To TEC: To Tech or Not To Tech

Tony SigWell, this is the way it always is for me during school:  Blogging drops of drastically.  I don’t forsee that changing at all but hopefully enough people check in periodically to ensure that we keep our small but loyal reading base.  I do have a couple school related posts boiling but I need to catch up with my homework.

A few posts ago I mentioned that I had been doing some electronic snooping around the Diocese of Minnesota.  As it happened I was travelling out to my parents to celebrate our family Christmas.  They don’t do a Christmas Eve or Christmas service so I decided to search and see if there was a nearby Episcopal parish where I could celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord.  A Google Maps search revealed a few close by and there was this handy site on the Diocene website that I have previously linked and which apparently has changed.  (It seems they took away the hyper-linked map, which was a terrible idea; and they put a new catch phrase up, which is utterly tragic.)  Before I sigh in disappointment let me move back to my primary narrative…

Unfortunately none of the churches I wanted to contact had websites.  Further investigation revealed that a great number of parishes do not have a website and many that appear to have them have long since let their sites go cold and are dead.  And so I had to call the parishes on my phone and hope that someone would pick up.  I HAD TO CALL THEM ON MY PHONE!

Now, I’m willing to do this, even if it is ever so slightly inconvenient because I’m Episcopalian, I know what I’m looking for and why.  But I have something to say to the Episcopal Church:

If you don’t have a website, you don’t exist.

What, do you think someone is gonna pull out their handy yellow pages and dial you up on their roto-phone?  Do you think people are going to call your parish and ask where your church is, ask for directions, for service times, for what you believe?  Get a grip!  Leaving aside entirely the fact that even most Christians don’t really know the difference between different denominations, someone unfamiliar with what we actually believe, practice or preach isn’t going to bother with all that when there are 5-25 other local churches who’ve moved into the 1990’s.  It doesn’t have to have a YouTube channel with links to all the sermons in video and audio and text; it doesn’t have to have fancy flash effects or “ways to connect;” It’s just gotta have a site, with a couple pictures, a “Map It” function and the service times.  The only benefit I can think of all these parishes not having sites is that we’re not letting everyone know “what we believe” which I can only imagine would sound horrifying to me.

This isn’t about being “modern” or “hip” or “up to date” even.  It’s about doing something fundamental and basic in order to provide the opportunity for people to hear the Gospel and become baptized.  So please, get a website.

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5 Comments

    1. Greetings Sam, welcome to the blog. Your comments on the Charismanglican site found their way into my attention and it’s great to hear from you. I will admit though that I’m not entirely sure how to interpret your comment. Does it have a slight whiff of sarcasm? If so that’s totally fine, I appreciate sarcasm and satire both, but I’d be able to respond better if I knew. I trust that it’s clear I didn’t mean we should have websites to “attract young people” (though the steep disconnect between the real world and the Mainline is steep enough that it makes sense young people wouldn’t be interested) or to evangelize, but just to make the congregations available to those who are looking.

      Reply

  1. I would take this critique s step further. Individual parishes having basic websites is a start, but being able to take full advantage of a modern technological infrastructure would do a great deal to make the Church more cohesive and effective.

    Reply

  2. I know what this really is. My rector tracked you down to told you to post this as a way to tell me to get off my ass and get some work done on the website!

    Damn you for playing along with him…

    😀

    Reply

    1. Jordan: I think so long as parishes are now inevitably a meeting of people many of whom do not live in the immediate vicinity of the building (and so of the community) you’re right.

      Derek: You caught me.

      Reply

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