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Koinonia

of Springfield K-373 ~ Dec. 2-4 Our Lord’s Summons Team Roster Alma Mandeville, LD Father Al McMenamy, SD Bud Walsh, ASD Bill Lahue, ALD Bob Mandeville, Coordinator Jan Mulrooney-Kuhn, Music Marilyn Walsh, Music Ron Kuhn, Sacristan Vickie Auth Lisa Fowler Valerie Hannah Betty King Lois Lahue Terri Maze Janet Nelson Jeff Nelson Gus Schmillen Clay Sherrock Merle King, Wheat Letter Coordinator mking2036@aol.com or (217) 528-6088 1708 S. Walnut Ave., Springfield, IL 62704

The Summons: Will you come and follow me, if I but call your name? I believe that our Lord does call each of us to come and follow Him, just as He did to His apostles. In Mark 1: 16-19 and Mark 3: 13-14, we learn of Jesus’ summons of His chosen twelve apostles and of how they are given their mission. When asked to be on K-373,

the team members responded affirmatively, readily and graciously. We say “yes” to the words: Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same? Will you let my love be shown, will you let my name be known? Will you let my life be grown in you and you in me? I believe that the Koinonia Community, across the 35 years, has followed Christ. In the second week of Advent,

we will, on K-373, take time to reflect upon a scene of 2,000 years ago when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was chosen (called) to be the mother of Jesus, our Savior. Because of her “yes”, nine months later the world had our first Christmas, celebrating Jesus’ birth. On December 2-4

we will reflect on Christ’s Paschal Mystery – His suffering, death and resurrection. Please remember K-373 with your prayers, wheat letters and reunion. Thank you in advance. May God bless the Koinonia Community. Alma Mandeville (217) 522-2787 1941 S. Glenwood Ave. Springfield, IL 62704 Mandy1941@aol.com

Dec. 2-4, @ Villa Maria Retreat Center Dec. 1: Day of Prayer Dec. 2: @ 3 p.m. Team Mass – All are welcome Dec. 3: @ 7 p.m. Reunion


K-372 ~ Nov. 4-6 Come as you are

Left to Right: Front row: Maria Buck, Shawna Leady, Katie Mertz, John Malay, Kathy Becker, Aimee Black Middle row: Verdie McCann, Stacey Atwater, Patty Kaiser, Cliff Shehorn, Suzanne Tusher, Carol Shehorn, Jeanne Boulanger, Shelly Devall, Joe Santillo, Cathi Blickenstaff, Stephanie Newhouse, Neil Boulanger, Sue Hackmann, Maggie Mucciante, Julie Atwell, Stacie Henderson Back row: Sue Davin, Frank Lesko, Ryan Atwater, Doug Atwater, Mark Becker, Jeff Malkamaki, John Huddleston

From Joe At first look K372 was just going to be your typical weekend. We ate, prayed, cried, laughed, shared and ate some more. The theme for our weekend “come as you are” summed up how the 14 candidates and 16 team members came to the weekend. By the time we left on Sunday we had all changed in one way or another from Friday night. God had special plans for K372 and He sent us a great group of candidates to share the weekend with and K372 turned out to be something other than typical. We even had a special visit from Sister Mary Homeroom. All that happened on the weekend would not have been possible without God’s grace being with us throughout the weekend. Also, the love and support from the Koinoina

December 2011 — Page 2

community with wheat letter and being at the reunion showed just how much God gave His love and grace to the weekend. A big thank you has to go the team that worked so hard and shared so much of them during the weekend. The candidates we outstanding and they added so much to the dynamics of K372. Finally I must that God for giving me the opportunity to be the Lay Director and serve the Koinoina community once and Him again. Peace and all good Joe Santillo Lay Director K372


