A message from Gennifer Brooks, President of the North American Academy of Liturgy, was sent to the membership of that organization on July 27, announcing that their annual meeting for 2021 will be cancelled due to the pandemic. Here is the message in full.
Dear NAAL Colleagues:
I pray that you all are continuing to navigate the challenges of the pandemics in which we are embroiled, to stay well and safe, and to engage the work to which you have been called.
Thank you for both your patience and your input with respect to the determination of the Annual Meeting scheduled for Seattle. Based on your input and in conversation together as your AC, the decision has been made to cancel the 2021 meeting. Specifically, that means that not only will be not be meeting in Seattle, but we will also not be meeting virtually.
There were several things that played into that decision, the most convincing for me, and also for the majority of those who responded to the recent polls, was the element of the gathering of the community that was considered critical to what makes NAAL the organization we cherish.
The decision not to meet in Seattle was relatively easy to make, given the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the continued and perhaps increasing risk of air travel and gathering of large groups. The decision about meeting virtually was more challenging given that the protocols exist that make it possible. However, in the language of the pandemic, as stated previously, the coming together of the community in “touchable” ways was deemed most essential, resulting in the cancellation of the meeting, with the hope of being able to gather in person in 2022.
Having made that decision, we felt that there were elements of our academy that needed to be addressed:
- Gathering of the Community – We will gather at a distance for a worship/gathering ritual on the evening of Thursday, January 7, 2020. The proposed time is 6:00 p.m. Central. The structure of our time together has not been finalized, but it will include recorded video items by a few members and the naming of our honored dead. The lengthier remembrances will be done at the 2022 meeting.
- Advancement of Scholarship – While members of seminars and of the community in general are encouraged to continue to stay in touch and to share their scholarly activities, as has already been done in several areas since the pandemic began, there was consensus in the AC that an opportunity needed to be provided for the professional development of emerging scholars. To that end, we are in the process of creating such an opportunity to be held on January 7- 8, 2020. Details on the event will be provided later in the year.
For any who might be concerned about the status/determination of the AC with respect to term of office, the articles of incorporation address that situation this way:
Section 3. Election of Directors and Term of Office.
If in any year, a quorum of the Membership is not present at the annual meeting, the Board of Directors shall remain in office until the next annual meeting.
Since there will not be an annual meeting, the idea of a quorum is moot, so the current AC will remain in place until the 2022 annual meeting.
Courtney has negotiated the hotel contract for Seattle in a way that avoids any penalty for cancellation as long as we hold our annual meeting at the same hotel in 2024. In the meantime the work of the academy continues, including the re-design of our website.
Additional information will be provided in the summer newsletter which will be available mid-August. Again, thanks for your patience. Please stay safe and be well.
Blessings to all.
Gennifer Brooks, President
The North American Academy of Liturgy