Economic Justice Team Meeting Minutes

Economic Justice Team

December 19, 2018

Attending tonight’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, and Deb Hogshead.

Paul and Caroline both offered devotions.

Paul led the meeting.


The team shared reactions to the last White Privilege session. The session went well. Two college students, a brother and sister, joined us for our discussion. It was a delight to have them. They had learned about the session when visiting the church website.

Paul asked Deb to share information about a movement to protect Lake Erie. Ohio activists were seeking signatures to demonstrate support for a Lake Erie Bill or Rights (LEBOR), which was to be discussed by the Lucas County Board of Elections on Dec. 20. Caroline shared her knowledge of Lake Erie, factors that affect its health and the difficulties associated with finding solutions that will satisfy all concerned. (For more information on LEBOR, visit https://wwHYPERLINK “″wHYPERLINK “” For information on the Great Lakes Consortium, visit “”mHYPERLINK “”.org/site/.)

Paul invited the team to share other interests and concerns.

Joyce recently learned that the local Taco Bell has started using non-recyclable plastic cups for its beverages. She wondered whether this was a local change or an industry-wide initiative. She would like to do some research and learn more about the issue, including finding out who to contact with a request to stop the use of non-recyclable plastic.

Joyce also reported she had learned that there’s a move to replace plastic containers with containers made from shrimp casings..

Suggestions were made about future programs to hold. Two ideas related to our current study of White Privilege: inviting Mary Sue Gmeiner to speak about Showing Up for Racial Justice, or SURJ (learn more at http://www.showingupHYPERLINK “”fHYPERLINK “” and/or inviting Larry Hamilton to speak about the Randolph freedmen and the creation of the Randolph & McCulloch Freedom’s Struggle Complex in Piqua (learn more at “”4HYPERLINK “”717/local-educator-lays-groundwork-for-freedom-complex). One idea dovetails with our interest in environmental justice: inviting Michael Greenman of Move to Amend’s Interfaith Caucus to speak, perhaps working in partnership with other congregations and having another speaker or two on environmental issues.

We discussed the challenge of getting more people involved with our efforts. One idea was to ask other churches to partner with us. It was noted that the church secretary has connections at Richards Chapel and that some of the women attending the White Privilege sessions go to the local Episcopal church. The question is, how do we support these individuals as they reach out to members of their own churches and encourage their congregations to get involved?

We ended the meeting by listening to part of the Radio Lab podcast on the 2010 Supreme Court decision on Citizens United v. FEC, which can be heard at https://www.yHYPERLINK “”oHYPERLINK “”

Next white privilege discussion: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., Jan. 9, 2018

Next business meeting: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., Jan. 23, 2018

November 28, 2018

Attending tonight’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, and Deb Hogshead.

Paul provided devotions and led the meeting.


The team shared their reactions to Erin Rolfes’s Nov. 27 presentation on Kroger’s Zero Hunger, Zero Waste initiative and the last White Privilege session. Those who attended Erin’s program agreed that it went well and was informative. The White Privilege study group continues to go well. The next White Privilege session will be at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 12. We will begin Part 2 of the curriculum. We talked about the possibility of asking Mary Sue Gmeiner to speak about being an ally to people of color around the time we begin Part 4, which will cover that topic. Mary Sue is a member of the Dayton chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).

Deb read an email from Sue Carter with Ohio Fair Food. Sue said her group plans to form a state-wide network of allies who have joined the Wendy’s Boycott as a way to share information about how we can support the campaign around the state.

Caroline shared information from an article about inequality around the world. She noted that human needs are dictated by hunger and accompanied by a need to feed the world. She added that for poor countries to advance, it’s likely that we in the United States will need to make sacrifices, such as reducing our oil consumption. The article, “High consumption by some nations puts all of us at risk,” is in the December 2018 issue of National Geographic and can be found online.

Paul shared information about a book by Louis Hyman called Temp: How American Work, American Business, and the American Dream Became Temporary. Paul said he has ordered the book, and he suggested we listen to a podcast on the topic at our next meeting.

Although we thought we might have time to listen to a Radiolab podcast about Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the other topics of tonight’s meeting generated an interesting and lively discussion.

Next white privilege discussion: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., Dec. 12, 2018

Next business meeting: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., Dec. 19, 2018

October 23, 2018

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, Deb Hogshead, and Nancy Smith.

Caroline provided devotions about abiding love, posing an interesting question: Why can’t we speak as lovingly to other people as we do to our pets?”

Paul led the meeting.


The team shared their reactions to the last White Privilege session, which, because of a good and lengthy discussion, focused on Chapter 4.

Deb provided a little information about Showing Up for Racial Justice, or SURJ, and indicated that Mary Sue Gmeiner would be willing to do a presentation that describes and explains the efforts of this group to combat racism.

Joyce shared an interesting post from Facebook that suggested “staying out of politics” is an example of white privilege because white citizens who don’t get involved in politics have the “privilege” of not doing so because they have nothing at stake in an election, unlike people of color who do.

Joyce updated the team about plans for Kroger’s Erin Rolfes to present a program on the corporations Zero Hunger, Zero Waste program from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 27. The program will include a PowerPoint presentation and Q&A. Joyce has requested information on what the Troy and Piqua Krogers are doing in particular.

Paul shared viewing options for the screening of Dark Money, available through PBS Point of View. The team decided to stream the documentary at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 29.

Paul played the podcast “How U.S. Health Care Became Big Business,” which had aired on PBS Fresh Air. In the podcast, Terry Gross interviewed Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, a medical journalist and former physician, who wrote the book An American Sickness, which looks at the problems in our healthcare system and offers suggestions for promoting change. (To hear the podcast, go to

Action Items

  • Joyce will prepare an article about the Zero Hunger, Zero Waste program for the November Journal, providing copies for Caroline and Deb; Joyce will provide stamps and envelopes for use in mailing information about the program to area churches.
  • Joyce will invite the Piqua Kroger manager to attend the event since he had been instrumental in arranging contact with Erin Rolfes.
  • Deb will write a news release for the TDN, DDN and local radio station; post the event on the team’s Facebook page; prepare a bulletin-size flyer for insert in the Sunday bulletins at area churches and print envelopes for area churches for use by Caroline.
  • Caroline will prepare a letter to area churches describing the program and will mail them along with bulletin-size flyers using the pre-printed envelopes and stamps from Joyce.
  • Paul will purchase four dozen cookies for the program.
  • The team will ask Ruth Jeffryes to be in charge of coffee for the program.

