Last night, the day of workshops planned for Saturday, May 7, 2011, was cancelled. Joyful People: A Day of Celebration, which I wrote about last Friday—see post here—did not have enough registrants to assure its success. The cancellation is disappointing, but the decision to call off the event was prudent.
Just two days ago, Bishop Price told parishioners gathered at St. Paul’s that our diocese is healthy, yet Joyful People encountered widespread indifference. What went wrong? There is probably no simple answer to that question, but we should seek to learn from what did and did not happen.
For one thing, our diocese is smaller than it used to be, and expecting the turnouts typical of such events decades ago may be unrealistic. A smaller diocese also means that there are fewer hands available to keep the diocese running, and those hands may be somewhat overworked and therefore inclined to skip an event now and then.
The timing wasn’t ideal. Early May is a busy time, and, this year, it comes just after Holy Week, Easter, and a visit from the presiding bishop.
Perhaps the biggest problem was that there was insufficient publicity, and what there was did not appear early enough. A parishioner at St. Paul’s without e-mail had no way of knowing the event was scheduled, and even those with e-mail had to have been signed up for the diocesan newsletter to learn of the workshops, since no mention was made by St. Paul’s at all. People could have visited the diocesan Web site, of course, but how many folks who do not receive Grace Happens actually do that on a regular basis?
More publicity would have required more labor, and, as I said before, our diocese is smaller than formerly. In retrospect, however, probably much more public relations work was needed. Many of the workshops were specialized, such as the one aimed at altar guild members. For such workshops, targeted advertising was required.
Well, even successful organizations are not successful all the time. Perhaps lessons learned from the Joyful People experience will help make the next day of workshops (or perhaps some different event) a bigger success. I do believe out diocese is healthy—but it isn’t perfect.
Update, 5/7/2011: I am told that Joyful People has been postponed, rather than cancelled. I think this means that the diocese, at some point, will sponsor a somewhat similar event. I don’t know when that will be, and it will assuredly be an event with a different set of options. I look forward to attending Joyful People II. Ironically, today I received a check from the diocese refunding my registration fee for Joyful People.
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