From Mikki ... It is hard to believe the year is almost over. We just had a Lay Director selection, where many names were reviewed and selected. I hope to start calling individuals starting soon. Please pray for the persons who will be leading us in upcoming Koinonia’s. We have a wonderful community, and it takes us all stepping up. Either by attending a weekend, coming to reunion or even willing to host the January/ February gathering. So who is willing to step up and host the gathering? It does not have to be anything elaborate, just a place for food and fellowship. A plus would be if the community could also gather for a Mass celebration. Please contact me if you are interested in helping organize the gathering. Bill Callan’s editorial last month brought up a lot of thoughts and concerns. I am

thankful to hear that some responded to him. After all the community will only survive if we have people willing to speak up and participate. I had some also comment to me, which leads me to where I think we need to develop and grow. 1) Less weekends at the Villa Maria (especially with parishes having Koinonia weekends) Dropping weekends on holidays. The April weekend would be on Easter - I opted not to fill that month. The good news this year Mother’s Day will not fall on the May weekend (May 4-6) nor will Labor Day fall on the September weekend (Sept 7-9) ! Have 2 in Spring, 1 in Summer and 3 in Fall (with St John Vianney taking a Spring weekend and DASK a fall weekend). Thus 4 weekends are open to all of the greater community. Of the four weekends they will need elected a LD and team members. 2) Encourage participation from members who have been absent. Seek at least 3 team members who have not been on a weekend for over a year or more. Seek past 1st time candidates to be on a team Personal invites to attend re-

union, with invites coming from the upcoming Lay Directors 3) Publicity Print a quality poster for parishes, who would be willing to post. Bill did create a poster a while back, but I think it did not get a lot of attention. Printing on quality cardstock, rather than from ones’ personal printerwould be more eye-catching. [We will have to review the costto see if manageable] Have a liaison at area churches. The liaison would submit a brief article about Koinonia for their bulletin and be a contact person for their church. (I as chair would be willing to follow up, to those who make contact to the liaison) Check into having an ad in the Catholic Times. I suggest one placed in late April and one in late October. Provide fliers/applications at parishes and even the Marian Center. 4) Build up parish weekends. {for one thing, it would cost less and many are unsure about staying overnight somewhere- especially if they have pets or medical issues) Encourage parishes (St. James-

Riverton, Blessed Sacrament, and St. Agnes) to start back with weekends. Of the 3 parishes listed above it’s been 10 or more years since they have had a weekend, to which they have active members of the greater Koinonia Continue to show support to (St. Aloysius, St John Vianney, Sts. James & Patrick, Sugar Creek- Virden, Auburn & Divernon and Trinity- Granite City) parishes that have had more than 4 continuous weekends within the last few years. 5) Create a Directions Committee. I along with other officers can only do so much and need support from the community. The Directions committee would consist of at least 10 members. We would meet at least 2 times a year, by reviewing the directions we want Koinonia to head in the future. We would also review policies and the overall weekend experience. It would be great to fill the committee with past officers, past Lay Directors and others. Mikki Buhl Koinonia Chairperson

“Remember your first Koinonia?” Help someone to experience one with a small donation — either one-time or monthly or yearly. Our hope is we can not only assist first time candidates but also help those wishing to be on a team. For those who would like to help with a donation, please mail them to Cathi Blickenstaff, 2520 S. Pasfield St., Springfield, IL 62704. Checks made payable to Koinonia of Springfield, and to insure it goes towards the donation collection, in the memo field please write “donation.” — Mikki Buhl

It is NEVER too early to prayerfully consider a weekend AND call or e-mail about being a team member or candidate! December 2011 — Page 3


Koinonia Community feedback Introduced on the following pages is the feedback from seven members of the Koinonia Community in response to my Editor’s letter in the November Koinonia of Springfield Newsletter. Contributors cited a need to reduce weekends, recruit more, higher costs, etc. Many helpful and constructive suggestions were made—all with the goal of building up community. — Bill Callan, Koinonia Newsletter Editor

