Liturgy Planning Meeting

Thursday, August 18th  


Riverwalk Community Room




Benefitting SOPHIA staff and volunteers as they attend the

Gamaliel Foundation’s social justice education and training classes!

Potluck Picnic at Laraine and Mike O’Brien’s home –

After liturgy, September 4th



1971 - 2021 


SUNDAY, JULY 18, 2021              BETHESDA PARK


50th Anniversary Writings and Reflections:

What CLS Means to Me 

Dean V. Marek


Let me begin my story with an event in 1964, the year before my ordination to the priesthood. I was in the printshop at the seminary, silk screening “holy cards” with a seminarian colleague and friend. I got a splitting headache from inhaling ink and turpentine fumes.

My colleague said, “Come up to my room; I can give you some aspirin before you go home.” I lived in another building on campus, so that seemed reasonable. I went with him to his room and sat on a chair just inside the door while he got the aspirin.

Suddenly, the door opened; there stood the student prefect. His job was to keep order on his assigned floor and check attendance at chapel services. “What are you doing here?” he asked, “You know the rule against visiting rooms.” I told him why I was there, and he ordered me to leave, which I did.

The next day, the rector summoned me to his office. “What were you doing in another room with the door closed and the window drapes drawn?’ I told him the story about my colleague’s offer of aspirin and added, “By the way, those drapes were wide open with the sun shining in.”

He opened a file folder that was on his desk and took out what he said were my Rorschach Ink Blot Test results. “It says here that you could be prone to lying.” I didn’t know how to respond but finally asked, “Monsignor, here I am in front of you; why are you looking at a psych test instead of believing what I told you?”

“Your breach of this particular rule could be subject to expulsion . . . but instead, I’m going to clip you from ordination to the subdiaconate2 until September. We’ll see what happens in the meantime.

Then, the dean of students summoned me to his apartment; the assistant dean was there, also. I sat on a couch while they took chairs on the other side of a coffee table. It was the early days of Vatican II, and a cultural revolution was taking place. In response to those events, they brought up several issues that perplexed them about my behavior and that of my classmates.

“Why are you caught up in this belief that love is the answer for everything?” one asked. “When you see a family in your parish, do you think the husband kisses his wife and goes off to work because of love? No, he goes out of a sense of duty! He has a wife and children to support!"

It must have been the Spirit prompting me when I responded, “Perhaps you guys couldn’t preach about love in your day, but this is a new day, and we’ll succeed where you failed. By the way, when I saw the rector, he told me that the drapes were closed when the perfect entered the room. That’s false. Who told him that? Or did he lie?"

1 Seminary of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
2 The Subdeaconate is no longer a part of the Major Orders of the Priesthood in the Catholic Church as of 1972.


One of them must have reported the incident to the rector, but neither responded. So, I stood up, said I had enough of their interrogation, and walked out the door, which I slammed behind me. “Holy shit,” I thought, “What have I done?”

But I survived. My classmates elected me the deacon class president, and I was ordained the following Spring 1965.


When I arrived at my first assignment to St. Edward’s Parish in Racine, the pastor answered the door and invited me to sit in the parlor. He told me that he “heard about me” and decided he would treat me differently. “I’m not going to tell you the rules here. I will let the senior assistant do that.” I thought it sounded like a setup for failure.

On August 15, after one of the Holy Day Masses, the pastor stomped into the rectory and yelled at me, “Where were you? You didn’t help me distribute Communion!” “Monsignor, I’m sorry, but I didn’t know I was supposed to.” “You’re not sorry!” “You’re right. I’m not.”

That set the stage for similar encounters, and two years later, I got a call from the bishop’s office. It was the chancellor telling me he was going to transfer me to a new parish. “And something we never do,” he said, “You can choose your next assignment. Here are the two choices.”

When he told me the choices, I didn't know anything about either. “Could I have some time to find out about them?” I asked. “We’re really in a hurry to get this done today . . .” “Well then, how about I call you back in about two hours?” He reluctantly said, “Okay.”

