Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Christ Church and the Internet
Why does Christ Church need a website?
It is hard to argue that we need
a website, but if we wait until
we do need it, it might be too late. The Internet is revolutionizing
communications and information flow. It is changing the way companies
do business, how students learn, and how friends and family stay in
contact. Although we like to think of the services a church provides
in different terms than a business, there are practical similarities.
We shouldn't ignore what's going on all around us -- it won't go
away. The web offers some new efficiencies for old tasks, and provides
unique new possibilities as well.
Has this been approved by Staff, the Executive
Council, the Communications Committee, etc?
Yes this an "official" project. A presentation was made to the
Communications Committee at their meeting on December 2, 1998.
It was decided to proceed with a "prototype" site from which we
would seek .
progress report was delivered to the Communications Committee in
January, and they continue to encourage the effort. The agenda
for the February meeting of the Executive Committee includes
further discussion of the website and its integration with the
ministries of Christ Church. The whole staff has been included
in the process of identifying meaningful and appropriate content
for the site, and in finding ways to integrate the project with
existing efforts (e.g. maintaining the Calendar).
Who will benefit?
The first and most obvious goal is that Christ Church and her
ministries will benefit. One of the efficiences that the web
introduces is timeliness. For example, for those willing to access
information on-line, schedule changes can be made available quickly
without individual phone calls. Committee meeting minutes can be
posted promptly for review without the cost and delay of regular mail.
Scheduling conflicts might be avoided more easily. A sermon of Chuck's
that you'd like to review is likely to be available on the website.
If you have to miss Sunday Worship, the bulletin, sermon, Scripture
passage, and hymns may all be there. At this point we don't know
if the site will be used for all of these purposes, but they
illustrate just some of the possibilities.
It can also be a means for providing information to people inquiring
about the church. People are increasingly turning to the Internet for
information. The church office has already received one telephone
inquiry from someone who found us by way of a link to our website.
It will never be desirable for us to eliminate human contact,
but a website just might introduce us to some people that we'd never
meet otherwise. If we don't meet them, we can't talk with and
minister to them.
Who is it intended for?
This is one of the fundamental questions which must be answered for this
project to take shape. Possible answers could include: existing members,
prospective members and others seeking information about Christ Church
locally, or even a global audience. The actual answer is likely to be
some combination of the above (with emphasis on the first two).
Obviously the specific content depends on some resolution to this
question. Once the intended audience(s) are determined, we need to know
how we want the website to serve them. For example, what do we want
local information seekers to learn about us using this open medium?
What do we want existing church members to be able to accomplish through
the website? What message might we want to offer a wider audience?
Establishing a web presence today places the Church somewhere ahead of
the curve. What may seem somewhat revolutionary today, will likely
be rather mainstream tomorrow. There will be increasing numbers of
people who can be legitimately served by this (and other related) means
with every passing month. And this is likely to become the single most
effective method of reaching and serving at least some people. It's
probably not a necessity right now, but again, we shouldn't wait until
it is. Call it preparing for the future -- which is arriving faster
all the time.
What are the plans?
Paul Tukey has assembled an ad hoc committee of people from the church
with the necessary technical and graphic-arts skills to create a
website. He is working closely with the communications committee to
work out the specifics. A site with some basic content is now
available for viewing and comment. It is early enough in the project
that the plan is still evolving. We want to make sure that a process
devolops that encourages participation and creativity while moving us
toward whatever specific goals the Church determines for the site.
Will this replace traditional communications?
No. It complements and supplements more traditional methods.
It is neither more important, nor less important. The website
should be seen as another appropriate means of communicating
our message, and not just the side-line of a handful of the more
technically oriented members. We should view it as legitmately
as any of the more traditional communication methods we use
currently. But it won't replace them.
Is this intended to reduce the need to mail
the Bulletin, and to reduce costs?
This is not a stated objective for the website, but is one
possible result. As explained above, the plans are still evolving
. We don't know every specific
purpose the site will address, but anything that serves the
members and those we minister to is a reasonable goal. If
enough members decided they would rather get the bulletin from
the website or have it e-mailed to them, this would be a
worthwhile thing to do. It might be to save money, trees, or
time, but if people believed they would be better served
it would be a perfect use of the website. And if it reduces
costs at the same time, that's even better.
