Report of the Communications Committee
of Executive Council
Elements of our Communication Strategy
Part I - Recommendations with Survey Results showing Membership Support
Part II - Progress Report and Individual Goals for various leadership groups
Part III - Summary of Findings and Recommendations
Part I - Recommendations with Survey Results showing Membership Support
(11/4/99 - 130 Responses Received) - Percentages show (very important)-(important)-(not important)-(remove)
"Reaching Beyond Ourselves and Spreading the Gospel"
#1) Identify and share ways to proclaim the Gospel in public media and through the use of emerging technologies.
58%-38%- 3%- 1% < Maintain "Public Media" pages to share information and to identify resources needed
#2) Develop a Churchwide public media program to communicate God's love in a compelling way, with the specific intent of reaching the unchurched through radio, television and the Internet.
47%-46%- 4% - 4% < Draft a GC resolution providing funds for development of Public Media resources
19%-38%-32%-12% < Provide on-line forums and teleconference discussions with the Presiding Bishop (PB)
28%-37%-22%-13% < Consider weekly meditation by PB for public broadcast through radio or television
52%-33%-13%- 2% < Develop TV ads for local use that spread the Gospel and define the Church's identity
66%-27%- 7%- 0% < Include Church Internet "home" page address in letterhead, publications and ads
"Distributing News and Reports to Our Members"
#3) Review the mission statements for Episcopal Life, the News and Information Office and other news sources to evaluate their response to the needs of our membership.
34%-38%-19%- 9% < Prepare survey for General Convention or local use to identify what information members want
35%-53%- 9%- 2% < Identify Church Center ministries & use of Church resources in Episcopal Life and ENS articles
50%-38%-11%- 2% < Continue overlap in content and cross-referencing between Internet and print publications
#4) Establish on-line meetings & web pages for each Ministry Desk to assist the exchange of information and utilize available technology to disseminate news and reports.
25%-41%-24%-10% < Explore ways to alternate monthly reports, on-line and in print, from ministry desks
71%-23%- 6%- 0% < Maintain on-line Church Center Directory and continue development of ministry web pages
#5) Be prepared to communicate with the whole Church, regardless of language, disabilities, levels of education and problems with access to information.
44%-46%- 9%- 1% < Encourage development of web pages that identify resources in languages other than English
25%-44%-27%- 4% < Continue updating and publishing ministry budget brochure for use at Diocesan Conventions
"Providing Communications Training and Education Materials"
#6) Provide education materials that help dioceses respond to communication needs and assist in the purchase of communication related equipment.
22%-38%-28%-13% < Draft a GC resolution to fund more consultations for dioceses, provinces and other groups
47%-39%-13%- 2% < Maintain "Resource" pages for broad access and to identify resources available
38%-49%-11%- 2% < Assist Episcopal Communicators in originating new communication development materials
#7) With seminaries and others, identify more uses for downlink education/worship/training seminars and develop media education and training programs for clergy and laity throughout the Church.
44%-47%- 6%- 2% < Continue discussion with membership to identify programs and materials needed
26%-45%-19%-10% < Draft a GC resolution seeking resources to provide these programs and materials
"Building Connections for Networking Ideas and Sharing Resources"
#8) Develop additional ways to connect parishes with diocesan and national leaders and resources.
42%-42%-13%- 3% < Develop web pages listing "frequently asked questions" maintained by Information Desk
52%-37%- 7%- 3% < Provide Church Center maintained e-mail lists for various leadership groups
47%-34%-15%- 5% < Explore ways to include a "word search" capability on the Church's web pages
#9) Develop an information bank, to be maintained through the Church Center, of individual contacts and on-line meetings for use by provinces, dioceses and congregations.
63%-35%- 2%- 0% < Continue updating "Addresses" web pages and review to see where connections are needed
55%-31%-10%- 4% < Encourage all provinces to publish web pages listing contact information and links to dioceses
63%-33%- 2%- 2% < Encourage dioceses to publish web pages listing local congregations and addresses
44%-38%-14%- 4% < Develop additional ways to contact members directly or through provinces and dioceses
#10) Regularly update the Directory of Exciting Ministries and promote its use for networking and to inspire new ministry.
41%-52%- 7%- 0% < Encourage ministry desks to help identify contact people for outstanding local ministries
34%-55%-10%- 2% < Continue publishing information in print & on-line and explore ways to allow local maintenance
"Developing New ways to Hold Meetings and Oversee Ministry"
#11) Encourage use of conference calls, on-line meetings and video conferencing for conducting business.