Next white privilege discussion: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., Nov. 14, 2018

Zero Hunger, Zero Waste: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tues., Nov. 27, 2018

Next business meeting: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., Nov. 28, 2018

September 25, 2018

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, Deb Hogshead, and Ruth Jeffryes.

Paul led the meeting.


The team shared their reactions to the first two White Privilege sessions. It was generally agreed the discussions were going well. It was suggested that future sessions might include the viewing of videos associated with the curriculum. Caroline asked whether there was any information on how churches across the country have responded to the curriculum.

There was no new information about whether recordings would be available of Rev. Traci Blackmon’s keynote address on race at the GLAUCE conference in October in Chicago.

Joyce reported contact with Kroger corporate headquarters regarding their zero-waste efforts. Unable to get information, she contacted Piqua Kroger store manager Zach Bahlinghaus, who expressed interest in her questions. He will contact Kroger’s PR department regarding materials to share and protocol for doing presentations and will get back to Joyce. His response sounded very promising.

Ruth shared a piece of calligraphy (“All is privilege. Winter teaches us that.”), which she created back in 1991 using a paper bag, an example of recycle and reuse efforts.

The team talked about how to proceed with future meetings. Joyce suggested we share updates on topics we’ve previously discussed as we continue to explore white privilege as a separate issue. Paul asked team members whether they’d be interested in listening to NPR podcasts on economic-justice issues. The team agreed they’d enjoy hearing podcasts.

Info on Issue 1 (Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment, and Rehabilitation Amendment) was shared. Issue 1 will be on the November ballot. The team had explored this issue back in June at the same time we viewed the documentary on money bail. Info was also shared about the screening of Dark Money in Dayton. The documentary will also be aired on PBS in October.

Action items

  • Paul will select a podcast to share at the October meeting.
  • Joyce will submit an article to The Journal.

Next white privilege discussion: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wed., Oct. 17, 2018

Next business meeting: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018

August 28, 2018

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, Deb Hogshead, Ruth Jeffryes, Nancy Smith and Robert Brower.

Paul provided devotions and led the meeting.

Joyce queued and the group watched the following short videos introducing the White Privilege curriculum:

  • Let’s Talk About White Privilege with the Rev. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ (3:33 minutes)
  • A Brief Overview with the Rev. Day McCallister (5:55 minutes)

Following the viewing of the videos, Paul led the group in a discussion about the topic of white privilege and the contents of the curriculum’s Introduction and Chapter 1. Those in attendance shared their thoughts—and questions—about race and the concept of privilege, and they drew on personal and/or vicarious experiences that have impacted their thoughts and feelings related to these issues.

A short business meeting followed the discussion. In follow-up to an action item, Deb reported she had contacted Shirley Weyrauch of GLAUCE to see whether recordings will be available of the Rev. Traci Blackmon’s keynote address on race at an October event in Chicago. Ms. Weyrauch said she’d check with the planning team and get back to her. Rev. Blackmon’s office did not respond to Deb’s inquiry.


In consultation with tonight’s guests, it was decided to continue reading and discussing the White Privilege curriculum, a couple of chapters at a time, and to hold informal discussions once a month on a night separate from the team’s monthly business meeting.

Action Items

  • Paul will distribute the remaining chapters of the five that make up Part 1: Spiritual Autobiography Told Through the Lens of Race to those in attendance who cannot download copies themselves.
  • Everyone will read Chapters 2 and 3 of Part 1 in preparation for our next discussion on white privilege.

Next white privilege discussion: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018

Next business meeting: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018

July 31, 2018

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Deb Hogshead, and Ruth Jeffryes.

Ruth provided devotions, and Paul led the meeting.

Topics of Discussion:

Guest speaker on Kroger’s sustainability efforts. Joyce contacted the Troy Kroger; they said they weren’t familiar with these efforts and told Joyce to call Kroger’s corporate office.

UCC’s curriculum on white privilege. Paul read through the curriculum’s list of definitions, and we discussed how we might present the curriculum and how quickly we might cover it. Deb shared information on an event scheduled for October, in Chicago, that will feature the Rev. Traci Blackmon, UCC executive minister of justice and local church ministries, speaking on the topic “Standing Together: A Sacred Conversation on Race.” Blackmon is one of the authors of the UCC curriculum on white privilege. The team wondered whether there would be any recordings or transcripts from the event.

Recycling at the church. The team needs to review who is responsible for which type of recycling at the church. We’ve noticed aluminum cans have not been getting picked up. If responsibilities have changed, labels on recycling bins may need to be updated.

Additional program ideas. Paul suggested we listen to the following:

Other news. Deb reviewed four of the 16 UCC resolutions passed at the 2017 General Synod:

  • Committee 8: A More Just Economy–$15 Minimum Wage, Living Wages and Job Creation (A Resolution of Witness), which passed by 75%
  • Committee 13: Affirming the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Boycott of Wendy’s (A Resolution of Witness), which passed by 86%
  • Committee 14: On Recognizing and Studying Gun Violence as a Public Health Emergency (A Resolution of Witness), passed by 97%
  • Committee 14: The Earth is Lord’s—Not Ours to Wreck: Imperatives for a New Era (A Resolution of Witness), which passed by 97%

Deb updated the team on CIW’s continued efforts to get Wendy’s to support the Fair Food Program.

Deb announced a presentation in Dayton that might interest the team: Westminster Lecture on Faith and Civic Life, 7:30 p.m., Sept. 28, at Westminster Presbyterian Church (to be followed the next morning with a panel discussion featuring area faith and civic leaders).


