13 Jul GS 2016 art 68
GS 2016 Article 68 – Committee for the Official Website (CWeb)
- 1.1 Report from the Committee for the Official Website (CWeb) (8.2.15)
- 1.2 Letters from the following CanRC: Winnipeg-Redeemer (188.8.131.52), Cloverdale (184.108.40.206), Abbotsford (220.127.116.11), Lincoln-Vineyard (18.104.22.168)
- 2.1 GS 2013 (Art. 92) gave the CWeb the following mandate:
- [4.3.1] To maintain the existing website and associated technical functions;
- [4.3.2] To revise the content of the website 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;
- [4.3.3] To make synod reports available on the web before the next synod;
- [4.3.4] To provide web services and email services to the churches and to serve the churches with advice with regard to setting up their own websites;
- [4.3.5] To make all the Acts of all past general synods, as well as all committee reports to these synods, available on the website in searchable format;
- [4.3.6] To investigate the effectiveness of the website and to come with a proposal for improvement and include that in the report to the next general synod;
- [4.3.7] To serve Synod 2016 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.
- 2.2 The term of br. Jeremy Koopmans is now completed and the Rev. Wes Bredenhof stepped down from his role after accepting a call to the Free Reformed Church of Launceston, Australia. The CWeb has forwarded to synod a list of nominees for consideration for appointment to this committee.
- 2.3 In regard to its activities, the CWeb reports the following:
- 2.3.1 Nothing has changed in the technical set-up over the last three years;
- 2.3.2 Little new content has been added to the website beyond the regular flow of news items, press releases and updates regarding local churches or ministers;
- 2.3.3 Due to copyright restrictions, the CWeb is no longer able to host links to the Psalms and Hymns of the Book of Praise;
- 2.3.4 The CWeb continues to provide website hosting and domain name services for churches of the federation which wish to use this service;
- 2.3.5 The CWeb has digitalized all past Acts of general synods. The work of collecting and digitalizing past synodical reports is not yet complete;
- 2.3.6 The CWeb has not completed the mandate it received from GS 2013 to investigate the effectiveness of the website and to make proposals to the Synod for improvement;
- 2.3.7 Between 2013 and 2015, there was a slight increase in website traffic.
- 2.4 The CWeb recommends that GS 2016 give the following mandate to the CWeb:
- 2.4.1 To maintain the existing website and associated technical functions;
- 2.4.2 To revise the content of the website 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;
- 2.4.3 To make reports to synod available on the web before the next synod;
- 2.4.4 To provide web services and email services to the churches and serve the churches with advice with regard to the possibilities of setting up their own websites;
- 2.4.5 To make all committee reports to past synods available on the website in searchable format;
- 2.4.6 To investigate the effectiveness of the website, prepare a proposal for improvement, and include that in the report to the next general synod;
- 2.4.7 To serve GS 2019 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.
- 2.5 The CWeb asks Synod to approve a budget of $4,200 for the period 2016-2018. This includes a significant amount for document scanning.
- 2.6 The CWeb asks Synod to appoint two new members to the committee with six year terms.
- 2.7 In an Appendix, the CWeb indicates that it spent $1,688.08 of its $5,000 budget for the period from 2013-2015.
- 2.8 Winnipeg-Redeemer recommends that the mandate of the CWeb should include seeking permission for publishing links to copyrighted hymns in the Book of Praise, or else the mandate should read: “revised the non-copyrighted content.”
- 2.9 Winnipeg-Redeemer also recommends that the CWeb be mandated to refresh the website’s design and layout to provide a better visitor experience and to bring the site’s technology and platform to present-day standards. In particular, Winnipeg-Redeemer seeks to make the website suitable for those who access it via their mobile phone or other smart devices.
- 2.10 Abbotsford recommends that the website be made “mobile friendly” and also seeks the use of more graphics and generally a more “user friendly” website.
- 2.11 Cloverdale also recommends making the website more usable for mobile phone users since the current menu structure does not work well for touch screens. Cloverdale also states that it would be helpful if the menu items for areas of the website such as the Church Order and the Belgic Confession were also able to be viewed in one page or in the context of their own section.
- 2.12 Lincoln-Vineyard recommends improving the document searching and information organization of the website. It also recommends changing the website to be more suitable for smart phones and similar devices. Lastly, it recommends a visual “face-lift” for the web site.
- 3.1 The CWeb has largely fulfilled the mandate given to it by GS 2013. Outstanding matters include the work of digitizing past synodical reports, evaluating the effectiveness of the website, and making proposals for improvement to Synod. The CWeb therefore recommends that these matters be included in the mandate to be given to it by GS 2016.
- 3.2 The suggestions brought to GS 2016 by several churches have merit and should be included in the mandate of the CWeb.
- 3.3 Instead of only proposing changes to GS 2019, it would be more effective for the CWeb to be granted authority to make necessary changes over the next years in order to improve the website. This will necessitate an increase in the committee’s budget.
That Synod decide:
- 4.1 To thank the Committee for the Official Website (CWeb) for the work it has done from 2013-2016;
- 4.2 To give the CWeb a budget of $10,000 for the period 2016-2019;
- 4.3 To appoint two new members to the CWeb and to thank br. Jeremy Koopmans and the Rev. Dr. W. Bredenhof for the work which they did for this committee;
- 4.3 To mandate the committee:
- 4.3.1 To maintain the existing website and associated technical functions;
- 4.3.2 To revise the content of the website whenever necessary;
- 4.3.3 To continue the project of digitalizing Reports brought to past synods and to ensure that all reports for GS 2019 are available on the website before the next general synod;
- 4.3.4 To investigate the effectiveness of the website and to implement changes as considered necessary and desirable, focusing on the following matters: design and layout of the website, greater usability for smart phones and similar devices, menu structures, searching capabilities and greater use of graphics. The CWeb should also investigate whether or not it is possible to get permission for publishing links to the Psalms and Hymns of the Book of Praise on the website;
- 4.3.5 To use paid, professional services, if necessary, to complete 4.3.3 and 4.3.4 in a timely fashion;
- 4.3.6 To serve GS 2019 with a report to be sent to the churches at least six months before the beginning of Synod, including a financial statement and a proposed budget.