Friday, June 22, 2012

Offsite Community (Louise)

Plenary III has just closed. The main business was to hear presentations on the five proposed Congregational Study Action Issues and then to vote for one of them.

This was the first time that we were simultaneously watching the live streaming video and participating in the offsite delegate chat. The chat is a box on the computer screen next to the video window. After choosing a screen name, it was easy to type comments into the chat box. The words of each chatter showed up in a continuous flow in the chat box, recording the reactions and thoughts of the participants.

This led to a thoughtful discussion of the proposed CSAIs, and the distinct process of choosing one vs. implementing it in the congregations. As an isolated CLF member, this was a whole new facet of General Assembly for me. I've never talked about the CSAIs with other CLFers before.

And it is also not something that usually happens during Plenary. This sort of conversation would be disruptive and disrespectful in the live Plenary Hall. And with over 1,000 delegates, opening a typed chat up to the entire assembly would be chaotic.

But for the 60 to 80 of us online, it was a wonderful opportunity to listen, learn and feedback with each other. The discussion helped me clarify my own position and led to my final choice for CSAI 3: Reproductive Justice. Our on-line votes were displayed immediately, and CSAI 4: Exploring Class Barriers was the front-runner. The final tally from the entire delegate assembly won't be available until tomorrow's plenary session.

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