Workshop I Summary

Summary of First Community Workshop

15 July 2002

The meeting began with a faith reflection by Ann George, who presented an excerpt from the writings of the Dalai Lama and from Psalm 19. Wolfgang Walkowiak gave a credential for PIA, including its structure, diversity, and purpose. A round of introductions followed, from which it became clear that the group was one of geographic diversity, stretching from Redwood City to San Jose, and one of active involvement in other aspects of parish life, including the choir, the Young Adult Circle, the pastoral council, and Pax Christi.

Following these events was a testimonial from Dave Rogheir, Secretary for PIA's Executive Action Team and a leader from the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto. He spoke energetically of his work in helping to get a mandatory mediation ordinance for renters in Palo Alto, and working to provide more below-market-rate housing in the area.

The bulk of the meeting was led by PIA's Executive Director, Rev. David Mann, who took us through an exercise entitled, "Looking at the World as it is Versus How it Should Be." We started with a list of words and phrases that characterized our vision:

  • abundant love
  • compassion
  • human dignity
  • justice
  • cooperation
  • neighborliness
  • endurance and sustained effort
  • hope: "Never Nowhere to Turn"
  • joy
  • generosity
  • forgiveness
  • peace
  • divine justice
  • concern for and interest in others
  • opportunity for all
Next, we brainstormed about the vision we had for our corner of the world:
  • good, clean, public transportation that most people used
  • people are accepting of one another
  • people looking at each other in the eye, both on the street and during the Sign of Peace
  • no one panhandling
  • therapy for street people without patronization
  • all children in school, learning and loving it with good teachers
  • honest politicians achieved in part through publicly financed elections
  • adoption for unwanted children
  • living wage ordinance to support all working people
  • a process through which renters could share in the equity of their home
  • violence and pornography don't occur because people found better things to do
  • full safety
  • publicly funded children's activities
  • better TV
  • neighbors who take care of each other even if they don't like each other
We then briefly discussed the problems we see around us and found them to be more or less in opposition to the above points: the division of society into rich and poor, the difficulty of forming healthy relationships including dating, the lack of social fabric caused in part by overworking and burnout. Solving all of these problems is beyond the scope of a single parish, of course, but David pointed out that a jigsaw puzzle is solved by finding the corners and working inward, one piece at a time.

We ended with a discussion of the benefits of a relationship between PIA and the Catholic Community at Stanford University. The benefits included:
  • getting to know your neighbors
  • unifying the community
  • becoming "real"
  • being "faithful to the faith"
  • connection to the wider area, racially, economically, and interfaith
  • getting outside yourself to create joy inside
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