Thursday, October 25, 2007

Meeting Minutes for 10/18/07

Social justice committee 10/18/07 6:30 pm

Present: Courtney, Becky, Ben, Kinnon, Anna, Cara, Craig, (Nick, briefly)

Welcome to Ben and Kinnon!

Becky - Opening reflection and prayer – a Lutheran basis for social justice – a textual and theological basis – the freedom of of a Christian – metaphorically being a Christ to someone – not wwjd, by what would I do, in the spirit of Christ

Craig - Mission statement review for new attendees: “Embracing service learning in a Lutheran context to empower action and awareness”

Becky - Interests – having “point people” for a few issues might be helpful –

John C. (aka Becky) – student health insurance – sign up list for a subcommittee is circulating and you can contact John if you want to help with this
ALSO, John can host a non-violence training called “Pace e bene” if there’s enough interest. It will be Dec. 5 and Feb. 13 on campus.

Craig – environment, but specifically a plan for PLTS to be zero impact
Our small size is a helpful factor
Composting, recycling, buying from recyclers/post consumers’
Craig has a blueprint of how this can work, from undergrad project – how much can we apply here?
Easy first step: get PLTS up to 100% recyclable purchases

Nick – stopped in on a break at work –
Updates for us after attending student association meeting:
We might get a bike rack for the Looper – yea! Paid w/ stud assoc. funds if a good one and hitch can be found –
Student assoc wants us to designate one offering a month from chapel to a worthy cause. Where should November’s go?
They look forward to presentations from us, creating dialogue, and helping each other out.

Interests, cont’d –

Kinnon – the YEAH shelter – dates and orientations for new volunteers perhaps via email – he has a sign up list for helping out
youth emergency assistance hostel – at Lutheran church of the cross
serves youth ages18-24 or 25, shelter through rainy season
PLTS volunteers usually help cook and serve, or one or the other alternating Wednesdays – Covering shifts around the holidays can be hard. Think you might be around?
Kinnon is willing to be coordinator for us when we have questions
Craig – how can we do service learning with YEAH? This is a tie-in to dozens of issues, from domestic violence to substance abuse.

Anna – Will be visiting Israel during the break. She’ll be staying with and learning more from the Wi-Am Conflict Resolution Center. They help people who get trapped within areas by army blockades and the physical walls that are being erected. They communicate with Israeli settlement groups to be a reconciling presence, organize fair trade that supports the Center, and work to uphold people’s rights. Tourism in Jerusalem is high, but since Israel doesn’t want anyone to see what is happening, you have to be intentional and careful.
Anna is willing to share the experience when she is back, and display/sell Fair Trade goods from the Wi-Am Center.
(Pray for Anna’s trip, that she will be safe and that one more small peaceful group of people will contribute to peace throughout the area.)

Becky – making nomination for Wi-Am as beneficiary of November’s SJC offering – let’s vote – unanimous. Anna can provide more info to get the $ to the right place.

SJC blog! Craig can invite you if you didn’t get it so far and want to contribute! He’s working on the links to ELCA, PLTS student blog, etc. Post opportunities, issues upcoming, etc. Craig is willing to show you how to post if you haven’t done it before.

Craig – reminder that if you want to lead a social justice opportunity, do it! But tie it into our mission statement to help us grow/maintain from year to year

Theology on Tap – Catholic perspective on various issues – On Nov. 6, “Being a Green Catholic” – where? Craig will get it posted at the sjc blog – This is through a local Catholic parish, but it might not be held there.

Becky - Catholic worker houses of hospitality – nationwide but not centrally organized – “to the least of these” is the ethos of the catholic worker – there’s a house in Oakland that started by serving central American refugees in the late 70s, 80s, now serves economic refugees,- students have been going to do bible studies –
anyone interested contact Becky!
they’ve been going on Wednesday evenings –

Craig - Shadow of Virtue – a film – tentatively thinking about February
looking for help paying for film through Student Assoc’s $150 Speaker Grant
A local parish is already covering $600 of the cost, which is actually $750.
There is the grant we could apply for, but we might want to look at other speaking engagements or events that we could use it for, and there is no guarantee we would get it.
Craig will search for a clip on youtube so we can assess pursuing this.
We should decide by December if this is what we will go for the grant for – is there a grant deadline?
Ben – a little devils advocate – people know they should care – but what can be done? Will the film address that? - however, an emotional jolt can get some folks moving – shock value v. impact…
Becky – can the impetus of the film mobilize viewers for local action?
Cara - Seminarians are already fairly aware and passionate – time is the issue! (or am I just in midterm mode?)

Next meeting – Thurs 11/1/07 at 6:00 pm – Beasom lounge

Closing prayer - Cara

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Who are we?

The Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary Social Justice Committee is a community dedicated to:

1. Embracing service learning
We believe that combining learning with service is the most effective way to promote social justice in our community.
Service learning is reciprocal in nature. By learning about the people and communities we serve, we grow and through service our community and society grows and changes as well. Through service learning, we can know how to better participate with those in need of justice and peace, together creating transformation.

2. In Lutheran contexts
We believe that God's sheer love in Jesus Christ frees us from sin and death so that we can serve our neighbor. The help, kindness, compassion, and love that we give is a response to the help, kindness, compassion and love that God has freely given to us. We respond to this help, kindness, compassion and love with our entire selves, seeking and proclaiming it in all parts of our lives and community.

3. To empower action and awareness.
We believe that all people have the right and power to transform themselves and their community. Our goal is to give people the resources, understanding and encouraging relationships needed to create change.

As a community, we each have unique stories and areas of focus. Below are some comments that introduce each member of the committee and describes some of the passions we have. If you have any questions or comments for us, feel free to post them as comments, but be aware that all comments are moderated and inappropriate comments will be deleted.

Peace be with you!

Theology on Tap

The Church of St Leo the Great is hosting Theology on Tap which is a speaker and conversation series for people in their 20s and 30s to learn more about the Catholic faith, make connections between faith and everyday life, and enter into conversation with peers.

All of the speakers appear to have social justice elements and it is a great opportunity for education about the Catholic perspective on these issues. Lutherans can learn a lot about social justice from our Catholic brothers and sisters.

If you are interested in attending it is held at the Kerry House at 4092 Piedmont Avenue in Oakland. Happy hour begins at 7:00, speakers begin at 7:30. Click on the picture for more information or You can download the flier at

Meeting Minutes for 10/04/07

Meeting was held at the Bonhoeffer House.

After opening prayer, purpose of the meeting was defined as creating a mission statement, to direct our activities and also because the student association charter requires that we have one. :)

Mission statement process is still open to adjustments!

Craig presented a 3-step guide to forming a mission statement. Defining opportunities and needs, deciding how to address them, and naming the principles and values behind all of this.

Opportunities/Needs (NOT in order of importance):
raising awareness at PLTS
empowering action of students and staff
creating ways to follow through on good intentions/good starts
making advocacy opportunities
issues: reducing the PLTS community's ecological footprint, student insurance, communication to the ELCA and other seminaries

How to address (again, in no specific order):
provide education - speaking engagements, presentations, local issues/statistics
provide advocacy channels - letter writings, picket lines to join,
communication - email to interested students, to all students?, whiteboard outside chapel with other community activities

having fun with this! (if we don't, beth said she would leave and that would make us all sad.)
Christian faith and Lutheran identity
service learning
relationship oriented
- this brought up a good conversation about what a Lutheran social ethic is. The Catholic church and some other denominations articulate WHY they care about justice very well. Us Lutherans, on the other hand, are a little shy about defining religious reasons for "doing" almost anything, since it might be seen as works-righteousness. Well, the SJC seemed to say, to heck with that! Lutherans have a lot to add to this conversation, AS Lutherans! So we will keep talking about this together.
- alongside that discussion was the need to clarify what "service learning" meant. I THINK it means (this is where your corrections are most welcome...) wishing to serve a community is great, but to actually help, we must first listen to the needs that are actually expressed by that community, rather than "fixing them" in our image.

Some tentative mission statements were then put forth:

"Smiling, we do good stuff." Do we know who said this? :)

"Embracing service learning in the Lutheran context to empower action and awareness." - This one seems to be "it" but additions/clarifications/puns are still welcome!

The issue of communicating to the PLTS community came up as we then listed some upcoming/ongoing justice issues. The best suggestion so far is to email Chris or Cheryl with anything that you want the whole community to receive. But we also need to TALK a lot about these opportunities, because so many people get their news that way. Another good way to get the word out might be to start a social justice blog (Craig's good idea!) and link it to the PLTS Admissions blog which already exists and to the ELCA and to other seminaries. Those with technological giftings, please stand up?

Upcoming/Ongoing SJC stuff: the name preceding is just who brought it up, not necessarily the person who will DO all of this.
Becky offered - Fair trade coffee for all PLTS events and gatherings - right now some of the larger special events are not using FT, so we need a little research into our coffee sources and how that decision is made.
Beth - the YEAH shelter will be starting in November. It's at Lutheran Church of the Cross on University, and we need to contact the LVC volunteer who can coordinate what ways our help is most needed.
Hans/Anna/Laura - speaking engagements about issues we are passionate about, so PLTS gets firsthand accounts
- Israel/Palestine news after travelling there for reading week (Anna)
- involvement with fair trade goods from communities cut off by Israeli walls/roadblocks, etc
- Fair Trade Fairs, to become aware of who we can help

Next Meeting Scheduled for Thursday, October 18, at 6:30 pm. Location TBA, suggested at Courtney and Mike's at the Delawares.

Closing prayer - Hans.