Visiting NAAL the first few times can feel a bit overwhelming. Here are some answers to some commonly asked questions. Still need help? Use the contact form at the bottom of the page to connect with our Academy leadership.
Before making your arrangements to attend your first NAAL meeting, you need to Apply for Visitor Status. On that form, you will be asked to name up to three seminars you may wish to visit. You can browse our seminars here. If you would like additional information about any seminar, contact the Seminar Convener or the Delegate for Seminars.
September 15 of the year prior to the meeting.
For example: For the January 2024 meeting in Seattle, the deadline will be September 15, 2023.
You will be contacted by the past president to confirm you have been granted visitor status. Then you may register for the upcoming NAAL meeting and make your housing and travel arrangements.
Your visitor status 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 the Annual Meeting?
1. Contact the conveners of the seminars you listed on your visitor application to ask about how to prepare to participate. Some seminars provide papers or books for reading in advance. You can find the contact information for each convener on the seminar information pages. Click the “learn more” link under each seminar description.
2. Review the Conference Schedule on Sched, our scheduling app. You will receive a link to get Sched on your phone, tablet, or computer before the annual meeting or find it on the annual meeting homepage once it goes live. 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.
Pro-Tip:If you can, plan to attend the Emerging Scholars meeting on Thursday afternoon!
There are several things you are encouraged to do as a visitor to NAAL.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. For students and scholars early in your career, attend the Emerging Scholars Meeting on Thursday afternoon. Emerging Scholars is a group for liturgy scholars in the early stages of their career, particularly tailored to the needs of those in graduate school up through the first few years of their first permanent position. Anyone is welcome to attend the Emerging Scholars meetings. They provide a space for peer-to-peer networking, advice on writing and job searches, a spotlight on the work of visitors and new members, and an introduction to the work of the Academy, as well as giving emerging scholars a chance to reflect on the future of the Academy. Contact Ed Foley and Kim Belcher for more information.
4. If this is your first time at NAAL, attend the first-time visitors orientation. This brief orientation will introduce you to the basic structure of the Annual Meeting and answer any questions you may have.
5. Attend the Visitors Reception. This is a great place to meet current and past presidents of NAAL and our current seminar conveners. Plus, you can grab a bite to eat and connect with other visitors and new members.
Yes, in fact, two of them! First-time visitors have a special meeting on Thursday afternoon to review basic logistics and 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.
Each annual meeting of the Academy begins with an evening opening rite. 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.
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.”
The Berekah Banquet on the final night of the Annual Meeting, and typically one breakfast are included in your registration. If you are bringing a guest, you will need to purchase an extra meal ticket to each of these when you register. 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.
Coffee and tea are served by the exhibit tables in the afternoons of our full meeting days. While there are usually some small snacks these coffee hours as well, it is best to bring your own snacks if you may need them during the day.
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.
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. If you would like to present in a seminar, you should contact the seminar convener. Most seminars set their schedules over the summer, so the earlier you can reach out the better!
The business meeting at NAAL is only open to members. Visitors have a break during this time, but be sure to join us for the reception and banquet afterwards!
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.
Coffee breaks are scheduled during both full days of the conference, plus “sidebar” conversations on particular topics (typically over lunch), are great opportunities to meet other participants during our time together. You may find our recently launched “Sidebar with New Visitors” particularly helpful.
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.