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ISS Chapter Positions

March 13, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, I began to use my blog to publish my ideas about the organization I plan to officially form in the fall of 2009.  The organization is called the International Society of Secularists (ISS).  I am still researching and thinking about the regional, national, and international positions in the organization.  However, I think that I have a reasonably clear idea of what the chapter positions will be.  They could change between now and next fall, but I think they are specific enough now that I can describe them.  Here they are.

Facilitator

  • anyone in the chapter that is an ISS member can register to be one
  • someone can be a facilitator and hold another office in the chapter at the same time
  • coordinates a social activity – announces it, makes appropriate arrangements, is present
  • very little work or experience needed for a Gathering, more needed for special occasions, celebrations
  • Gathering: an unstructured social event (for example, meeting at a coffee shop, game night, pot luck dinner, etc…) held for atheists… each chapter should have one at least weekly if possible
  • example: Andrew posts an anouncement/reminder for a gathering on his chapter’s email listserv (and maybe in the newspaper or other venues if he has the time and/or money).  He tells everyone that the meeting will be at 7pm at the local Starbucks on Wednesday March 19, 2008.  He offers words of encouragement and notes that there will be a copy of The God Delusion on the table for newcomers to recognize the group.  Andrew shows up a few minutes before 7 that night and stays for at least an hour or two, and he chats with anyone that shows up.  After a few months, a group of regulars are likely to come to the Gatherings… Andrew still tries to find ways to reach more atheists and encourage newcomers to attend.

Outreach Leader:

  • elected every two years by chapter members
  • meet with religious leaders and leaders of previously hostile private organizations (for example Boy Scouts of America)
  • – ask them to stop (or refrain from) denigrating atheists and atheism
  • – establish positive relationships
  • – jointly organize public dialogue events
  • – propose joint social activities
  • – propose joint service activities
  • meet with holders of public office
  • – discuss separation of church and state concerns
  • – discuss civil rights concerns
  • – follow up with calls and letters
  • – if holders of public office are deliberately and persistently hostile, organize mass mailings, petitions, peaceful protests, other activist activities
  • establish relationships with members of the media
  • – newspaper reporters and editors, local news reportes and producers, radio station producers
  • reach out to local chapters/groups of atheists and other non-theists
  • – attend their local meetings, praise them for their strengths
  • – calls, emails, letters
  • – promote their activities to ISS members
  • – establish relationships

Service Leader

  • elected every two years by chapter members
  • plans, promotes, organizes the service activies of the chapter
  • service projects in general community
  • – work with organizations such as the United Way to improve quality of life for local people
  • services to individual atheists in the chapter
  • – legal advice/counsel when possible
  • – housing for abused, ostracized atheists
  • – provide mentors/mentorship to atheists that need advice

Community Leader

  • elected every two years by chapter members
  • provide support and leadership to facilitators
  • ensures that regular social gatherings take place for the chapter
  • encourages chapter members to acknowledge special occasions together, possibly facilitates them (for example: weddings, memorials, coming out parties, solstice/equiniox celebrations, Darwin Day, graduations, academic acheivements)
  • assists neighboring towns/cities in forming new chapters and assists their facilitators
  • evaluates, improves, and maintains the morale of the chapter

Chapter Leader

  • elected every two years by chapter members
  • communicates the needs of the chapter to regional leaders
  • acts as facilitator, outreach leader, community leader, service leader in a smaller/newer chapter
  • ensures that the chapter has at least one monthly structured meeting where business is discussed
  • promotes the goals of the ISS – in ways the chapter sees fit, but within the working framework of the organization
  • ensures that the chapter sets specific goals, assists chapter leaders and members to accomplish those goals

*****

You might notice that the positions of Facilitator and Outreach Leader seem to be a bit more developed.  The reason is because I have written about those two positions in the past already, so I’ve already spent a good bit of time thinking about them.  What do you think about the outline in general?  Hopefully it will give you a sense of what the organization is all about, at least on the local level.

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