Re: “Is there anyone out there?” The low attendance at reunions may be an indication that we have not formed a community. This takes effort and time to take the bonding of the weekend and strengthening it into the “forth day.” I know myself that good intentions do not always get put into action. It is good for the candidate to receive a forth day e-mail or call the week after, but what about two weeks or a month later? You ask in you column “How viable is Koinonia of Springfield?” I think the question

should be: “What is the focus of Koinonia of Springfield and how are we doing?” The answer may be in the minutes of the Board meetings, especially the early meetings as the community struggled to identify its self; but from my limited reflections I offer these: To show Christ to those who have had limited or no relationship to Him. To be a welcoming community both on the weekend and in our parish. To form a community where Christ can be praised with openness and prayers of lamentation could be offered without judgment. To be a community that encourages a deeper relationship to Christ and His Body the Church. Koinonia met the needs of the

Church in the 70’s as it experienced the changes brought about by Vatican II Council. It was a place that those who felt they lost their Church and those who were Charismatic to bring “from their storerooms the best of the old and the new.” It met the needs of the Church in the 80’s as it reached out in evangelization of the un-churched and in the 90’s to those who were seeking to understand their personal relationship to Christ. I believe Koinonia of Springfield is now being called to use it experience of community to provide a safe haven and time of reflection on the role of the Christian in a secular society; a society that does not value God. A reading of the history of the early Church and saint’s lives affirms the need of a Christian to have a strong faith community support. It will

take some discernment to determine if this is in the format of a greater Springfield Koinonia or in the parish, but with the help of God; particularly the Holy Spirit, Koinonia will continue to bring Christ to the World. I realize that Koinonia can not continue to hold weekends with small numbers. But again evangelization and Koinonia should not be a number game. The question of how many weekends can the community sustain has been with us almost from the beginning and will continue to be of concern in the future. Prayer, fasting and dying to self are still good actions when faced when serious decisions need to be made and the Koinonia community should be experts in all three. Fr. David Zimmerman K17 through DASK 23

Newsletter Renewals for 2012 - Snail Mail To avoid disruption of your newsletter delivery sent $10 along with this coupon with checks made payable to: Koinonia of Springfield • Mail renewal form to: Mikki Buhl, 1912 N. 20th St., Springfield, IL. ZIP or given to her at reunion. Name: ___________________________________ Address: _________________________________ Phone: ___________________________________ E-mail (optional): ___________________________

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Koinonia Community feedback Hi Mikki, A couple of thoughts about Bill’s letter. Some of us discussed this a little this weekend. Right now the weekends that are locked are March (St. John Vianney), October (Dask) November & December which are always good weekends. So the thought was that since we have 3 in a row (Oct., Nov., Dec.) we should do the same and have March, April, May. And June and September are still possibilites. The one suggestion we have is that we not be locked into the first weekend of the month, but pick the weekend that works the best each year. For instance, April should be the week before or after Easter and May should not fall on Mother’s Day. September should be moved to the week after Labor Day. We had 14 candidates on this weekend so it is still possible to get candidates. The team was a good mixture of new and old, from Springfield, St. Louis, Decatur, etc. That helps on a weekend. There was a good turnout for reunion and it drew from all over. So it is still possible to have good numbers for our weekends — I think 18-20 team members and 5-10 candidates is a very reachable goal but it does take work. Our team worked hard to recruit candidates. So it is just a matter of deciding to stay with the March, April, May, June, September, October, November, and December schedule for another year or look at cutting two more weekends ( June & September). Personally, I would try another year as it stands, emphasizing to the LD’s how important it is that their teams be near 20 and that their team actively recruits candidates. But I can understand if we decide to reduce. Thanks (anonymous)

Thanks for your comments. Yep, Bill is onto something. I know there is several parishes just in Springfield or surrounding areas that have had past parish Koinonia’s. But somewhere in the shuffle, their weekends just fell off- seems like the late 1990’s. The one’s I can think of is Blessed Sacrement, St. Agnes (both Springfield) and St. James (Riverton). Cost, distance and time is what does make it hard for people to attend “regular” Koinonia’s. Bill had some good comments, and he

may be on to something. With the growing number of parish and focused Ks such as DASK, maybe the time is to consider quarterly versus monthly “regular” Koinonia’s – quality versus quantity. Spreading out the K experience through parish Ks is one way to reach more in the diocese who otherwise (due to cost and/or distance to drive) might not be able to attend. With this format, parish Ks could reach out and invite the “general population.” Just a thought. — M.