I called a priest friend. “What should I do?” “Come to St. Joseph’s in Kenosha.” I immediately called the chancellor. “I’m sorry, but we already assigned you to St. William’s Parish in Waukesha.”

The pastor of St. William’s warmly welcomed me at the rectory door. He was going fishing, so he said, “Your room is up the stairs to the left. Make yourself at home. I don’t want to have to tell you what to do. See you later.” “That’s interesting,” I thought, “where have I heard that story before?”

Others had made most of my life choices for me up to that point in time. Sure, I freely chose the seminary, but somebody else was in charge for the next twelve years. Seminary wasn’t the best academic experience, but it taught me skills they never intended: to own my decisions and speak my mind. So, at St. William’s, I did.


St. William's parishioners were down-to-earth good people who took responsibility for their parish and welcomed new adventures in experiencing and celebrating faith. As a result, a


religious education program flourished under creative leadership. And after attending courses in the history of the liturgy, members were asking for a contemporary Liturgy in the parish Gym, where in essence, CLS was born.

A committee of seven families from the “Gym Mass” met on the evening of July 1, 1971, after failing to get diocesan approval to start a new community parish. They “pledged themselves to secure and support a new community to be called ‘The Community of the Living Spirit.’ The name was chosen because those present felt that the Holy Spirit inspired them toward their action.”3

I was called later that evening and informed of the committee’s decision. They asked me to become the minister of the community, and I accepted wholeheartedly. “Holy crap,” I thought, “the shit’s going to hit the fan this time! How exciting!”

I’m amazed how paths I never chose got me to the place I was meant to be. I answered the call and decided to sign up for a journey into the celebration of “Be Here Now.”4

“Where are we?” “HERE!” “What time is it?” “NOW”


In retrospect, CLS was the best seminary experience I ever had. You grew me up from delayed adolescence into the person I’m forever becoming. You taught me self-worth and how to encourage it in others. You taught me to receive and give the gift of love. Oh, so many hugs.

In community, we explored the meaning of spirituality, love, and life. I learned to theologize, liturgize, create, celebrate, delegate – and even dance. I was challenged to preach honestly, never advocate for what I didn’t believe, and celebrate rituals authentically with reciprocity.

You awakened in me an examination of my tribal, cultural, religious, and racial beliefs that caused me to judge others as less than me. Conversations, liturgies, workshops, and retreats in self-reflection - based on a belief in the common good, social justice, and God revealed in all of creation - led me to appreciate myself and others as more like me.

I’m currently trying to understand why so many others unlike me choose to believe lies and conspiracy theories trumpeted by politicians and preachers. I realize that such opinions are not about facts but are an emotional defense against unwanted change. Fear of a privileged life upended is a powerful incendiary for social chaos. No wonder the scriptures urge us to embrace faith over fear. “Instead of fear, have faith,”6

3 The Founding of The Community of the Living Spirit, circa 1974.
4 Ram Dass. 1971. Be Here Now, Remember. San Cristobal, N.M.: Lama Foundation.
5 An anonymous modern proverb that entered circulation by 1920. August 31, 2012. 6 There are over 300 similar exhortations in the Bible, e.g., Mark 5:36


At CLS, I lived a “foretaste of the heavenly liturgy”7 and looked for it wherever I went thereafter. I found it in Milwaukee, serving an aging community of retired Franciscan sisters who educated, cared for, and healed thousands in their lives of service. I found it in Rochester, MN, ministering among Mayo Clinic patients whose souls had been opened wide by illness.

And more recently, I found it in Richmond, VA, as a member of a multi-ethnic, multi- generational parish aptly named “Sacred Heart.” In preparing this reflection on what CLS means to me, I had an “aha moment" when I remembered a quote on one of my ordination holy cards. “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is inviable to the eye.”8
And the quote on my other ordination holy card still holds true in my life wherever I go.9

I am always surprised where the journey leads because those quotes from the Little Prince and The Prophet were what my friend and I were silk-screening in the seminary printshop fifty-seven years ago.


