The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

What a parish website can be

There are a lot of awful ones out there, but I have to say that the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills may have one of the most appealing, attractive, informative and user-friendly sites anywhere. (Is it mere coincidence that a deacon, Eric Stoltz, had a hand in designing it?)

Check it out. It puts most other parish websites to shame.

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posted November 7, 2010 at 12:25 am

There are some pretty hideous diocesan site out there, too. Exhibit A:

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posted November 7, 2010 at 7:22 am

Very nice, but mostly because of the blog format. As for the slideshow, I’m happy to help any Deacon reading at no charge. I do it as one of my Catholic ministries. If you have parish pictures, and want a slide show with some copy lines, I will do if for you and send you back the HTML code to embed. It’s really free, promise!

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posted November 7, 2010 at 12:09 pm

That is an awesome website!

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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted November 7, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Outstanding – simply remarkable.

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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted November 7, 2010 at 6:20 pm

BTW, I meant to add how nice Klaire’s offer is, very charitable. God bless.

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Deacon Eric Stoltz

posted November 7, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Thanks for the kudos, Greg!
When I set out to redesign our site, I had two considerations:
1. It had to be easy for staff to update, so I built it on the WordPress platform
2. Our pastor, Fr. Tom Welbers, writes these gem articles each week for the bulletin and includes an image he finds. So I wanted to highlight those articles and use the images to create interest.
So any parish that has someone who regularly takes the time to write a good bulletin article might want to consider a similar approach. And while I created a custom design for our site, other parishes might want to look into the thousands of free theme templates available for WordPress.

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Thomas Welbers

posted November 7, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Thanks, Eric, for working so hard over the past few weeks to get this up. It’s still “bare bones,” and this week Eric is going teach all of us on the staff how to manage it. My own dream, which I think we share, is that a parish website should be an effective and up-to-date means of communicating information interactively, a comprehensive and multi-faceted faith formation tool for all ages, and a way that everyone can contribute insights, ideas, reflections, etc. safely and charitably. I also think an unreachable and therefore highly motivating goal is that every person who visits, intentionally or accidentally, the website can find some reason to bookmark the site and return, again and again. So, y’all ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

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posted November 8, 2010 at 8:38 am

Very good site, very nice presentation, it shows commitment and care. Just one thing: Ministers of Communion are properly Extraordinary Ministers of Communion.

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posted November 8, 2010 at 9:56 am

That is a great website, and I am bookmarking it so I can go back and read the weekly articles that seem to tie in with the weekend scriptures. Thanks for a resource that is both substantive and good eye candy! (I mean that in the best sense.)

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Catherine Marie Panzica

posted November 8, 2010 at 9:58 am

You’re not kidding. In my job I see woeful parish websites all the time. Whether due to horrible design, communication or mis-ordered priorities, they don’t follow the mold. Someday they’ll learn and improve but in the meantime it’s a detriment. Guess the talent hasn’t entered the building yet.

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