Minutes from 2/4/09 Communications Circle Visioning: Part II – Priorities
In attendance: Guests: Mahbubbah Bartholemew, Lake Tahoe; Kabira Halima Chew, Palo Alto; Amina Pryor, Seattle; Circle Members: Wahida Kass, Virginia; Rifqa Quereau, Austin
Moderator: Wahida Kass Note takers: Rifqa Quereau & Wahida Kass
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the needs and proposals identified at the Jan 21 meeting and identify the top priorities on which the Communications Circle should focus in 2009. General comments and observations from the guests about their communities and what’s important to them:
- A national calendar of events is very important for helping beloveds plan. Inshallah workshop leaders could also consult it when planning dates for their classes so as not to conflict too much with other desirable offerings.
- One community started using a Yahoo group, but with 25% of the community not wanting to use it, they have gone to a straight email list for communicating.
- Some are missing the big picture and feeling disconnected. Experiencing a lack of coherence and unity as a member of the tariqa. Teleconference calls are a key way to connect.
- In some areas beloveds are very scattered, so the sense of unity is missing. Email doesn’t always get people’s attention these days. Calling more and talking directly feels more satisfying.
Needs: The group reviewed the needs from the last meeting and identified two as most important, and another two as significant.
- A need for increased awareness of our national identity and community, a sense of unity and one hand, one heart.
- A need for more connection with our leaders, national and local, but especially national.
- A need for more person-to-person communication to increase a sense of connectedness.
- Wider delivery of general tariqa news and info, also to support a sense of connection and being up to speed with the community.
Action Priorities - Of the proposals, the following were identified as being the most important to focus on:
- National calendar of events, including non-profit and for-profit events. (have to work out a qualified sponsor program. – may be able to borrow one developing at the Farm of Peace.) Low cost for individuals, sliding scale for small to large communities. Google calendar not working so well. Need alternative. Most Joomla calendar extension are security risk for the website, however.
- Monthly national calls and short video interviews with leadership. Format: teachings, simple sharing of news, or Q&A.
- E.g. Ibrahim, Salima, community building with Hamid Werder; here’s what’s new, here’s what’s happening.
- Auto-mute feature available?
- Need large capacity conference line
- Have recordings of these calls available to listen to/download afterwards
- A community forum on the website, including such “rooms” as:
à For women only
à Walking as converts to Islam
- Downloadable audio/video for sale on the website. Helps beloveds feel connected and fed. Income would fund the need for greater technical support required.
- Community pages on the website (maintained by the communities themselves). Can evolve over time. Templates for small communities, communities with websites could have a link page. Could include who their leaders are, who to contact, their calendars of dhikrs, etc.
Other comments and ideas:
- A weekly or bi-weekly email bulletin with multiple messages is a good way to communicate and keep beloveds updated. Including more local and national events, teleclasses and local dhikrs would be welcome. (Can be via links to website or community websites).
- What about beginning to use Skype for web conferencing? - Received mixed response – may just require too much tech knowledge for most people.
- We want to support beloveds who are trying to form and build new communities.
- Check into monthly community building calls offered by Donna Jamila Crews-Finney. List on the free conference calls listing? (Rifqa Q.)
Article and talk ideas: (Beloveds are welcome to contribute articles)
i. How to walk with Allah in these difficult times
ii. Himma for World Service – making it real.
- What would make being a community rep on the CSC feel juicy and exciting to people? Maybe it really is a calling for a few. All we can do is let communities know the door is open and inform them of the possibilities and opportunity it presents for them.
- Others feel that there could be more proactive ways to bring in volunteers, such as more direct discussion with community leaders, who could then identify potential candidates, invite them in, and encourage and support their involvement and service to the larger community.
- Make clear a way for beloveds to communicate about what they need.
- According to the SSC office, they have over 700 names on the national mailing list which have no email addresses listed. How can we cull this list of people who are no longer connected, and how do we reach the others?