The team decided to start discussing chapters of the UCC curriculum on white privilege during the first 30 minutes of our monthly meetings, beginning with our August 2018 meeting. Devoting just the first 30 minutes to the curriculum will still give us time for a business meeting, and people who attend just for the discussion can feel free to excuse themselves if they don’t want to stay for the business portion of the meeting. The team decided to start out with just one chapter. Our August discussion will help us evaluate just how much material we can cover in 30 minutes at our monthly meetings and otherwise help us decide how we want to proceed. The curriculum can be downloaded to a computer from and printed if a hard copy is desired.

Action Items:

Joyce will call Piqua Kroger to ask them about Kroger’s sustainability efforts and the possibility of a guest speaker. If necessary, she’ll call Kroger’s corporate office (perhaps having to tell them that our local Kroger grocers are unfamiliar with the corporation’s sustainability efforts).

All team members, in preparation for our August discussion of the UCC curriculum on white privilege, will read or re-read the Introduction and Chapter One, writing down questions or comments that come to mind.

Paul will share information about the team’s plan to start the UCC curriculum on white privilege—and how to get a copy of the curriculum—via

  • the team’s bulletin board.
  • Sunday bulletins for Aug. 19 and 26.
  • Church Council.

Joyce will share information about the team’s plan to start the UCC curriculum on white Privilege—and how to get a copy of the curriculum—via the August Journal.

Deb will share information about the team’s plan to start the UCC curriculum on white privilege—and how to get a copy of the curriculum—via EJT’s Facebook page.

Paul will check with Church Council to see about who will take over the church website and church Facebook page since Deb is no longer doing that.

Deb will see if any recordings or transcripts will be made of Rev. Blackmon’s keynote address “Standing Together: A Sacred Conversation on Race” at the October event in Chicago.

Paul will check to see whether the person who initiated aluminum-can recycling at the church wants to continue to be responsible for this aspect of our recycling efforts. Paul will also check the RACI matrix we submitted to Church Council; the RACI matrix should list who’s responsible for which type of recycling.

Next meeting: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018

May 29, 2018

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, Ruth Jeffreyes, and Deb Hogshead.

Caroline provided devotions, and Paul led the meeting.

We finalized plans for the June 26 presentation of the documentary “The Bail Trap,” which will be followed with information on Ohio House Bill 439 (bail reform legislation introduced in the 132nd General Assembly) and the Ohio Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment, and Rehabilitation Amendment (a ballot initiative).

We deferred to July any further discussion about inviting Kroger representatives to speak.

Paul distributed copies of White Privilege, Part One and invited us to read this section before our July meeting and to be prepared to discuss.

Our next meeting will be 6:30-8 p.m., June 26, when Emily Parsons will present the video “The Bail Trap.”

April 24, 2018

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, and Deb Hogshead.

Caroline provided devotions, and Paul led the meeting.

Topics of Discussion:

  • February 27 presentation of Big Pharma: Market Failure. We agreed the event was a success. Although we wished more people had attended, we did have a good turnout nonetheless and met new people.
  • Kroger’s sustainability efforts. Joyce and Caroline reported experiences other church members (i.e., Joyce Heffelfinger and Nevin Fessler) have had with Kroger’s move to reduce waste. Kroger (and other area grocers) routinely brought unsold foodstuff to First UMC’s food pantry. Kroger also takes unsold flowers to nursing homes—these items are not thrown away. On a related note, Caroline talked about a news story that described new technology that “eats” some types of plastic; Joyce had read a similar news report.
  • Environmental Stewardship Practices signage. Deb thanked Joyce and Paul for framing and displaying the signage in the café and in the fellowship hall. The signage reminds church members about ways to reduce waste, protect the environment and promote fair trade.
  • White Privilege/Let’s Talk curriculum. We continued to talk about whether, when, and how to present this UCC curriculum. Caroline suggested we consider presenting it like a Bible study and that we hold off starting until the fall. It is a lengthy curriculum that requires self-reflection, and we need to find out more about what’s involved with presenting it as either a six-week or a six-month program and whether it would be possible and advisable to offer just a portion of the curriculum. Paul wondered whether a transcript was available of the 2016 webinar that introduced the curriculum.
  • Criminal justice issues. We discussed whether to present a documentary on money bail. Caroline noted that our Ohio legislators are writing legislation on this issue. Deb said there’s currently a petition for a ballot initiative on this or related issues. We agreed the time was right to present a program on this issue. We decided to see if we could get two speakers for a late June program: one speaker to show the documentary on money bail and another to discuss the ballot initiative.
  • Podcast on democracy and global capitalism. Paul played a portion of a podcast in which NPR’s Fresh Air host Terry Gross interviewed Robert Kuttner about his new book Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalismand about his views on current trade issues.

Action items:

  • Joyce will contact Kroger to see whether they can provide a speaker who could talk about Kroger’s efforts to protect the environment and reduce waste.
  • Joyce and Paul will take a look at the White Privilege/Let’s Talkcurriculum and make a recommendation at our next meeting.
  • Deb will check to see whether the UCC has a transcript of the webinar that introduced the White Privilege/Let’s Talk
  • Deb will contact potential speakers for a late-June program on money bail, gather information on Ohio legislation, and be prepared with details so we can hit the ground running with publicity efforts at our meeting in May.

Next meeting: 6:30 p.m., May 22, 2018. [Please note: The next meeting date has been changed to May 29.]

—Respectfully submitted by Deb Hogshead

In place of our February 2018 meeting, we screened the document Big Pharma: Market Failure.

There was no March 2018 meeting.

January 23, 2018

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, and Deb Hogshead.

Paul led the meeting.

