Update (February 2003)
Iraq Peace Pledge and Pledge of Resistance Stimulate Non-Violent Action
As military forces are moved into position to prepare for a U.S. war against Iraq, around the world people hear again Christ’s quiet message of peace: love one another. It is a message shared by all our world’s religious traditions.
In keeping with the nonviolence tradition of our faiths, Pax Christi USA, NETWORK, Sojourners, and other faith-based groups have pledged to work to stop the war, through prayer and action. Local nonviolence action plans are coalescing all over the country through the Iraq Peace Pledge and Pledge of Resistance.
We invite you to participate in one of three ways. 1) Sign the Pledge and work in your local community, either forming a group or working with one already in existence. Many groups have plans for demonstrations soon after the commencement of war and are taking other actions now. 2) If a war should commence, Pax Christi will hold a nonviolent rally and procession with leaders from various religious traditions and groups, culminating in nonviolent civil disobedience (for those who are so called) at the White House in Washington, DC. Participate in this event if possible. 3) Join these groups around the country in prayer for a peaceful resolution to this conflict.
To sign the Pledge and be connected with a local group or for more action suggestions, visit the Pax Christi USA website at www.paxchristiusa.org. For information on the religious leaders’ witness in Washington DC, please contact Shannon McManimon at Pax Christi USA at 215/805-3510 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catholic Health Care and Work Discussions Continue
On December 11, the U.S. Bishops Subcommittee on Catholic Health Care and Work met in the San Francisco Bay Area. The meeting was an invitation-only and off-the-record consultation to broaden a conversation among leaders of Catholic Health Care, the AFL-CIO and the Catholic Bishop’s Conference begun in 1997.
The consultation was focused on the draft working paper published by the Subcommittee in 1999, A Fair and Just Workplace: Principles and Practices for Catholic Health Care. Panel presentations in the morning from Catholic Health Care management, Organized Labor leaders, sponsor leaders and the Catholic Community and Bishops outlined the issues discussed in greater depth later in the day.
The meeting, chaired by Bishop William Skylstad from Spokane, provided an opportunity for some extremely candid discussion among the 25 participants and further understanding of the different points of view in the ongoing debate. Diane Grassilli, RSM, represented LCWR at the discussion.
A Farewell from Judy Cannon, RSM
My time of service as Associate Director for Social Mission has been wonderfully energizing for me, and I thank each of you for sharing your commitment, good ideas, and competent work for justice. As I complete my six years, I carry with me so many experiences of effective collaboration and – yes – good times. We can’t say that we have achieved our goal of a just world order, but we do our best! I will pray for you as I return to my California community for renewal time.
Judy Cannon, RSM
NATRI Conference Challenges Participants to Expand Fiscal Horizons
Expanding Horizons was the theme of the National Association of Treasurers of Religious Institute (NATRI)’ s annual conference, held November 20-23, 2002 in Tampa, FL.
Over 700 participants from across the United States and Canada were exposed to a variety of challenging questions facing those responsible for finances in a tense and chaotic world. Areas of focus included: investments with social responsibility screens; appropriate use, care and disposal of property/facilities in an age of global ecological crises; sustainable land-use law; alternative energy sources, spiritual and ethical issues as well as new understandings of the vow of poverty that reflect ecologically-responsible living.
The NATRI conference offered 35 workshop sessions on such topics as sustainable land use and the law, fair labor standards act, TRENDS analysis and interpretation, development of spending rules, risk management, alternative investments, elder care services, canonical issues and records management. Participants were also challenged by the two plenary speakers. Peter Brinckerhoff spoke on Mission-Based Management and Paula Gonzalez, SC encouraged listeners to considerChoosing a Sustainable Future.
Attending the NATRI Conference for LCWR was Associate Director Eleanor Granger, OSF, NATRI Liason.
LCWR Finance Committee Update
Ed.’s Notes: LCWR Associate Director Eleanor Granger, OSF provides the following report on the activities of the LCWR Finance Committee.
The LCWR finance committee meets twice annually to oversee fiscal governance for the conference.
