The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Suggestions for forming an ITMS Chapter

1.     Members

  • Those who participate in chapters support the Society by becoming ITMS members and contributing annual dues.  See:

  • ITMS Chapters are diverse in size and make-up. Some consist of just a few members, and some of the larger chapters have more than 50 members.

  • Each ITMS Chapter will have a chapter coordinator listed on the ITMS web page as a contact person. A back-up contact is also recommended.

  • The Chapter Coordinator, working with chapter members, will choose when and where to hold meetings, keep a mailing list, send out notices to members, and otherwise attend to publicizing the chapter. The coordinator may delegate these tasks; chapter members may determine if they want individuals to fulfill certain roles such as secretary, treasurer, hospitality chairperson, etc., though it is not necessary to have officers.

  • Some Chapters may wish to solicit dues to offset certain costs associated with holding meetings, such as providing refreshments, mailing flyers, or making a donation for the use of space. Soliciting dues is optional; contributing chapter dues does not confer ITMS membership.

2.    Meetings

  • The chapter name will be listed as “Your town or area” Chapter of the ITMS. (Use your chapter name when advertising events, not ITMS alone.)  You may also want to use a description, such as Merton Study Group, Merton Readers, Merton Speaker Forum, etc., when publicizing meetings.

  • Meetings are held, usually for free, in church halls, public meeting rooms (in local libraries or park field houses, for example), at schools or colleges, or in the home of a member.

  • Chapters can schedule meetings during the day, evenings, or on weekends - whatever is most convenient.

  • Most chapters meet monthly or quarterly. Some meet only during the academic year, September through May. Each chapter decides for itself.

  • Stay within the announced hours of meetings.

  • If the group wants to have refreshments, keep it simple. Members can take turns bringing snacks.

  • Grants are available annually to assist chapters in organizing events: Further information can be found at:

3.    Reaching Out

There are a variety of ways to publicize your chapter through:

  • Church bulletins, newsletters, or bulletin boards.

  •  Social Media including ITMS Facebook Page

  • Interfaith Church Councils.

  • Denominational Headquarters.

  • Religion editor of local newspaper(s).

  • Public access television.

  • Bookstores that sell Merton's books.

4.    Resources


For further information about ITMS Chapters contact the ITMS Chapters Coordinator:

Michael A. Brennan
4537 N. Melvina
Chicago, IL 60630-3013
E-mail: [email protected]