Networking Theology: Building Bridges in Cyberspace

Melody Stanford

This was part of my final project presentation for Kwok Pui Lan’s class, Third World Feminist Theology. I shared with my colleagues the thought process and research that went into creating this website.

About PANAAWTM

  • PANAAWTM stands for “Pacific, Asian, and North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry”
  • Organization is about 30 years old
  • Started by Kwok Pui Lan and some of her friends
  • Leading organization for Asian feminist theologians

Organizational goals

Adapted from a paper called THE FUTURE OF PANAAWTM THEOLOGY by Rita Nakashima Brock, Kwok Pui Lan, and Seung Ai Yang

  • Struggling to uplift theological voices for the sake of justice
  • Making use of hybridity and rich cultural resources – as the group spans continents and backgrounds – to develop religious paradigms
  • Bridging academia and ministry needs
  • Developing an “embodied way of knowing as well as practicing religious life”
  • Learning together how to “mentor effectively, how to develop resources for scholarship, how to create models of successful leadership, how to utilize just and supportive methods for community-building, and how to befriend each other”
  • Eventually the group wants to create and fund educational opportunities to build leadership for the future

How I chose this project

  • Saw a need, sought to fill it.
  • Often the best and most effective way to stand in solidarity with someone is to help them get a bigger microphone.

How can networking be seen as more than a methodology? Can we consider it a theological mandate?


Purpose of this project
To take site into “web 2.0″ – cultivating dialogue – an extension of this organization’s mission

New site goals:

  • Key challenge: developing public identity and presence for the organization, while creating space for internal/private connection and support among members
  • Interactive 2.0 elements: blog, forum, membership (like Facebook)
  • Personal touches allow for personal connecting
  • Highlighting resources developed by members
  • Creating a tool, not a nuisance (practical, easy-to-use)
  • Building room for growth: proper architecture, infrastructure
  • Training for members: project will wrap up with an instructional video and instruction sheets so the members have control over content management
  • Keeping costs low (free!) adds to organizational sustainability

 

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