President Karen opened the meeting with song, the Pledge, and a prayerful moment of silence.

Roy immediately fined Joe for going into prayer mode for the pledge of allegiance, with clasped hands and bowed head instead of a hand over his heart. After several strident defenses on hsi behalf, Roy withdrew the fine of 1 and 1 half.

Claire, immediately fined Roy for something.  The editor now forgets for what. Roy called the fine out of order for the 5 minute rule and was taken to Robert's Rules of order school by Karl and by Robert himself. 

Bill fined Roy for talking to Joe during the song, which probably distracted Joe and caused Joe to go into prayer mode.  Roy paid the fine with going to court.

President Karen announced that Kim Woolaver from Good Samaritan House will be our speaker on May 23 and the Group Study Exchange team from South Africa will be here on May 30th.

Rotary Foundation news:
Jim had great news from the District Governors of Districts 7850 and 7870, Marilyn Bedell and Janice McElroy.  Matching funds from The Rotary Foundation and clubs and districts was approved for disaster relief for Vermont caused by Hurricane Irene in 2011.  The matching grant funds total $412,450.00.

Roy introduced the guest speaker today. He was on the interview committee for the Reparative Coordinator position at the Greater Barre Justice Center when he first met Melissa Shettleroe  several months ago.  He now works with Melissa on Reparative cases and add that she was here today to speak to us about  Vermont Interfaith Action, where she also works as a coordinator.  both jobs are part-time and her third job is at a local drug store on weekends.

Vermont Interfaith action is a faith-based, grassroots coaliion of congregations that transforms ordinary people into empowered and engaged citizens.  Their goal is to create the hope, power, knowledge, and political will needed to make compassion and social justice a reality for all Vermonters.

There are 12 churches in the Burlington area and 5 in Central Vermont.  Debbie Ingram is the Executive Director, located at 152 Pearl Street in Burlington.  Their goal is to affect systemic change in communities based on shared values.

The model they use begins with committtess who have 1 to 1 meetings, where buillding relationships and identifying issues begins.  The nest step is to select an issue to be researched.  Partners are identified who can affect the issue in positive ways and they are asked to take action.  Once the action has been taken, they reflect and evaluate the progress.

VIA has accomplished improvement in housing, health care, youth, public transportation, and the state budget.  An example presented by Melissa was when Fletcher Allen Health Care moved its cardiac services to Tilley Drive, a few miles away from the hospital.  Transportation ofr the elderly, people without cars, and others was identified as an issue that needed to be addressed.  VIA brought several partners together for a solution, including the bus company, Fletcher Allen, AOT, Pizzagalli,and other agencies.  The principals were asked to take care of the issues and transprotation from University Mall to Tilley Drive started in January 2010 and is now running a shuttle 5 days a week.

Now through legislation, hospitals are required to assure public transportation.

VIA does not provide direct service and they are not a single issue advocacy group.  With the shared values of the congregations of VIA, they believe that compassion and justice can impact political issues, and their goal is always to bring people together, and never to divide.

VIA began about 10 years ago and are a breakaway from an Ecumenical Council called BEAMS.
Melissa fielded a variety of questions from several Rotarians.

The winnning ticket was drawn, but your reporter isn't sure who won this week.
Melissa handed out phamplets describing the work of VIA.  For more information, visit their website at