Topics of Discussion:

  • Bulletin board and Paul’s plans to update it. Paul has been finding good information at Becker’s Hospital Review, among other sources.
  • Environmental-Stewardship-Practices signage. Signage is ready for framing and posting.
  • Kroger’s sustainability efforts. Joyce gave a full report of her research on Kroger’s sustainability efforts, which include responsible sourcing, zero tolerance of human rights abuses in the supply chain, eco-stewardship, reuse of plastic packing crates, plastic and cardboard recycling, carbon reduction, controlling refrigerant leakage, reducing water consumption, and a zero-hunger/zero-waste initiative. Joyce reported that nationwide, Kroger sends 69 million pounds of edible, un-purchased food to food banks; it directs other waste to animal feed, industrial uses, and composting. As a participant in the EPA’s waste-wise program, Kroger works on providing concrete measurement of progress toward its goals. Caroline wondered whether Kroger might offer guest speakers to present on these topics.
  • February 27 screening of “Big Pharma: Market Failure.” Deb reported that most plans have been confirmed with Bill Davis of SPAN Ohio. We’re still waiting to confirm start time, length of the video, and a few incidental details. Paul shared his ideas for a bulletin insert for the two Sundays before the event. Deb shared a draft news release and flyer. Caroline shared a letter to accompany the flyer. Deb gave Caroline 20 envelopes, and Joyce gave Caroline 20 stamps.
  • White Privilege/Let’s Talk curriculum. Deb reported that Pastor Donna had come across the curriculum and wondered if we’d like to present it. Deb, who had participated in a 2016(?) webinar about the curriculum before it was released, briefly described the curriculum and its purpose. Some possibilities include (1) going through Part 3: The Cash Value of Whiteness ourselves before presenting it as a program open to the public or (2) using the information in Part 3 in our regular meetings as topics of discussion. The curriculum is designed to be presented across six weeks or six months, with participants engaged in study at home prior to group meetings led by a facilitator. Recognized as extremely valuable and pertinent to our goal of addressing systemic economic injustices, we had a few concerns, mainly that it required a large time commitment—inside and outside of lesson meetings—beyond what we are doing now. It was suggested that White Privilege/Let’s Talk would make an excellent Sunday School curriculum.
  • Screening of a documentary on money bail. Further discussion tabled until a future meeting.

Action items:

  • Paul will put up a new bulletin board with information on the high cost of prescription drugs.
  • Joyce will frame two copies of the Environmental Stewardship Practices signage; Paul will hang the framed signage in the café and kitchen.
  • Joyce will continue researching Kroger’s sustainability efforts, eventually talking with local Kroger staff and finding out whether speakers are available per Caroline’s suggestion.
  • Deb will let everyone know details about February 27 start time and video length when she receives this information from Bill Davis, and she will give Caroline a copy of the finalized flyer.
  • Caroline will ask the church secretary to type her letter to accompany the flyer; she will work with the church secretary to make copies of the letter and the flyer; she will send the flyer to 16 churches and four social service agencies.
  • Team members will reflect on White Privilege/Let’s Talk curriculum and talk more about it in a future meeting.

Next meeting: February 27, 2018, for the screening of Big Pharma: Market Failure, with the possibility of a brief business meeting afterward. Time TBA. If we hold a brief business meeting, Paul will provide devotions.

—Respectfully submitted by Deb Hogshead

December 19, 2017

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, Deb Hogshead, and Ruth Jeffryes.

Caroline gave devotions.

Paul led the meeting.

Topics of Discussion:

  • Changes to the recycling bins, which include beautiful signage to educate the congregation (Thank you, Paul! They look wonderful!)
  • Environmental-Stewardship-Practices signage, which still needs revision
  • Plans for the bulletin board, which includes posting wages of workers in other nations
  • Caroline’s experience in Finland, where everyone had the services they needed and opportunities for vacations because citizens paid higher taxes
  • Kroger’s campaign to reduce food waste
  • Caroline’s experience with students at an Environmental Education Camp, where they learned about food waste and how to reduce it
  • Annual report to the congregation, which we finalized and reviewed
  • Ruth’s awareness of waste at restaurants and her decision to say no to plastic and extra stuff that is automatically packed in take-out bags
  • Possible ideas for next year’s programming:
    1. Guest speaker on the pharmaceutical industry (planned for January with ideas for its promotion)
    2. Guest speaker on money bail (to be revisited as more people become aware of the issue)
    3. Guest speaker on economic costs of gun violence and its prevention
    4. Possible partnership with other groups to start a local campaign that gradually leads to reduced waste and reduced use of plastic and non-recyclable materials at restaurants (Initial research would need to include learning about health regulations and the policies of national restaurant franchises.)

Action items:

  • Paul will place the new recycling bins around the church and will prepare additional signage for the aluminum- beverage-can bin in the café and the paper bin in the narthex.
  • Paul will prepare the next bulletin board, which will include information on wages in other nations.
  • Deb will revise the Environmental-Stewardship-Practices signage, give copies to Joyce for framing, who will give the framed signage to Paul for hanging in the café and kitchen.
  • Joyce will research Kroger’s initiative on reducing food waste and ask staff at the Piqua Kroger about actions they may be taking locally.
  • Deb will contact Bill Davis of SPAN Ohio about making a presentation on the pharmaceutical industry, including the screening of the documentary “Big Pharma Movie.”
  • Deb will prepare a draft flyer, news release, and Sunday bulletin insert (in the shape of a pill bottle—Paul’s idea) and distribute to the team for feedback and suggestions.
  • Joyce will donate stamps for sending flyers to local churches.
  • Caroline will stuff, stamp, and mail flyers when they are ready.

Next meeting: January 23, 2018. Time TBA.

—Respectfully submitted by Deb Hogshead

November 28, 2017

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, Deb Hogshead, and Ruth Jeffryes.

Joyce gave devotions.

Paul led the meeting. He briefly discussed an article he had found on the scriptural basis of economic justice, specifically, the concept of jubilee and returning property. He also mentioned seeing a news segment about a recycling company called TerraCycle.

