Outreach Committee Annual Report
February 9, 2014
Our Mission (taken on and accepted from the 1985 PYM Outreach Manual):
"Outreach refers to those activities that make the general public more aware of Friends' existence; more knowledgeable about Friends' beliefs; and more welcome at Friends meetings. Outreach is simply a sharing of information and experience outside the circle of Quakerism. As one Friend puts it: Bringing the community into the meeting and the meeting into the community."
Having said that, I'd like to put it into the context of our activities in the past year; our short-term objectives and accomplishments:
Appropriately increasing our presence in the community
- We have re-ordered some 2,500 additional copies of the colorful letter-fold pamphlet: "A Quick Tour of Third Haven's Building and Grounds" which has proved popular with visitors and tourists and are needed by the visitors' center and other distribution points.
- Increasing our visibility we acted in unity and published an open letter in the opinion page of the Star Democrat lauding the words and actions of Pope Francis. In it we linked Third Haven Friends meeting and us as local Quakers to the values of peace and simplicity practiced openly by Pope Francis.
- We are working with the Overseers committee in developing a fresh written guide for seekers on: "Becoming a member..." (setting forth clearly and warmly, the steps involved in joining THF).
- Experimenting with fresh ways to bring families into our orbit; working with Paige and the organizers of the Carriage Shed Sale to advertise and provide actual carriage rides for kids at the sale. Dawn Atwater helped pull this together and we were fortunate to get the Amish to provide the carriage, horses and a driver for very little. It may have helped bring folks in. However owing to the complexities of pulling it off and the limited attendance by kids, I doubt we'll push to pull it off for a subsequent sale. It was a fun college try.
We recognize we need to continue a focus upon the guests and visitors who might be called seekers. These attenders we recognize as ever present but often not readily identifiable as to their intent. Further we see the need to make them both comfortable and informed about our faith and community. This we see as needing to be a meeting-wide effort. We've begun this effort through the publication (and re-order of 500 additional copies) of the sepia colored 8pp booklet "Your Guide to Quakers". This is the newly written offering suitable for seekers which briefly introduces our faith and community to those interested. We encourage members to judiciously and directly distribute them.
The challenges before us in the year ahead include: A broader and full engagement of the meeting in our efforts to appropriately greet and connect with new attenders. Part of this is significantly broader use and dissemination of name tags. And much more can be done through coordination of greeters and Worship and Ministry, relating to invitations to engage post meeting in the Common Room, etc. This may involve a brief check list to enable comfortable and appropriate connection of the new and curious. Consideration and planning for an "Open House" event of some kind in 2014. This could include an outside speaker or informal discourse central to our faith today. Our Outreach has begun the process of collecting and categorizing frequently asked questions relative to our organization and beliefs. It's been enlightening and potentially useful in preparation for such an event. We welcome feed-back on the idea of an open house.
Respectfully submitted by John Schreiner, Outreach Committee clerk and its members: Dawn Atwater, Larny Claggett, Lorraine Claggett, Marsie Hawkinson, Pete Howell, Joyce Macijeski, Michael Pullen, and Robert Rowe