Idea for a Zoom reading meeting

QARN ‘Excessive fees: leave to remain in the UK’ leaflet:  In these times of online meetings, here’s a suggested format for considering the important issues raised in this leaflet.  Gloucestershire AM has recently had a good experience of this.  Having originally planned a whole ‘faith in action’ day on refuge and asylum issues, we had to alter it to a zoom event instead.

We advertised it as a one-hour ‘meeting for reading’; asked Friends to express their interest in attending by email so we were sure to have their emails to address the zoom link to;  and ordered enough paper copies of the QARN leaflet for local meetings to have copies to offer to any Friends either not IT-happy or unable to participate in the event – as well any wanted by those planning to join.

This was the format we used.  As it went well, it’s offered as a guide for any others to use.

  1. Before: Book the zoom meeting itself. Book a Friend from the meeting with a good clear reading voice, another one to host/settle the session (saying hello, checking cameras, mutes etc) and a third to facilitate/clerk it.  Invite a QARN member to join the event, to offer backup info and/or case study to follow up the reading.  Provide Friends beforehand either paper copies of the relevant leaflet and/or link to QARN website for Friends to print out their own.   Clarify that no formal minute being planned, unless the session feels led to ask for it.
  2. Intro: Once all settled in the meeting, clerk (using page 1 of leaflet as basis) to introduce purpose and format of session (a chance for Friends to deepen our knowledge on this issue that we care and already know something about – and a chance to do that in fellowship); welcome QARN visitor; welcome reader, explaining that s/he will hold a pause through the reading, probably 3 times at breaks in the text for reflection, but not yet for any discussion or questions.
  3. Reading/listening: Reader read text aloud (Friends can choose to just listen or listen and follow with their copy).
  4. After the end of ‘What needs to change?’ another pause; then a clerked 15-20 mins or so of comments/questions (using handsup etiquette) with time for the QARN speaker to speak/answer questions.
  5. Reflection/closing/after: ask another Friend to read the ‘what can we do?’ section.  Settle into worship.   Clerk later prepares note of the meeting to share at forthcoming AM.  As inspired or led, Friends can bring ideas for action there.  Individual Friends meanwhile may feel led to compose and send emails etc to MPs, sign up to QARN email list.

24 Friends took part.  There was no doubt about the shock felt from this shared reading.  Friends’ awareness was raised.  We parted company with resolve to spread it and letters/emails are already on their way to our MPs and others.  Next time, I’d suggest the session would be timetabled for 15 mins longer than the advertised hour.

Copies of this and other leaflets from QARN website.

Jane Mace, QARN Steering Group/Gloucestershire Area Meeting
15 May 2020