I had a second small group discussion organized today, this one with a group of local Quakers. I prepared more or less the same introduction and the same questions as I had used on my earlier small group discussion held at a Pagan gathering. I was interested to see what were the similarities and differences in the overall responses or themes arising from the two groups.
However, no one showed up for my small group discussion. I suspect there are several lessons for me to learn in this. Perhaps the largest is that I need to meet the schedule and needs of my audience, not myself. (Given time constraints since I work and go to school, both full time, I fit this in where I could make it.) I also did not reach out to specific individuals asking them to come, which I had thought about doing, because I just ran out of time. And I scheduled the conversation for 11:00 on a Saturday morning, when the room was available, but people would have to make a special trip to meet with me.
I spoke with several people at the Meeting in order to organize a time to hold the discussion and advertise that it was happening, but I did not ask for assistance or work with them to encourage people to attend. One way to encourage participation in such discussion groups would be to work within the committee structure of the Meeting body. In scheduling this event, I spoke with the Clerk of Worship & Ministry Committee, who was quite in support of the talk but was out of town today. Since I continue to plan to develop this inquiry into a thesis, and I’d like to talk to some Quakers along the way, I think my next step is to engage further with the committee and see where that takes me.
The good news is that I was able to schedule three interviews, instead of the two I had planned for the class, so I will be able to balance out this missed opportunity.