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 7th April meeting. Comments made by those present are given in italics:
We had an excellent turn out to Conversation and Cake #11. Some could only stay for a short while but it was very encouraging to note the interest in our life as a community. Below is the report I gave, with comments and additions in italic.
As usual I will report on various aspects of our ministry. Do feel free to add comments, ask questions and make suggestions as we go along.
Beginning with finances, by the end of February we had raised 62% of our annual goal, so about 8% of our annual goal in the month which is very good for a month. However as other months had fallen below target that still left a lot to raise. At the end of March we had collected 75% of our annual goal of L$1068375. This has left us with L$263556 to collect in two months ready to pay our tier. Cady has divided that in two, for the two remaining months, giving us a target for April of L$131778, 4% of which had been raised by earlier today. Time is short but we can still achieve what we need to do.
Ana pointed out that we had 6% of our month’s target as we were meeting. Czari was sure we could hit the annual target. She also asked a question I was unable to answer: Does it give the Cathedral more with donating in world or PayPal? Ana thought that those in Europe get Value Added Tax added to the calculation. The PayPal account can be found by looking on the blog under Finances.
Last time we had suggestions about fundraising in order to achieve what we need. We need volunteers to arrange such events. Vaino has offered another social time at the pub with donations going to Anglicans of SL. A concert and contests have been suggested also. We have had the offer of an art exhibition and auction also. I have no details yet but will be following this up as I think that could be very good. The advantage that has is that we have no only the idea but the offer of running it. For the other items we still need a social team I think.
Czari has offered to teach some classes and have donations go to Epiphany. She is considering using the Community Center for this which would bring new people to Epiphany.
Yhishara wondered how the art auction would work. As far as I know various people will donate their work which can be purchased. It’s likely it would be displayed in the Cathedral courtyard. Yhishara is interested in contributing. It could be that other members of our community would also like to do so.
Another fund raising idea is to create rooms that can be rented. We are looking at putting those beside the Community Center and in the process redesigning the Center. That will not happen suddenly as it takes a long time to design a good building. However, if anyone has ideas or wants to submit sketches, we will of course consider them. It’s likely that we will involve the community in giving feedback on any building as we know from experience how useful that was when Cady was creating the new Cathedral. As a result of a lot of hard work and useful feedback, we have an excellent building.
Czari confirmed the admiration the Cathedral attracts. A friend had seen it on her profile and complimented her on it. Those there were in agreement that it is a wonderful building.
The community wall is still awaiting work but we have made some basic progress on the signs around the sim. Too many items seem to have gathered by the entrance to the Cathedral almost obscuring the front. Some simplification has now taken place, which you may have noticed. This is only a temporary measure while the Technical Team works out the neatest solution for giving visitors information and helping them join the group.
In the midst of discussing this, Ana used capitals to tell everyone that her exam was causing a delay – lIKE MY EXAM! – which made Czari jump and Freezing slap Ana with a haddock. Ana responded by ducking under the water in her pool. Charles added another whack for good measure.
More work has now been done on the blog. As we have more teams, I have split the Teams page on the blog into many different pages. https://slangcath.wordpress.com/the-teams-2/ If you want to take a look. Also there are all the job descriptions available.
Czari commented that I had been busy – which is true – and Charlie commented that I don’t know the meaning of being slack – which I hope is true. Freezing considers the change to be a big improvement.
We now have five more members of the Leadership Team: Czari Zenovka, Heatherly Addens, Freezing Sorbet, Ana Stubbs and Celberon Donardson. Although Joyous said last time that she was standing down from the Leadership Team, she decided in the end to carry on. I think she missed us too much to not be there. Gareth has decided to step down as real life commitments make him very busy. We are very grateful for his dedication over more than five years with our ministry. The new Leadership Team now needs to decide who will be secretary, treasurer and vice chair.
Ana tried to help Czari with the question of how many are now on the Leadership Team but she ran out of fingers (I suppose she could have borrowed some fish fingers to help her). There were at the time of asking 11 members but that has now increased to twelve which is our full capacity.
Rhianwen wanted to know if there is a replacement for Gareth who is ordained. Currently there is no replacement so I lead all the cathedral services, although Cady reminded Ana that she was going to make a replacement for Gareth. Several rather thin replacements arrived and stayed for the meeting! Ana mentioned later that she had sold some ‘Gareths’ to raise funds for the Cathedral. Virtual Gareths were well received by those present who had the opportunity to own their own.
In addition to the Technical Team mentioned last time, Kultainen Sydan has also joined. We have Bayaraa Bailey and Mordecai ben Daniel as new welcomers. All these people are listed on the blog. I will keep updating the lists as more volunteers join. We currently have 26 people in some ‘official’ capacity on Epiphany Island, which I think is wonderful.
Happy comments followed this announcement. If we were to add a social team our numbers would perhaps increase more.
I believe there was a recent conversation in chapel about leading worship. The job description can be found here https://slangcath.wordpress.com/the-teams-2/worship-leaders/requirements-for-worship-leaders/ If you think that God is calling you to join our team of worship leaders, do contact me or any other member of the Leadership Team to discuss it. We are very glad that hridaya is returning to lead compline at 7pm on Tuesday and Thursday. I hope those of you in the right time zone will support that.
This news was greeted with joy. In answer to a question I explained that Compline is another name for night prayer.
Freezing declared how happy he is with the developments on Epiphany. The conversation turned to how real the church is and how well members are ministered to and made welcome.
