STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 4:
Strategy 1: Develop a new Website for the Diocese which would include Deanery and Parish links.
This would require contracting a professional web designer as well as ensuring that Deaneries and Parishes have the necessary hardware. It will also require a training program for Deanery and Parish officials. The design should be complete within 12 months and the program should be fully in place within two years. As a newly-established sub-committee of the Executive Committee, the Communications Committee began the development of the new website in November 2008.
a. The diocesan website was redesigned in 2009 (with help from Algoma University and Miramar Studios) and was fully up and running by the summer of 2010.
b. The diocesan website now has active links to three of our five deaneries (two of our deaneries, Muskoka and Temiskaming, do not yet have deanery websites), and information about many parishes (though not all) can be accessed using the “Find a Church” button.
c. There has been no training program specific to this website or on website design offered to Deanery or Parish officials.
d. The Communications Committee, established in 2008, still exists as an arm of the Strategic Plan Implementation Team but has undergone several changes in membership and leadership. After a period of inactivity, this group got moving again by trading in a traditional committee structure for a smaller working group. This meant that the long-held ideal of committee representation from every deanery had to be set aside. Work, however, began to move ahead more efficiently. The Communications Committee has contacted people from every deanery to seek input and expertise as part of their ongoing work.
Strategy 2: Post the Mission Statement, Vision Statement and the 7 Core Values in every congregation in Algoma.
During January 2009, the synod office provided all Parishes with a framed copy of the Mission Statement, Vision Statement, and Core Values. Parishes were encouraged to post this plaque in a visible location.
a. This has been done.
Strategy 3: Establish Video Conferencing and Electronic “Classrooms” in each Deanery.
Video conferencing requires the provision of Web Cams and microphones, should be the responsibility of the Executive Committee and should be in place within two years.
Electronic Classrooms would result in the establishment of Deanery venues for group conferences and educational opportunities and should be in place by the end of 2011.
a. Several options were explored with the goal of recommending an appropriate and affordable way to create electronic “classrooms” in each deanery, and in the end, the Communications Committee recommended the web conferencing platform provided for free for educational purposes by Contact North. Since then, seven educational “webinars” (including some which included multiple sessions) have been offered to any interested persons in the Diocese and are ongoing. The first webinar attracted only a handful of people; a more recent one attracted over 30. Training is available to anyone who wants to participate in these educational opportunities.
b. Two of our five deaneries have, so far, offered up at least one host parish that is willing and able (technologically) to host webinars or other multi-media events. The goal is to have one such designated parish in all five of our deaneries in short order (for web conferences, people can also attend at any Contact North centre, located throughout our Diocese). This should facilitate the “group conferences” envisioned in this strategy. Other platforms specific to facilitating meetings are currently being explored.
Strategy 4: Explore the effective use of AV Media for worship.
Projectors and software will be required for this initiative which should be overseen by the Communications Committee.
a. To explore this, the Communications Committee gathered and analyzed over 70 surveys, which were filled out by people from parishes across the Diocese.
b. A series of four articles in the Algoma Anglican on the use of modern technology in worship were written and are still available for reference.
c. A handout on how to apply for Assistive Devices (i.e. for hard-of-hearing) was distributed at Synod 2013 and is available on the diocesan website.
d. A CD including dozens of sample PowerPoint presentations suitable for Sunday morning use was given to 50 Synod Delegates at the Communications workshop at Synod 2013.
e. Many parishes already have and use projectors and the necessary software to make use of AV Media as part of worship services. One projector is available to be borrowed from the Communications Committee for specific events in deaneries or parishes.
Strategy 5: Explore the increased and organized use of radio and television.
This would include working with local and regional media through public information programming. It could be co-ordinated through a Communications Committee appointed by the Executive Committee and should be in place within one year.
Public information programming is usually free and really needs to be explored at the local level. Nothing formal is in place here for that reason.
The Communications Committee has identified a need for people and especially for leaders to have some guidelines when it comes to media relations.
What we've learned
a. It should be noted that some deaneries and parishes have, quite apart from the work of the Communications Committee, moved ahead with innovative communications strategies (i.e. Facebook/social media presence, deanery websites, blogs) and this is to be encouraged.
Considerations for Moving Forward
a. Most of the strategies in this objective are ongoing in nature and the Diocese will need to discern its ongoing communications wants and needs when the plan’s formal time line is completed.
b. New ideas include exploring the use of live streaming (in addition to web conferencing) and re-imagining how we can make the most of the more popular ways we already communicate in our Diocese (i.e., the “fax network” and the Algoma Anglican).
c. There is some confusion in our minds around the fact that since 1997 there has been a Communications Committee reporting to the Executive, yet the Strategic Plan called for a new Communications subcommittee, which has been established in an ad-hoc fashion. Executive may wish to consider reconciling these two bodies in its communications strategy for the future.
The Rev. Kelly Baetz CHAIR
The Rev. Peter Simmons
Ms. Linda Langdon