Monday, March 06, 2006

He who hesitates is lost

You all probably realize this already, but the FGC website says that registration is closed (but they're taking names for a waiting list). This is 3-6. The day our paper registration form arrived.


Among the too-late is the co-leader of my workshop. His e-mail to me was at 1:57 pm CST today.


I am stunned and full of questions. Are there some slots reserved for paper registrants? What other workshop leaders may have thought they had more than five-and-a-half days to register? What if, say, Arthur Larrabee or John Calvi (whose workshops are sold out) figured they had, say, a week and didn't get around to it?

I'm glad I'm not the one answering phones at FGC tomorrow. Hell knoweth no fury like Quakers screwed; I still remember the anger when we had run through a week's allotment of granola at Boone in 1988 on Tuesday morning.


Liz Opp said...

Hey Paul.

I'm hoping we'll hear some news from a certain blogger who may be more "in the know" than we are.

I can tell you that FGC was aware at how quickly things were moving with online registration, and I can say that I did hear from another Friend who is very closely connected to the goings-on about the Gathering that FGC was exploring how to respond... given that paper copies of the advance program weren't in mailboxes yet!

I would like to think that FGC was wise enough to suspend online registrations for the time-being, but then again, the online form doesn't use the word "suspend," does it?

I hope that rather than gripe, Friends will consider holding FGC, the Gathering Committee, and certain staff persons in the Light in the days ahead. I have Faith that more information is forthcoming... but I have enormous concerns that we'll find out how much "privilege" and "entitlement" we Friends think we have...

Here's a thought: what if we all turned in our online registrations and offered to be part of a lottery, after printed registrations are returned (with priority given to workshop leaders, program leaders, etc.)?

What does it mean to treat one another fairly and tenderly in a situation like this?

Liz, The Good Raised Up

Max Hansen said...

As a workshop leader for this year's gathering, I received an email today from Liz Perch, the Conference Coordinator, saying:

Though registration is now closed, places are being saved for essential volunteers such as yourself, and members of your household.

Paul L said...

Yes; Liz has shared the letter from FGC (apparently to its central committee) with our meeting. I'm gratified that they have acted in time to avoid a total fiasco.

I do think it is fascinating that the careful planning, including a professional market analysis, grossly underestimated the amount of interest in this Gathering.

As I recall, a similar thing happened in 1987 with the first Carleton Gathering where the anxiety was that no one would come as far west as Minnesota to the Gathering. A lot more did than were expected, and a huge response from Friends in the upper midwest produced a Gathering that was very successful, if crowded.

I'm glad FGC exercised prudence in its planning and projection, but I'm even more glad that the response was literally overwhelming. It is a very good sign.

Luckily, our Sacred Harp workshop has no upper limits (only room size, which we don't know about yet) and would be happy to absorb any overflow.

Robin M. said...

We have still not received our paper copy of the registration materials, at my home in California.

My husband called me from a Quaker gathering last weekend and said, "Do our registration now. I heard it's filling up fast." Otherwise, I would not have registered nearly so fast.

The last time I thought about going to FGC was about six years ago, and there was still space right up until the published deadlines.

There is also now a letter to Friends on the Gathering website explaining what has happened.

Liz Opp said...

Robin, thanks for pointing out the letter on the FGC website.

I want to acknowledge that I was part of FGC's Central Committee when the question of a western Gathering was first considered... and during the subsequent years when the idea was tested, threshed, and seasoned, in various ways and by various "rings of discernment" within Central Committee.

The FGC letter seems to point to intellectual facts and analysis, but I want to say, from my own experience of serving on Central Committee, that I felt the group was faithful in our discernment at the time:

- Friends spoke to the concern that FGC not act out of fear, but out of faith;
- Friends spoke to the precedent of the wonderful response that occurred when the Gathering was first brought to the midwest;
- Friends spoke to the need to not worry so much about whether Midwestern Friends would come to a western Gathering. Heck, we have to travel anyway, so it doesn't matter if it's westbound or eastbound!

I realize that my recollection may color what actually happened--or that other Friends from Central Committee may see those earlier events differently from how I see them.

All of us need prayers--for the Friends who are frustrated; for the Friends who have to deal with phone calls and emails; for the Friends who want to help but don't know how.


Liz Opp said...

And as of March 10, there is yet again more news from FGC, about exploring creative, unprecedented ways to include more Friends...

Liz, The Good Raised Up