Positive spiritual, religious, and interfaith news for the international community

NAIN Survey: Results

By Elizabeth Esperson

Part One: About the Organizations

  • All three countries of North America responded, with representation from coast to coast.
  • Most member organizations are local groups of individuals meeting monthly who report growth in their work. This gives individuals concerned with spiritual matters an opportunity for expression and involvement.
  • The common thread in the purpose/mission statements of all responding shows some variation of the Golden Rule - i.e., Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  • Interfaith groups emphasize dialogue over advocacy programs; these experiences (visits, workshops, study days, etc.) are successful in helping us become comfortable with one another in our diversity. Interfaith activities show a wide variety of interest and creativity.
  • Today, interfaith organizations have achieved a first level of success by creating structures where diverse religious groups can overcome ignorance and fear of one another. This achievement has created excitement, awe and gratitude among participants. Most seem ready for a next level, though they may not know what this.

Part Two: NAIN and the Organizations

  • NAINConnect: 1996 - 2000 were its strongest years. The responding organizations show commitment to NAIN with high percentages participating on the board and committees.
  • Today's falling off may be normal as the original purpose of NAIN - to create a network - has been achieved.
  • NAIN is generally helpful to members, but organizations may be looking for something more today. If they can participate in only one of many annual gatherings, NAINConnects may not be their choice.
  • NAINews & NAINet have also been helpful but need tweaking/updating for better service to users.

Part Three: New Directions for NAIN

  • New initiatives for NAIN might include regional gatherings, monthly news briefs, and publications including a current directory and practical "how to" applications of success stories from member organizations.
  • New directions might include post 9/11 guidelines for interfaith work, a code of ethics for quality interfaith behavior, outreach to other continents, pilgrimages, and showcasing of world religions.
  • Some sort of Staff Person is important to NAIN to create and maintain a constant focus on NAIN and its potential. Position must be carefully thought through as it demands greater responsibility from Board.
  • This Staff Person would assist Board/committees, create more frequent and consistent interaction with member organizations, research and grow new opportunities for NAIN, provide resources for members, develop funding for NAIN, and work to move it to its next level of in-depth service.
  • NAIN is no longer a network only to care for members (though it will continue to foster this care), but a network to which members contribute from their collective wisdom and experience for the good quality of the Interfaith Movement itself.

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