VOTF National News

From Anne Southwood: The July meeting of the VOTF Representative Council will be held at Maudslay State Park in Newburyport. The gathering will begin at 10:30 and the actual meeting at 11:00 am, SHARP.

We are excited about this special location and special prayer service developed by VOTF Prayerful Voice. We expect all will enjoy a family-social type picnic following a brief business meeting. Coffee, etc. will await you at Maudslay Park. It might be advisable to bring a blanket along with your picnic basket. Tourist opportunities abound; we are aiming to conclude the meeting with time allowed to enjoy these, if not the State Park itself.

National Parish Voice Office Letter to Regional Coordinators and Affiliate Contacts:

Hello from the Parish Voice National Office! There are a number of issues we need to bring to your attention. Communication with all of you is key in our work, and becomes increasingly challenging as we grow. Please take a few minutes to read through this message.

Our Growth
We continue to hear from people all over the world as this crisis is brought to the attention of faithful Catholics around the globe. Just a few weeks ago, we had two separate visits from supporters from Tasmania, where there is a call for transparency in the hierarchy in the wake of abuse and cover up.

The need for more Regional Coordinators continues, as our numbers increase, as our affiliates grow. We now have 71Regional Coordinators and 205 Affiliates.

Personnel Comings and Goings
Our other help comes from Marianne Rhoads, who, as a volunteer, has faithfully managed our website calendar for over a year. This tool is so important for those looking for meetings, so we encourage all of you to use it. Click on PV Calendar at www.votf.org on the right hand side of the homepage and send an email to the yahoo address. Goz Gosselin's news service has been passed on to the communications team and a summer intern Theresa Cooney. Theresa is a senior Theology major at Georgetown University and is managing that service. It is so important that each Regional Coordinator pass on information to your affiliates and then the affiliates to your members. The news that is sent daily should also be passed on as it is a reminder that this crisis is far from over.

We have been blessed with the administrative help and cheerful demeanor of Randi Simons, who has spent a good deal of time on web, data and server issues. We appreciate all she has done trying to straighten out those problems. Randi is stepping down and, as yet, we have no replacement.

We have brought on two new part time people for Parish Voice. Aimee Carevich (see Aimee's greeting below) has been hired for the short term project of developing a training program for Regional Coordinators and Affiliate Leaders. Aimee is trained in grassroots organizing and has a Masters Degree from the Harvard Divinity School. She is young, energetic and very smart! While Voice of the Faithful continues to grow, some affiliates are feeling attrition. The training Aimee has to offer will hopefully show us ways to invigorate the life in our affiliates and look at new ways of organizing.

Parish Voice also has an intern from Boston College. Meagan Yogi is a senior majoring in Theology. We have given her the task of trying to set up affiliates on college campuses. She has thus far contacted the Pastoral Ministry offices of all the Jesuit Universities and has had a very positive response. The next step is developing a template for recruitment and meetings and then connecting with more universities. If you have any connections or suggestions, please contact Meagan (myogi@votf.org).

We are more grateful than you will ever know of the work you are doing to bring healing and renewed life to our Church. You and your affiliates are the lifeblood of this movement and it is only within the framework of affiliates and the work they do, that we will bring much needed change. You continue to inspire and awaken the laity in your midst. What is required of us now is perseverance and nurturing new leaders.

We are attaching a prayer that most of you have heard. It is worth repeating and we ask that you share it with your members as it is a wonderful reminder for all of us of our mission and call to ministry in the Vineyard.

Blessings to you and your families! Mary Ann Keyes and Suzy Nauman

Introducing Aimee Caravich - in her own words

Greetings Everyone,

My name is Aimee Carevich. When people ask me who I am, I usually begin telling the story of my grandfather and his brothers who helped to unionize the steel and automobile industries in Detroit, Michigan, where I am from. My father, though not in union leadership at the high school where he taught, was very active in organizing the young teachers in the union to demand equal treatment from their peers with more experience. Whether it is genes or experience that taught me about the importance of justice and organizing to achieve it, I know not. What I do know is that I "caught the bug" a few short years ago while in Harvard Divinity School.

I was taking a class called "Organizing: People, Power and Change" from a man named Marshall Ganz, who was a former civil rights and United Farm Worker organizer. As I read about Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, and Martin Luther King, Jr. and learned about the importance of trained leadership, relationship building, motivation, strategy and action, something clicked into place within me. I finally knew what to do with the fire in my belly that burned through watching my first black friend and roommate leave Allegheny College because she couldn't afford to stay there, watching my Muslim friends at Ohio Wesleyan University be unfairly stereotyped, and listening to the story of one urban Boston youth who was called the "N word" in third grade… by her teacher.

I realized that in this world, some people have power, and others don't, and those who have it, are not willing to give it up without a fight. Having studied and admired Gandhi for years, I firmly believe that fight has to be non-violent, but it must be a fight nonetheless. After two years of teaching "People, Power and Change" to graduate students with Marshall Ganz, and four years of organizing and training Boston and Cambridge public school students with an organization called BYOP (the Boston-area Youth Organizing Project), I come to you.

I still remember the day when Marshall excitedly told me that VOTF had been founded. I cannot convey how much hope was expressed through his face, and that hope was contagious. Claiming 30,000 members and over 200 affiliates is no small feat, and I am impressed by the people I meet every day at VOTF!

Over the last several weeks I have heard many VOTF leaders say that it is time to take the organization to the next level. I sincerely believe that with some leadership training, and some smart and powerful organizing, VOTF can rise to its feet and claim a piece of the power that the Catholic hierarchy currently holds. I am here to get that ball rolling - to make a clarion call for more action that confronts the hierarchy and demands more power. After all, as the VOTF opening prayer states, "We are the Church." Indeed, you are the Church, and it is my privilege to be working with you.

In Peace,
Aimee M. Carevich

Aimee is beginning her work with a Boston and a New York/Connecticut leadership team. They will be piloting a leadership development program in their regions, and the plan is to roll it out nationally thereafter. In the next two months, these leaders will research what is and is not working in affiliates and Parish Voice, be trained as organizers, and train others to become organizers as well.

If you have any questions for Aimee, please contact her by email at aimee@jetesh.com. If you would like more information about the upcoming training sessions, please contact Mary Ann Keyes or Suzy Nauman at National VOTF at 617-558-5252 or by email at makeyes@votf.org or snuz@votf.org. In the email subject heading, please type ORGANIZING FOR ACTION TRAINING.

A Prayer for Our Time

Archbishop Oscar Romero:

It helps, now and then, to step back
and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.



Voice of the Faithful, VOTF, "Keep the Faith, Change the Church,"
Voice of Compassion, VOTF logo(s), Parish Voice, and
Prayerful Voice are trademarks of Voice of the Faithful, Inc.

Voice of the Faithful is a 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization.


In the Vineyard
July 2004
Volume 3, Issue 7

Page One

Parish Voice News

Reports From the Field

Letters to the Editor

Events, Opportunities & News

Making a Joyful Noise

Printer Friendly Version (WORD)

In the Vineyard Archives

Our postal address is VOTF,
Box 423,
Newton, MA

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For an overview of press coverage of VOTF, click here.

REMINDER: To contact an affiliate in your area, just go to the VOTF Web site at www.votf.org and click on Parish Voices for a menu. Choose "Directory," identify your state by region, click appropriately and you're there.