Topics of Discussion:

  • Evaluation of the October program on recycling
  • Plans for the bulletin board
  • “Environmental stewardship practices” notice for the kitchen and the café
  • Water cooler cups
  • Recycling bins in the Fellowship Hall (Paul has placed a large bin in the kitchen for glass jars and bottles.)
  • Evaluation of our work in 2017 (review of the draft annual report to the congregation)
  • Ideas for next year (Possibilities include more on health care and the pharmaceutical industry, the Ohio money bail initiative for 2018, and the economic costs of gun violence and its prevention)

Action items:

  • Paul will do the next bulletin board, posting information about:
    • Jobs likely to disappear because of robotics
    • How people can prepare for the switch to robotics and not lose out
    • Average incomes by nation
  • Paul will make changes to some of the recycling bins throughout the church:
    • Switch out three smaller bins in the Fellowship Hall for one single bin that will be used to collect single-stream recyclables (unsoiled paper, #1 and #2 plastic, metal cans)
    • Store the two unused bins—from the three switched-out ones in the Fellowship Hall—in the dungeon for use as needed during big events
    • Change the label on the bin in the kitchen to identify it as a receptacle for single-stream recyclables, not just glass
    • Change the label on one of the two bins in the café to identify it as a receptacle for single-stream recyclables, leaving one bin for pop cans collected by Sharon Wilson
  • Deb will revise and make two copies of the “environmental stewardship practices” notice per team member comments.
  • Joyce will frame the copies of the “environmental stewardship practices” notice.
  • The team will ask the Trustees (which include Paul and Joyce) to hang the framed “environmental stewardship practices” notices in the kitchen and the café.
  • Paul will ask Trustee Robert Brower to speak with the church custodian about holding off on any future orders of cups for the water cooler, recognizing that the church probably has supplies that will last two years, at which point we can switch to paper cups.
  • Deb will revise the annual report to the congregation per team member comments.

Next meeting: 6–7:30 p.m., December 19, 2017. Caroline will provide devotions.

—Respectfully submitted by Deb Hogshead

October 24, 2017

In lieu of a meeting, we had a presentation on recycling by Lauren Karch, Miami County’s solid waste coordinator. The next meeting of the Economic Justice Team will be 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, November 28.

September 26, 2017

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Joyce Swank, Caroline Maslowski, Deb Hogshead, and Ruth Jeffryes.

Paul led the meeting.

Items discussed:

Paul shared information on Issue 2 (the Drug Price Relief Act) prepared by the League of Women Voters. We discussed the pros and cons of the issue.

Deb distributed copies of the finalized RACI Matrix, approved by Council in September, for guiding environmental stewardship practices at St. John’s.

Joyce updated the bulletin board with information on recycling, emphasizing that different jurisdictions follow different procedures and accept different kinds of recyclables.

Joyce reviewed plans regarding disposable cups at the water dispenser in the hallway. After depleting the supply of plastic cups in the “dungeon,” we will switch to paper cups, which can be recycled and are generally less harmful to the environment. At that point, the drinking-cup recycling bin could be used for both paper cups and any unsoiled paper from the Lifetree Café.

Paul distributed sample recycling-bin labels to confirm the correctness of information on the labels.

Joyce said she had contacted Lauren Karch, Miami County Solid Waste Management, about speaking at our next meeting. Joyce reported that Lauren could make a presentation pretty much at any time. The team agreed to ask Lauren to come to our next meeting.

Action items:

  • Paul and Joyce will place information about Issue 2 on the bulletin board during the month of October.
  • Paul will print labels and attach them to the different recycling bins to educate church members about which items are appropriate for each recycling bin.
  • Joyce will contact Lauren Karch about speaking at our next meeting.

Next meeting: 6:30-8 p.m., October 24, 2017.

—Respectfully submitted by Deb Hogshead

August 23, 2017

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Caroline Maslowski, Deb Hogshead, and Joyce Swank.

Paul led the meeting.

Today we

  • finalized the RACI Matrix template (showing who should be responsible for different aspects of the Council-approved environmental practices at the church) for submission to Council,
  • continued our discussion of recycling issues and Ohio Issue 2 (Ohio Drug Price Relief Act),
  • explored possible topics for the bulletin board,
  • considered Paul’s suggestion of a new way of expanding the group’s reach and letting people know we don’t just talk about wages, and
  • learned from Joyce that 32 church members, their friends, and family are participating in the Wendy’s boycott.


  • We need to educate church members about alternatives for dealing with shredded paper and other recyclables.
  • We will use the plastic cups in the basement at the water cooler until the supply runs out; then we will recommend switching to other cups we know for sure can be recycled (possibly paper cups if they can be categorized as “cartons”).
  • We will offer a program in October on recycling, inviting Lauren Karch (solid waste coordinator for Miami County Sanitary Engineering) to be our guest speaker.
  • We will not hold a program on Ohio Issue 2 because we’ve been unable to find speakers who could speak with authority on both sides of the issue; we don’t want to present just one side of the issue.
  • We will make information on Ohio Issue 2 available on our bulletin board and website.
  • We need to expand our reach by letting the congregation and others know what issues we will be discussing in upcoming meetings so they can plan to attend; we can do this through the bulletin board, Sunday bulletins, The Journal, and Facebook; the first part of each meeting will be used to discuss the issue at hand; any “business” will be discussed toward the end.
  • Our fall bulletin board will feature recycling issues (September-ish) and Ohio Issue 2 (October-ish).
  • We will switch our meeting to the fourth Tuesday night of each month if Partners in Hope does not use the Lifetree Café; Monday nights are another possibility.

Action items:

  • Deb will prepare simple “policy statements” regarding environmental stewardship at the church for posting in the kitchen and Lifetree Café.
  • Deb will talk with the church secretary about recycling paper in the office.
  • Paul and Joyce, as church trustees, will talk to the church custodian about placing the plastic cups from the supply in the basement beside the water cooler until the supply runs out.
  • Paul will create labels for the plastic and paper recycling bins so people can distinguish acceptable from unacceptable items.
  • Joyce will talk with folks at the Miami County Transfer Station about the various recycling categories.
  • Joyce will talk with Lauren Karch about the possibility of presenting a program in October.
  • Paul will put notices in the Sunday bulletin about topics to be covered in upcoming team meetings, inviting church members and friends to join us.
  • Caroline will check with Pastor Donna about whether the Lifetree Café is available on Tuesdays when Partners in Hope are using the church.
  • Deb will revise the RACI Matrix template and present it to Council.
  • Deb still needs to get out letters to local churches requesting counts of their members who are participating in the Wendy’s boycott.

