Area clergy meet with Sen. HarsdorfA group of area clergy met with Sen. Sheila Harsdorf Monday, Feb. 28, to open a dialogue about community fears and concerns with Governor Walker’s budget-repair bill.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
A group of area clergy met with Sen. Sheila Harsdorf Monday, Feb. 28, to open a dialogue about community fears and concerns with Governor Walker’s budget-repair bill.
The group assembled at St. Bridget’s Church in River Falls and shared the concerns heard from members of their congregations, including loss of a voice on the job without collective bargaining rights, as well as funding cuts that will affect seniors and the most vulnerable.
A press release received Tuesday from Gretchen Donart of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) says, “the clergy asked Sen. Harsdorf to be a bridge across the partisan divide.”
The release continues: “We encouraged Sen. Harsdorf to collaborate across the aisle, but we realize that dialogue will be challenging. As a clergy round table we will continue to work together and invite other pastors to join us. We hope to continue our dialogue with Senator Harsdorf, particularly as the Governor releases his proposed budget today.”
Revs. Chris Myers of the First Congregational UCC in River Falls, Gerald Harris of St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in River Falls and Delbert Permann of Roberts Congregational UCC all confirm the meeting. Myers said it was limited to clergy only.
He said at his church, he told the congregation about the meeting and asked what feedback the clergy should share with Sen. Harsdorf.
Myers said he received about 64 responses to his request. He describes the meeting as respectful and said the group developed a list of four questions it would ask collectively and that each attendee prepared a brief statement.
Harris describes the meeting as a representation of local pastors since not all could make it due to scheduling and other commitments.
“Our desire was to meet with her (Harsdorf) and just explain what was on there,” he said.
The March 1 release lists all the attendees who met with Harsdorf:
- Rev. Scott Erlenborn, Baptist General Conference/Converge Worldwide, Hudson
- Rev. Gerald Harris, St. Bridget’s Catholic Church, River Falls
- Deacon Larry Hennemann, St. Bridget’s Catholic Church, River Falls
- Rev. Chris Myers, First Congregational UCC, River Falls
- Rev. Stacy Myers, First Congregational UCC, River Fals
- Rev. Rob MacDougall, First Congregational UCC, Menomonie
- Rev. Delbert Permann, Congregational UCC, Roberts
- Rev. Bruce Stunkard, United Methodist Church, Hudson
- Rev. Ted Tollefson, Unitarian Universalist Society, River Falls.