Archive for the ‘church’ Category

Why Maintaining Your Own Site Works

September 3, 2012

A few years ago, St. John’s Episcopal Church on Staten Island hired us to revamp their website. The original site was serviceable but, well, blue-ish and gray-ish, and not very welcoming. Here’s a screenshot, captured from the Wayback Machine:

St. John's website in 2008
St. John’s Episcopal Church website in 2008.

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How Unitarians Do a Website

December 26, 2011
Unitarian Church of Staten Island

Unitarian Church of Staten Island

Churches and other faith-based organizations often have wonderful websites, right up until the people who created them leave. Sometimes they move away; sometimes they burn out. In either case, the organization is left with a site that becomes more outdated every week, once a week.

The Unitarian Church of Staten Island was almost in this position. Their longtime webmaster was stepping down, but luckily, two members of the Communications Committee were willing to take on the job.

But let me digress for a moment: The Unitarian Church of  Staten Island, which was founded by abolitionists, has a long history of social activism. Their most famous member was Robert Gould Shaw, who led the 54th Massachusetts Regiment composed of freed slaves, in the fateful Civil War attack on Battery Wagner, Morris Island, SC. He was immortalized, along with his regiment, in the film Glory.

The 21st century members are no slouches either. Their Social Justice Committee is involved with the Staten Island Building Bridges Coalition and helped celebrate Food Day 2011. One of their Small Group Ministries has a fair trade coffee program, and the church itself shelters homeless men from Project Hospitality every night.

So it was obvious to us at Fast Smart Web Design that this group of people would have the intellectual, physical, and spiritual energy to maintain their own site. We showed one member how to use Adobe Contribute, and the other already knew how to use Adobe Dreamweaver. Between them, they’ve kept the site up to date and have solved most of the inevitable glitches on their own. Check out their Sunday Services and Upcoming Events pages to see how well they (as well as the church) are doing.

The web administrators said they’re willing to talk to other faith-based organizations about the process of redesigning  and then maintaining an organizational website. Not all the issues are technical, they point out — the team needs to be able to manage privacy, workload, and interpersonal issues as well. Contact us if you’d like to get in touch with them.

Barbara Crafton on the Corboba Center

July 6, 2010

In her Almost Daily eMo, Rev. Barbara Crafton wrote about the Muslim Cordoba Center proposed for the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. What she says has bearing on the mosque controversy here on Staten Island, although she doesn’t mention it in her post.

To read her piece, click here.

So we’re talking to the second HVAC guy..

October 29, 2008

The auditorium windows at the top, the leader at the left

The auditorium windows at the top, the downspout at the left

Yesterday afternoon, Beth and I met with Simon, a representative of the second air-conditioning company we’d invited to give us a quote.  We’ve been trying to find an inexpensive way to install air-conditioning in the parish hall’s upstairs auditorium so that we can rent it in the summer.

Our electrician recommended Mitsubishi’s MrSlim system, since you can install these small units just under the ceiling and run each one individually, requiring less electricity over time. They’re also supposed to be cheaper than the large installations for which we’ve already received quotes–but we’re not sure about that because we haven’t yet got a quote for the small system (more on that in a minute).

Anyway, the three of us are standing in front of the parish hall looking up at the windows of the auditorium and the downspouts running from the roof to the ground. Simon is saying, “Yeah, if we run the copper tubing along the leaders there, you won’t be able to see a thing–” and I’m looking at one of our stray cats, who’s sitting on the sill of a ground-level window.

This cat is staring at me, wild-eyed, trying to decide whether to run or not, and I’m wondering why it isn’t.

Ah, I see.

Somehow the cat has got its paws on a dead squirrel. It must have dragged it to the windowsill, since the squirrel hadn’t died there–it’d been flattened by a car either in the street or on the driveway in front of the parish hall.

So there are Beth and I, trying to give Simon a good impression of the church and us as potential clients, and there’s a crazy black cat with a dead squirrel, nature gray in tooth and claw (the squirrel’s a little old). Embarrassing.

He didn’t say anything–maybe he didn’t notice–and neither did Beth or I.

While we gave Simon the tour of the auditorium, we also didn’t say anything about Sam, the first HVAC guy,  measuring the auditorium and plugging numbers into his computer. What was Sam doing there? We’d shown him around a week ago, but then he asked if he could come back on Monday morning to double-check his measurements and he promised us a quote by Tuesday morning. It was now Tuesday afternoon.

Simon gave us his card and a brochure, then got back into his pristine white Hummer and drove off. “Hmm, air conditioning must be a good business to be in,” said Beth. All I could think was, What a mess, but maybe no one noticed. And what is Sam doing here?