standrewsHaving a website, say for your parish or community, is no longer as difficult as it might look, or as you might think.

Rev. Andrew Hedge took the ideas I presented on how to make a free website simply and has produced a most admirable, attractive, and useful website, easy to keep up to date, and all basically free. The essence of my idea is taking the simple, powerful, free blogging platform, WordPress, and with a little trick – making it the foundation of a website, not only a blog.

Here’s how you make a website
Here’s some more resources

Andrew has, for quite a while, been recording sermons which are accessible through iTunes (another option might be to investigate such free resources as Sound Cloud). Today there is a funeral that family members in America are unable to physically attend. These family members asked if the funeral could be broadcast so that they could be part of it via the internet. Andrew says, “It hasn’t taken much by way of addition to the setup in the church, just a secure internet connection and video camera really, and we’ve been able to broadcast this morning’s service as a test run.” (Here’s the link found on the site).

I received a significant number of requests for the link to live streaming, or at least a video recording of a recent episcopal ordination here – what our national church was not able to achieve, an ordinary parish church is not finding difficult. Our national church used to have a website with digital resources online such as “For all the saints”, daily reflections, readings, and prayers we could use and cut and paste into our worship. The site clearly needed refreshing, and we look forward very much to the flash new version. But, rather than leave the site up with those resources still accessible to all, it was just taken down a quarter of a year ago. We are a small church (we don’t keep statistics, but I’m guessing that maybe only 0.8% of the population was in an Anglican Church here on Sunday?) I wonder if we are unable to accept how small we actually are, and work fruitfully to produce simple, appropriate resources from that acceptance. Here’s a website I made in half an hour. It is free. Moral of the story? Keep it simple?

Rev. Peter Carrell on his site is reflecting on “Fresh Expressions“. He suggests, “Install a webcam and feed services live”. He is more cautious than I about this, and concludes, “Ignore the above. That is me trying to second guess (again!) what the Spirit is saying to the church. But do not ignore the Spirit.” Well, I understand what Peter is meaning, and I’m sure he knows me well enough to understand my preparedness to “second guess” the Spirit on this 😉 Waiting for the Spirit to indicate that your community needs a website is like waiting for the Spirit to indicate that you need a sign on the road, or a telephone. A website is as essential in the 21st century as a sign and a telephone were at the end of the last millennium. I’ve been told that research shows 80% of new visitors to a church check the website first – my unstatistical experience confirms this. No decent website, and…

Step 1: get a website
Step 2: get a facebook page

If you REALLY can’t bring yourself to follow my simple instructions: buy some pizzas and some coke and get some teenagers to do it for you. Win-win-win!

The website of St Andrews Anglican Church, Cambridge, New Zealand (Vicar: Rev. Andrew Hedge)

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