The latest meeting for Conversation and Cake took place on Sunday 14 October after the noon service. Conversation & Cake is a monthly meeting on Epiphany Island when I share what has been happening in our ministry and listen to views and ideas from members of our community. Here is the report from the meeting. Comments made by those present are given in italics:
I began in the, by now, traditional way (as I pointed out, doing something twice in the Anglican Church makes it a tradition) by looking at our finances. I was able to report that the September donations were very good, almost compensating from the lower level of donations in July and August. At the end of September we had raised 31% of our annual target. As that was the end of the first third of the year, we had a shortfall of around 2% compared to where we should have been. September added 10% of our needed annual income, which is impressive. This news was very well received by those present. Before the noon service there had been 32% of October’s monthly target donated which was 4% above where we need to be at that point in the month.
The German Evening Prayer service continues to attract new German speaking people, some brought by friends. It’s a surprise to find so many people who can understand German and are for the most part members of our community already. The next step will be to ensure we have more than one German speaking leader so that the service can be consistently offered. It’s always better to have a team rather than an individual to rely upon.
The event at the Spirit Fair went quite well. There was a huge amount of lag on the sim as it was very busy. I was just about to get set up in the arena for leading prayers for peace when the arena disappeared! By the time the problem was resolved and avatars had waded through treacle to get in, we started quite late. We overran into the next time slot but that was understood, as the delay was not my fault. The organisers were obviously working very hard to make everything run as well as possible. It was a very ambitious undertaking. It was really encouraging to have around 16-20 people attend the prayers, including some members of our community here on Epiphany.
We now have the two videos of Epiphany embedded on the ‘About the Cathedral’ page on the blog as requested at the last Conversation and Cake. I have also added links so that there’s more than one way to access them.
We had the first of our new social times on Saturday from 1-3pm SLT at Toot Toot’s Carolina Pub. Quite a number of us gathered there to dance, listen to Vaino’s selection of music, and eat waffles. (I was corrected by Freezing who pointed out that we danced on waffles more than consumed them. We also danced in the syrup that came with them!). It would be good to have other people invite the community to join them at some event. It doesn’t have to be something the person is hosting. It can be an invitation to attend something together, perhaps a concert or some activity. If anyone has an idea, any member of the Leadership Team would be happy to hear about it and can give you permission to have the invitation sent out in our notices and group IM if what you propose will not be on Epiphany. If it will be on Epiphany, an extra event in our schedule, the Leadership Team will discuss it together to make sure the right back up can be in place.
We talked about the Posada at length last time. There is a notice on the A frame noticeboard outside both the Cathedral and the chapel. We need hosts for 2-23 December. Three dates are now taken: 8, 15 and 16. I shall start contacting previous hosts to see if they want to be involved again. Emerald has offered a place for anyone who doesn’t have land but wants to host.
Since the last Conversation and Cake you are likely to have read that we have been shortlisted as finalists in the Christian New Media Awards in the category of Creative Use of Social Media. I was told that the winner and runner up would be told by 8 October, but even those not winning would be informed. I have heard nothing at all so I have to assume we were not successful. I don’t think that’s too important. It’s wonderful that we have been noticed as a ministry. (I have since had confirmation that we were not selected as either winner or runner-up). Although some present were philosophical, Freezing was overcome with emotion and began to cry. Ana (our mermaid) responded by pulling him into her pool; Kultainen gave him a hug and a handkerchief; Czari gave him a tissue. Unfortunately the latter offering left Czari fishing soggy tissues out of the pool! (Those who don’t come to C&C sessions don’t realise what fun they are missing!)
I’ve also been contacted by people from Fresh Expressions (emergent church is another term for this). You can read more here http://www.freshexpressions.org.uk/ if you’re unfamiliar with the term. Anglicans of SL is a registered Fresh Expression. The concept has now spread to Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada. On 20 May 2013 there will be a day of prayer for all new and emerging expressions and forms of church. We have been asked to be involved. Obviously it’s early days yet but I have told the organizers we would like to be involved in this. We have members of AoSL from the countries where Fresh Expressions are developing. I’ll give you more information when I have it.
Two ideas from the community were presented next so that I could get some input from the community:
The first idea was put forward by Harper Ganesvoort. She suggested that a prayer rail be added near the votive candles in the Cathedral. An alternative suggested by the Leadership Team was that we move the candles into one of the small chapels in the cathedral which are not used much (Ana objected at this point; she uses one chapel regularly as it has a pool in it and so is mermaid friendly!) The risk is that people might miss them as it’s a big building and they would need to go a long way into it. The current position of the candles makes them easy to find. The idea of a kneeling rail was enthusiastically welcomed. It was suggested that we could have votive candles in one of the chapels also, perhaps a smaller arrangement there. If we use the chapel by the north door, that’s easily accessible. A chapel would also provide a more private space if someone wanted to be alone. Cady considered this to be doable and will work on the idea. It might then be possible to bring the result to the next C&C for consideration.
The second idea, suggested by Ana, was to have a community wall showing pictures of the avatars of community members. We recognise that many people join our community and are not often seen again, but this would be something for the more regular members. I suggested that such a wall might enhance or illustrate the wonderful sense of community we enjoy. This idea was enthusiastically supported. The issue of where such a wall should be was discussed. The Community Center was one obvious possibility. It has a lot of walls. There was the question of how much the Community Center is visited. It seems to be underused. We could have signs pointing that way as we used to do in the past. An alternative would be in the Cathedral courtyard. The difficulty is there are a lot of boards around already, maybe too many. The Peace Garden was suggested. However, we purposely opened that area up and removed walls in the past which has been a helpful change. Another alternative is by the pool where we were sitting. Czari offered her services as a photographer and could add frames to the pictures (Charlie wasn’t sure about being framed!). Ana is also able to do photography. Kultainen and Gjertrud can do one prim frames, or as Czari pointed out the frame can be part of the photo. A slideshow would reduce the size of whatever we use or an advertising pillar. Ana had meant something which looked “arty” rather than something you sit and watch, although when asked to provide something of that type she did admit that ‘her sense of arty is highly deficient’. It would be nice to see some mock-ups. Ana will have a go as long as no one laughs too much at her efforts. Czari was feeling imperious (!) and said those with ideas could work on them and forward them to the Leadership Team. As usual, some reference to Dr Who arrived in the form of a Tardis, which would allow us to have a community photo wall and not take up much space as it’s bigger inside than out. The daleks who hovered around suggested the idea of some kind of dalek tournament. There was a general consensus that most of us are mad.
A suggestion from Freezing was that the WordPress blog looks rather cluttered particularly on the right hand bar which has the social feeds and navigation bar. I freely admitted that I simply add content and have left the design aspects to Cady who is more competent than I am (Ana did mutter some dark comment which indicated how incompetent I am at fixing anything on the blog, but I did embed the video as requested with her help). The blog has not changed design for a long time and could be in need of a rethink. Freezing agreed to put together some suggestions and forward them to us. The conversation wandered to the issue of blogs, the design, which was the easiest to use and so on. Czari may be seeking advice from others on this. Maybe we will then have an interesting blog to read!
Helene Milena – Lay Pastor