A baby and a new front door

For the last half year we have been plodding along in the creation of a new church website, working with the good folks at LightSky who were recommended to us through Central District Conference.  Because the church staff has worked on it little by little and watched it slowly take shape we’ve recently been calling it our baby.  We’re now happy to announce that labor has ended and we have a birth, or a re-birth.  http://www.columbusmennonite.org has been born again!  (If the site has a picture of the church building on it, this is the previous site and means the new one hasn’t fully uploaded for your browser.  Refresh your browser or try again soon).

Like any baby, it’s not completely finished, just finished enough to get started.  One of our hopes for a website was that we would be able to update it and adapt it to our needs over time, and that is what we have.  There are pages that could use more pictures – especially of things happening outside the doors of the church – and some areas where we’ll refine the text as we go.

The main picture on the Home page of the hands of the Piecemakers working on a comforter seemed to us a good metaphor representing the congregation.  We are a stitching together of many stories and perspectives; we value beauty and creativity; we are oriented toward service; our life together calls for many hands to contribute and share their gifts.  A little further down, the Home page also includes a box that will describe the worship focus for the upcoming Sunday, an upcoming event (Church Retreat!), and the most recent blog post.  LightSky encouraged us to feature sermons on the Home page, so at the very bottom is a feed of the five most recent sermons.  When we don’t have the manuscript from an outside speaker we’ll try and include the audio.

You’ll notice under Resources that there is a Member Login feature.  At this point, the only extra page that logging in enables you to see is the Worship Grid, a spreadsheet detailing who is doing what for upcoming worship services.  This is something that Worship Commission uses regularly but is also accessible to anyone who wants to look ahead to when they might be on for a certain duty.  There will be a single username and password for the congregation and Gwen will send that out to members in a separate email.  The worship grid is view-only and cannot be edited/altered through this password.

Another metaphor, besides baby, that can be used for websites is a front door.  In the digital age, people’s first impression of an organization is its website.  The site was designed to be useful to members, but primarily serves as the front door for people who, for example, are looking for a peace church or LGBTQ welcoming church in the Columbus area.  Or those curious about Mennonites, or those who have heard about us but want to know more.

We invite you to share the new site freely with your acquaintances or on Facebook and we are of course open to ways to improve the site over time.  The new site can also be a positive challenge to us to be the church we say we are: “God calls us to be followers of Jesus Christ and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to grow as a community of grace, joy, and peace so that God’s healing and hope flows through us to the world….Columbus Mennonite Church is an inclusive congregation seeking to follow Jesus’ teachings of love to all, justice to all, and fellowship to all.  We invite you to come journey with us in the way of Christ.”