In their fall meeting, held October 20-22, 2002 at the National Office in Silver Spring, MD, the major agenda items discussed included the development and recommendations for the 2003 LCWR operating and building fund budget. As well, the Committee held its annual meeting with its investment house, Rittenhouse - Nuveen Investment Company, and reviewed the 10-Year Projection Document for LCWR. The committee is composed of Rose Jochmann, OSF (Chairperson); Maureen Comer, OP; Mary Bernadette McNulty, CSJ; Mary Jo Shingler, PHCS; Jean Keniry, OSF; Eleanor Granger, OSF (staff); with assistance from Jackie Kelly, LCWR Business Manager.
During this meeting the CMSM/LCWR Joint Finance Committee met, a first in the history of the conferences. Discussions centered on common responsibility for the building at 8808 Cameron Street, jointly owned LCWR and CMSM. The Cameron street building houses the LCWR national office, CMSM and three other conferences, known collectively as Cameron Five. Both groups found the time to be valuable and plan to meet again in the fall of 2003.
From the fall meeting, the LCWR Finance Committee has recommended the 2003 draft budgets to the LCWR Executive Committee in November 2002 and to the National Board at their February 2003 meeting.
The spring meeting of the Finance Committee will be held in Seal Beach, CA, March 23-26, 2003.
A Note of Gratitude
All of us at LCWR wish to express our gratitude to the over fifty congregations in 1998, who responded to an invitation to contribute to the LCWR Trust Fund. The outright gifts that were sent and the interest from those who entered into Loan Agreements have been vitally important to the well-being of the conference. During the last five years, LCWR has been able to accomplish several special projects as well as other valuable services to our members.
In this time of reduced investment returns for both LCWR and member congregations, LCWR is most appreciative of the many congregations who have been able to either forgive or extend your loans for another three years. We welcome other congregations who may be interested in entering into this loan program.
From the Executive Director’s Desk…
We have had an unusually cold winter in Washington. The transplanted Minnesotans in the building – Eleanor Granger in our office, Dan Ward of LRCR and Phil Swensen of NATRI (yes – we have THREE!) - rib us a bit about being whimpy when the TV meteorologists call a three-inch snowstorm “a snow emergency.” Nevertheless, we have done our fair share of windshield scrapping, ice-melt sprinkling, and general brrrr-ing to merit honorable mention in the winter department.
I guess that’s why on Saturday when I did some grocery shopping, I couldn’t resist buying two little crocus plants in small Blue Willow porcelain containers – one for my office and one for my apartment. On the one hand, it seemed a bit early for crocuses. On the other hand, I felt I needed them.
It wasn’t just my wintered heart and chapped hands that wanted to see their spiky little leaves poke through the dark soil. It was the part of me that emerges at the end of a day when I’m driving home in the dark, that needed some perennial reminder of hope.
You and I, religious women of 2003 living in the United States, need all the crocuses we can get. We need to believe that the discouraging actuarial tables on our desks point to life, not death. We need to believe that each funeral of one of our “pillars of the order” is planting a seed for our future. We need to believe that each letter written to congress chips away a bit at the folly and fallacy of a war with any winners.
In my short and happy career of crocus-raising, I’ve learned that the plants grow fastest during the night. Yesterday when I went into my office, there was a sudden deep purple bud that had not been there the night before. It gave me a little startle. It gave me hope.
I have a small plaque on my desk at LCWR with the words of Martin Luther: “Even if I knew the world would end tomorrow, I’d plant an apple tree today.” We are people who need to be planting apple trees and watching crocuses pierce the soil to remind us of the God who works in quiet and in the dark to break through with astonishing, unexpected revelations. With you, I pray:
We have a well-worn cliché
Perhaps you’ve heard:
Every dark cloud has a …” You have.
Well, as I begin this day,
I’d be grateful if you’d remind me.
Abba, help me feel you near. Amen. *
Girl - go out and get yourself a crocus!
Carole Shinnick, SSND
* from More Daily Prayers for Busy People by William O’Malley, SJ
For Your Information
CSRL Cultural Audit Now Available
The Center for the Study of Religious Life announces the release of the Cultural Audit, a tool to assist leaders interested in understanding their congregational cultural profile and the implications of that profile for congregational policies and practices.
Compiled in a three-ring binder and CD, materials include presentations of cultural frameworks, inventories, readings and exercises. The CD contains several audiovisual components and the entire text in MS Word, so that materials may be customized. A bibliography and a list of resources will help you continue your work on these cultural questions. Cost is $300. Copies may be obtained from the National Coalition for Church Vocations (1-800-671-NCCV).