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An interesting March 14, 2012 Catholic News Service article related to a rise in technology use by congregations.

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1201043.htm


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We're typical, I suppose.

I did not have an Internet connection until AD 2000. I began using it almost immediately for some parish business. As I vaguely recall, about half of the parish council had email. Now all members do, and it will soon be an unwritten policy that we will only accept as members of the parish council those who have email.

I use the "Iconograms" service of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese extensively, particularly to remind the parishioners of weekday Festivals, such as Epiphany and the Ascension. About 1/3 of those receiving the Iconograms actually view them, according to the read receipts I receive.

The congregation web site was designed and constructed by a high schooler for his Eagle Scout project in 2006. It took over a year to have 300 hits on the home page. During this Lent the site is receiving 12 - 14 views per week.

We do not have Facebook presence, and, if I have anything to say about it we never will; that is, unless FB morphs into something other than the condependency of narcissists who post what they are having for dinner and voyeurs who seek TMI (too much information) about their "friends". At this juncture FB seems to be an Eighth-Commandment-free zone and hardly appropriate for a Christian congregation.


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On the other hand, we have more people who live in our community and do not attend the parish following our Facebook page than we have actual active parishioners following the page. Some of these are lapsed members, and children and grandchildren of members (some no longer living). There is an argument here for meeting people where they are and maintaining ties, such as we are able.

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Joy,

Thanks for this article. I'm moving the thread to Parishes and Evangelization - which is where I think technology is of utmost import - and I'm going to sticky it for a bit, to give it some much needed exposure.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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Originally Posted by Thomas the Seeker
The congregation web site was designed and constructed by a high schooler for his Eagle Scout project in 2006.


Bless, Pastor Thomas,

Wonderful!!! There was a thread posted here a long time ago, in which we discussed the value of parish websites. At the time, I suggested that parishes which couldn't afford professional web design should look to their youth (some of whom have such skills) or to local high schools, junior colleges, etc, with classes in web design that would welcome the chance to build a site.

I hadn't thought about Eagle Scout projects, but those fit right into that same discussion and offer another opportunity for pastors and parishioners who don't have the skills to do it themselves and whose congregation lacks the funds to contract for such services.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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Originally Posted by JDC
On the other hand, we have more people who live in our community and do not attend the parish following our Facebook page than we have actual active parishioners following the page. Some of these are lapsed members, and children and grandchildren of members (some no longer living). There is an argument here for meeting people where they are and maintaining ties, such as we are able.


Having a presence on FB is very important. There are many, many wonderful sites on FB that are in no way impinged by the greater FB system.

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Originally Posted by Irish Melkite
Originally Posted by Thomas the Seeker
The congregation web site was designed and constructed by a high schooler for his Eagle Scout project in 2006.


I hadn't thought about Eagle Scout projects, but those fit right into that same discussion and offer another opportunity for pastors and parishioners who don't have the skills to do it themselves and whose congregation lacks the funds to contract for such services.


The young man who built the site has moderate CP, and, even so, it took a lot of convincing "up the chain of command" of the local Scout Council that this would be an appropriate project. With his physical limitations this was perfect.

The site is now a little over six years old. It took a whole year to register 300 homepage views. Now we are very close (maybe now, slightly over) 5000 views.

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Originally Posted by Thomas the Seeker

I use the "Iconograms" service of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese extensively, particularly to remind the parishioners of weekday Festivals, such as Epiphany and the Ascension. About 1/3 of those receiving the Iconograms actually view them, according to the read receipts I receive.


The viewing may be higher than 1/3; you can read the email and still suppress the response. I do this sometimes because it implies "Did you hear me, are you listening?"
Originally Posted by Thomas the Seeker

We do not have Facebook presence, and, if I have anything to say about it we never will; that is, unless FB morphs into something other than the condependency of narcissists who post what they are having for dinner and voyeurs who seek TMI (too much information) about their "friends". At this juncture FB seems to be an Eighth-Commandment-free zone and hardly appropriate for a Christian congregation.


Don't let the silly part of Facebook keep you from evangelizing. It can be very helpful and produce an excellent educational media. Check out "Eastern Prolife" on facebook. (Warning, you have to register; check it out with someone is is already registered.

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Originally Posted by Franciscum
Originally Posted by JDC
On the other hand, we have more people who live in our community and do not attend the parish following our Facebook page than we have actual active parishioners following the page. Some of these are lapsed members, and children and grandchildren of members (some no longer living). There is an argument here for meeting people where they are and maintaining ties, such as we are able.


Having a presence on FB is very important. There are many, many wonderful sites on FB that are in no way impinged by the greater FB system.
Very true! Good posts! I know lots of people who might check something on facebook who normally wouldn't look up a website. It is just conveniently there and easy to access. Also a good way to evangelize and witness to the faith that is in us.

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I've attended the Divine Liturgy in the Coptic Orthodox Church and they made very effective but unobtrusive use of the computer during the service. Our Melkite-Greek Catholic parish in Brooklyn streams all our liturgical services!


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