Anyone who has been to an Anglican or Episcopalian service can't nap in the aisles. The service calls for standing, sitting, kneeling, reading responsively - and juggling the Book of Common prayer, hynmal, leaflets with the Collect and readings and the notices.  For a new member, it's daunting and can be embarrassing losing one's way.  Working with Grace Episcopal Church in Clayton, North Carolina, Integrated Media Strategies has been developing a methodology to put the entire order of service in the palm of congregants' hands.  Since most congregants own a wifi-enabled smartphone or tablet, it made sense to develop a process to make the Sunday service hand-held and friendly.  No more juggling.  Navigate to This Sunday's Service and everything is there.  Just scroll down as the service proceeds. 

The process to deliver a simple solution was not without its challenges.

Integrated Media Strategies was selected to accomplish taking the service online for several reasons.  It had built Grace Clayton's powerful multi-media-capable website and had assisted the congregation with other geekly solutions.  We worked with the priest, John Gibson, and the congregation, adapting how they obtained the order of service incrementally during implementation so as not to negatively impact churchgoers as the transition and process was developed, and issues were discovered and resolved.  Traditionalists are still able to use the Book of Common Prayer and the blue hymnal if they prefer.

We had to develop time-efficient solutions to compiling the order of service, then getting it online.  Since the text for the service changes weekly, some hymns are copyright protected and cannot simply be put on the web without meeting the copyright restrictions, and sources other than the Book of Common Prayer were being used, the process had to accommodate all of these difficulties. A further issue is that it had to be simple enough for non-tech-savvy volunteers to manage with limited training. While working with Grace Clayton, we also developed best practices for wireless connectivity, online access control solutions, reminders to congregants, and other practical solutions to transitioning from paper to online.

Savings have been obtained in reducing print costs. Other advantages include simplifying the learning curve for new attendees who might not necessarily have grown up in the Episcopalian church; exposing people to the full range of activities at the church via the website; speeding up the service slightly because people aren't switching between books of worship; and providing the opportunity for social media engagement during the service on issues of special personal meaning to congregants, thereby raising the profile of the church online and to the local town and community. 

Integrated Media Strategies is well-placed to used its experience to replicate the process painlessly for other congregations.

Contact us if your church needs assistance with integrating mobile technology into its outreach.

 

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