A broad range of ideas and opinions on the effects and uses of communications technology served as the focus of the 2011 Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) spring convention for its Waterloo Region chapter.
The 150 registrants heard from Mike Morrice, executive director of Sustainable Waterloo, a not-for-profit organization that helps link businesses and community organizations with sustainable solutions, and Tim Jackson, chief executive officer of the Accelerator Centre at the University of Waterloo.
Jackson spoke of the social effects of the concentration of high-tech companies in Waterloo Region. His central point was that many of the young entrepreneurs, and their even younger employees, have not been taught to give and volunteer. The children of immigrants who gave from their poverty, in many cases, they saw the $20 given to the Heart and Stroke Foundation canvasser by their parents, he said, and they now do likewise, even though they often earn six-figure salaries. Being entrepreneurs, they have not been taught by elder business people the need to give back in time and resources to the community that sustains them and their businesses.
Jackson held up the Accelerator Centre, which “incubates” new tech companies, and MEDA as places where the needed giving of time and talents is being taught.
In one of the workshops, Paul Morris of the Meeting House Church, a Brethren in Christ congregation based in Oakville, Ont., with nine satellite groups that meet in movie theatres, spoke on managing teams from a distance. The congregation’s teaching is done by Bruxy Cavey in Oakville and then shown at the satellite locations. Morris, in charge of the teams in the satellite locations, told of the ups and downs of using technology in worship. Initially, Cavey’s Oakville sermons were copied to DVD and shown a week later to the satellite churches. Then the church switched to a live satellite feed, so all the churches were receiving the same message at the same time. Now the church has gone back to the DVD technology.
“If technology is not a strong solution,” Morris said, “it will be a perpetual stress.”
Another media workshop focused on the use of social media for organizations to get their message out to a wired world.
The event took place on March 26 at Steinmann Mennonite Church, Baden.