by Jen McManus
Since last fall, BOMA members have had the opportunity, via technology, to gather with other instructors across the country and beyond. Many of our teachers are the only NFP instructors for miles around, and it can be difficult to find other teachers that they can discuss the topic of NFP with. I was one of those teachers who didn't know anyone else besides the three people who were with me during the teacher training. Knowing this and knowing that other teachers were in the same predicament as myself, I approached the BOMA Board with the idea of starting something that could bridge this gap. Not only did we all agree this would be a wonderful opportunity for our membership, but we knew that we wanted something that fed our membership regularly and kept us all energized. Hence, the Billings Fellowship Hour was born.
One of these meetings was themed, "Getting the Word Out." We discussed getting information to parishes, diocese, seminarians, and other church-related groups as well as how to be thankful to our priests who have allowed us to use parish space. We discussed the use of media, in particular, the two movies that are available to us through the BOMA website entitled "The Sexual Revolution" and "Unprotected." While speaking with others at this virtual fellowship meeting, some colleagues described their experience at Catholic conferences. After talking about this, we discussed how we all wished and hoped for more and better communications through our parishes, as well as how we could spread the word outside this select group. One of our supervisors shared she had success at the local Grange. Another teacher wondered about getting out to the IVF crowd. We bounced ideas around about getting involved in the natural living movement and where one might advertise or offer a class at an organic farmers conference or other types of events. We learned what ideas were successful, as well as which ones were not. We also discussed how we had not tried some ideas and wondered if other members had success with those ideas.
The next meeting was in Spanish, and I hear it was well attended with a very lively conversation. I wish I could speak Spanish. It would be nice to figure out how to subtitle or do something soon so English speakers can attend or watch a recording of a Spanish meeting and visa versa since we want all to be included. Our first meeting even had a Billings teacher join us from near Russia!
In April, our theme was social distancing and distance teaching. At this meeting, we had present the chair of the education subcommittee. We were able to review the protocol of teaching remotely and where to find that information for further review. We discussed the difficulties and advantages of Skype, Zoom, and Face Time as examples. It seemed to be about double the attendees at this meeting than the first, so there were more experiences and helpful tips, especially for me, who is NOT tech-savvy. I, for one, feel better about it after this meeting.
Humble Pie was the theme of our most recent gathering. Several seasoned teachers were reminding us never to be embarrassed to ask the simple questions. These great ladies did not have supervisors when they were new teachers in the early years when our supervision system was not yet developed. They stressed how good and essential it is to keep in contact with supervisors.
We listened to anecdotes about charting with funny words and how to figure it all out. We also talked about always asking questions and never to take a chart at face value. Asking questions like "What do you mean by XYZ?" or "Was it different or mostly the same?" are good questions to ask. All of this helps us to remember we are empowering women and couples with education about how God wonderfully made them.
We had some die-hard teachers on this call that several of us stuck around an extra hour talking about virtual conferences and taking advantage of Joy Defelice, R.N.'s information about the Light Factor.
You cannot put all this into a report, nor can you replicate the community building of being at these live meetings. With this being said, if you are interested in becoming a BOMA member, we'd love for you to join us and share your needed insights. If you are a member, we'd love to have you join us for our next (free for members) Billings Fellowship Hour!
BOMA-USA provides education and training for The Billings Ovulation Method® which is a natural method of fertility management that teaches you to recognize the body's natural signs of fertility.