FAQ for First Time Visitors
How do I register to attend NAAL?
2. Use Sched, our scheduling app. You will receive a link to get Sched on your phone, tablet, or computer before the annual meeting. Sched will contain the basic information (hotel maps, schedule of all calendared events, room locations, and seminar descriptions) you will need for your time at NAAL. It will also contain a list of all registered attendees and Academy Committee members for your reference.
Before making your arrangements to attend, first complete the visitor status request form, found here: (LINK). On that form, you will be asked to name up to three seminars you may wish to visit. You may select these from the seminar page on our website (http://www.naal-liturgy.org/meetings/seminars). If you would like additional information about any seminar, contact the seminar convener listed on that page.
How do I know if I’ve been accepted as a visitor?
You will be contacted by the past president to confirm you have been given visitor status. Then you may register for the upcoming NAAL meeting and make your housing and travel arrangements.
I’ve visited before. Do I need to request visitor before I register as a visitor again?
The visitor status you obtain is good for four years. If it’s been longer than four years since you last attended an annual meeting of NAAL, we ask that you request visitor status once again.
I’ve been accepted as a visitor and have registered and made my housing reservations. What should I do to prepare before I arrive at our meeting venue?
1. Contact the conveners of the seminars you gave as your three choices on your visitor application form to ask about how to prepare to participate. Some seminars provide papers or books for reading in advance.
I’ve arrived at the venue and checked into my room at the hotel. What should I do next?
There are several things you are encouraged to do as a visitor to NAAL.
1. Go to a denominational pre-meeting. If you are part of a denomination that hosts a denominational pre-meeting, contact the host of the meeting to get more details about how you may participate. (Members of the Academy who are in your denomination will have this information). If your denomination does not host a meeting, ask a meeting host from a meeting related to your denominational heritage about attending. Denominational meetings are typically held for all or part of the time from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the day of the opening liturgy. Make your travel arrangements accordingly.2. Check in at the NAAL registration desk. Registration is typically open from noon to 6 p.m. and 8:30-9:30 p.m. on the opening day of the annual meeting, and at announced times during the day on Friday. There you’ll receive your nametag and a folder with useful information, and be able to ask questions about the meeting or your registration status.
3. Browse the exhibit area and get an early start on deciding what you might wish to purchase while at the meeting or at a later time.4. For students and scholars early in your career, attend the Emerging Scholars Reception early on Thursday afternoon (the day of pre-meetings). New scholars and seasoned members gather in a facilitated conversation which addresses the unique situations you face at this stage of your career.
Is there an orientation meeting for visitors?
Yes, in fact, two of them! First-time visitors have a special reception on Thursday afternoon to review basic logistics and any ask questions. All visitors are invited to the reception immediately following where you can meet past and present NAAL officers and seminar conveners face to face.
When does the meeting formally begin?
Each annual meeting of the Academy begins with an opening rite on Thursday evening.NAAL is an ecumenical and interfaith organization. Our opening rite welcomes all in an atmosphere of prayer, readings, and song, including a brief time of remembrance of NAAL members who have died since last we met. After the opening rite, come to the President’s Reception. This informal gathering will give you more opportunities to meet members and other visitors to the academy.
What should I plan to wear?
Business casual is a basic standard for most of our time together, though many clergy will wear clericals and business professional throughout the meeting. For the formal banquet on Saturday night we recommend business professional or “Sunday best.”
What meals are included with my registration?
The Berekah Banquet on Saturday night, and typically one breakfast (Friday morning, prior to the Vice President’s Address) are included in your registration. If you are bringing a guest, an additional cost is charged in the online registration form. All other meals are on your own.
The online registration form also includes a place for you to make requests to address any dietary restrictions for the included meals. Plan to bring your own snacks if you may need them during the day.
How do I know where to sit at the banquet?
A seating chart and sign-up sheets for each table are available in the registration area beginning Friday afternoon for you to choose your table and tablemates. Every table has at two spaces designated for visitors, but more are always welcome. We have found including visitors at every table helps visitors get to know members and gives more members the opportunity to meet and welcome visitors.
Are there other times to network?
Coffee breaks scheduled on Friday and Saturday, plus “sidebar” conversations on particular topics (typically over lunch), are great opportunities to get to meet other participants during our time together. You may find our recently launched “Sidebar with New Visitors” particularly helpful.
I understand seminars are the heart of NAAL. How do I choose a seminar to stay with?
Because seminars are so important to our work together, we want you to take your time, especially on your first visit, to get to know the seminars that are closest to your interests or area of scholarship. First time visitors often attend two or three seminars their first year, then choose one of these to seek to stay with beginning in their second meeting. Participation in and commitment to a seminar over a period of time is a significant expectation of members of the Academy. The seminar structure and commitment is intended to give people who have the same interests plenty of time for discussion of papers and to build relationships that from year to year support each other’s work.
Why does it usually take three years to become a member of NAAL?
The North American Academy of Liturgy is different from a number of other professional societies and academies in that we function as a collection of smaller groups (seminars) of working scholars and practitioners who actively seek to support and learn from one another in and sometimes across our chosen specialties within the wider fields of liturgical studies and allied disciplines.
The first year is about discerning in which seminar a first year visitor may find the best fit.
The second year is about participating as fully as possible in the work of that seminar. After the second year, we invite you to consider applying for membership.
Upon reviewing your application materials (including your own statement plus recommendations from your seminar convener and another member of the Academy), the Delegate for Membership will invite you to register as a visitor for your third (or subsequent) meeting, where the members of the academy will vote on receiving you as a member. We believe this process enables both you and the Academy to make a sound discernment for the benefit of all.
May I present in a seminar as a visitor?
Yes. Although not required, this is highly encouraged especially in your second year if you are planning to apply for membership in the following year. Presenting in your chosen seminar will give you valuable feedback on your own work and enable your seminar convener to offer a more thorough recommendation for your membership.