An Invitation to Join YEAR TWO of NYYM’s Outreach Practitioners’ Circle*
Nearly 15 monthly meetings recently completed Year One of a two-year initiative to nurture more effective outreach. The focus of Year One was “Becoming a More Welcoming Community” (i.e. improving how we welcome and engage new attenders and seekers). It was a very exciting and, we feel, productive year and we invite you to read more about it in the Outreach Working Group’s report to 2017 Spring Sessions, online at http://nyym.org/content/minutes-spring-sessions-2017#OutreachWorkingGroup. Here is what one of the participants said about Year One:
...perhaps the most important, if intangible, change I see is a growing mindfulness of the possibility for new people in our community... When I [ joined the OPC], my conversations with some other members centered around the difficulty of outreach. Understanding outreach as readiness or openness, and giving a bit of thought to small things that might make a big difference, has opened up a space for outreach in our meeting.
But now...for Year Two! Our topic is “Becoming a More Inviting Community,” focusing on how we can more effectively reach out into the community around us to invite others to experience Quaker worship and community. Topics under consideration include: how to plan and implement an effective outreach event; writing attention-getting press releases; how to craft messages that speak to different groups; tips for improving your meeting website and using social media; and techniques for increasing your meeting's visibility.
Wherever your meeting is in the outreach process, you are welcome to join the conversation. As in Year One, the approach will be to support one another, encouraging each meeting to proceed as it is led, while also challenging ourselves to try new approaches.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO if you feel your meeting is OPC-ready:
1. Bring this invitation to the attention of your monthly meeting or refer it to the appropriate committee for consideration.
2. Include the document “To Discern If Your Meeting is Ready for More Active Outreach,” available online at http://www.nyym.org/sites/default/files/MeetingDiscernment-QuakerOutreac...
3. Shepherd the process along if you feel so led!
THERE ARE THREE SIMPLE REQUIREMENTS of your monthly meeting in order to participate in the OPC:
1. Designate at least one person—but preferably two—from your meeting to participate in 90-minute conference calls held every other month between November 2017 and June 2018.
2. Agree to undertake at least one inviting/welcoming activity— large or small— from a long list of suggested options or from your meeting’s own unique list.
3. By June 2018 provide a one-page summary of your meeting’s experience and learnings.
DEADLINE**: We request that your meeting respond no later than October 15. Hopefully this allows enough time for this invitation to be considered in good order by your monthly meeting.
With enthusiasm for sharing the Light, Co-conveners of the Outreach Working Group
Robin Whitely & Arlene Johnson
*Read more about the Outreach Working Group and the OPC on our webpage on the nyym.org website. The name Outreach Practitioners' Circle reflects that we are learners together and that we approach Quaker outreach as a “practice” rather than as an event or occasional activity.
**We expect that a fair number of the monthly meetings who participated in Year One will be continuing their participation. This limits the number of new meetings who can join. If the interest is there, we encourage your meeting to act now to join the OPC process.