One respondent suggested . . . I believe that first problem is lack of candidates. The answer to this is proper recruitment. A small but mighty contingency of “briefed” or at least okayed Koinonians could and should visit every parish in the diocese. Passionate people who have experience the power behind making a weekend could be extremely effective in swelling our numbers. I also believe that a board might be an asset to our organization. I am not talking about officers but a group of people who would field questions, and who might “trouble shoot” prior to the development of hurt feelings, resentments — any and all of Satan’s work. Mikki cannot be expected to handle these situations. Since its creation, Koinonia has “splintered” many times. In a number of these cases, having a sounding board could have made the difference between saving our Koinonians and losing them. I have many more ideas,

(anonymous)

I am in charge of the youth group at St. John Vianney. It is hard to “figure out” a formula to “get” kids to come to Youth Group. The best formula probably involves kids inviting one another, having a good time, meeting Christ, experiencing Christian fellowship, and coming back with a friend. The best formula for getting adults to try Koinonia is to keep recruiting, and help the person who commits have a faithful, fun, fulfilling experience at the weekend. Koinonia is probably pretty similar. Trying to figure out how to get new people to visit the weekend, is the center of the editor note. The costs involved with putting the

weekend on are a root cause of anxiety for leadership. Perceived or real apathy toward the weekend is also a real concern. There are so many things vying for our attention. We recently had set a weekend, put all the work into preparing it, and had it ready to go when the decision was made to postpone it. The four candidates committed and ready to make the weekend got amped up, ready to participate, and had the carpet pulled out from under them. I know it felt like that as a team member. Money is an issue. If a weekend is planned, it should happen. If that means plan fewer weekends, then so be it. The momentum of a weekend that happens is powerful, just as is the momentum of a weekend that is cancelled. I, for my small, limited part, am willing and able to commit $20/ month for the next twelve months to Koinonia in Springfield to be used as a small cushion against the cancellation of a weekend due to money. Money committed could also fund events to offer information nights to potential candidates. Please let me know a good address where I can send my check. Thank you for all the work that you are doing to keep Koinonia as a viable faith retreat option in Springfield, Illinois. In Christ. John Barrett

I agree with the idea that we are having too many weekends to accomodate the numbers that are attending. I love Koinonia!!!!! I love the entire Community and the love and support of its members. I don’t want it to end, I agree with Bill and Miki, we need dialogue among our members. We all should be writing to the overall community and our leaders what options we have. Here are the issues as I see it, which is very much the same as Mikki and Bill. What is the problem: 1, finding willing LD”s and team members 2. getting candidates to attend. What are the causes of the problems: 1. spritiual activites in parishes such as Why Catholic, Just Faith, Engaging Spirituality and such. The programs themselves are not a problem, because they are very good and

December 2011 — Page 5


Koinonia Community feedback encourage fellowship in the church community, the actual problem is as Bill stated, there are other things available that have not been there in the past. 2. we need some way to recruit other than word of mouth. 3. People in their 30’s and 40’s are not attending religious activites as often, even mass on Sunday’s. What are the possible solutions: 1. have fewer weekends 2. choose months that will not force a Koinonia to be on a holiday weekend.( such as May when it involves first communion, Mother’s Day, etc.) or 4th of July weekend. 3. Make it a priority in our lives to attend reunions to show our support to those willing to serve. 4. Get some of the members who have served in the past to come back and be LD again. What is the best solution: This needs some thought and careful consideration, but here are a few. I am only one person so I know that many of you will come up with some best solutions too. 1. Have four weekends a year. If we have a waiting list we can add another. 2. Continue to have DASK as part of the rotation, consider adding a Spring weekend at the Villa. This was done in the past and worked out well. 3. At the LD selection elect at least one LD who has not served for several years. We of course need to select a person who served several times in the past. The asst LD should be selected that has recently served. 4. Reach out to parishes in the diocese with banners to be posted and something in the parish bulletin. People are looking for ways to enhance their spirituality and may have not heard of Koinonia. This would involve no cost to the Community. 5. See if Catholic Times or the Diocese will advertise to support the ministry of Koinonia (following portion submitted later) Oh, Bill, just re-read your letter and you spoke of a dying and older crowd, and you are so right about that. It sparked an idea I would like to run by you. How about having a young adult weekend.? Approx. age 18 to 30 or so. We probably should get someone like Pat and Sherri’Daniels son to be the LD.