And on July 18, 2021, I found that foretaste of the heavenly liturgy again with friends at The Community of the Living Spirit, celebrating a fifty-year journey, where at least for me, all roads lead joyfully home.

JULY 22, 2021

7 Second Vatican Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium (December 4, 1963), Chapter 1.1.8.
8 Saint-Exupery, Antoine de. 1943. The Little Prince.
9 Kahlil Gibran. 1923. The Prophet

'Memories of Early Life of CLS’ 

by Cathy Labinski, written for the 50th Anniversary

My early memories of CLS center around our spiritual leader, Father Dean Marek.  And the word that permeates my mind is “empowerment”.  Dean named our gifts and encourages us to share them with our brothers and sisters in the Community of the Living Spirit.  He saw us as having gifts.  His goal was to enrich the community with all that we had to share, and in essence, he was saying, “You matter.  You have talents.  Share them.”

That focus also carried over to the children of CLS.  I remember our son, Tom, in 1990, being a First Communicant at CLS, and Fr. Dean walking around the gym at White Rock School, carrying a microphone and inviting each communicant to introduce herself or himself and their family members who were present, and to share whatever else was in their hearts.  Fr. Dean, in essence, was again saying, “You are important.  You matter.”  What a gift he was offering!

The third memory of mine involves Fr. Dean at Sunday liturgies in the gym yelling out to us, “What time is it?”  That was our cue to answer, in unison, “Now!”  He was teaching us to live in the present moment.  Now was important to focus on.  Dean couldn’t have passed on a more relevant message. 

CLS helped to shape me and our family in so many ways. 

Ever so grateful,

Cathy Labinski

CLS 50th Anniversary – A Letter of Love                                                                                                               July 2021

by Gina (Goetsch) Dundun

Growing up within the Community of the Living Spirit (CLS) church provided me an amazing base of faith and general good-human-ness.  I want to thank you for that, for it has served me well.  The community, the love, the giving, and the openness carries forth with me and in me.  The seeds you all planted so long ago, in me and the other CLS children, have developed and grown and spread wide.  I’d like to thank you all for your efforts in building that space for me, my family, and so many others. We were blessed to be a part of this amazing community.  Be proud of what you created.

I have so many fond memories of CLS.  At the time, that was all I knew, so I thought that was “normal”.  I thought that is what “church” was.  I had no idea what a rare special gem CLS was in the world.  The mission I read today on your website was true then and I’m glad to know it holds true now, “Celebrating life in all its diversity, seeking social justice, and honoring each one's search for meaning.”  Celebration.  Life. Diversity. Social. Justice. Honor. Each. Search. Meaning. – when you put that all together that brings “love” and “community”.  Those are the words that summarizes CLS to me – “love” and “community”.

As we celebrate the 50 years of CLS’ existence, I’d like to walk down memory lane and express to you my gratefulness for creating and sustaining our CLS community.  Let’s start with the great Father Dean Marek, our minister, was kind and accessible to us.  And I mean “us” as in the kids of CLS. He was such a regular guy that once my mom told me to “Give this to your father” and I went and gave the thing to Father Marek.  He was our church leader, and he was one of the flock as well.  We even had a sleepover at his house for our second-grade 1st Communion!  He was fun and creative and brought humor and casualness into his services.  I cannot remember a single sermon.  I’m sure I was busy goofing around with my siblings and hoping it would end soon so we could run across the street to Frame Park with the tall rocket ship slide.  What I DO know is that every great organization has a great leader.  Father Marek was open, he was kind, he was fun.  The message I remember is one of love. 

