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
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!