Next meeting (tentative): 6:30-8 p.m., September 26, 2017.

—Respectfully submitted by Deb Hogshead

July 26, 2017

Attending today’s meeting were Paul Schaffner, Caroline Maslowski, Deb Hogshead, and Joyce Swank who had to leave early.

Caroline opened with devotions. Her golfing analogy reminded us how fortunate we are to have “Mulligans” with God through the sacrifice of Jesus.

Paul led the meeting.

The team discussed the following topics:

Wendy’s boycott. Joyce has been collecting counts of St. John’s UCC families participating in the boycott. So far, 25 individuals associated with our church family are participating in the boycott. A final count is forthcoming.

Action item:

  • Deb will request counts from local churches contacted last summer about the boycott.

Recycling efforts by the water cooler. Joyce reported that unacceptable cups are being deposited in the water cooler recycling bin. There’s still some uncertainty and confusion over what type of cups can be recycled. The county transfer station says one thing, and Rumpke says another. Paul shared recycling facts he had found online.

Ohio Drug Price Relief Act. Deb reported that no one from either the supporter or the opponent camp has responded to her query about the availability of speakers to address the November ballot issue in a public presentation. She reported that a staff member in Sen. Brown’s office said the senator was unlikely to take a position on an issue so nuanced; as a consequence, she didn’t call Sen. Portman’s office. Caroline and Paul suggested we contact state representatives Beagle and Huffman. Deb said in place of a speaker, if one can’t be found, would be to show the documentary “Big Pharma: Market Failure,” but she wouldn’t want the act of showing the movie to seem like an endorsement of the ballot issue. Paul asked for clarification about what we would want a speaker to do. Deb said she would like a speaker, who does not stand to benefit from either the success or failure of the initiative to provide objective analysis. Caroline said she would like someone to explain clearly how the initiative is bad for veterans.

Action items:

  • Deb will print out information on the ballot initiative to give to Caroline.
  • Caroline will contact Rep. Steve Huffman’s office about a possible speaker to address the issue.
  • Deb will contact Sen. Beagle’s office about the same thing.
  • Paul will continue to do online research about the pros and cons of the initiative.

Team budget. Deb distributed information that explained in detail how Earl’s 2015 donation was spent. She said the same information was shared with Earl and his wife and accompanied by a thank-you note. Deb also reported that it cost about $65 to print the local emergency resources brochure. About a third of the cost was paid for from Earl’s donation. She is requesting reimbursement for the remainder: $41.03. Paul signed off on the request for payment. As treasurer of Church Council, Caroline explained how the reimbursement process works.

Church Council’s request for the team to develop a “responsibility template.” Deb reported that she had asked Church Council about who should be responsible for actually implementing fair-trade (e.g., purchase of fair-trade coffee) and sustainable practices (e.g., recycling, use of non-disposable dinnerware and napkins) recommended by the team and approved by Council. Council liked the idea of having some sort of plan in place not only for fair-trade and sustainable actions but for other council-approved actions and asked the team to develop a “template.” The team discussed this and decided to go ahead and take personal responsibility for the fair-trade and sustainable practices at the church and to come up with a template to share with Council that shows, by example, how it could be completed and used. Deb briefly shared the RACI matrix concept (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed). The team thought taking personal action on these practices now might inspire others, and at some point, the team could reach out to the congregation and request volunteers to help with these efforts.

Here’s what the team has decided so far:

  • Joyce will take care of the water cooler plastic.
  • Paul will take care of refilling the water cooler, which he already does.
  • Caroline will take care of all other recycled plastic.
  • Deb will take care of recycled paper.
  • Paul will take care of recycled glass.
  • Paul will take care of fair-trade coffee for the Fellowship Hall.

Action items:

  • Deb will draft and distribute a “process and responsibility template” for group discussion some Sunday after church before the August council meeting.
  • Paul will research what general type of coffee people like in the Fellowship Hall and which stores sell fair-trade versions, with the intentions of purchasing the coffee when it’s needed.
  • Deb will send Paul information about which local stores sell fair-trade coffee.
  • Paul will provide a glass-recycling bin for the church kitchen.
  • Deb will contact Sharon to see if she still recycles the aluminum cans.

Ideas for possible fall educational programs. Here are the ideas:

  • Presentation on what can and cannot be recycled locally and how the recycling process works
  • Pros and cons of the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act ballot initiative
  • Public showing of “Big Pharma: Market Failure,” by the producers of “Fix It” (the documentary about the health care crisis and the need for a single-payer system)
  • Sustainable development and its relationship to economic justice, with UD professor Bob Brecha if he’s available
  • Public screening of “The True Cost,” a documentary about the clothing industry, which would cost $80 to $100 with $15 shipping.
  • Public screening of Plantpure Nation—a documentary that looks at the role of nutrition in health, broken health care system, food deserts, the value and role of small family farms, the environment, and the political process—which would cost about $90 to $150.

Action items:

  • Paul will contact Rumpke and the local solid waste department about possible speakers.
  • Deb will send Paul a contact for the local solid waste department.

Bulletin board. Joyce said a possible idea for the next bulletin board might be how average earnings have changed for families. Other ideas are welcome. There remains concern about whether anybody even looks at the board.

Next meeting: 6:30-8 p.m., August 23, 2017.

Devotions: Deb, with Paul as backup

—Respectfully submitted by Deb Hogshead

June 28, 2017

Attending today’s meeting were Joyce Swank, Paul Schaffner, Caroline Maslowski, and Deb Hogshead.

Paul led the meeting.

The team discussed the following topics:

1. Printing and distribution of the emergency resource flyer. Caroline reported that Church Council gave the team permission to present a mission moment, announcing the flyer, on July 9. Caroline also said one council member requested copies for the Lincoln Community Center.