Church is the people and the people are love and the church is love.  CLS created a vision in me that faith can be all those things – people, love, fun, community, kindness.  As a kid and until today, when I attend various religious services, I always compare them to the fun, casualness, and openness of CLS.  My memories are community: holding hands to pray, swaying to music, being in circle, and the music - oh the music - the guitars featuring Bonnie Birk, Rich Labinski on the drums, Ed Weiss on the piano.  The hand clapping.  The singing at the top of our voices.  Heck, we even played Abba songs and other current music IN church!  So hip!  And of course Ruth Browne’s dances.  To this date, everytime I hear the song “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” I literally dance Ruth’s dance in my head.  I don’t know how many years in row we did that same dance with her.  It felt like such a privilege, so special, to DANCE in public.  Next time I see you, just ask, I can dance it for you – even 40 years later!  That was another great thing about CLS – the involvement opportunities.  Programs, set up chairs in the gym, handing out programs, speaking, dancing, Sunday school, readings – we were all welcomed to be involved.  We all participated in creating it.  We all benefited from its creation. A real symbiotic relationship.

Sunday School, CCD, youth retreats, camping – we did them all.  Now as an adult, I realize how much time and effort all you must have put into organizing and executing those for us.  I thank you for that now.  I know we gave you some trouble, as kids will, but your experiences, love, and lessons ran deep.  We were listening, even if you thought we weren’t.  Today, whenever I see someone wearing a spoon ring, I remember when we made those during a CLS youth retreat.  When I had my own kids, the first CD I bought was “Free To Be You And Me”, because of CLS.  Every time I’m on my own search for a church, I compare it to the warmth and spirit of CLS.  I have to tell you, I’m 52 years old now and have only found one that comes close.  CLS was a special place to grow up.

As we all know, that CLS involvement and sharing extended out into the world as well; with food drives, Hmong family support, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, the Women’s Center, and so many other worthy causes.  Our family home was one of the battered women’s shelter homes in Waukesha County.  We took not only the women in, but their children as well.  This was another immense learning experience of my youth – the brokenness, the desperation, and also the normalcy of these families as they entered our home. Some would stay a day, others months.  It’s amazing to me to think how we’d get a call of a woman in need and our family would quickly mobilize to set up our space and adjust our lives to welcome in these strangers and treat them as family too.  We’d play with the kids.  My mom would make coffee and listen to the woman’s story, or give her space to rest and heal while my mom took care of us plus more kids.  I watched and learned all that, via an opportunity that came to us through CLS.

CLS also served as our family’s Sunday morning “family time”, sometimes followed by a donut or Shakey’s pizza lunch.  CLS was a pillar of our family’s week.  Time spent together in a row, holding hands, praying, singing, and being together.  CLS was also our family’s friend circle – the softball teams, the retreats, the camping, the doctors, the card nights, etc.  Our lives were surrounds by good folks from CLS.  Rich Labinski filled every cavity in our mouths, Luanne Bauman cut our hair, Julie Vogelsang often had the Goetsch kids over and entertained us, the Vogelsang’s were also our constant camping companions, my dad and Mark Bauman worked together.  CLS softball games were where our dads would play and us kids would all run around wild in the park together.  My parents joined “CLS Movie Group” and STILL get together all these years later – Linda Vincent, Chris and Paul Brown, Lucchesis, and the Melodys.  CLS was and continues to be a source of support and friendship.

I truly loved seeing you at the CLS 50th Anniversary.  The names and faces simply flooded me with sweet memories.  Tears of joy and appreciation flowed as I listened and sang those familiar songs with those familiar people from so long ago.  Those thoughts and memories still remain in my heart today.  Thank you all for what you created.  Thank you all for what you’ve given me.  Thank you for the love.  Thank you for the community.  May God bless each and every one of you for the various gifts you’ve shared into this world.

Sing it with me now:  Aa-a-a-men.  Aaa-a-a-men. Aaa-aaa-a-men. A-men. Amen. Alleluia.

Thank you for all the love.

Gina (Goetsch) Dundun

‘The CLS Theresa and John Levenhagen Farewell Song’   

     Words by Maureen and Ken Turk  (Sung to: ‘Those Were the Days’)

  Sent by Ken Turk for the 50th Anniversary Celebration

1) Once upon a time at old Saint Williams,

Where they used to raise a fight or two,

One committee battling another,

And a good share of the trouble came from you.


Chorus: Those were the days my friend!

              We thought they’d never end.

              We laughed and prayed on every Sunday.