There are several kids that are going to school Koinonia because we know how it helped us up in Bloomington that have been on Koino- and moved us to a new stage of faith. Let’s nia and are very active at the Newman Cenall keep our officers and newsletter editors in ter, they would be great team members. They our prayers as we discern and ponder what is have come to our DASK reunions because best and what God is calling us to do. their Mom from Chicago has been on the I am sending much love to you my Comteams. They do set up and tear down of the munity. You have shown me the love of God furniture in the dining room and make gifts in so many ways. God Bless You, each of to give to the candidates, very active in good YOU for all that you do. works. Some of the TEC kids are grown now Bonnie Flynn and could provide leadership roles as well. Would that age group come under Deacon Pat’s leadership?. We could get older adults to be mentor’s on the weekend, kinda like a I want to let you and Bill know that I wheat team in the background but still there thought his article was very well written. if needed for counseling. We would get a I agree with his assessment of the situation great mix of people, single, married, divorced, and think fewer K weekends might help. college kids and professional’s, and young I would go to every weekend... that’s how people that can relate to folks on the weekmuch I enjoy them ... if I could afford them. end. Another thing that we used to do was While I could not go anywhere else for an offer to babysit for couples so they could go entire weekend of food and lodging for the on Koinonia. This age group may need that price, I simply have to squeeze my budget kind of help. This was wheat. I babysat with bone dry to attend. Atwater’s kids so both of them could go on a My weekends are very precious to me. Its weekend. What are your thoughts on this.? my time to grocery shop, do the laundry, You don’t have to put the babysitting part in cook meals for the rest of the week and enjoy yet, might scare the heck out of some people. some down time. If you like it put it in your suggestions. I love I enjoy the reunions, but they take a good “ green light thinking”. Everything is okay to 3 hours or more out of my precious weekend. suggest but doesn’t mean it will end up being I wish I had an answer for you. I don’t. the best solution. These are my thoughts none-the-less I just read Bill’s letter today and I’m giving my opinion off the top of my head. If Kathy Bierbaum someone has ideas that disagree with any of the above, it doesn’t mean that either of us is right or wrong, it just means we are stating some ideas. Nothing is right or wrong at this point. Lets all get STALK-15 St. Aloysius Weekends in 2012, ideas on the table (at parish) March 9-11, 2012, others to be announced and we will come LD Tom Paoni, (217) 528-4185 at later date up with solutions • tepandkap@yahoo.com • SJVK-4 St John Vianney that is best for this • May, June, Oct., Nov. and (at Villa) March 2-4, 2012, wonderful loving Dec. LD Stacie Henderson COMMUNITY. (217) 566-2087 We all want everyemhsdh@casscom.com one we know and love to experience

2012 Weekends

Editor’s Note:

Just remember, no Lay Director, no team and subsequently no weekend. Not everyone is “cut out” to be an LD but prayerfully consider being one. December 2011 — Page 6


From the Koinonia News Editor: Some Good and Bad News Dear Koinonia Community, Since last month the Koinonia of Springfield newsletter received some good and bad news.

