Economic Justice Meeting Minutes

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: http://stjohnsucctroyohio.org/economic-justice/.
  • Created and maintained a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stjohnsucceconomicjustice/.
  • 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