              We shared the Wine and Bread,

              We’d dreamed of days ahead.

             Those were the days. 

              Oh yes, they were the days.


2) Then one day we moved into the Y Gym,

Forming ourselves a real Community.

You know John and Theresa had a finger in it,

Bringing out the best in you and me.


3) If by chance we meet someday in heaven,

With Popes and saints and angels all around.

Oh we’ll greet and cheer and cast aside our halos.

And we’ll sing while all the hierarchy can frown.


4) John got up and he was heard to say

Lord said it’s time to move away

We spread the seed and it seems to be thriving.

YES, CLS is thriving.


5) So look out California, here they come.

They are going to have you on the run

Shakin’ churches and upsetting your systems.

Yea, shaken churches and upsetting your systems.

The Order of Service for the 50th Anniversary Liturgy:

Community of the Living Spirit   1971-2021


July 18, 2021


LITURGISTS: Sharon Sullivan and Rev. Katherine Zakutansky, current CLS Ministers



                 Morning has broken like the first morning

                 Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.

                 Praise for the singing, praise for the morning.

                 Praise for them springing fresh from the world.


                 Sweet the rains new fall sunlit from heaven,

                 Like the first dew fall on the first grass.

                 Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,

                 Sprung in completeness where his feet pass.


                Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning,

                Born of the One Light Eden saw play.

                Praise with elation, praise every morning,

                God’s re-creation of the new day.    (Repeat verse one)

OPENING REFLECTION: Written by Mike Riordan, CLS Founder and current Treasurer, and Bill Downham, CLS Founder; read by Mike. Living Founders Ken Turk, Bill Downham, and Mike and Joanne Riordan thank those who helped build CLS.

A meeting on July 1, 1971 convinced the seven families there to form the Community of the Living Spirit. They would continue no matter what! And they, like everyone else, were surprised that 225-250 showed up at the first liturgy at the YWCA on July 25 - a strong foundation of people willing to develop the community through their human and material resources. Bill Downham recently said he remembers that first CLS meeting like it was yesterday! He recalls asking Patty if she was cool with the concept and she replied, ‘Do you think we are doing the right thing?’ Answering that long-ago question he commented, ‘Of course, history has spoken!' 

FIRST READING: “Our Community Journey” written by Jan Schienebeck, 1978. Read by Ken Turk, CLS Founder and first Board President

We were alienated from Church, others, and ourselves. We gathered together to explore our place in our religious traditions and a spirit of freedom arose to lead us to the ever-expanding knowledge that we had the power to change our lives. Miracles began to happen as we journeyed forward to a promised land - not a place but a space in which to be a community and live a mission for ourselves and for others.

SECOND READING: "Reflections of the Liturgy Chairperson" (an excerpt from the 1974 CLS Directory). Written and read by Cathy Labinski

Worship calls us to gather as a community of memory and hope: memory of our past history and hope for the future. Worship calls us to glorify God and to enjoy God forever, to receive life with gratitude and humility and commitment. These are some of the reasons we celebrate on Sunday.

THIRD READING: "Reflections of the Community Witness Chairpersons" written by Anne and Ed Weiss (an excerpt from the 1976 CLS Directory). Read by Joanne Riordan, CLS Founder and current Liturgy Chair

Through Community Witness we can express our concern for other people and express our religious philosophy through action. The strength and support we can share with other human beings can only be given when there is sensitivity to and a perception of needs. The needs may not always be financial and we all have to develop responsiveness and responsibility – let us be creative in reaching out to other people.

 SCRIPTURE READING: Colossians 3:12-16     Read by Marilyn Baus, current CLS Social Chair

 As beloved ones, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, and patience. Above all, clothe yourselves with love.  And be thankful.  Let the spirit dwell in you richly, and sing psalms and hymns and songs with thanksgiving in your hearts.


HOMILY: Dean Vernal Marek – ‘It’s A Long Road To Freedom’

                                                          (A homily and a song - with Dean’s revised lyrics!)

        REFRAIN:   It’s a long road to freedom, a winding steep and high.

