Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pressing Ahead in Hope

At the Aug. 6 special meeting of the Interfaith Action Initiative, six of us discussed preparations for our Drumming Circle outreach at the North Adams Downtown Celebration on Wednesday, Aug. 25.

Otha Day has generously offered to lead this circle, and we discussed with him the help he will need. We also reviewed a proposed flyer to be handed out to people and discussed having a sign-up sheet at the event.

We do not know yet where in the downtown we will be situated. Otha said a 20 x 20-foot space would be appropriate. We would need four or five volunteers to help out, one, for instance to keep an eye on the instruments. Another to hand out our flyer and one or two others to sign people up who are interested in our effort.

We will also need about 25 folding chairs and a table for a volunteer or two to sit at to sign up those interested in our Interfaith effort.

We hope to have the drumming circle last about an hour and a half, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Al Nelson had the good idea of having our volunteers wear name tags with their church affiliation.

I hope to come up with one or two signs. They won’t necessarily be pretty but they will show what the name of our effort is and how to reach us. (Which, of course, will also be on the flyer).

I would encourage people to volunteer. Due to working evenings and personal obligations, I may not be able to attend the event, though I will be helping to make sure that it comes together.


We will have another chance to make sure things are in order for the Drumming Circle at our next regular meeting, which will be held on Friday, Aug. 20, at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church in North Adams.

At this meeting we will continue our discussion of local needs with Valerie Schwartz of the Berkshire Food Project and also hear from a representative of the Louison House in Adams.

Before we begin, we will hold a moment of silent prayer as we did at our last regular meeting. I hope we can begin rotating leadership of our faith sharing time or spiritual reflection at the start of our meetings (about 10 minutes) among our members. At the next meeting, I will offer a brief reflection after our moment of silence and then we can perhaps spend a few minutes in discussion.


At our Aug. 6 special meeting, in addition to discussing the Drumming Circle, we also discussed possible future ideas, particularly more short-term projects as we discern a longer-term effort that provides service to our community without duplicating existing services.

Among the ideas we batted around:


• Holding a fundraiser to help shore up an existing agency in these times of very tight funding. I like the idea of a fundraising walk from North Adams to Williamstown, as has happened in the past. Or perhaps in Adams. (Which, by the way, is a need of ours, to get Adams people involved in our Initiative.

• Holding an interfaith Thanksgiving service. Gratitude is a fundamental element of many/most/all faiths.

• Working on the Interfaith aspect of MLK Day, with of course the MLK Committee, which does include such a component each year.

• Perhaps doing an outreach effort to the homeless.

• Holding a Sunday afternoon day of service. Perhaps finding an organization that needs some maintenance help or painting, etc.

• And let’s keep in mind youth. I learned in the last few days about an initiative to build a skateboard park in North Adams. They are seeking a large grant and will need people to vote online throughout September to win it.


• Working with students of the local colleges, in particular the Williams Catalyst group, on the idea of a community resource center. We may want to invite them to an upcoming meeting.

• The eventual creation of an interfaith service award to a local hero particularly motivated by faith. (I have thought about naming it after someone well-known in our area, but I won’t give the name here. Talk to me in person if you would like to brainstorm about it).


I would encourage people to offer ideas on this blog. I’m beginning to feel like a soloist. But it seems important to keep a running record of our efforts to keep people informed and for new people to tap into should they discover what’s we’re up to.

Facebook pages are great for certain purposes, but I think a running commentary on what we’re doing better serves our Initiative at this point.

If you prefer to express yourself in person, come to our next meeting — and bring a friend. If you need to arrive late or leave early, that’s fine — just stop in and see what we’re about.

God Bless All of You