30%-43%-23%- 2% < Seek additional ways to reach the membership through print media
34%-44%-20%- 2% < Develop basic guidelines for participation to help make on-line meetings more effective
32%-42%-18%- 8% < Encourage all committees to broaden participation by giving access to discussions on-line
#12) Discuss communication within Executive Council (EC) and at the Church Center to explore ways to improve access and accountability.
33%-38%-27%- 2% < Establish an on-line committee to review Internet resources and coordinate connections
41%-38%-19%- 2% < Encourage EC members to strengthen connections between provinces and the Church Center
30%-43%-20%- 8% < Use EC members to facilitate local discussion of ministry materials and policy issues
#13) Encourage exploration of the various means of on-line communication and continue ongoing discussion on computer system compatibility issues.
71%-27%- 1%- 1% < Continue upgrading communication systems and software as new tools become available
33%-25%-28%-14% < Hold a national conference to identify new ways technology can support &enhance ministry
"Coordinating Access to Resources and Information"
#14) Pursue opportunities to develop web-site links and other connections to information systems of Church affiliated groups.
37%-48%-13%- 2% < Continue dialogue with affiliates looking for ways to support each other's ministry
33%-52%-12%- 2% < Provide instructions for affiliates who wish to present ministry project ideas for consideration
#15) Update the Parochial Reporting process and develop ways to make this information accessible to the broader Church.
66%-22%- 9%- 2% < Explore ways to collect and handle this information on-line
#16) Work toward coordinating the efforts of affiliated groups maintaining mailing lists which include various segments of Church membership.
26%-35%-27%-12% < Continue discussing how this list could be used and possibilities for self-maintenance
Part II - Progress Report and Individual Goals for various leadership groups
Items that are marked by and asterisk (*) are completed or underway. ECUSA - (Episcopal Church United States of America), EC - (Executive Council), Episcopal Communicators - (church organization for those professionally working in communications)
Provinces, Dioceses, Committees, Commissions and Others:
* Dioceses are continuing to develop web pages and pages for local congregations (about 75% have sites)
* Using "convocation" type meetings for sharing ministry information and networking
* Online meetings and conference calls are being used by committees and other groups to discuss ministry
* Episcopal Communicators uses online meetings and conferences to coordinate information and ideas
* Provincial Leadership Conferences have been organized and are considering Provincial Ministry Coordinators
* Some committees have coordinated efforts with individuals to use Internet resources to share information
* A new Parochial Report form has been prepared simplifying the request for information
Encourage development of Province and diocesan websites to share information and facilitate networking
Support Provincial Leadership in efforts to strengthen regional connections for supporting ministry
Use EC & Episcopal Communicators to strengthen partnership for sharing info between local & national levels
Encourage all church groups to utilize the skills offered by our youth in technology development /training
Post minutes of Interim Body meetings online and link pages to ECUSA website for related ministry
The Executive Council:
* New home page for EC is available giving meeting agendas, reports and links to information
* Using the Internet to provide updates, invite comments and broaden the discussion of a communications strategy
* Used the Internet to distribute the Communications Survey allowing membership to set priorities and posting results
* Web pages developed identifying Public Media Resources and Addresses for Networking - linked to EC Home Page
* Monitored web page for messages provided for posting ministry resources and information
* The EC Home Page provides a connection to other resources and reports from EC and Church Center staff
* Collecting info on Non-English resources from staff/membership and posting online with link on EC Home Page
* Providing brief Ministry Desk updates online including links to supporting information linked to EC Home Page
* Promoting "using technology to inform, educate and connect people of the church" as a major priority
Develop specific Public Media project ideas with Church Center staff and other interested parties
Work with The Episcopal Communicators to support their ministry and build connections for networking
With Episcopal Communicators, continue providing resource and education options for communication strategies
Develop recommendations for next triennium for addressing communication and maintaining EC Web page
Find ways to get Episcopal Life to more members and information to members who are not on e-mail lists
Establish online conversations on various ministry topics moderated by EC members
Support the Episcopal Communicators task force studying standards of employment for communicators
Mission Staff of the Church Center:
* A Church Center "Information Desk" has been provided with telephone and e-mail access - listed on ECUSA web page
* Most ministry web pages are already in place with others being developed for each ministry
* Ministry desks are using satellite teleconferences and videos for workshops and education
* Media Services Dept. is providing communications consultations for dioceses, provinces and other group meetings
* The Public Policy Network has developed various ways to contact membership with "action alerts"