                            But if we walk in love with a spirit strong,

                            And cover the earth with a joyful song, the miles fly by.


       We moved one Sunday to a gym,

       And often learned a brand-new hymn,

       That touched our spirits deep within.   REFRAIN


       We vowed to share the wealth we earned

       For peace and justice as we learned

       The needs of others often spurned. REFRAIN


       We loved and called each other friend,

       And prayed our days would never end;

       The years have passed, we can’t pretend. REFRAIN


       We live each moment in the now,

       As all our seasons will allow,

       Until we take our final bow.  REFRAIN

PRAYERS OF THE COMMUNITY – ‘Gratitude and Remembrance’ Led by Sharon and Katherine  

 We rejoice in celebrating 50 years of the remarkable existence of the Community of the Living Spirit, awed by the beauty, exuberance, and fulfillment of these years.


 We gratefully remember ministers Dean Marek, Mary Ann Ihm, Ed Ruen, Jenny Schroeder, Ed Kurth, Dick Bidwell, Craig Bergland, Irene Senn, Sharon Sullivan, and Katherine Zakutansky, people of vision and faith who have shared their insights and gifts with us.


 We are thankful for all who have ever been a part of the Community of the Living Spirit. We also, with love and gratitude, celebrate the lives of CLS members who have died but whose spirits live on with a vitality that continues to enrich us.    


 We call to mind the Food Pantry, The Women’s Center, Hebron House, the White Rock School breakfast program, the clothing center, Plowshare, the Hmong community, SOPHIA, and many other involvements that are part of the collective spirit of CLS and reflect the ways in which we have been connected to the greater community.


OUR FATHER/OUR MOTHER: “To the God Within” (Meg Kasprowicz’ Nontheistic Version)                                                       Led by Katherine - Read by All

Aware of your gift of Love within us, we reach out beyond our boundaries to spread loving kindness to those most dear to us.  Then, joining with others, we strive to make our communities and our world a better, kinder place to live. May we make good use of our daily opportunities to grow and to encourage and help others to grow. May we learn to forgive more easily, thus aiding others to do the same. May we be strong as we face temptations and other evils.  May we always be aware of the gift of God’s love within us.

OFFERTORY SONG: ‘Let Freedom Span Both East and West’ (Melody: ‘Amazing Grace’) 

        Let freedom span both east and west, and love both south and north,
        In questing for the common good, throughout the whole wide earth.

        In beauty, wonder, everywhere, let us communion find,
        Compassion be the golden cord close binding humankind.

        Beyond all barriers of race, of color, sex, or creed,
        Let us make friendship, human worth, our common faith and deed. 

        Then east and west will meet and share, and south shall build with north,
        One human commonwealth of good throughout the whole wide earth.

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER: “A Blessing of Thanks” by Naomi King (adapted) Read by Sharon and Katherine

 Let us join our hearts in love and gratitude

on this wondrous day, thankful for the abundance of our lives.

We remember on this day all of those who do not have enough,

who are afraid, who are lonely, and who suffer.

We wish for the abundance of this world to be shared,

for fear to become love, for the lonely to feel welcomed,

and for those who are suffering to know rest and joy.

For the labors, the love, the care that gave us the delights

of this and every day, we offer our thanks.

For the nourishment of our spirit, the challenges that strengthen us,

and the friends we have along the journey, we sing in praise.

Overflowing with gratitude for these good gifts,

we once again share bread with one another. Amen.


             We would be one as now we join in singing

             our hymn of love, to pledge ourselves anew

             to that high cause of greater understanding

             of who we are, and what in us is true.

             We would be one in living for each other

             to show to all a new community.


            We would be one in building for tomorrow

            a nobler world than we have known today.

           We would be one in searching for that meaning

           which binds our hearts and points us on our way.

           As one, we pledge ourselves to greater service,

           with love and justice, strive to make us free. 

We give thanks in the depths of our souls as we enter this time of silent contemplation.