Action items:

  • Paul will present the July 9 mission moment about the emergency resource flyer.
  • By July 9, Deb will have Staples print 75-100 copies of the brochure, using the $33 remaining from a $100 donation made to the team in 2015; if the cost of printing exceeds $33, she’ll request reimbursement from the church.
  • Joyce will provide two brochure racks for displaying the flyers in the narthex and the church office.

2. Update on the Wendy’s boycott. Deb reported that Edie Rasell, Ph.D., UCC’s minister for economic justice, was one of the speakers at the Wendy’s shareholder meeting in Columbus on May 23. Wendy’s continues to refuse participation in the Fair Food Program. The Ohio Fair Food Program, an ally of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, seeks counts of boycotters; these counts will help demonstrate the boycott’s impact in communications to Wendy’s CEO and shareholders. The team discussed ways to gather counts. The Ohio Fair Food Program also invites supporters to become Fair Food Sustainers with recurring monthly donations of $10.

Action items:

  • Joyce will create a method for collecting counts of Wendy’s boycotters and announce it in the July Journal.
  • Joyce will announce the Fair Food Sustainer program in the July Journal.

3. Recyclable cups and recycle bin for water cooler. Caroline reported that Church Council is okay with the team setting up a cup dispenser and recycling bin by the water cooler. Joyce and Paul shared their research on recyclable cups. There are many cups on the market made from recycled materials, but that doesn’t mean they’re recyclable. Paper cups with waxy coatings are not recyclable. Joyce said the Miami Transfer Station would take cups marked 1 and 2. The team decided it could go ahead and place cups and a recycling bin by the water cooler while continuing to explore the best type of cups to use and how to pay for their purchase. The team also talked about the need to let the new custodian know that drinking cups should not be placed in the restrooms because we want people to recycle cups rather than discarding them in restroom trashcans.

Action items:

  • Joyce will supply the first set of cups, marked 1 or 2, for the water cooler as well as provide a recycling bin and signage directing people to recycle water-cooler cups.
  • Joyce volunteered to be responsible for taking the recycled water-cooler cups to the transfer station.

4. Team budget. Deb reported that we still had about $33 remaining from a $100 donation made to the team in 2015. The team discussed how it could present receipts for reimbursement of purchases made against the $200 currently in the church budget for the economic justice ministry.

5. Fall public presentation. The team discussed the possibility of having speakers discuss the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act, which is a ballot initiative Ohioans will vote on this coming November. Another possibility is to show a documentary on “big pharma,” produced by the same group that did the documentary on single payer health care shown in January.

Action items:

  • Deb will email links about the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act to members of the team.
  • Deb will continue to reach out to possible speakers for a fall presentation on the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act.

6. Responsibility for recycling and the purchase of water-cooler cups and fair-trade coffee. Questions remain about who exactly is responsible for recycling materials collected at the church and purchasing fair-trade coffee for the fellowship hall. One church member regularly handles aluminum recycling. Another purchases fair-trade coffee for the café. If the congregation thinks the team is responsible for water-cooler cups and fellowship-hall coffee, should the cost come out of our budget? Caroline noted that some coffees are now being certified as bird-friendly (grown in the shade of trees that provide bird habitat).

Action item:

  • Deb will talk with Church Council about the need for an on-going plan that provides a process and delineation of responsibility for recycling and the purchase of fair-trade coffee and items such as recyclable water-cooler cups.

7. Bulletin board. Joyce reported that she put up a new bulletin board display. (It looks great!)

Next meeting: 6:30-8 p.m., July 26, 2017.

Devotions: Caroline

—Respectfully submitted by Deb Hogshead

May 24, 2017

Attending today’s meeting were Joyce Swank, Paul Schaffner and Deb Hogshead.

Paul led the meeting.

A final draft of the resource flyer was distributed. It was suggested copies of the flyer be placed in the church office, narthex, and church pews. Paul volunteered to present a mission moment introducing the congregation to the flyer so church members would know about local resources to which they can refer visitors in need.

Action items:

  • Team members will review the resource flyer a final time and contact Deb if they find errors.
  • Deb will give copies of the final draft to Church Council members and request a Sunday for a mission moment. She will also prepare some talking points for use in the mission moment.

Team members evaluated the programs presented this past winter and spring (i.e., single-payer health care, the movement to amend the U.S. constitution to abolish corporate personhood and money as speech, and a proposed carbon tax and dividend program). It was generally agreed the programs were worthwhile even when attendance was not high. It was suggested that future programs expand on the issue of health care, for example, where to go in an emergency, where to go when you don’t have a personal physician, fee structures, transparency in billing, how to navigate the health care system, and understanding what insurance does and does not cover (e.g., observation and admission issues).

The team also discussed plans for the focus of the next bulletin board display.

Action item:

  • Joyce will take information provided by Paul and come up with ideas for the next display.

Team members discussed concerns expressed by a church member who noticed that no cups were available at the water cooler. This church member offered to pay to have cups available. The team has been encouraging church members to bring re-usable cups for their beverage purposes and had requested that disposable cups be removed from restrooms to discourage waste. Church visitors, however, might not bring their own beverage containers and would not know to look in the café for re-usable cups. It was acknowledged that habits are hard to break and that even taking steps in the right direction was good.

Action items:

  • Deb will ask Church Council’s permission to place a cup dispenser and recycling bins by the water cooler.
  • Joyce and Paul will research recyclable cups.

The team finalized plans for the video describing our economic justice program, which will need to be submitted to national by May 30 for use at General Synod this summer. The team spent the rest of the evening in the sanctuary working on the logistics of filming the video. The team—with the help of the children’s choir—will film the video during Sunday School on May 28.

Next meeting: 6:30-8 p.m., June 28, 2017.

—Respectfully submitted by Deb Hogshead

Note: The team did not meet in March and decided not to hold a meeting after the April 26 presentation about Citizen’s Climate Lobby.

February 22, 2017

Attending today’s brief meeting, following the presentation on Move to Amend, were Caroline Maslowski, Deb Hogshead, Joyce Swank, and Paul Schaffner.

Paul led the meeting.

