Much of Shalom "Summit" This Week Will Be Broadcast Live
October 28, 2009
Two Cal-Nevada Conference leaders to be in attendance
By Elliott Wright
GBGM Information Officer
COLUMBIA, SC - Major portions of the seventh national "summit" of Communities of Shalom, a movement of faith-inspired community development, will be broadcast live and free of charge via Internet from the summit's meeting site in Columbia, South Carolina, this week.
Seven general sessions are set to be video streamed through the online facilities of the General Board of Global Ministries, the mission agency of The United Methodist Church and a partner in the sponsorship of Shalom and the National Summit.
The sessions to be streamed include an opening event on Thursday, October 29 at 6:30 a.m. PDT (9:30 a.m. Eastern), closing worship on Sunday, October 31, and five sessions that deal with such themes as justice, prophetic leadership, training for Shalom ministries, and the use of web technology in developing Shalom's presence in the world.
The direct link to the video stream of the summit is http://gbgm-umc.org/shalom.
(See schedule below.)
Live streaming, also known as webcasting, offers new possibilities for reaching audiences of people unable to attend actual events. The Mission Communications Office of Global Ministries is developing the capacity to offer the option to diverse mission programs and organizations within the United Methodist connection.
"Live streaming is a wonderful tool in the cause of mission but is not intended to take the place of actual participation in mission conferences and other events," says the Rev. Chris Heckert, director of Mission Communications for Global Ministries. "It is an asset to draw in persons who are unable by distance or other factors to be present in person. It extends the reach of mission education and actual participation in mission events."
According to Dr. Michael Christensen, National Director of Communities of Shalom and an elder of the California-Nevada Annual Conference (at left), more than 300 people are expected at the Radisson Hotel in Columbia, SC - and hundreds more in the USA and Africa may view the event online and participate via social networking sites.
"When the General Board of Global Ministries offered to netcast the summit, I was delighted," Dr. Christensen says. "I knew that this was a virtual sign and tangible indication that there was sufficient momentum in the Shalom movement to 'step up' to a new level of web technology for this once-small grassroots initiative called 'Shalom Zones.'"
Among those in attendance in Columbia will be the Rev. Linda Wiberg, California-Nevada Director of Connectional Ministry (at left, below), and Conference Youth Ministries Director Kelly Newell (at right).
"It would be great to have some others watching back home," Wiberg says.
Viewers of the webcast are encouraged to take part through two social networks, Facebook and Twitter. Facebook users may post comments and engage in discussion at www.facebook.com/globalministries.
A Twitter group (Twub) has been set up using the connection (hashtag) #shalom09. Twitter users may join the Twub or tweet using the hashtag. (New tweetup "Stepping up to Shalom" Webcast, Oct 29-31st. To RSVP http://twubs.com/ev1-shalom09 or follow @ #shalom09.)
Communities of Shalom
Communities of Shalom currently has some 100 sites in the U.S. and Africa. Its work is geared to local community assets and needs. Shalom communities address issues such as poverty, health, housing, micro-enterprise, and legal services for immigrants. The program is especially strong in the South Carolina Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, which is serving as host for the summit.
The initiative has United Methodist origins but is now ecumenical, or interfaith, in some communities. It was administered for 16 years by Global Ministries and, following a plan to find another institutional partner, is now based at the Drew University Theological School in Madison, New Jersey.
Communities of Shalom - the name is taken from Jeremiah 29 - was initiated by the United Methodist General Conference of 1992, in response to urban conflict in Los Angeles following the acquittal of police officers caught on videotape beating motorist Rodney King. One objective was to bring peace to communities by addressing issues such as economic opportunity and race relations.
It was supported with general church money and administered by the General Board of Global Ministries, with the understanding that oversight and funding eventually would be shifted to an institution outside the mission agency. A strong link to Global Ministries has continued since Drew assumed the administration last year.
Shalom Director Dr. Michael Christensen is a member of the Drew faculty. Read his blog at http://michael-christensen.blogspot.com.
"If the purpose of a National Summit is to bring together representatives from a national network for a time of personal sharing, inspiration, team building, and training," he notes, "then this year's National Shalom Summit will fulfill this purpose and more through video streaming sessions to those who are unable to attend in person."
Some highlights of the sessions to be live-streamed follow (Note: All times shown below are Eastern):
Thursday, October 29
· 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Opening Session and Worship: Greetings from Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor of South Carolina and Mayor Bob Cobble of Columbia, with a sermon by Bishop Gregory Palmer, president of the Council of Bishops, and a report on the "State of Shalom" by Dr. Michael Christensen, National Director.
· 1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Session One: "Stepping Up to Shalom: From Just as I Am to Justice I AM," with Dr. Christensen, Annie Allen, national program associate, and special guests Vien Truong, Green for All, and Steve Tamayo, organizer of ROAM Arts Cooperative, Rosebud Reservation.
· 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Session Two: "Prophetic Leadership and Shalom - Seeking Systemic Change," with Bishop Joseph Sprague (retired), who initially proposed Shalom, Jayda Jacques, founder of Nine Strong Women of Newark, Robert Linthicum, author of Building a People of Power, and various artists, including the Claflin University Gospel Choir.
Friday, October 30
· 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon. Session Three: "Stepping Up to Web Technology - Developing a Shalom Presence on the World Wide Web," with Ted Hart of Hart Philanthropic Services.
· 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Session Four: "Building Shalom Training for the 21st Century," with the National Shalom Zone Training team.
· 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Shalom Banquet: "Shaloming Across Borders," with the Rev. Kelvin Sauls, assistant general secretary for congregational development and racial ethnic ministries at Global Ministries, and special guests Maxine Clark Beach, Dean of Drew University School of Theology, and Dr. Robert Duncan, Jr., President, Bacone College.
Saturday, October 31
· 11:00 a.m. to noon. Closing Worship: Bishop John Schol of Baltimore-Washington Area, preaching, with special music.
Each session will include music and incorporate visual presentation. Not broadcast will be workshops and site visits to Shalom ministries in the vicinity of Columbia.
For more information on the Shalom Summit, along with the schedule and detailed information on workshops, please visit communitiesofshalom.org. (You also may access the live stream through the Shalom site, and through the Drew University website.)