Websites:The New Front Door for Every Church

Speaking of technology, this is something we need to accept:

… People don’t use the Yellow Pages to find a church anymore, nor do they glance at the church ads in Saturday’s newspaper. They’re not going to drive around town looking for the most attractive church building, either. Potential guests to your church will most likely Google for churches in their community and check out their websites. If your website is ugly, outdated, neglected or amateurish, discerning church shoppers will likely pass you by before ever setting foot in the real door of your church.

I remain convinced that personal invitation is the best way of attracting new people to your church, whether that invitation is to worship, join a small group, or participate in an outreach project. But even the friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors whom you invite will likely also check out your church’s website…

Read the whole piece here.




The Miracle of Technology

Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal:

Here I will tell a story that I suppose is rather personal but what the heck, today’s not a bad day for the personal. Yesterday I went to St. Patrick’s for confession and mass, to start the year off on the right foot. Walking through the cathedral—it was jammed with tourists taking pictures of statues and architecture and also, and with some startling excitement, of the regular New Yorkers in the pews taking part in the noon mass—I remembered something I experienced there last summer, at confession.

I add here that I like going to confession; I always find it quenching or refreshing or inspiring. Usually I go at my local church. But sometimes if I’m walking by St. Pat’s and it’s confession time I’ll go right in, because the great thing about St. Pat’s is that in terms of priests you never know what you’ll get—a gruff old Irishman from Boston, a mystic from the Philippines, a young intellectual just out of seminary in Rome. Once I think I heard, through the screen, the jolly voice of New York’s cardinal. But whoever I get always seems to say something I need to hear.

Anyway, last summer I’m at St Patrick’s on a weekday afternoon and I go to the confessional area and stand on line. In the confessionals at St. Pat’s you kneel in a small, darkened booth and speak through a screen. You can sort of see the shadow of the priest on the other side.

The door opens and I enter and kneel. I outline my sins as I see them, share whatever confusion or turmoil or happiness I’m feeling. Then I was silent, waiting to see what bubbled up. What bubbled up was a persistent problem that was spiritual at its core. We talked about it, and then the priest—American accent, perhaps early middle age—said, “You wouldn’t struggle with this if you understand how fully God loves you.”

There was silence for a moment, and then I said, “Actually, Father, I always have trouble with that one.”

Here I thought the priest would gently explain how wrong I was to doubt. Instead he said, “Oh, we all do! All of us have trouble with that.”

I said, “Even you?”

“Yes, priests too, the love of God is something we all have trouble comprehending and believing.”

This struck me with force.

And then suddenly in the silence, through the screen, I saw a light. It grew and glowed in the darkness, it moved. A miracle? I cleared my throat.

“Father, did you just open up an iPad?”

Yes, he said, and we started to laugh. He keeps particular readings there that might be helpful with certain specific questions. He’d like me to read some verses when I get home.

I’m sorry, I said, I don’t have a pen and paper, I may not remember what you say. Wait—I’ve got my BlackBerry. “Tell me chapters and verse and I’ll email them to myself.”

And so he scrolled down and called out readings—the letters of St. Peter the fisherman, of St Paul—and I thumbed away sending emails to myself.

It was so modern and wonderful. Genius technology enters the confessional in a great cathedral in 2012.

“And God saw the light, and it was good.”


Confidential Plan to Sell Australian Anglican Churches

Well of course – it has to be – in Virtue Online:

A confidential draft report obtained by the Newcastle Herald reveals the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle could make nine of its 15 Newcastle and Newcastle West churches “redundant” as part of a future growth strategy.

Problems detailed in the report include falling congregation numbers, maintenance problems, lack of financial contributions, no on-site parking, fire risk issues and disconnect with community.

Four of the churches being considered for sale are heritage listed.

The report, put together by consultants NBRS+Partners, has created a storm among parishioners who have labelled it a “disgraceful cash grab”.

Many fear the recommendations will be pushed through before the appointment of a new bishop following the retirement of Dr Brian Farran as Bishop of Newcastle earlier this month.

Administrator of the Diocese, Bishop Peter Stuart, said yesterday he was “disappointed” that the confidential document had been leaked to the Herald.

Bishop Stuart said the review began months ago with full knowledge Dr Farran would be retiring.

“It [the report] does not represent the views of the Diocese but contains preliminary data which will be the subject of consultation in parishes beginning in January,” he said.

“A report on the review will be presented to the Diocesan Council sometime in 2013. At that time the council will consider what action to take.”

Rest here.

The Churches are pictured here. Now, if all the ACCA – TAC’s money wasn’t blown, (we won’t say on what and by who!), we could have actually done something worthwhile, like buy one or two of these buildings…