CLOSING REFLECTION: Paraphrased from Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov   Read by Linda Vincent, current CLS Administrative Secretary

But let us never forget each other. And whatever happens to us later in life, even if we are occupied with most important things, if we attain honor or fall into great misfortune - still, let us remember how good it was here, where we were all together, united by a good and kind feeling which made us, perhaps, better than we would have been otherwise.

BLESSING: Written and read by Julie Dagelen Vogelsang, current CLS Education Chair

Our work is ever-changing and our spirituality leads us to paths unknown. Our hearts remain open to new experiences as part of the continual ebb and flow of life. Love, help us to enjoy the little things, listen with heart to all we meet, appreciate beauty, be thankful for all we have, and find ways to give of ourselves.  And may we choose joy whenever we can!   


 CLOSING SONG: ‘Song of the Soul’ 

Love of my life, I am crying; I am not dying; I am dancing.

Dancing along in the madness; there is no sadness, only a song of the soul.


Refrain:   And we’ll sing this song; why don’t you sing along

               And we can sing for a long, long time.

               Why don’t you sing this song, why don’t you sing along

               And we can sing for a long, long time.


What do you do for your living?  Are you forgiving; giving shelter?

Follow your heart; love will find you; truth will unbind you. Sing out a song of the soul.  Refrain.


Come to your life full of spirit; let yourself hear it; you can be happy.

Let in the light; it will heal you; and you can feel you. Sing out a song of the soul.  Refrain.


CLS PROJECTS LIST - Compiled for the CLS 50th Anniversary

 Community of the Living Spirit  

 50th Anniversary




(CLS operates with the philosophy of using 50% of our income for charitable causes.)

Breakfasts at White Rock School, school social workers’ projects

Clothing Center

Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels

M & M building: projects, resources

Plowshare Fair Trade Market Place and Education for Peace: downtown shop, fairs, speakers, resources, Peace Builders Award. Creating a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world; Specializing in environmentally friendly production with independent artists and organic farming products.

YWCA:  Peace site, diversity task force, spiritual resources, ‘Beyond War’

Demonstrations against war, Cutler Park vigils; also for women’s rights and civil rights, peace, etc.

Refugee Aid Committee: resettlement of Vietnamese refugees, Central and South American aid, Doctors without Borders volunteers, Nicaraguan Medical Relief Program

St. Joseph Medical and Dental Clinic (now Waukesha Free Clinic), “Life Line”

The Women’s Center: Friends Committee, capital campaign fundraising. Providing safety, shelter, and support to empower all impacted by domestic abuse, sexual violence, child abuse, and trafficking.

Hebron House: support and housing for the homeless

Hmong services: annual Christmas parties and picnics, plots for gardening, 100 pound rice sacks, Georgeian and Carl Krabath Hmong College Text Book Fund, donations of furniture, clothes, food, toys, appliances, school starter kits for kindergarten- 8th grade

SOPHIA (Stewards of Prophetic, Hopeful, Intentional Action): Includes Racial Equity team; Race and Education task force; Criminal Justice; Immigration; Religious Leadership caucus; Transportation; Housing; Health Care

Literacy Center, tutoring at elementary schools, Readers Café at Hadfield School

Alderwoman, School Board members, Superintendent’s Advisory Committee members

FISH project: driving people to doctors’ appointments, errands, shopping

Project Move

Re-cycling center

La Casa de Esperanza: driving vans

Catholic Worker: housing for refugees and people undergoing medical treatment

CCGW: Cooperating Congregations of Greater Waukesha, Festival of Churches

Meeting of the Minds

Call to Action

Walks for charities: Crop Walk, Breast Cancer, Trick or Treat for UNICEF and other fundraisers

Marriage Encounter teams and groups

Caring Place: adult day care

Hope Center: social services for people living in poverty, support, meals, clothing

“Epiphany” baby showers for mothers and babies in need

Fairview House: services, education, library, celebrations

Children’s education: learning centers, preparations for spiritual events, piñatas, retreats, games, art projects  

Spiritual Education: 2-4 book discussions annually, CLS retreats for all ages, education, speakers 

