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“CASTING A NEW NET”
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF THE CONFERENCE
Denver, Colorado
March 20-21, 2002

Organized by the Provincial Leadership Council of the Episcopal Church with the National Church communication office

Brought together web & communication administrators of all the Dioceses to :

  • Clarify roles of key decision makers in diocesan web ministries
  • Identify new potentials for web ministry
  • Focus on target audience
  • Explore issues related to news and issue communication on diocesan web sites
  • Strengthen the common communication ministry of participants
  1. Presentations and discussion with
    Pew Internet & American Life Project
    Identifying characteristics of web users, surfers on religious sites-- specifically habits of Episcopalians.
    National Church Communications office.

Discussed the National Church's strategy for web communications

GraceCom - Rick Johnson - Grace Cathedral, San Francisco

    --------Video presentation on the web ministry (available for use by us)

    Dioceses of UTAH, CHICAGO, BETHLEHEM, OHIO

    Presentation & Discussion of how & why of site design, contents, etc.

    Jon Davidson and Jim Bemis attended representing the Diocese of Nevada - Jim because he designed and maintained our Diocesan Web site, and Jon because of the leadership role as Web Team Leader for St. Paul's, Sparks

    Some of Jon's impressions:

    • All of us are either developing a Communication strategy including web communications, or attempting to convince our Diocese that this task is needed.
    • Several dioceses are making effective use of electronic communication -- others have some effective elements and a few are just beginning.
    • Clearly, we are in a new world of information flow where old media and old structures do not work at all or work in different ways than they used to.
    • We in Nevada are not alone in having isolated congregations separated by considerable travel time. This is a characteristic of Western dioceses (Province 8). Others in our province are prepared and eager to share their experiences with each other. We have put in place channels through which this can take place.
    • Resources abound but strategic use of these resources needs to be developed.
    • Integration between various levels of web communication is nearly non existent. Needs to be defined and coordinated. (Eg: National web site, diocesan web sites, parish web sites, special ministries web sites.)
    • Print and electronic publications MAY have very different roles and need to be administered in very different ways. There is presently a great deal of duplication between diocesan newspapers, diocesan web sites and bishop's newsletters.
    • Lastly, there are skilled persons in the most unexpected places, who may have an exciting ministry which only needs to be identified and enabled:
      -----------eg: Richard Peete in Diocese of Chicago
      -----------3 professional web designers on St. Paul's Sparks Web Team

    I AM RETURNING:
    ------------Excited about the possibilities for effective 2-way communication with –00000000individual church members that never existed before.
    ----------- Confident that the skills are out there in our Diocese waiting to be enabled.
    ----------- Encouraged by the degree of cooperation and sharing that we now have in 000000000place within the Province.

    We only have to know where we want to go!

    ==========================================

    Quotable Comments - (heard at the web conference):

    The more information people have, the better

    We need good sound theological reflection from both clergy and lay people on events both secular and religious.

    The Web enables (but does not require!) virtual elimination of gate keepers.

    When communication breaks down between people, God no longer resides there.