“To be, or not to be—that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings are arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them…” Hamlet (III.I. 56-60)
How can I forget being made to memorize this entire famous monologue of Hamlet as part of some test of will, rite of passage in junior high school? Sometimes, these sorts of memorization exercises of classic literature are actually useful in life and we find ourselves quoting them at surprising times. "To be or not to be…" For example, when thinking about the process of unleashing the database user portals for congregational use, we all ask ourselves… “To be or not to be… part of the directory online portal system?” That is the question!
September 2018 marks a new phase of congregational access and transparency in the history of the church: the launch of user-portals to have up-to-the minute directory and giving information at your fingertips. In a time when the transparency and connection in the wider Church are a big issue, it is right and good for us to allow this input and access to the database.
The reality is that we are all already part of the database. Just as churches have kept records for eons on paper, all churches now do that digitally. Not only is this a safer way to keep information but it is more efficient, and allows us to implement data-driven solutions. Plymouth has had a database in some form or another for almost 20 years now. This is to say that asking members to create log-ins and learn to use an online portal to view their own information, update pictures, and access photo directories online (and the option of an app for their phones), isn’t the same as opting in or out of the database. We are all in the database whether we decide to use the portal or not; but now we are offering a new way to stay connected and to engage and manage your own directory information.
What Leadership Council and the Database Task Force are asking is that you claim your directory portal and make corrections to your information if needed. You can do this on your own (instructions here) or with the help of our skilled volunteers in the Fellowship Hall after every worship service for the rest of the month of September. Uploading a good picture would also be a blessing for all of us. (For example, it was a problem that we didn’t have clear, current pictures of everyone during our last sabbatical interim.)
To be or not to be… that is not the question! We are all already in the database. The question is: to be connected better or to keep status quo? We also have a new privacy and database policy developed by the Task Force for the Database and approved by Leadership Council. Access and review it by clicking here for a PDF. We think we are one of the only churches in the country with such a detailed, responsible, and comprehensive policy.
Please consider taking the time to log into the portal, download the app if you use the directory regularly, and update your information. Know that our help table volunteers for the rest of the month of September* are here to help and are trained to answer questions or walk you through the process. (Again, instructions for self-guided setup are here.)
*The Directory Help Table will be staffed on Sundays September 9-30, between 10 and 11 a.m., noon to 1 p.m, and 7 to 7:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.
To be or not to be? I think Plymouth always chooses to be more and better connected.
Sincerely in Shakespearian Musings,
The Rev. Jake Miles Joseph (or just Jake)
P.S. Thank you to those who served with me on the Database Task Force: Chair Daryl Knoblock, Anna Broskie (IT/Communications Coord.), Bill Tucker, Sarah Parmenter, and Keith Schulz.
The Rev. Jake Miles Joseph ("just Jake"), Associate Minister, came to Plymouth in 2014 having served in the national setting of the UCC on the board of Justice & Witness Ministries, the Coalition for LGBT Concerns, and the Chairperson of the Council for Youth and Young Adult Ministries (CYYAM). Jake has a passion for ecumenical work and has worked in a wide variety of churches and traditions. Read more about him on our staff page.