CWR Board and staff at Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Dear CWR Friends,

In the interest of keeping you informed, the Communicators for Women Religious Board of Directors shares highlights of our monthly meetings. The Board met at Mount Carmel Monastery, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, on January 23–27, 2017.

Kate Martin opened and closed the daily Board meetings with prayers and references to Pope Francis’ Laudato Sí.

Minutes from December videoconference were approved as submitted.

Sister Angela Szczawinska, Board Chair, on behalf of the executive committee, reported that Dave Eck, board member and 2017 Conference Chair, informed the board of his resignation from his position with his congregation as a result of downsizing and reorganization. Subsequently, he also resigned from the CWR Board. The board formally thanked Dave for his service to CWR. In accordance with CWR bylaws which require us to have 11 board members, and which allows the board to appoint a new board member in the event that a board member resigning mid-term. A motion was made and passed to invite Spalding Hurst to fulfill the balance of Dave’s term on the Board. Spalding has been a CWR member since 2014, serving on the marketing committee since 2015, and has been with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth since 2008. Spalding accepted the invitation to serve on the Board.

Sister Beth Kress, Treasurer, gave an overview of CWR financials for 2016 including bank accounts and investments. She also indicated 2017 items for first quarter Finance Committee tasks.

Eileen Dickerson, Strategic Plan Implementation Committee Co-Chair, reported that Executive Director Nick Schafer shared his recent activities in moving the CWR Strategic Plan forward, including:

  • Planning test marketing of materials for an awareness campaign on Catholic Sisters.
  • Exploring collaborative relationships/activities with Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, USIG, Religious Formation Conference, NCSW, and American City Bureau.
  • Nick continues to visit with CWR regional groups in Iowa and Missouri in 2016, as well as, Wisconsin and New England Communicators in 2017.
  • CWR continues its partnership with the International Union of Superiors General (UISG). This summer Nick will be visiting their headquarters in Rome to discuss future collaborations. The first major effort is scheduled for November 2017, when CWR will join UISG delegates at their gathering in the Philippines.
  • After some discussion, the Board moved to disband the ad hoc Strategic Planning Implementation Committee. Oversight of the Strategic Plan will be conducted by CWR’s Executive Team and staff.

Nick Schafer, Executive Director, shared recommendations for updates to the Policies and Procedures manual. This document will be presented for final vote at the May Board Meeting.

Committee Reports:

Conference 2017– With Dave Eck’s departure, committee members Stephanie Hall and Stephanie Manseau have offered to co-chair the conference. Board members toured the host hotel for the 2017 Conference and were very impressed with the facilities. An overview of the current program for the conference will be forthcoming.
The Board decided to make Development a sub-committee of the Conference Committee at this time, as the focus for fund development has specifically for the annual conference. (Note: development activities for the organization as a whole are part of the Executive Director’s function, as indicated in the strategic plan.) Kate Martin will chair the sub-committee, and welcomes any member who is interested in 1) doing research to identify potential sponsors, exhibitors and Ministry Marketplace vendors, and/or 2) extending the invitations and following up the process of getting forms completed and payments made. You may contact Kate at:

Marketing CommitteeSpalding Hurst agreed to serve as Co-chair of the Marketing Committee with Leah Wand.

Membership CommitteeSarah Jenkins, Membership Chair, together with Nick Schafer shared their observations and findings on membership structure and fees from other organizations. They asked for Board input and suggestions for clarification or changes to CWR membership structure. A final proposal will be drafted by March for Board approval, and will be incorporated into the Policies and Procedures and Bylaws.

2016 ConferenceKathy Gatliff, 2016 Conference Chair, shared the evaluation results with the 2016 and 2017 Conference Committees and the Board, including observations and recommendations for future processes. Proposals were made to add procedures for a Site Selection Process and a Conference Scholarship Program. Both proposals were voted on and passed. The Conference Scholarship program is an opportunity for members to have their conference registration fees covered, including one night at the designated hotel. This will be in place for the upcoming conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario, October 3-7, 2017! Complete details to be announced via the listserv and the CWR website within the next few weeks.

LCWR – Sister Annmarie Sanders, LCWR liaison, shared that LCWR is exploring how to adapt its governance to the demographic realities of the conference and religious life. We were also informed that LCWR received a grant to provide assistance to religious congregations facing significant experiences of transition. In addition to the Occasional Papers published twice a year, LCWR leaders are writing a book about what was learned while working through the doctrinal assessment. LCWR has also produced a set of 10 greeting cards based on the insights revealed by members attending the 2016 LCWR Assembly, available for purchase from the LCWR website. LCWR continues to respond and take action on issues relating to justice and peace.

NRVC –Carol Schuck Scheiber, NRVC liaison, was not present, but provided a written report.

Next Board Videoconference: Feb. 21, 2017, 10:30 a.m. CST.

CWR Board of Directors
Sister Angela Szczawinska, CSFN, Chair
Kathy Gatliff, Vice Chair
Sister Beth Kress, PBVM, Treasurer
Eileen Dickerson
Stephanie Hall
Spalding Hurst
Sarah Jenkins
Kate Martin
Jean Merry
Philippa Turney
Annmarie Sanders, IHM, LCWR Liaison
Carol Schuck Scheiber, NRVC Liaison

CWR Staff
Nick Schafer, Executive Director
Susan Oxley, Coordinator