The Vatican sets aside one day each year to focus on the communications ministry of the Church, which is known as World Communications Day. The Diocese of Orlando also set aside one day, April 23 when more than 70 people attended workshops to learn how to be better communicators and evangelizers.
Four workshops were held at the Chancery office as part of the Light of Faith Program and in attendance were pastors, bulletin editors, webmasters, ministry leaders, photographers and many more.
During a presentation titled “How to Create a Dynamic Parish Website that’s Easy to Maintain,” attendees learned about navigation, design and content development.
Scott Stafstrom, owner of Compass Web Group, said having a dynamic website means keeping it updated with fresh content. He said a content management system is ideal for multiple web updates because it gives staff members the ability to post content that is then reviewed by a web administrator before being posted. He also suggested viewing a website as more of a hub or platform where content about a parish or school is distributed via multiple outlets, including bulletins and social media.
Don Schreiner, founder of CatholicWeb.com spoke of the importance of developing content that is line with what people are trying to find online. He also said a user-friendly navigation allows people to quickly learn about your parish.
During the social media workshop, Teresa Peterson, director of communications said that to use this technology effectively, parishes and schools should focus on content that is grounded in Church teaching and invites people to the Table of the Lord. She also said the technology provides a way to share content using as many communication tools as possible. Peterson spoke of the “share’ button on the Diocese of Orlando website that lets people share content via email, Twitter, Facebook and other outlets.
Brandon Vogt, author of The Church and New Media said that churches can access the social media environment to tell their story in ways that are creative, surprising and interesting.
He spoke of www.onebillionstories.com that posts real stories of people’s faith journey in a way that is compelling and leads people to Christ. He said showing our humanity and authenticity is a way that invites people to be a part of our Church. He spoke of a video he created after a parish service event at a local farm to collect the leftover harvest for the poor of our community. After people saw the video on YouTube new people said they wanted to be a part of this effort.
Two other workshops focused on new ideas to engage parishioners with bulletins and how to communicate to Catholics who are not participating in the life of the Church.
Judy Whalen, bulletin editor and administrative assistant at St. Timothy Parish, Lady Lake was glad to have had the opportunity to participate in the free communication workshops.
“It’s what we need, to get together and learn about what people have accomplished,” said Whalen.
She especially enjoyed the website presentation and said it opened her eyes to new possibilities.