This is precisely the kind of question we want the whole
membership to be involved in. If you have thoughts on this
issue, or any other suggestions, they are always welcome.
Will I miss important information if
I don't have Internet access?
No. In fact you won't miss out on any official information.
Anything of general interest to the congregation will continue
to be communicated by traditional means. Some things may also
be made available electronically, but this will be for those
who choose this means, and will not replace
the communications methods people depend on.
What will it cost the Church?
Very little. The company we've chosen to host our website
is Pair Networks
. Their monthly
fees total $7. There is also a $35 annual fee for registering
domain name. This was all
paid from last year's Communications Committee budget.
As the site grows and more services are added, it is likely
that we'll need to increase the level of service from
pair Networks, but any fee increases will be nominal.
As for the work of creating and maintaining the website,
this has all been done by volunteers from within the
congregation. Much of the artwork was done by Lynn Starun,
and the rest was gathered from freely available sources.
There has been other useful input from members of the
"virtual website committee", and it has all been glued
together by Paul Tukey. When we studied
other church sites, we found some that
were created by members and others that were contracted out.
We have been blessed with some very talented people, and
have been able to do the work so far with member volunteers.
We expect that this will always be true.
Will any private information (e.g. the Directory)
be made available on the web?
It's too early to say for sure, but we expect that
eventually some services like this will be made available.
This will likely require some part of the site being set
apart as a private area, not accessible to the general
public. We will not make information public
that could compromise the privacy of our members.
Is it safe to make such information available?
Nothing is perfectly safe, and it is impossible to absolutely
protect privacy. The risks aren't necessarily greater on
the Internet, just different. But not understanding the
increase them, and those of us
responsible for developing the site are well aware of this.
If something like this is planned, it will only be after
the necessary safeguards are in place.
I hear there's pornography on the Internet.
Is it appropriate for Christ Church to use such a medium?
Pornography on the Internet, like security
probably no different than anywhere else. If you
go looking for it, you will find it. If you don't want to see
it, you can probably avoid it. But it isn't necessarily any
more prevalent than walking into a 7 Eleven store or the local
It is true that some areas are worse than others. Usenet has
been ruined by selfish, off-topic traffic. (Usenet, or
newsgroups, are forums for open discussions of virtually any
imagineable topic. There are groups for discussing accounting,
anagrams, zen, zima, and everything in between -- including
Karl Malden's nose) Many of the off-topic posts
are pornography related. But on the Internet, you choose
where you want to go, and whether you see pornography or not
really does depend mostly on the locations you choose to visit.
Pornographers are often among the first groups to make use of new
communications technologies, as we saw with home video. While
many people may not approve of pornography, that does not
invalidate the medium simply because they use it. Pornography
is found in magazines, yet that doesn't keep people from reading
other magazines. While we will share the web with
pornographers, that's the only thing we'll have in common with
them. There is no real connection, any more than there's a
connection between Time Magazine and any pornographic magazine.
How can I participate?
Contact Paul Tukey
or Jim Simon.
I don't know much about creating a website.
Can I still help?
Absolutely. There are many tools available which make participation
possible even for people without much technical knowledge. If you
have a computer, the chances are you already have some software
which could help the project. (e.g. Netscape Communicator,
Internet Explorer, Lotus Smart Suite, MS Office, Adobe PhotoShop,
Paint Shop Pro, etc.) There is other free software available, which
we'd be happy to help you find.
If that's more than you care to do, but you're still interested
in contributing, we will be happy to take whatever you create -- graphics,
plain text, word processing documents -- and try to include it on the
site. You don't need any software besides what you already use.
We'll take care of the rest.
Also, we are always looking for worthwhile links to place on our home
page. If you see something of interest while browsing the web, send
the url (web address) to Paul Tukey.
There are many ways you can help, and you don't have to know
anything about creating a website if you don't want to. We need
the broadest possible support for this project, and welcome
contributions from everyone, no matter their technical skill level.
We want everyone at Christ Church to feel as though they are owners
of the website.
Will the youth be welcome to participate in the project?
Yes, we welcome participation from one and all. If any of the youth
are interested in helping, they can contact Regina
, or through the church
office. It might even be suggested that some of the younger folk are
more likely to be "in touch" with newer technologies, and more readily
able to lend a hand. True or not, all are welcome. Young and old alike.