Outreach Committee Annual Report
Jeanne Halpin and Mary Yancey, Outreach Committee co-clerks, and its members Lorraine Claggett and Pete Howell —Accepted
The Outreach Committee has had a busy year increasing our presence and visibility in the wider community and offering a variety of events and activities to put our faith into action. We recognize that outreach is a meeting-wide effort, and we endeavor to offer opportunities for Friends to meet and talk with the wider community and serve as a Friendly presence.
Over the past year we increased Third Haven's visibility through press releases, with several articles appearing in the Star Democrat, and expansion of our website to include the posting of our activities and events. We also arranged to add a listing in the Star Democrat on the Religion Calendar for our meetings for worship. We keep our information brochures stocked here at Third Haven and at the Visitor's Center in Easton. We still need to take advantage of our Facebook page to increase our online visibility and to encourage other committees to post on Facebook as well.
Third Haven is a participating member of the Talbot Association of Clergy and Laity (TACL) where we speak of our concerns and participate in their sponsored and promoted activities. Through their email channel we invite the faith community to join us in our activities. This networking opportunity has helped us in many ways, including giving us the opportunity to lay the groundwork for more interfaith work to come, most notably a Faith Festival for Easton where all faiths and spiritual leanings could come to celebrate their leadings and educate the public on what they have to offer the wider community.
Our major activities have included working with the First Day School Committee and the Testimony and Concerns Committee to staff a table at the annual Multicultural Festival in May where we offered literature and posted several queries on Peace to engage visitors in reflecting on Peace and what it means to them and how they practice peace in the world. In June, July, and August we hosted Family Game Nights in Idlewild Park and received an unsolicited donation of $500 from the Talbot Partnership in support of this effort. While we first envisioned those evenings as supporting parent and child interactions, we found that our gatherings were more one of offering a safe space for kids to play with one another and participate in collaborative games. We felt blessed to have a kindergarten teacher from Cordova volunteer to help us organize the activities and keep the children engaged.
In September we partnered with the Overseers Committee (now Pastoral Care) to host the second annual First Day Picnic. While there were only a few visitors outside our Quaker community, we did have one family with younger children join us.
In December we co-sponsored a Peace Float with the P.E.A.C.E. group riding through historic Easton singing the Peace Song and Christmas carols while waving to parade viewers under the wings of our 20 foot dove of peace. Our float garnered a mention in the front page story of the parade in the Star Democrat and included a photo on the back page. January found us hosting our first film in a four-part film/discussion series on race; this event made the front page of the Star Democrat, complete with photograph. We have since hosted the second film/discussion and find this series well attended by those beyond our membership. This series has been met with gratitude and heart-felt thanks for Third Haven hosting these important gatherings.
Finally, we have been working with the Pastoral Care Committee to initiate the creation and storage of name tags for all local members and attenders. We expect to roll out the new nametags soon and expect to make them an integral part of our welcoming of visitors and new attenders.
We recognize that effective outreach involves the willingness of individuals to identify themselves as Friends and to give voice to their faith and practice. It is the belief of our committee that by being a Friendly presence we are our own best advertisement, and we encourage all of our Meeting to embrace their Quaker leadings and to shine their light brightly and joyfully as a welcome example of what we desire to see more of in this world.