03 Apr GS 2004 art 104
GS 2004 Article 104 – Committee for Official Website
Committee 3 presented its proposal on the report of the Committee for Official Website. After several rounds of discussion, the following was adopted:
- 1.1. Report of the Committee for Official Website
- 1.2. Letter from the church at Abbotsford
The report and the letter from the church at Abbotsford are declared admissible.
- 3.1. The report of the Committee for Official Website, which is included as an appendix to the Acts, serves as Observations.
- 3.2. The committee recommends that Synod give the committee the following mandate:
- 3.2.1. To maintain the existing hardware and associated technical functions of the website, purchasing new hardware only if necessary to meet the ongoing needs of the website and if financially responsible;
- 3.2.2. To maintain the existing content of the website, revising this content whenever necessary, in particular ensuring that the text of the Book of Praise is the same as that most recently adopted and revised by General Synod;
- 3.2.3. To add new content to the website as recommended by the committee in section 4.1 of this report, including the text of sermons, press releases of broader assemblies, and the Acts of past general synods where feasible;
- 3.2.4. To provide web-services and email-services to the churches such as those recommended by the committee in section 4.2 of this report;
- 3.2.5. To serve Synod 2007 with a report to be sent to the churches at least six months prior to the beginning of Synod, including a financial statement and proposed budget, and any recommendations regarding new content to be added to the website.
- 3.3. From the report Synod takes note of the following:
- 3.3.1. The committee held three meetings with the members from Ontario present in person, while the other members participated by means of a telephone conference call. Most of the communications between members were carried out by e-mail.
- 3.3.2. The website makes use of the Internet Service Provider “BBS42” in Guelph and our website is registered with the domain name: www.canrc.org. The committee serves all the ministers of the federation by providing e-mail addresses to them.
- 3.3.3. The online content (Introduction to the Churches; Online Resources; Church Directory; Church News; Theological College) is regularly updated where necessary.
- 3.3.4. For determining new content, the committee sent a survey to all the churches. From the feedback of the churches the committee distilled two foundational principles:
- 126.96.36.199. Co-operation of local churches within the federation by pooling common information about our church federation, as well as providing some basic information about local churches.
- 188.8.131.52. Autonomy of the local church within a federation. Local church websites should not be replaced by the website www.canrc.org.
- 3.3.5. The average costs of maintaining the website amounted to an average of just over $1/month per church.
- 3.3.6. The website enjoys many visitors. Results from the survey indicate a clear consensus that the current website is easy to use and navigate. The committee keeps working at improving the website, bringing it in line with the latest web technology and programming. An internal procedure was developed to ensure that questions from visitors were dealt with promptly.
- 3.4. From the feedback of the survey, the committee makes the following recommendations to Synod regarding new content for the website and its associated technical functions:
- 3.4.1. More information regarding each local church, but limited – only basic information should be posted such as church contact information, church address, and directions.
- 3.4.2. Links to other websites, but limited – the churches want only links to websites from organizations and churches which have a clear and official relationship with our churches.
- 3.4.3. Posting of sermons – the committee recommends that the website host a repository of sermons, to be submitted voluntarily by ministers of the churches.
- 3.4.4. Posting of Press Releases of broader assemblies.
- 3.4.5. Posting the Acts of General Synods only. The committee does not favour including the Acts of Classes and Regional Synods, since these concern a limited number of churches; they are generally not publicly available; they could contain sensitive matters; they publish their own press releases.
- 3.4.6. Similar domain names for local church websites e.g. www.london.canrc.org . The committee’s finding is that this may not be technically possible. The committee recommends that if it is possible, this service could be offered to the churches for their use if desired, as a pointer to their local church website.
- 3.4.7. Provide a mailing list for consistory clerks, e.g. [email protected]; and a mailing list for synodical committees.
- 3.5. The Church at Abbotsford recommends that the press releases of the broader assemblies be posted. One “reason for this recommendation is that it will enable interested church members to learn what is happening in the other parts of the country much sooner as is the case at present.” Press releases do not stay on the website for years.
- 4.1. Synod agrees with the committee that the internet is a powerful and popular medium of communication in our world. Our website serves to enhance the disseminating of material relating to what the churches have in common, as well as to point visitors to the websites of local churches.
- 4.2. Synod agrees with the committee that the composition of the committee should be maintained, consisting of three members with advanced technical abilities, as well as the librarian of the Theological College, and one minister.
- 4.3. Synod agrees with the committee to add to the website the items mentioned in Observations 3.4.
- 4.4. Synod agrees with the committee that it should have an annual budget of approximately $500.00.
- 4.5. The suggestion by the church at Abbotsford is already part of the recommendation by the Committee for Official Website.
- 5.1. To thank the committee for the well-researched report, all the work done and the excellent service this committee provided for the churches.
- 5.2. To continue the Committee for Official Website with the following mandate:
- 5.2.1.To maintain the existing hardware and associated technical functions of the website, purchasing new hardware only if necessary to meet the ongoing needs of the website and if financially responsible;
- 5.2.2.To maintain the existing content of the website, revising this content whenever necessary, in particular ensuring that the text of the Book of Praise is the same as that most recently adopted and revised by General Synod;
- 5.2.3.To add new content to the website as listed in Observations 3.4.1-3.4.5;
- 5.2.4.To provide web services and e-mail services to the churches such as listed in Observations 3.4.6-3.4.7;
- 5.2.5.To approve the annual budget of $500.00;
- 5.2.6.To serve Synod 2007 with a report to be sent to the churches at least six months prior to the beginning of Synod, including a financial statement and a proposed budget, and any recommendations regarding new content to be added to the website.