Fifteen people—including the guest speaker, Mary Sue Gmeiner—attended the presentation. Impressions were generally positive although most believed the subject matter was difficult to understand. Two of those present had attended the Women’s March of Troy on January 21. Two were friends and/or acquaintances of Deb; and two men and one woman were unknown to all of us—and we did not get a chance to find out how they had heard about the event.

Paul talked briefly about the results of his contacts with area agencies when checking the accuracy of the resource flyer. FISH no longer provides shelter. St. Pat offers occasional delivery of dinners. Richard’s Chapel has a food pantry. Several agencies wanted us to be sure to indicate their services are for Troy residents only.

Action item: Paul and Deb will meet outside the meeting to edit the resource flyer.

Joyce and Paul talked briefly about the bulletin board. Under a common theme, the board will look at these topics over the next few months: Decline of U.S. Manufacturing Jobs; Automation vs. Outsourcing; Today’s Job Fields; Middle Class Wages Then and Now; and maybe Distribution of Wealth. It was noted that emerging job fields are lower paying and that outsourcing happens domestically and not just offshore. Caroline suggested we look at changes in the agriculture industry.

Caroline said Nancy Smith had expressed interest in having SPAN Ohio speak to the Women’s Fellowship and may be contacting us for information on how to reach SPAN Ohio representatives. Caroline also suggested we offer the SPAN Ohio presentation again given current interest and concerns over healthcare; she suggested we might ask people to complete sign-up sheets as a way to gauge interest before inviting SPAN Ohio back.

The team brainstormed topics for future presentations, open to the public, as a way to fulfill the education component of our covenant. Ideas included inviting speakers to talk about Miami County Soil and Water Conservation; Miami County Solid Waste; Troy Solid Waste; GMO labeling and seeds; and minimum wages (with speakers obtained through UD, WSU, Sinclair, and/or Cedarville). Also mentioned were documentaries—one called “Poverty Inc.” and the other about the garment industry.

Deb shared information on the team’s finances. Last year, a donation of about $70 or $90 was made to the team through Sunday offerings. The team never used this money. It was Deb’s understanding that this donation went into the general fund because there was no dedicated line item, and it was her belief that this money was no longer available. Deb needs to check this out with the Church Council president.

Action item: Deb will ask the Church Council president about the status of the donation from last year.

Next meeting: 6:30-8 p.m., April 26, 2017. Jeffrey Paul of Citizens Climate Lobby will be our guest speaker. This meeting will be open to the public; Deb will publicize. A brief meeting will follow the presentation. Topics: Continue to plan for future presentations; and review a final draft of the resource flyer.

Note: There will be no team meeting in March.

—Respectfully submitted by Deb Hogshead

January 25, 2017

Attending today’s brief meeting, following the presentation on healthcare, were Caroline Maslowski, Deb Hogshead, Joyce Swank, and Paul Schaffner.

Paul led the meeting.

The team had a positive opinion about the presentation. Featured speakers were Bill Davis and Drs. Katherine Lambes and Matthew Noordsij-Jones. Seventeen adults attended the program. We would’ve liked to have seen more people attend.

Deb presented a next-to-final draft of a flyer to share with visitors seeking emergency services. Deb said Church Council had approved this draft for printing and distribution with the understanding that a few details might be changed pending a review of its accuracy.

Action item:

  • Paul will contact the agencies listed on the flyer to confirm accuracy.

Joyce and Paul discussed ideas for the next bulletin board. The theme over the next few months will be “Where the Jobs Are Going,” with the first display focusing on the decline of manufacturing jobs.

Action item:

  • Joyce will put up the next bulletin board after returning from her trip to California.

In other business, Joyce discussed her plans for writing and submitting an article for the February edition of The Journal.

Next meeting: 6:30-8 p.m., February 22, 2017. Mary Sue Gmeiner of Greater Dayton Move to Amend will discuss how corporate personhood and big money in politics compromise economic justice. This meeting will be open to the public; Deb will publicize. A brief meeting will follow the presentation; Deb will provide devotions.

—Respectfully submitted by Deb Hogshead

2016 Annual Report

Team members are Amy Lucas, Caroline Maslowski, Deb Hogshead, Donna Morton, Earl Reives, Joyce Swank, Pat Robinson, and Paul Schaffner.

The team met monthly throughout the year. In 2016, they accomplished the following tasks:

  • Placed copies of the economic justice covenant in the narthex, hallway, and fellowship hall.
  • Chose a team logo and printed business cards.
  • Placed paper, aluminum, and plastic recycling bins throughout the church.
  • Obtained Church Council approval for the following church policies:
    • Switch to fair-trade coffee when current coffee supplies are depleted.
    • Switch to using re-usable dinnerware at church functions.
  • Switched to a re-usable coffee filter in the Lifetree Café.
  • Presented a Mission Moment and a sermon during the July 10 service.
  • Prepared and distributed a flyer describing ways to practice stewardship of God’s earth.
  • Signed and sent letters supporting the consumer boycott of Wendy’s to the general managers of the two local restaurants.
  • Presented a Mission Moment during the Aug. 21 service, inviting other members of the congregation to join the Wendy’s boycott if they wished.
  • Invited members of 16 other churches to join the Wendy’s boycott if they desired.
  • Presented “Inequality: A Christian Response” on Oct. 12. Based on Edie Rasell’s article, “A Fair Balance,” this event gave 12 people an opportunity to discuss and learn about economic justice.
  • Recognized members of our congregation who practice economic justice. (Recognized this year were our youth, Ruth Jeffryes, Barb Neer, Nancy Nadolny.)
  • Continued a monthly economic justice challenge to raise awareness of the many ways our choices and habits affect economic justice.
  • Maintained a monthly bulletin board dedicated to economic justice and peace.
  • Maintained a page on the church website:
  • Created and maintained a Facebook page:
  • Obtained Church Council approval to create a flyer or brochure that can be used to educate congregation members about services for people in need and shared with people seeking services.

The team gratefully acknowledges the following contributions to our efforts:

  • Recycling bins for the church from David Robinson
  • Cloth napkins for the church from Ginny Beamish
  • Two donations totaling $90

—Respectfully submitted by Deb Hogshead