Our Meeting (Fresh Pond Meeting, MA) rents our worship space. This means we do not have a permanent display area for attenders and visitors to pick up information. Having this information is very important for our greeter to answer questions, for newcomers to have a “takeaway” about our worship, and to share important news with attenders who may not be online. I inherited this board a few weeks ago, and decided to rehab it. Here’s some learnings that may be of help!
Firstly, I found everything was out of date. A calendar where all the dates had passed. An old version of our “Guide to Meeting”. No mention of our website url. Random Quaker mailings and notices for Quaker programs that not longer exist. This is common in many meetings – someone posts a great event, but then it sits. Here’s a list of things that it seemed helpful to include for our meeting.
A section for newcomers: Who looks at this board/display the most? Perhaps folks trying to find out more information. Quiet folks who might not want to talk much, but might bring home a paper to stick on the fridge, or read later. Resources about what Quakers believe, and do, and think about. I found some pre-made, although we eventually will make our own. Include your meeting’s brochure or rack card here.
A clear schedule overview: Does your meeting have recurring events? Monthly potluck? After worship discussions? A clear, brief schedule of these might be helpful (take away card).
Clear contact information: Clerks’ email/phone number. Meeting phone number. Current website URL. Social media connections. Put these at the bottom of every handout, not just on the board itself. Keep it current!
Latest newsletter, or business meeting minutes: Not everyone in a meeting has access to email. Having a few copies of these shared meeting publications available is helpful. Change them out once a month, as a new newsletter in sent out.
Clear instructions on how to get more involved in the life of the meeting: What about that attender who wants to jump in? How do you learn about committee work? What committees are open to all members? How does an attender get connected with Gifts and Leadings committee to season appropriate service? In meetings we often assume newcomers might get offended if we come on too strong and suggest service too quickly. For some newcomers, this is exactly what they are looking for. Be clear about all the avenues of service.
Clear instructions on how to donate to the meeting: If we do not pass around a collection plate, how does someone give to the meeting? A treasurer’s contact info, an envelope that is checked weekly for cash and checks – this is very site-specific. Don’t assume that a newcomer, or infrequent attender, doesn’t want to give a donation in their first few visits. Can you make that easier?
Descriptions of meeting gatherings that happen regularly: Have a third Sunday education hour? A Quaker 101 class? A women’s group? These might be announced in brief at the end of meeting – but further information can also be posted for all to see if they need more. Sometimes a greeter may not know a full description of a particular happening – a posted list of descriptions will help.
Wider Quaker fellowship news and local events of interest in brief: A recent flyer from the local Quaker retreat center, a notice about the upcoming Quarterly Meeting event, or a summary of an upcoming Yearly Meeting event (YM Sessions). Perhaps an upcoming social justice group gathering. But keep it brief – and f there are many items, consider a separate board or section. These items will not appeal to every visitor, and should not ever take the place of easily accessible information for newcomers and information needed by the entire meeting.
On our particular display board, I wanted to have a small amount of items easily moved – I included envelopes pinned to the board. There are extra pins at the bottom. Our outreach committee will oversee the information, and we will make sure folks are keeping track of dates and information posted.
What else have you found helpful to include on your display boards for your meeting?