Outreach Committee Annual Report
The Outreach Committee (Jeanne Halpin, Pete Howell, Henry Lane, Mary Yancey) focuses on increasing our visibility in the wider community and supporting our Meeting in sharing our perspectives as Friends. We do this through a variety of methods: hosting public events, letting the wider community know about us, and helping newcomers feel welcome. Our activities and initiatives over the past year include the following:
Hosting public events:
- In 2019 we offered a film/discussion series on environmental stewardship (four films shown March through April) which was well attended and well received, attracting more people from the wider community than from Third Haven. Planning for our next series, to be on Immigration, is well underway.
- We hosted the bi-monthly meetings of the Talbot Association of Clergy and Laity (TACL) in our Common Room the first half of this year, giving attendees the opportunity to explore our grounds and our testimonies.
Letting the wider community know about us:
- We continued to promote our visibility through press releases, with several articles appearing in the Star Democrat and Talbot Spy. We had several new people attend our events as a result of these efforts. We offer help to all committees and initiatives here at Third Haven with publicizing events and opportunities, including writing and placing press releases for use by local media outlets; just ask!
- We hosted two tables at the Multicultural Festival the first Saturday in May along with the First Day School and Testimony and Concerns Committees. Last May we provided a query activity that invited visitors to tell us what peace meant to them; their word for peace; what it looks like, sounds like, and feels like; how they were promoting peace at home, in their community, and in the world; and two queries on how we are alike and how we are different. These are popular activities which invite active participation and elicit thoughtful responses. We also offered dove and crane making activities.
- We hosted an information table at the Open Houses in support of the First Day School Summer Camp and the Tiny Spices group; we are open to hosting such tables for other events; just ask!
- We participated in the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service hosted by TACL and held at the Temple B'Nai Israel in Easton.
- We refurbished and rolled out our Dove of Peace float (co-sponsored with P.E.A.C.E.) for the 2019 Holiday Parade on the first Saturday in December. This float was a real crowd pleaser garnering applause and thumbs up as we proceeded through the parade route. A mention of our float and a photograph of it appeared in the pages of the Star Democrat.
Welcoming and retaining newcomers:
- We continue to produce and distribute name tags to all our local members and attenders. We are grateful to all those who help make our community more welcoming by wearing them and greeting newcomers with a smile, a handshake, and a kind word. Please let us know if you need a new name tag or magnet for your name tag. Alternatively, let us know if these magnetic name tags don't work for you and you would prefer a different form of attachment (e.g., lanyard, pin, clip); we are happy to accommodate you!
- We produced a new rack card (a double-sided handout on stiff paper, suitable as a bookmark) welcoming newcomers and explaining our meeting for worship to help them know what to expect when in our midst.
Effective outreach involves more than publicity or public events; it also involves the willingness of individuals to identify themselves as Friends and to give voice to their faith and practice. We are grateful to the many committees and initiatives here at Third Haven which support us all in walking our talk and talking our walk. In particular, we are grateful to the Worship and Ministry Committee for providing a wealth of opportunities to speak of our faith amongst ourselves and learn more about our Quaker ways. These opportunities prepare us not only to more fully participate in the life of our Meeting, but also to feel comfortable expressing our faith and practice when participating within the wider community. We are also grateful to the Testimonies and Concerns Committee for their initiatives and their willingness to present our views to our government and to collaborate with other initiatives outside our Meeting. And we are especially grateful to the First Day School Committee for their outreach efforts. Their innovative efforts in partnering with like-minded organizations have brought us much joy and many new faces here at Third Haven.
There are many other activities and initiatives our Meeting sponsors which provide us the opportunity to put our faith into practice and make ourselves known. We encourage you to check them out: Marilla's lunches, the Talbot County Detention Center library project, P.E.A.C.E. vigils, the Talbot Interfaith Shelter (Third Haven provides dinner for guests of TIS every other month on the 17th day of the month), the Immigration Task Force, and the Climate Crisis Action Group are just some of them.
We will need to fill the role that Pete Howell executed so well, advertising Quaker events in the community.
If you have suggestions for or concerns about our outreach activities, please let us know; we welcome your input. We thank you all for showing up as you do and making Third Haven the nurturing community that it is.
Effective outreach is the meeting members letting people in the community know who and what we are. Speaking that truth is what the world needs.