There is a constant challenge for grass roots organization about the right amount of structure is required to keep the group organized but does not result in it becoming bureaucratic and unresponsive to the needs of the members. The Friends of Dismas Inc. is a registered charity with a Board of Directors and was originally established to support the work of community chaplaincy in the Greater Toronto Area.
Over time our work became more focused on the idea of helping individual Dismas Fellowships get established and to grow. Over the years the idea of the Dismas Fellowship caught on outside of Toronto and soon there were 10 Fellowships in the Ontario. The Dismas Fellowship Network was an idea that grew out of this success and an informal meeting was called so we could gather to share ideas and best practices. This lead to a number of discussions about how we should organize ourselves so as to insure the independence of the local Fellowships but to insure that members have a similar experience regardless of the location they attend. We have tried to keep it simple but there are a few legal type things that will help us grow the idea of having Dismas Fellowships in multiple cities.
Legal Stuff: We have created a short Letter of Understanding we ask each member to sign. This helps the Friends of Dismas fulfil its requirements as a Canadian Registered Charity and identities the relationship between the charity and the local Fellowship. Please click here to download: Letter of Understanding and Licence June 2019.
Organizational Stuff: One of the learnings the first few Dismas Fellowships have had is that to be successful you will need a small but well structured leadership team. This information is included in the Section 6 of the Dismas Fellowship ToolKit and the section on Governance can be downloaded by emailing/messaging us.