* The "Hungry Hearts" TV spots - distributed to 600 stations in joint effort with Episcopal Media Center - (35 dioceses)
* Completed development of the new home page for the National Church
* Provided welcome section on home page to inform non-members and invite them to come and visit
* Develop and maintain official online Church Center Directory
* Internet mail lists can be used with Ecunet meetings and about $6,600 is spent annually for Ecunet access
* Ecunet is currently undergoing changes that will make it more compatible with Internet use
Encourage greater participation in online discussions by Church Center staff to inform membership
Provide Church Center maintained e-mail lists for various leadership groups
Create additional choices for a church wide Public Media campaign to reach the unchurched
Identify contact people for outstanding local ministries and list contacts online under appropriate ministries
Provide more mutual support and overlap in content between print and electronic communications
Provide Ministry updates online linked to ECUSA web site - include related links and e-mail to interested parties
Provide links to downloadable free resources on ministry web pages and available video information
Adopt streaming video technology to make key videos available electronically
Provide "official" online listings of statistics and information currently posted independently
Analyze ministry implications of the year 2000 census data and provide access for congregations online
Generate more public media programming to help build audience by having regularly scheduled broadcasts
Develop e-mail list for distribution of Washington office "action alerts" and post on web page
Provide word search capability for ECUSA web pages
Collect information to update the "Directory of Exciting Ministries" adjust format - post online - provide links
Conduct joint ECUSA/ELCA regional workshops on diocesan/congregational media relations
Use resources from "Media & Values" and other sources to enhance parental awareness of media content issues
Episcopal Life and Episcopal News Service:
* Episcopal Life web pages providing articles and updates
* Online Calendar showing activities around the church
* The "On Your Behalf" section highlighting Church Center Ministries
* Encouraging Diocesan "wrap-around" pages which combine Episcopal Life and local publications
* The Episcopal News Service now distributes news by print, fax, e-mail and Internet
Provide more information identifying Church Center ministry and report how Church resources are used
Provide more timely information and provide forum for posting current local news of general interest
* Visiting Dioceses and Provinces to share budget information and answer questions
* New Budget Process with a main priority to "Enhance Communications for the 21st Century"
* Proposed budget developed using PB/EC priorities - designed for "Flexibility, Responsiveness & Accountability"
* Encouraging and supporting "Ministry Coordinator" positions for Provinces to strengthen networking structure
Post charts and supporting budget information online
Post information used during local visits online before the presentation to encourage study and discussion
Church Center Information Systems:
* Church Center Information Systems have been upgraded and all staff have e-mail and Internet access
* Microsoft Office 97 is used as the software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, etc.
Allow data entry of Parochial Reports via the ECUSA website available to all parishes of the church
Provide ten years of Parochial Report data in electronic form on the ECUSA website
Allow parishes to conduct searches and clergy to update profiles through the Church Deployment Office website
Our Presiding Bishop:
* Participating in Teleconferences and attending events that provide opportunity for interaction with people
* Establishing a new "Communication Officer" position that will be part of the senior management team
* Calling the church to be in Conversation and promoting sharing within the House of Bishops
* Providing public statements on current events and issues with comments posted on the Internet
* Completed production of "Come and See" video production designed to provide introduction to the church
Publicize a vision statement for the Episcopal Church and use it to guide decision making
Develop a common strategy for the use of media and work to coordinate a common message
Serve as sign and symbol for the Episcopal Church for written and oral communications
Part III - Summary of Findings and Recommendations
Community Building and Making Connections:
As we individually focus on specific ministries and experience different challenges, it is inevitable that we have disagreements in our priorities and perspectives between various regions and levels of the church. Our potential to grow as a community and develop a shared vision depends on our ability to communicate and give witness. Executive Council, and other representative bodies, should be used to find consensus on issues of concern and assist in communicating the ministry experiences and activities of dioceses, provinces, the Church Center and interim bodies. It is important that we identify successful local ministries to serve as models for others and that we continue efforts to identify contact people and provide directories for ministry information in church publications and web pages. We also need to identify and develop non-English resources for ministry at all levels of the church and provide a directory for references. To enhance awareness of communication ministry challenges, we worked with the Episcopal Communicators to provide a description of possible responsibilities.
