You might notice, we've spiffed up a bit. (That's a technical term.) Many of the changes are in response to comments you've made about how the site could be improved.

The fourth column, which had been used only to list articles, is now devoted to products and services that can help you in your spiritual search. We've always offered these things but have received complaints that they were too hard to find. Reading an inspirational book, keeping a gratitude journal, or taking a trip to the Holy Land can be a crucial part of a religious quest. In the coming months, we'll continue to expand the offerings of products and trips. The fourth column will also include ads from sponsors and information about our Web Services program--a major effort to help houses of worship, spiritual groups, book groups, and other organizations use the web to strengthen their own missions. These website building kits are amazingly easy to use and maintain. Please encourage your house of worship or practice group to try it out.

We also have a new navigation bar (that's the dark-blue strip that runs along the left side of your screen). Many of you have commented that it's sometimes hard to find what you're looking for among Beliefnet's wide variety of offerings. The new nav bar enables you to get immediately a visual sense of the big picture--the main channels of our site. Once you go to a particular channel, the navigation bar will open up accordion-style to show all the related subjects in that area. But if you have something specific you're looking for--for instance, book reviews or information about a particular religion--they'll also be listed in the new "explore Beliefnet" dropdown menu on the upper-left part of the screen.

We've added two important new channels: Inspiration and Charity & Service. The Inspiration channel is where you will find the stories and quotations that will move you--perhaps to treasure what you have, perhaps to explore new directions. The Charity & Service channel is dedicated to helping users be more effective donors and volunteers. We're very excited to announce that General Colin Powell, one of the nation's greatest models of public service, will be writing a column for Beliefnet about how to help America's youth. (Look for his first article in a few days.)

You'll find on every page a "tools" box, with many of the special resources we offer (sacred texts, links, prayer circles, and more). We've reorganized the rest of the content into more logical groupings to make things easier to find. On most pages, the left-most column is dedicated to community--discussions, memorials, prayer circles, dialogue groups--all the ways you, the users, can interact with each other. The middle column is for "special features," more permanent offerings like guided meditations, special packages on topics we've explored, or ask-the-expert features. And the right column will showcase what's "new" on this constantly changing site.

We hope you like the changes. Please let us know by putting your comments on the miniboard next to this article. And look for more improvements in the coming months.

We are deeply grateful for your involvement in Beliefnet.

--Steven Waldman
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