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Sunday, 15 July 2012 19:21

How to Start a Chapter

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A Maryknoll Affiliate Chapter or Mission Community is the “identifying community locus for a Maryknoll Affiliate.” The Chapter/Mission Community is the primary support for individual Maryknoll Affiliates as they seek to incorporate the spirit of mission and the charism of Maryknoll in their own lives. Below are some answers to some questions about starting a new Maryknoll Affiliate Chapter/Mission Community. You may also download materials from our Chapter Starter Packet here.

How do I begin a Maryknoll Affiliate Chapter?

Initial Inquiry: Initial inquiries can come from both individuals or a group or people interested in beginning a new Maryknoll Affiliate Chapter. If you have received this packet, then you have already begun the initial inquiry phase.

During this initial phase, we ask you to do the following:

  1. Provide us with a list of people (their names and contact information) who will be involved in starting the Chapter.
  2. Have an initial meeting (or meetings) to discuss the next steps and to respond to some of our questions/requests (see the paper entitled "Your First Meeting."
  3. Choose a Contact Person who will be the primary contact between the Chapter and the Regional Coordinator, Executive Coordinator and the Formation Committee.

This period is also a time during which the ones beginning the Chapter may contact other people that may be interested. These may be acquaintances or names of people provided by the Executive Coordinator, if there are any previous inquiries from the area.

There is no fixed time for the initial inquiry period. The number of times a group needs to meet before entering the Formation Phase is primarily up to them. If you would like the Regional Coordinator or some other representative to visit you during the Initial Inquiry period to answer questions or help move into the next phase please let us know.

Is there a formation program?

Yes. The Formation/Renewal program is a twelve-session process developed by the Maryknoll Affiliate Formation/Renewal Committee. The process is primarily self-guided, though someone from the Maryknoll Affiliates or Maryknoll would join you at the opening and closing retreat.

Formation is a term usually used for people entering a religious community. For us, we assume that all those who desire to be Maryknoll Affiliates have already had formation in their life, whether this be through some formal process in another organization, school or religious institution or through their life experiences. The goal of formation within the Maryknoll Affiliates, then, is to help those wishing to be Maryknoll Affiliates to integrate what it means to be affiliated with Maryknoll and involved in mission within their own life experiences. You are asking to be part of a community with a unique spirituality and charism. Formation should help you understand how this can be lived out in you own life.

During the Formation Period, all participants will begin to receive our bi-monthly newsletter, Not So Far Afield. The group is listed as a potential Chapter, and the individuals and Chapter are welcome to participate in Maryknoll Affiliate activities, such as regional or the general conferences.

What are the requirements for beginning a Maryknoll Affiliate Chapter

The following are the minimum prerequisites to be considered a functioning Affiliate Chapter:

  • Consists of four or more people.
  • Holds a minimum of three meetings a year.
  • Sustains a working internal organization.
  • Has a Contact Person who relates with the Regional Coordinator, Executive Coordinator and the Maryknoll Affiliate Board.

In addition, a functioning Affiliate Chapter must have an understanding of and commitment to the four pillars of the Affiliate Movement—Community, Spirituality, Global Vision and Action—and to the spirit and charism of Maryknoll.

What is the "Discernment Period"?

Discernment actually begins with the Initial Inquiry phase. It is a mutual process in which you, as a group and as individuals, reflect upon what it would mean to be a Maryknoll Affiliate Chapter. Along the way, it may feel like the correct path for some. Others may decide that they want to live out their call to mission in some other way. We see ourselves helping you determine if this is what you would like to do as a group and as individuals, but if the Spirit seems to be guiding you in another direction, we want to be able to help you to move that way, as well.

When is the would we become a recognized Chapter?

At the end of the formation period, the potential Chapter expresses its desire to be an Affiliate Chapter in a written request. This may happen just prior to the last session of the Formation Phase so that the closing retreat may be a time to formalize the Chapter and for individuals so sign the covenant.

Once the Chapter has been officially recognized, the Maryknoll Affiliate Board will send a welcome letter to the new Chapter. The Regional Coordinator and Executive Coordinator will provide them with a New Chapter Packet, including welcome packets to the individuals. The new Chapter would then be fully recognized and considered an active Chapter among the Maryknoll Affiliates.{accordionfaq faqid=accordion1 faqclass="graybarfaq arrow headerbackground headerborder contentbackground contentborder round5" autoheight=0 active=item1}

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