Liturgies: planning and facilitating liturgies and doing homilies for all Sundays, plus special occasions, led by ministers or members.  Seder meals, home liturgies, celebrations for baptisms, communions, confirmations, weddings, ordinations, funerals

Choir: all Sundays and celebrations, using feminist and other inclusive lyrics, guitars and other instruments, singing at nursing homes, Wales school for boys and other community events

“Sunshine” cards for special occasions and for those in need

Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books, organized by UWM at Waukesha Foundation: presentations, performances, creativity, and conversation


Florida trips and other traveling

Baseball and pickle ball teams, bowling leagues, card playing

New Year’s Eve Parties, Santa’s closet, Secret Angels, Christmas parties and sing-a-longs, 4th of July parties

Square dances, Folk dances, liturgical dance, celebrations for special events, talent shows, plays

After liturgy breakfasts, pizza parties for Riverwalk residents

Camping, canoeing, rafting, kayaking, biking

CLS anniversary picnics

Groups: Movie, Book, Support groups: Spirit Sisters, Parents of Young Adults, Divorce support, Men’s Rap 


Dean Marek (1971-1983), Mary Ann Ihm (1978-1981), Ed Ruen (1983-1986), Jenny Schroeder (1986-1992), Ed Kurth (1992-1993), Dick Bidwell (1993-1999), Craig Bergland (1999-2008), Sharon Sullivan (2009 to the present), and Katherine Zakutansky (2010 to the present).


Waukesha YWCA, Mount St. Paul Seminary, White Rock School, Carroll College, River Walk Community Room, Shear Class, La Casa de Esperanza, ARCh, and Buchner and Bethesda Parks. 


Maureen and Ken Turk, Joanne and Mike Riordan, Patty and Bill Downham, Pat and Ted Memmel, Theresa and John Levenhagen, Nancy and John Kendziorski, and Marge Bergman

         ~ Compiled by Julie Dagelen Vogelsang, 2021

CLS Ad in the Current SOPHIA Annual Report

SOPHIA annual report '21





 Current or past CLS members who have died in the past three years:

Frank Kosednar   (July 9, 1931 - June 4, 2022)

Frank and 3 of his daughters - Mary, Patty, and Valerie - 

at his 90th Birthday Party - July 2021


Mike Sumera  (March 11, 1942 - November 13, 2021)

Mike and Ann at their ‘farewell’ party in 2012


Jim Sake  (March 21, 1939 - March 20, 2021)

Suzy and Jim 


NolaJoy Weiss (November 7, 1953 - March 5, 2021)

Ed and NolaJoy at the CLS Anniversary Picnic 2018


Theresa Levenhagen  (January 4, 1927 - January 21, 2021)

Theresa (wearing glasses) with Pat Memmel. Both were founding members of CLS.


Linda Hansen  (November 9, 1948 - October 30, 2020)

Linda with Marilyn at the 2018 CLS Anniversary Picnic

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Patty Downham (October 9, 1942 - September 7, 2020)

Bill and Patty at a liturgy at Rita and Gus’s home, 2013

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Bob Glumm (September 3, 1926 - August 8, 2020)

The CLS Softfall Team - Bob is in the middle, just below the upraised glass!


Alice Foley (September 24, 1939 - June 26, 2020)

Alice with Kate and Gail at the Plowshare Gala in 2014

Plowshare Center Gala

Isidro Isy’ Villa  (September 4, 1931 - April 28, 2020)

Isy provided the piñata for many CLS picnics!



Marilyn Schmidt  (January 29, 1938 – December 12. 2019)

CLS Choir Director in the 1980s (in gray sweater & slacks)



Kathie Chandler (October 5, 1942 - December 24, 2019)

Celebrating with CLS at the 40th Anniversary Event (2011)

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Gus Wendt  (March 1, 1941 – December 27, 2019)

With Rita at their beautiful home (2014)

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With the comfort and joy of fond memories

we extend our heartfelt condolences to family and friends.



© Bonnie Birk 2012