The purpose of this program is to provide the churches of the Diocese of Oregon a consistent and effective platform on which to develop their web presence. All churches in the diocese have the option to house their website on the server used by the diocese. There are no charges other than for domain registration for the basic services provided. Charges may be incurred for premium (paid for) web services.
Churches with existing websites are welcome to move their content or, working with a consultant from the Initiative Team, have a WordPress-based website developed for them. The diocese will provide a basic website template, and a consultant from the Technology Committee who will help you configure your new website to your congregation’s needs. If there will be additional charges for hosting, that will be discovered in this process.
The Diocese of Oregon is providing this resource for all of our churches, but the intention of this initiative is to provide this service for churches that have limited resources. For that reason, if your church has had an ongoing and consistently maintained web presence, please continue your work so that the resources of the diocesan offices can be put to use for those that have less.
Websites and Communication Policy
Having a website and maintaining it properly is a necessary part of communication in the 21st century. Your congregation needs to commit itself to continuing high standards of communication. This will mean a commitment on the part of the clergy, the wardens and the vestry/BAC to support the work of this project now and into the future.
The work of this project will ensure that when an individual is transferred, the clergy leaves, or the wardens and vestry change, the website will still continue to be the visible sign of the church in cyberspace. The passwords will not disappear and the ownership of the website will not be in question. Everything will be owned by the clergy, wardens and vestry, not a single person.
Communications & Technology Requirements
Before your congregation can be assigned a consultant to work with you on designing your new website, there are some things your congregation needs to do. There is check list below (including an explanation of each communications and technology requirement), and when you have these items checked off, you will be ready to send the contact information for the lead person from your congregation (who will work with the consultant) to J T Quanbeck, Director of Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our congregation has committed itself to continuing high standards of communication.
- This is not a one-time promise. It is suggested that a vestry responsibility for communication in general and the website in particular be discussed and formally established.
- Further, it is necessary that one person on the vestry be given the oversight and authority to make decisions, allocate resources, and see that the work that needs to be done is, in fact, carried through.
We have a team in place to work with the consultant.
- Find the people resources you need to make this project work. This team does not need to be technology professionals to do this; the consultant will provide this resource. Your people resources should include several different people and they may have over-lapping roles
- You will need someone with the knowledge and the authority to make decisions to work with the consultant to set everything in place. This might be your vestry liaison. but it could be another person.
- You may choose to have a small committee including your clergy, your vestry liaison, and (if available) members with artistic or technical skill.
- You will also need someone who can be trained to work with the new system and teach it to the others in the congregation or staff who will be doing the on-going maintenance. Again, a technology professional is not required, just someone who is familiar with computers and word-processing software who is willing to learn something new.
We have reviewed our ministries and gathered our website content.
- Review your ministries. Your website will tell the world who you are and what you are doing.
- The things that should stand out include when and where you worship and what you are doing as the hands and feet of Jesus in the world.
- Strangers who visit your site are looking for that information, along with an answer to the question “Will I find people like me if I go there?”
- The content you can and should be posting on your website includes:
- Worship schedule and directions.
- Clergy, staff and lay leader head shots, contact information and areas of oversight.
- Calendar events.
- Ministry descriptions that are engaging and brief.
- Longer text content such as sermons, articles or announcements.
- Digital photographs for both page illustrations and online albums.
- (Optional) A blog by a clergy person, lay leader, or a group – BUT only if the blogger is willing and able to post at least twice a month. A blog by minors, such as a youth group blog, must have designated adult oversight.
- Other member-specific content you may want to add includes:
- Downloadable resources, such as ministry schedules and forms in PDF format.
- Online forms, such as for event registration.
We are establishing a web policy.
- Establish a policy around names and contact information. We recommend using a contact form rather than links to an actual email address, that way email addresses are not “open” for spammers and other nefarious harvesters of email addresses to use and abuse.
- Make sure you establish policies and guidelines around online photos. You may wish to include in registrations for events a permission clause for the use of photos taken at the event (names of children should never be revealed online or in print, so make sure name tags and the like are blurred out before posting).
We have made a plan to keep the website current.
- When you put together the list of the things/pages/features you want, remember that it will be your job to maintain this and keep it current.
- It’s perfectly OK – in fact, it’s strongly recommended – to start with a small website that you can grow over time. For example, if you want a Youth Group but don’t have any children over the age of 8, you probably don’t need a Youth Group page just yet, but you may want to make a page for “Children and Youth Ministry” rather than just “Sunday School.”
- Set up a plan for who will update which parts of content on what schedule. If no one is responsible or anyone could do it, no one will actually do it after the first month.
We either do not own a domain name, or have our domain name along with the administrative login needed to redirect it to the new website.
- One minor technical detail to take care of is the status of your domain name. If you don’t have one, that is fine. Domain names can be acquired inexpensively, and your consultant will work with you to do this. If you do have one, however, changes will need to be made to the registration information for that domain name to direct traffic to the new website when it is completed. Someone “owns” that domain name and has the administrative login to it. You need to find that person, obtain the administrative login and have it available for your consultant.
- If you do have a domain name and a website that is current and being maintained by your church but wish to take advantage of hosting on the diocesan web server, please contact us about the DNS changes, FTP access, and user data that will need to be modified/changed for this to happen.
We have our email addresses and contacts set for this project and we will keep the webmaster/communication office updated with any changes.
- Email will be the main point of contact between your church and the diocesan communication office.
- All sites hosted on the diocesan web server must have two mailboxes that do not forward to another address. Those mailboxes will be rector(or vicar)@yourchurchdomain.org, and email@example.com. It is far easier to change a password than to be constantly changing email addresses.
- No other email addresses will be required, but if a church would like other mailboxes for their domain, we can do that. Also, we can forward some email addresses, so, for example, if you would like to have firstname.lastname@example.org forwarded to your current senior warden, that is possible to do. Be advised that our mail server will not forward mail to AOL or Comcast addresses.