The BYM Network

So we, being many, are every one members one of another. Romans 12.5

The life of a religious society consists in something more than the body of principles it professes and the outer garments of organization which it wears.  The life is to be found in the vital union of the members of the society with God and with one another, a union which allows the free flowing through the society of a spiritual life which is its strength.     William Charles Braithwaite, 1905

Envisioning BYM

Late in 2009 Baltimore Yearly Meeting hosted a Visioning Retreat Day at Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting. Out of that workshop it became clear that communication among our Meetings and Committees was of paramount importance.

We in Baltimore Yearly Meeting know who we are in many ways by our experience: We are nurturing worship, we are clarifying ministry, we are creative yet orderly committee work, and we are supportive witness in the world. We are a network of relationships in which the Yearly Meeting and the Monthly Meetings spiritually enrich each other. Baltimore Yearly Meeting is its Faith and Practice, Monthly Meetings, committees, staff, programs, members, and you.          Riley Robinson, 2010

How do we enrich each other? Certainly conversation is at the heart of our process of enrichment. Letting each person know where the Light has led us, how we have responded to challenges, what we have planned, and what new queries are facing us. We could do it alone and ignore the resources with the BYM community. But why? Our community thrives when we look to one another for guidance, for advice, for suggestions, for information. You are part of that network of communication. Together we are Baltimore Yearly Meeting.

Introducing the BYM WordPress network:

The Baltimore Yearly Meeting web site has been redesigned to offer meetings an opportunity to strengthen the connections between meetings and each of us. With the redesign of the web site comes the opportunity for each Meeting and for each Yearly Meeting committee to have a web presence under their own control. This enables each Meeting and Committee to post news, reports, and events without having to go through the Yearly Meeting web manager. It is hoped that that amount of freedom will encourage Meetings and Committees to communicate more freely with Quakers throughout the Yearly Meeting region.

Your site already exists! Each of the individual sites is “seeded” with the archive of information already available on the existing bym-rsf web site. For Meetings this ordinarily includes Annual Spiritual State of the Meeting reports, and occasional Interchange articles. For Committees this ordinarily includes the Advance Reports to Yearly Meeting, as well as occasional Interchange reports.  That content will continue to be maintained by the BYM web manager as is now the case. This means that each site will be active throughout the year whether or not a Meeting or Committee directly contributes to their site. However, we hope each Meeting will see its site as an opportunity for enriched connections with other Quakers.  For example, on your site you could:

  • Publicize events you want Quakers outside your meeting to attend;
  • Share information on your meeting’s leadings that might inspire others;
  • Spark a dialogue with other Quakers on a topic that is alive to the meeting:
  • Share news of interest to the broader Quaker community; and
  • Share resources or curricula the meeting has developed or found.

Next step: appoint a contact. Each Meeting and Committee could appoint a member as their point of contact, a site manager who would be authorized to post additional information. Again, if no volunteers or interested Friends are forthcoming, the BYM web manager will continue to post information submitted to the Yearly Meeting.

Inviting and posting comments. When you post an item to your site, anyone will be able to comment on that post, if your site manager decides to allow it. You can choose to have the site manager or someone else monitor those comments and post them only with approval.  Committee members, members of a Monthly Meeting, and anyone else who’s interested, can “subscribe” to the posts, the comments, or both. A ‘subscription’ implies that they can sign up to receive an email (or RSS feed) when there is new information on the site.

The Yearly Meeting web site would contain much of the existing archive of information such as publications, contacts, annual session information, etc. In addition the yearly meeting site would subscribe to all the other web pages and collect recent posting from all other sites.

Already have a web site? See the comment below!

Posted in 1. Website Introduction, The BYM Network | 2 Comments

2. Getting Started

What do you do to get started? How do you take charge of your Meeting’s or your Committee’s web site?

Just follow the few steps below, and you will become the site manager for your group’s web presence.

a. Getting registered

Perhaps this is the easiest step. Just send an email to webmanager@bym-rsf.net giving your name and the name of your meeting or committee. Then just sit back and wait for a reply giving you your password.

b. Logging in (Dashboard)

The email with your password is important, so you might want to write the password down. Next go to the web site you will be managing. It will have an address like http://annapolis.bym-rsf.net/ or http://advancement.bym-rsf.net

Look down at the bottom of the page for the word “login”The Login button

and click on that. You will find a screen like this.

Just enter your username and password and click on the “Log In” button.

This takes you to your Dashboard where you will be able to manage the new web site.

Posted in 2. Getting Started, The BYM Network | 2 Comments

3. Terminology

Posts and Pages

In WordPress, you can write either posts or pages.

  • Posts. When you’re writing a regular entry, you write a post. Posts automatically appear in reverse chronological order on your home page, and you can allow people to comment on your posts.
  • Pages. Pages, on the other hand, are for content such as “About,” “Contact,” etc. Pages live outside of the normal site chronology, and are often used to present information about yourself or your site that is somehow timeless — information that is always applicable. You can use Pages to organize and manage any amount of content.

For a more complete discussion of the use of pages see: http://codex.wordpress.org/Pages

And for a good summary of best practices for posting, see: http://codex.wordpress.org/Writing_Posts#Best_Practices_For_Posting

Categories and Tags

Categories and tags are both good ways to help visitors to navigate your site.

  • Categories. Categories or Topics are a useful way to group your posts. Categories can be hierarchical. For example the category ‘Reports’ includes two sub-categories: ‘State of the Meeting’ and ‘Interchange’. If you place a post in a sub-category it is useful to also place it in the higher level category also.The list of categories appears on your web page on the right column with a count of items. A user can click on the category name and a new web page will be generated on the fly listing the posts in date order (most recent first.)
  • Tags. In addition to categories, tags are also used to help visitors (and searchers) to find articles of interest. While categories tend to be very stable and limited in number, you can make up any number of tags describing your post. For example in a report about committee activities in your meeting you might want to tag the post with “Advancement & Outreach”, “Religious Education”, as well as other committee names covered in the article.
Posted in 3. Terminology, The BYM Network | Leave a comment

4. Posting News

Posting news is easy way to communicate with Friends near and far. It is a way to start up a conversation, a way to share ideas, a way to crow a little about your successes. A committee meets and has an unresolved issue: post this information. The children have just returned from an outing where a weasel was spotted: post this – perhaps getting the children involved.

Go to your dashboard and find the menu item on the left entitled ‘Posts’. Make the menu drop down if you have to, and click on ‘Add New.’

Alternatively look for a button at the very top of the page called ‘New Post’ and click this. In either case you will bring up a screen titled ‘Add New Post’.

Enter a title for the post. Then click in the editor window and start typing your message. On the top of the editing window are two tabs: ‘visual’ and ‘html.’ The easiest way to enter and format your post is to use the ‘visual’ editor.

You have most of the normal formatting buttons on the top of the editing window. In addition there is one you might not be familiar with: ‘Insert More tag.’

This divides your post into two pieces: the teaser (on the top) and the body (rest of the post.) This formatting reduces the size of your main page and allows the user to see more posts close to the top.

See the comments below for more pointers.

Posted in 4. Posting News, The BYM Network | 8 Comments