Stretching between fast development and slow churches.
Personal Portable Web
In the afternoon we met five different stories about ambitious initiativs supporting the Church's use of social media. The British Province for Jesuits is well on its way towards a personal portable web. They have succeeded to establish a coordinated appearance on the web and are now presenting a contribution to the personal portable web with the app Pray As You Go. That the new pope is clearly aware of the web's importance is helping in getting the initiatives approved of and supported.
Small church with big ambitions
We also heard from the Orthodox Church of Finland who are seeking new ways to reach out on the internet. They are thinking about websites, blogs, appearance in social media and even making game apps. The question to us all was "How do we get 'Bang for the Buck' with the small resources we have?"
User focus without forgetting the administrators
Sacred Space gave us an update on how they develop the site and add new functions to improve user experience and managability and support for CRM-functions. In the ambition to create an online community for us who pray user feedback and Google Analytics pointed out the way towards personalisation and added content.
Inspiration to us all
EKD contributed from Germany under the head-line "If Churches knew what Churces know". They have developed a tool for sharing Churches experiences from different new initiatives and projects and learning together on the web. We were all invited to partner with EKD and geistreich.eu to learn together.
Worldwide experimenting from the Danish contryside
Finally we got some glimpses from Denmark where the digital guerilla-man disguised as a contryside vicar and researcher had contributed to development with experiments such as tweeting Easter in "real time" and the year after doing the same concept on Facebook. He presented some interesting findings about how this had been received and also invited us to both academic studies and an upcoming conference next year.
Beeing prophetic is useless without someone hearing you
In the end of the day my feelings were that we also in the area of social media and use of digital communication have a situation where there are strong voices pointing out the direction but clearly the churches seems to have difficulty understanding what is going on and how to react. This pattern of events is recognisable from other areas and other times in history and for me, as someone who clearly se myself as representing my church, I hope, pray and trust that we will hear the prophets of this age in time and act accordingly and willingly.
David Axelson-Fisk, Head of Unit, Department of Church Law, Church of Sweden.