There was interest in the training that we offer to those who want to lead worship in SL. I expressed how proud I am to know that we have been able to train people who have never led worship in RL.
Returning to the blog, I have begun to split the ‘About’ page into more sections and the ‘Vision’ section is now split up also. We are preparing new content. Czari is working on creating a tour of Epiphany. I am going to write more history. You will find the pages are not complete by any means. I would be very happy if you would let me know about any information you would like to see added to the pages, questions you have wanted answering and so on. The new version of the blog will be put in place sometime next month I suspect. Certainly it won’t be earlier but you should see changes over that time in the content.
There was some discussion about what page visitors to the blog should see first, which caused some confusion. Freezing explained that the suggestion was to replace the existing home page which changes as new posts are provided, for a static page. As Cady pointed out, a blog is called that because it’s changing day by day. From the survey it seems that most people use the blog to check the service times. Ana provided a link to the proposed new design for the blog for those who hadn’t seen it http://www.flickr.com/photos/anastubbs/8399923986/in/set-72157632567761715/
Freezing noted that he has had to direct several people to the blog as they didn’t know it existed. Czari asked if the blog address could be on the signage around the Cathedral. It is on every notecard and on the weekly notices.
I noted that I have more pages to add including a page to tell researchers our guidelines for them.
The survey has been going well. So far there have been 51 responses. 31 are completed, others are partially completed. Three or four have nothing added in at all. However, it still means we have quite a lot of data. The survey doesn’t close until April 30th so there is still time for more people to complete it.
Denise began to descend into insanity, being unable to remember if she had completed the survey or not! Rhianwen complimented the survey for its sensible questions. Last time about 40 people completed it so we are ahead of that already this time.
The use of our collaboration software, Basecamp, has expanded in the past month. Some people who have been invited to join have chosen not to. There is obviously not compulsion to do so. Those who do join have an opportunity to contribute to discussions about changes on the sim and so on. They can also access useful documents or ask questions. We have ‘to do’ lists which we can work on individually or as a group and can then have the fun of ticking items off once completed. So far we have completed 38 ‘to dos’ between us and have another 27 awaiting our attention, several of which concern the blog.
Applause from Freezing on hearing of our productivity. Czari noted that having ‘to do’ lists is good for people as checking items off releases endorphins… the “happy hormones”. Celberon agreed.
The Technical Team has a large number of ‘to dos’ assigned to them in Basecamp. It’s possible for individuals or groups to choose to assign a ‘to do’ to themselves and take responsibility for making some progress on it, though final decisions rest with the Leadership Team. I’ve met up with individuals and groups of the TT to discuss ideas but I am very much hoping they will work on their own initiative and bring ideas back for consideration. A lot of work has gone on to correct problems with the terraforming on the sim. We had ominous gaps opening out and didn’t want to lose members down them! We have created a mock up of the front of the cathedral for experiments to be done on how the signs will look outside it eventually. There has been work done on the ravine with the river running through it. You will all have noticed the new gardens I’m sure. As suggested last time, directional signage is one of the items being looked at. If you notice any problems, do report them to any Technical Team member.
One of the items completed was to create a new sign to be on display at SpiritGate to direct people to Epiphany Island. Ana created a wonderful photo. I wondered if at some point it would be nice to encourage community members to use their creativity to take photos so that we could have a photography display of the cathedral.
This idea received a warm welcome. Putting the photos in nice antique frames was recommended, as was playing with different settings for lighting. Ana showed the two very different photos she had taken, one inside with wonderful lighting effects and one outside showing the flowers in front of the Cathedral.
We have just completed Holy Week and Easter. Services were well attended in general, with around 18-24 at each of the main Cathedral services on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Eve and Easter Day. We had a good number of volunteers who helped with the readings. Ana took some lovely photos.
I would be happy to have some feedback, any suggestions for improvement, change and so on.
Any other comments or questions?
Celberon commented that he liked the clocks showing times in different zones which are currently in the chapel. It was suggested we might be able to have a countdown to the next service shown somewhere which might be good for those who get confused by SLT. Charles mentioned Swatch Internet Time, or beat time, which was a decimal system they invented to be the same throughout the world. As we have SLT as the norm, it would probably be even more confusing to bring in another time system.
We were asked what happens to the prayer requests which are made during services. Yhishara wondered if the prayer requests could be made into a group notice. I explained that we would normally consider them to be confidential to the group present at the time but that doesn’t mean that those present couldn’t continue to offer those prayers in their own prayer time. This would be consistent with RL practice also. Members do pray for one another, as Czari pointed out. This is one of the strengths of the community.
Charles offered to make some community related jewellery.
The notecards available from the noticeboard to the left of the Cathedral door were out of date, without the full Leadership Team listed. Charles pointed out how dependent new members are on the noticeboards. The notecards have now been updated.
As is usual the conversation then descended into insanity. A large bed appeared in the pool – a water bed perhaps- which Barney seemed to like; there was talk of putting a virtual Gareth in each of the rooms we are proposing building; Charlie’s singing and the meaning of life came into the conversation somewhere. It was suggested that this was the beginning of the silly season but as Freezing pointed out, he had been sitting in a Christmas tree for most of the time anyway! Czari wondered if some people might be wondering if we had turned loopy. I’ll leave that for you to decide.
Please feel free to continue the conversation in the comments below.
Helene Milena – Lay Pastor