Update on how we are doing – October 3, 2020
As we head into October, the last quarter of the calendar year, we thought we would give you an update on how we are doing.
Due to Covid-19, we decided to discontinue meeting in person back in March for the safety of our members. This presented a unique situation, where we as Priesthood had to come up with a way to serve our Gods and communities. As a result, we set up classes and community get togethers using the Zoom platform. To protect everyone’s safety, we did not post the link to Zoom sessions in our FB groups, but decided to create a mailing list for session announcements.
Those wishing to attend are asked to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org be put on the notification list. The link is sent on the day of each event (class or get together) before noon. The notification is sent out with the addresses listed using BCC (Blind Copy) to protect the email addresses of attendees.
Here are some of the stats as of October 3:
Start Date: March 29
Get togethers: 28
Sat class: 21
Sun class: 20
Total session: 69
Community Get Togethers
These are every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. and last about an hour. We started this social night as members of the community were saying that they missed seeing and talking to their friends. Sometimes we have a theme, sometimes it is just chatter. It has become a very useful tool where members support each other, talking through issues like isolation, loneliness, fear and frustrations or sharing magics and solitary rituals they are doing. Many a time it is full of laughter, breaking the routine of this stressful time. It has helped to keep our communities together and bridged the relationships between Temples.
We initially started with Saturday AND Sunday classes to accommodate Toronto/Hamilton existing schedules as some of our members had set up their work schedules based on the class times in order to attend. This was good for a while, but due to scheduling issues, we switched to alternating Saturday and Sunday.
Attendees sit in a “waiting room” until they are let in (this is a security feature that we have employed). The “chat” feature is not turned on as it is a distraction to the class being presented. We employ a “hands up” feature for questions/comments from attendees, so that the flow of the class runs smoothly.
Classes followed the standard curriculum for the most part, with some new classes thrown in, like knot magic. We have also had a couple of “round tables” – the first one was on the topic of Magic – and gives the opportunity for discussion and sharing your knowledge and ideas with other members.
Online classes have been presented in several ways:
· Teachers presenting verbally from their notes/experience
· Presentation screens using various programs like Power Point
Homework is usually assigned by the teacher and an offer of their own email address provided, or the option given to have homework sent to email@example.com and it is forwarded on to the teacher to maintain teacher privacy.
Meeting in Person
We are constantly discussing the current situation for meeting in person, trying to see if we can organize alternative ways of accomplishing this. With Ontario slipping back in progress, the government has imposed restrictions again. Toronto Temple’s location (U of T Multifaith Centre) is closed until at least January; Hamilton’s Temple space became available within the past month, however, the space is very small and would not accommodate adequate social distancing, and with the new restrictions may not actually be available now. Windsor also will fall under the new restrictions.
We met with Temple Steering Committees in a joint meeting via Zoom a week or two ago, to discuss the situation and to hear feedback/concerns. If you don’t feel comfortable contacting us directly, feel free to talk with your respective Steering Committee members about any concerns.
We are seeing regular members attending the sessions, as well as new. For some of our members that have left the community over the years and are unable to attend due to distance (they moved) this has been, in their words, “a blessing”. It has allowed distanced, former members to connect with their communities and continue learning and enhancing their relationship with the Gods. We have acquired some members who have always wanted to engage with the WCC but, again due to distance, have been unable to attend in person. We have been asked to continue the distance learning/sharing once the Covid situation ends. These people have become an integral part of the WCC community and have made friends with regulars, walking the same path side by side. We are seriously considering continuation of online for those members.
We are holding it together. We made a commitment to our communities, to our Gods, and will do what we can to keep our community together, so that when we do meet again in person, we HAVE a community.
We appreciate all of you that have joined in the online activity, working to keep community together, to support our members, and help them connect to their Gods.
We miss all of you and can’t wait for the time when we can get together in person. Until that time, be safe and stay healthy. We can get through this if we support each other and remain connected.
If you need to talk or want to connect, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking forward to seeing you online.
Janice & Ross