Web Pages, Online Meetings and E-mail lists:
This past triennium, the Internet has been used effectively to share information about ministry and promote discussion. The Episcopal News Service has increased e-mail delivery and, along with Episcopal Life, is posting news and reports online. The ECUSA home page has been updated and web pages for Ministry Desks and Interim Bodies have been used to share information regarding activity. Also, several e-mail lists provided through Epicom, Ecunet, and individual members have allowed the ongoing discussion of various ministry topics. Additional "monitored" e-mail lists for deputies, bishops and members need to be developed for distributing official reports from the Church Center and interim bodies. In addition, we should consider creating message boards online for posting information that can be accessed by members who are not on e-mail lists or wish to reduce e-mail.
Public Media Resources:
At all levels of the church, there is an increasing need for Public Media Resources that are designed to reach beyond the existing membership through; Newspaper & Other Print, Cable TV & Satellite, Radio & Audiotape, Video & Television Spots, Websites & Online Meetings. We have all seen various ways that the public media can be used to spread the Gospel and increase awareness of our ministries. Through a joint effort of the EC Communications Committee, the Standing Commission on Evangelism, the Church Center Staff, the Episcopal Communicators and the Episcopal Media Center; we are developing a "Database of Public Media Initiatives" created by persons and groups across the church. By establishing a clearinghouse for materials, we hope to provide a vehicle for networking ideas, coordinating efforts and sharing resources throughout the church. It is very important that we coordinate the efforts and resources of the Evangelism and Communication ministry bodies of the church in this area.
Sharing the Ministry of Interim Bodies:
We need to share ownership in ministry by inviting local members to participate in discussions and by reducing meeting time and travel in order to give more members access to leadership positions. Many interim bodies have used official and independent web pages, along with e-mail lists, to continue discussions between meetings. E-mail lists, articles in publications and Letters to the Editor have also been used to make announcements and distribute information. The Communications Committee also used these connections to invite members to participate in its survey requesting suggestions and giving access to the discussion of ministry. As more members utilize the Internet, there should be an increasing effort to distribute information online, post meeting agendas, reports and minutes. The Executive Council should continue posting meeting and agenda information prior to meetings and provide committee reports afterwards. In addition to distributing information, our connections with members should be used to promote discussion of the agenda items prior to interim body meetings, organize the discussion of ministry, and invite comments from members through surveys.
At this time, the future role and function of various structures in the church have been under discussion. As a worshipping community, there continues to be a great need to meet in person to discuss ministry, break bread and make decisions. There is an effort to revitalize the Provincial structure of the church and it is apparent that these regional gatherings are needed to share ministry ideas, pool resources and determine regional representation. Our experience has shown that, for making connections between various levels of the church, Provinces can provide a crucial link. Because the Provinces are at various levels of coordination, they all need to be encouraged to support one another and pursue new opportunities to share ministry and build community. To assist with coordination of regional ministry, Executive Council has included financial support for Provinces in the proposed budget for the next triennium. We also encourage all provinces to develop web pages and communication networks to serve the church as a connection between the national and diocesan levels.
Future Organization for Communication Ministry:
It is very important that the church have a coordinated use of personnel and resources involved in communication ministry. The Presiding Bishop has created a new position in the Management Team at the Church Center to manage and direct communications activities by developing and maintaining sound relations between the church, its constituents and the religious and secular media. This position is in the budget for the next triennium and we anticipate that it will be filled before General Convention. We are recommending that Executive Council continue to have a communications Committee to coordinate reports to the membership, monitor the implementation of recommendations and continue the effort to invite broad participation in ministry. It is also hoped that this committee, along with the new Communications Director, can seek ways to empower the structural connections between the Church Center, the Executive Council, Provinces, dioceses, Episcopal Communicators and Interim Bodies. With better communication, we can share ideas, build community and avoid continually "reinventing the wheel" in isolation throughout the church.
Communication Committee Participants
Executive Council Members - Ralph Spence-chair, Keith Ackerman, Ran Chase, Francisco Duque, John Lane,
Virginia Norman, Virginia Sheay
Church Center Staff - Barbara Braver, Sonia Francis, Jerry Hames, Kris Lee, Kathryn McCormick, Pat Mordecai,
Richard Serota, James Solheim
Communicators and Outside Experts - Herb Gunn, Bill Lewellis, Brian Reid