Yes, flying it is. Thanksgiving next week and then Advent! Happy Holy Days to you!
It is my honor to have been involved in the Greater St. Cloud Area Faith Leaders group for the last two years. We have successfully brought together Muslims, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Universalists, Mormans, Eastern Orthodox, and Catholics for monthly meetings and 200 people at each of our yearly picnics. This has been such an adventure for me and I learn more all the time! I learn that we are so much the same and have shared dreams and aspirations. So often we are somehow convinced about the worst of people and their intentions. That is why we decided to concentrate our efforts for the October Parish Social Ministry Training on Deep Understanding or Compassion in the Year of Mercy. All of us want to live in peace and raise our children in a world that is safe. Throwing out hate, slander and insults will only lead to violence and more fear and hate. Why would we want that? Especially when our faith teaches us that we are to love and show compassion and friendship to our neighbors. Maybe it is for our own good that we are called to do good!
With the consequences of this election season still to be determined, I believe we need the words of Jesus to "love your neighbor as yourself" more than ever. To give in to letting political rhetoric become our language can mean that we become Republicans or Democrats first and Christians second. Let us not get that flipped. Also we are hearing that our sisters and brothers of color are afraid of what a new president might mean for them. As we live the gospel of Jesus, we know that to stand idly by in the face of racism and discrimination is not the way Jesus would have responded. WWJD (what would Jesus do) applies now as it always has.
You will see that we have added the post election prayer to your left. Please pray this as we go forward. You might want to check with your pastor to see if you could add it to your bulletin.
Your work is needed in our world, in your community and in your parish. Being active, that is, as a source of education and action, is an essential part of your parish ministry. Please let us know how we can help you make that happen. Give us a call or email anytime! We would love to come to a meeting of yours to connect with you and get to know you better.
We begin this fall with a new resolve. Our goal is to get a newsletter out to you every quarter and have that newsletter shorter and more concise, while also getting information to you in a more timely manner. How do you like that idea? We will see how it works and will love to get input from you too.
Blessings and peace!
Director of Social Concerns
Meet the New Intern!
Hello, all! My name is Rachel Gabelman and in addition to being the new CCHD intern, I am a Master of Divinity candidate at Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary.
In accord with my deeply incarnational spirituality, I hope to better educate myself and others about the active responsibilities we bear to our neighbors when we identify as Christians. The principles of Catholic Social Teaching resonate with my experience of what it means to pray as Jesus did says, "on earth as it is in heaven." This very prayer only truthfully arises from our hearts when we are engaged in the work of mercy and justice.
Originally from Nebraska, I am still getting to know the Diocese of St. Cloud and the geography of Central Minnesota. But so far I am greatly encouraged by the incredible work being done locally
! Thanks for the warm welcome I have received from many of you already.
Peace to you,
Rural Life Leadership Development Initiative hits final phase in Onamia
By Doug Scott, Community Organizer
The Rural Life Leadership Development Initiative (RLLDI) has moved into the final, community development stage in northern Mille Lacs county. The team from the Holy Cross cluster in Onamia has representatives Jen Honek (Isle schools) and Molly Manthey (Onamia schools) participating on the steering committee that is leading a community conversation to build community and to act on key local challenges.
The conversation, entitled 'Building Community/Empowering Families Northern Mille Lacs County' is being sponsored by a Noble Cause grant, The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, the Social Concerns Department of Catholic Charities and a pending grant from the Initiative Foundation and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
Community conversations have become best practice for towns around the country that wish to improve their quality of life. Representatives from civic groups and education from Vineland, Onamia, Wahkon and Isle sit on the steering committee. Mille Lacs county, Mille Lacs Health System and the Crosier Priory also have steering committee representation.
To date, 6 sessions are scheduled ranging from diversity and historical trauma to community action (naming, prioritizing and acting on issues of mutual concern) for residents participating in the effort.
The first session is scheduled for December 2016 with the final meeting targeted for May, 2017. All sessions are open to the public.
Stay tuned to next quarter's newsletter for an update on this exciting project!
+Note that Doug is now our Community Organizer and will work periodically in this capacity across the Diocese.
Cohort 3: Well on Their Way
by JoAnn Braegelman,
Rural Life Coordinator,
Our third cohort of the Rural Life Leadership Development Initiative has finished their leadership training! We had some amazing sessions! The parishes in this cohort include:
Melrose, Greenwald, Meire Grove, Springhill
Belgrade, Brooten, Elrosa
The individual parish leadership teams have completed their parish input sessions. The results of these meetings will be the basis for strategic planning for each committee. This should give our teams and parishes a much clearer picture of how to proceed in their ministry. With a few of these meetings completed, it is already clear that the Spirit is at work leading us all to some pretty amazing ideas! A couple areas that have come to light include the need to create a readily accessible listing of community resources, and finding avenues to reach populations that deal with mental illness. And this is just the beginning!
It has been such a blessing to follow this process with so many wonderful, caring people! It will be great to see how this work continues grow and develop in the future!
Circles of Understanding Event Reflection
By Rachel Gabelman, CCHD Intern
On November 6, the Greater St. Cloud Area Faith Leaders organized a community-building Circles of Understanding Event. About 65 individuals were present, from an array of faith communities. The idea of using the Circle Process to bring people together for storytelling is one that has deep roots in the Native American tradition.
Before introducing ourselves, each member of the ten circles agreed to the guidelines given, which include speaking honestly and respectfully, listening with the heart, and confidentiality. Then, one at a time by moving a talking piece around the circle, participants were invited to share stories about the neighborhoods we have lived in, and the hopes we have for our neighborhoods now.
The format calls for a different kind of speaking and listening than we are ordinarily used to doing. By taking turns and passing the talking piece, there is no pressure to immediately formulate a response. Rather one can listen more intently for what is at the heart of the speaker's words and let that settle in.
Midway through the process, a deep sense of honor washed over me, as I gratefully received the wisdom embedded in the stories of the other's past experiences and their hopes for the future. Sentiments of peace began to echo throughout our circle. As common themes like this arose, connections started to form between us and deeper sharing began to occur. It was clear that we each brought vastly different experiences and gifts to the group, so it was a real joy to have such an intentional and safe space to learn from one another. The circle process was a welcome and refreshing break from the small-talk and pleasantries that are easy to fall into in new social environments. It provided just the right amount of structure to foster self-reflection and allow for a shared wisdom to arise from the group as a whole.
The Circle Process is a simple yet meaningful tool to build understanding. You may want to consider how you might make use of this process in your parish or neighborhood. To the left you will see two graphics that are available to you as resources.
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Together, we can make a different tomorrow for Central Minnesota.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
St. Cloud State University,
Atwood Memorial Center, Ballroom
JRLC Day on the Hill
Social Concerns Advoca
Save the Date:
February 23, 2017
Each year the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC) chooses 4-6 issues that participants will focus on as they go to lobby their elected representatives. Participants will have appointments set up with legislators as well as position papers handed out to them before the day begins, in order to be fully prepared.
This event is open to everyone, no previous knowledge necessary. It is like Legislation and Advocacy 101!