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Archive for Friday, September 26, 1997

POLIFKA TO LEAD MINISTERIAL GROUP

September 26, 1997

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A local ministers' group provides fellowship and community outreach.

On a day-to-day basis, they're concerned with the business of tending to the spiritual needs of their own flocks.

But once a month, many of Lawrence's clergy and ministry professionals meet to discuss common interests as the Lawrence Ministerial Assn.

"Basically what we do as an association is to get together and provide some mutual support and fellowship, and we do a lot of information sharing," said the Rev. Charles Polifka, who is the group's new president.

Polifka, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 1229 Vt., recently took over the reins of the organization from the Rev. Charles Gilmore, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, 1245 N.H.

Polifka, a Capuchin Franciscan priest who has been pastor at St. John's for two years, became president earlier this month.

He said the organization will continue looking at the issue of providing a healing ministry at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

"We're talking about how we can support the staff there and not get in the way, and how we can provide ministry to the sick and be a part of the whole healing process," Polifka said. "The next meeting in October is going to be on the importance of spirituality and healing."

Polifka said in the coming year the organization will consider what it can do to provide ministry for the new Douglas County Jail, which is now under construction.

The organization will also continue its role in helping the city's Emergency Services Council provide emergency aide to those in need, Polifka said.

In the past, the ministers have talked about the need for each of them to support family and married life.

"We also looked at homelessness and housing," he said. "Those are things that affect all of us together. We try to find better ways to service the Lawrence community together."

Gilmore, who served for three years as president, said the organization includes local ministers of all faiths and denominations. About 15 to 20 clergy regularly attend the meetings.

"It gave me an opportunity to meet and get to know a number of other ministers in the community and to deepen relationships with them," Gilmore said. "It gave me a better understanding of the religious community in Lawrence."

Gilmore said the organization seeks to find common interests among its members, since they are all leaders in their different faiths.

"We continue to work on that challenge," he said.

There are three other ministerial groups in Lawrence -- the Lawrence Association of Evangelicals, which consists of strictly Christian clergy; the Ecumenical Fellowship Inc., which consists of several ministers of the city's predominantly African American churches; and the Kansas University religious advisers, whose members are campus ministers.

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