Last Fall, by way of introducing myself as the new Chair of the Affiliate Board, I wrote an article sharing some of my initial thoughts about the Maryknoll Affiliates. In it I emphasized the importance of what I think are two necessary characteristics of a successful movement; connection and communication. Board members and Regional Coordinators have begun a number of initiatives to address and strengthen these. These are equally and importantly directly related to key responsibilities of the Affiliate Board. Namely:
- to discover and embrace the wisdom and ever emerging life of the Affiliate movement, and
- to engage in deep listening with the wider Affiliate movement
I think anyone would agree it would be quite difficult to come close to achieving these without connection and communication, especially considering the nature and loose structure of the Affiliates. With that said, however, to be successful will require effort and commitment of both Affiliate leaders and members. It will require dialogue.
So, at this time I wish to express my personal commitment in this effort. Over the next several months, I wish to engage in an experiment of having monthly conversations with a small group of Affiliates. All Affiliates are invited to participate. If you are reading this; you are invited. These conversations will be conducted using either the Affiliate conference call number via telephone or over the internet using Zoom video conferencing. I would anticipate these conversations would be scheduled early to mid-morning EST on a Saturday to ensure that any Affiliate from anywhere in the world can connect. I would expect the conversations to be free-flowing and limited in duration to 1-1/2 hours. Again, the purpose of these conversations is just one attempt for leadership to listen to and be engaged with the wider Affiliate movement.
I think for these conversations to be manageable, effective and meaningful, they should be limited to no more than 6 participants (including myself) at a time. As this is an experiment, the first 5 interested Affiliates to respond will be asked to participate in the first conversation. Affiliates responding after the 5th one is selected will be asked to participate in the next month's conversation.
I anticipate scheduling the first conversation to be Saturday, February 23 at 8:30 a.m. EST. Announcements will be forthcoming for subsequent conversations.