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Monday, May 03, 2010


"From Time to Time" or "T2T" for May 3, 2010

Every so often I send an e-mail message to the members of Odyssey Networks, updating them on Odyssey's work and alerting them to coming opportunities for participation. I have not had a chance to write one of these since the National Interfaith Cable Coalition (NICC - our corporate "parent") Board of Trustees meeting in April. Here is the e-mail (I call them "From Time to Time" or "T2T") I sent out earlier today:


It has been some time since I last wrote to you all and I have much news to share.

NICC Board of Trustees meeting actions:

The most important news from Odyssey is the actions of the National Interfaith Cable Coalition (NICC) Board of Trustees from their April 13, 2010 meeting. At that meeting, the Board unanimously approved:

• Changing Odyssey from an interfaith organization representing the three Abraham faiths to a “multi-faith organization representing various institutional faith traditions …. including Christian, Jewish, Islamic and other faith traditions, with the goal of representing the religious diversity present in the United States….”
• Membership for six new faith-related organizations and three new individual members – see www.odysseynetworks.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=zDv8LqI5n9g%3d&tabid=97&mid=408 .
• The new membership structure we have been discussing for the past year as presented to the members at our April 7 meeting in Chicago.

In addition, the Board dropped the historic requirement for automatic NICC Board of Trustees membership from several named faith groups with the goal of continuing to have wide faith representation on the Board. Board membership can now increase beyond a minimum of 16 members. These changes give the Board a better opportunity to reflect the wide variety of US faith traditions.

This means that faith groups and faith-related organizations beyond Christian, Jewish and Muslim can now apply for Odyssey membership. Revised membership applications are already online at www.odysseynetworks.org/Members/MembershipApplication/tabid/88/Default.aspx .

New Odyssey membership structure:

It also means that our new, more informal membership structure is now in place. That structure includes the possibility of additional, non-Board of Trustees members being added to the Board of Trustees’ Member Relations Committee, as well as other Board committees.

The four current board members on the Board Member Relations Committee are Robert Chase, Sheri Hartzler, Billy Wilson and James Wind. If you would like to be considered by the Member Relations Committee as a possible additional member for that committee or another Board committee, you should send me an e-mail and attach your resume. Already, three member representatives have submitted their resumes (or had them submitted by someone else with their permission) for possible service. They are: Robert Black, Ava Martin and Debra Vinik. If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else, please e-mail me.

Areas where we’d like your involvement:

There are at least two other areas where we would value your help and participation:

• These folks have agreed to serve on the committee to plan Odyssey’s fall member gathering: Robert Black, Cheryl Leanza, Ava Martin, Pat Pattillo, Hassanah Tauhidi, and Linda Walter. Two others have not yet responded to my invitation. You may remember that this event is scheduled for September 27 – 30 in the Washington, D.C. area and will be held in cooperation with the fall meeting of the NCC Communication Commission. If there are others who are interested in helping to plan this event, please let me know.
• We will soon start the planning for Odyssey’s 2011observance of the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. I’ve asked Robert Chase to chair our member advisory committee for this planning. Larry Rich has already volunteered to help. Others who are interested should contact me.

More from April in Chicago:

I hope, if you were not present, you have heard about the fine member gathering we had on April 7th in Chicago. The 37 people in attendance made this among the largest ever Odyssey member gatherings. At that event I announced the first 2010 member production grants. You can read our news release about those grants at www.odysseynetworks.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=rPuyDN%2bZl%2b0%3d&tabid=97&mid=408 . Mary Dickey and Desiree Frieson also wrote a news release about Odyssey members who won awards during the RCC2010 event in Chicago. That release is also online at www.odysseynetworks.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=9ElBdd5kzGE%3d&tabid=97&mid=408 . Congratulations and thank you to all!

Goodbye and Godspeed to Lynn Harden:

One other important piece of Odyssey news that you may not yet have heard is that Lynn Harden, Odyssey’s Director of Philanthropy, has resigned to take the position of Executive Director of the Regence Foundation in Portland, Oregon. Regence is the largest health insurance company in the northwest. Now Lynn will get to give out money rather than try to raise it! She begins her new job in June. I know you join me in wishing Lynn the best in her new endeavor! If you know of someone who might be a candidate for Odyssey’s Director for Philanthropy position, please send me their contact information.

A personal note:

This coming Friday, May 7, my synod bishop, the Rev. Claire S. Burkat, will install me into my new Odyssey position during the opening worship service at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod Assembly (www.sepa.org). These first five months at Odyssey have been full and full of wonderful contacts with members, staff, board, and other colleagues in this ministry we share, to “build bridges of understanding among people of faith through media.” There is no other time, I believe, when the building of such bridges has been more important. It is a privilege to share this time with you all.