Here’s the good news: A total of eight members, including Mikki, responded to my challenge given in the November Editor’s Letter. As you may already and hopefully have read each letter proposes changes meant for the good of our local Koinonia community; including reduction in number of weekends, formation of a committee for greater recruitment, dropping of retreats on holidays, scholarship donations, etc. Not one of these individuals question the promise and future of their local community. No one doubts the viability of Koinonia of Springfield as I did. Each one is ready and willing to perform the hard work needed to bring renewed life to this organization. May the Good Lord see fit to aid them in their efforts. Fewer weekends mean less open slots and greater selectiveness of candidates and team members. Hopefully less “repeats” will occur as veteran members learn to “sit out weekends” in favor of new retreatants. Perhaps a rule barring or limiting number of weekends per year is needed. Increased recruitment means new blood and hopefully new ideas and changes in the old ways; some that have outlived their usefulness and original purpose. As Mikki noted not holding retreats on holiday weekends is a good and prudent idea. Why shoot yourself in the foot?

Costs surely will keep going up, especially at the Villa Maria. Count on a price hike or increase in fees. Some form of increased financial assistance will be needed in order to attract those “sitting on the fence” due to a lack of cash. That’s the good news.

Here’s the bad news: Responses from only 8 of over 400 members confirms my suspicions about the “real numbers” in our group. Like the October count in our diocesan parishes a vast difference in actual numbers exist between the faithful in the pews and those on the “books.” We have allot of past participants and team members on our mailing list and I wonder how many, if asked, would wish to be dropped. So how about this “silent majority” (as Richard Nixon once said). What are your reasons for not “speaking up?” Is it, as one respondent said, “take up their precious time.” Are you indifferent? Don’t care? Too busy? Find the Koinonia format too out of date? Too much like work? Too confining? All of the above? I will probably never know for sure. Statistically, I know how many people view the Koinonia newsletter on Issu (e-book edition) because of the number of “hits” is published. Sadly, only about a third, at most, actually takes the time to read the newsletter. Some readership is untraceable due to our downloadable PDF. In essence the newsletter is not accessed and read by the very members who need to be reached the most. But this common phenomenon is across most organizations. So my continued challenge to our membership is threefold. Do you wish to remain involved? If so, let’s hear from you – even the smallest of contribution in time, talent and treasure is appreciated. If not, tell us why.

Koinonia of Springfield E-mail address: koinonia.information@gmail.com Frequency of publication per year: 8 Retreat Months: March, April, May, June, Sept. Oct. Nov., and Dec. Weekend basic cost: $100 per weekend-double occupany • Single room extra • Other costs such as cross engraving not included.

Just remember, belonging to our community costs nothing except for our “snail mail” members. We ask nothing from you except your participation, and this can be as simple as writing a Wheat Letter or saying prayers for a successful weekend. It’s time to stand up and be counted. Our Church and Catholic faith will survive. Jesus Christ won the victory over sin and death on our behalf. There is no doubt about the outcome. But the battle rages on for souls – the devil is afoot and largely successful in his campaign. Heaven or Hell is up to us and each will be held accountable to God for our sins. Can you truthfully answer that you did your best? Or choose to do it “your way?” Whether Koinonia of Springfield will survive is yet to be seen. The faith community and society in general upon which our group has its footings is greatly diminished. The devil is at work and determined to destroy our group. Will Koinonia of Springfield fall “during our watch?” Or, as some suggested, allow Koinonia of Springfield to die in order to allow something new and better to arise? Even now our youth are searching for and discovering new ways to evangelize, to reach out and teach about the Good News of Jesus Christ. So my closing words to the community about the future of Koinonia of Springfield are borrowed from an old sage when faced with two men holding a live bird in their hands. “Is the bird live or dead old man?” “It is what you make of it, young men,” he said.

Bill Callan Koinonia of Springfield Newsletter Editor

List of Officers:

• Chairperson: Mikki Buhl, (217) 527-1912, mikkimoose@sbcglobal.net • Vice-chairperson: Ruth Atwater, (217) 429-3954 • Secretary: Kathy Paoni, (217) 528-4185 • Treasurer: Cathi Blickenstaff, NEW> (217) 717-9122 • Newsletter Editor: Bill Callan (217) 502-2033, wlcallan@hotmail.com December 2011 — Page 7

Koinonia of Springfield  

December newsletter for the Koinonia of Springfield community

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