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Dave, am wondering if you think this article has value, as found in the Alban Institute newsletter this morning: "Faithful finanaces: when to adapt new technology." Found at,

David Teitsma on February 5, 2010

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Great suggestion. I added it to my roster of items to post.

There is a lot of wisdom in the article that is worth passing along!

Dave, nice work so far.

Here's a suggestion: address privacy concerns. I'm thinking specifically of posting bulletins and announcements online. At one church I attended, they used to hide people's full names when items were posted online to protect privacy. We recently had a discussion about privacy at our church, and eventually concluded that since the bulletin is offered publicly in worship, it shouldn't be a problem to post it publicly online.

However, people are likely to disagree about this (especially people from different generations). Some won't care if announcement mentioning them makes its way into Google search results. Others might be angry that their privacy has been violated. Could advice for navigating these concerns be addressed in an article?

David Teitsma on February 5, 2010

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Interesting topic and a great one for an article.

Privacy / security is a complex problem especially when you consider all the generations in a church.

Thanks for the feedback!

chad vandervalk on February 8, 2010

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

we simply put a note in our bulletin asking those who objected to having their names in the bulletin to let us know, those names are removed. we also tried to bury the pdf file for the bulletin and only keep it up for a couple of weeks. names still come up on searches, but since it only stays on for a couple weeks, the chances of a hit are pretty slim.

it is a difficult subject to discuss, and requests for privacy need to be honoured. different laws between Canada and the US also make it difficult. Canada actually has really strict laws about what information websites can post about people.

not perfect, but we found that very few people actually objected to having their names on the bulletin online, especially for a short period of time.

We are working on putting our bulletin on our website, but it will only be visible to registered members as well as anything else "in house" only. We also respect people's wishes to keep their names out of the bulletin or online.

I'd like to know the laws regarding all this stuff. I've heard so many conflicting things I just don't know what is kosher anymore.

Steven Tryon on February 10, 2010

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

As I remember, the Rochester NY site posts the order of worship publicly but the full bulletin only in the members area. That strikes a good balance,

We decided to put our bulletin on our website protected by a username/password which members are aware of. We figure this level of security is the same as someone walking into our church and grabbing a bulletin.

Dave, may I suggest we host a discussion on the impact of ICT on society and our personhood? I've read 'The Church of Facebook', Jesse Rice, who's positive on this stuff. Now there's Jaron Lanier's very recent 'Manifesto': 'You Are Not a Gadget'. Whoa! Very sobering for me, an ICT enthusiast like most on this blog!

PS can the web people automatically collapse these text boxes to fit the size of the reply? There's a lot of emptiness to scroll through! Just a suggestion, thanks.

Hey Dave......

I'm sensing that we need some real "lightening rod" topics to keep people's interest in this here "Network", so I have a suggestion for you.

What if you hosted a first-annual CRC web design Awards? Any church or official CRC office could be entered. If you didn't want to page through the hundreds of them, you could simply ask for nominees. Then, maybe allow people to vote, if the Network is capable of polls?

You could also do something like this for church-produced media projects, like short films or advertising schemes that are virtual in nature. Something like an online film festival?

Just a thought.......sounds like it could be some good iron-sharpens-iron stuff.

David Teitsma on March 29, 2010

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Good ideas. I was thinking along the same lines of featuring a new website each week and point out some interesting/intriguing features. I'll have to start planning this out.

Your second idea would be someone that benefit from collaboration all across the CRC. Maybe we could start another topic in the forum for this? Especially with Easter I'm sure people have a lot of media projects that they're preparing.

Our church is contemplating the same issues of privacy and what information to include on the website. We are also interested in reducing our use of paper and in sending information electronically to our congregation. I am just learning to manage our site, so I don't know all of the legal or even technological risks involved. My questions are: Do most churches utilize a secure login for their member information area? Is there any reason a church would not want to utilize a feature like that?

We cut private information out of the site including bulletins, sermons and any other format.

Our bulletin is in a member area which uses a simple username/password that everyone shares. We figure this level of access is the same as someone walking into the Church and grabbing a bulletin.

I've managed the technical side of our site for years and it has gone quite well.

After being spurred on by this discussion to be more careful with private information, we have been posting our order of worship as a publicly-viewable .pdf and the announcements as a password-protected Word document. The password is the same for every week. And it is something that is (hopefully) easy for members of the congregation to remember. Obviously the password-protected Word document (with an simple password) isn't the most secure way to protect private information, but it seems to strike a good balance between being private and being accessible to those who ought to have access. I also delete the documents after a month.

I found no solutions for having a "members only" portion of the site that were easy to deploy with our set-up.

You can see how we've done it here: East Palmyra CRC.

I agree that the privacy of individuals with regards to posting bulletin content is important. Currently we post the entire contents of the bulletin without any password protection. I have found through feedback that former members, and friends of members read the bulletin weekly to keep up to date with the activities of the congregation. They have even commented that we need to include notes about when issues are resolved otherwise the distant readers don't know the outcome.
Thinking about this, I would lean more towards leaving certain material out of the bulletin rather than restrict who can read it. Again the life of a congregation as relayed via the bulletin announcements helps web site visitors learn more about what kind of people that make up our congregation, including sharing our joys and sorrows. Figuring out what to leave in and what to leave out leads to me to think we'll have to kick this one around a bit.
Thanks for the topic!

I believe bulletins should be password protected, we post out bulletin on a password protected page. The username and password are posted in the bulletin for members. The main issue I see is not some stranger reading the bulletin but web crawlers (ie google) archiving sensitive information about people. It is interesting googling peoples names and finding out they are on coffee for church.

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