Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Small Parishes Face Unique Challenges, Websites Can Help
Blessed Sacrament Parish in Bridgeport, CT, has a small and humble membership of about 200 families and is one of the smallest parishes in the Diocese. Having a small parish, a tight budget and a limited staff can be a challenge, so the parish Reverend Fr. Reggie Norman decided that Websites from Our Sunday Visitor was one way he could communicate with his parish at a reasonable cost.
"Knowing parishioners go to the website is amazing," said Fr. Norman. "A website is imperative for small parishes. I have a part-time secretary and a part-time [Director of Religious Education] that works 16 hours a week. The rest is reliant on me.”
Having a website is a simple way to strengthen the communication effort for any parish and is currently helping Blessed Sacrament to reach their audience in a cost-effective way.
"We save on paper and time by having sign-up forms online. [Parishioner's] can get information on the web, fill it out and bring it in. Having information online cuts down on a lot of time spent on the phone," said Norman.
Having a website hasn't just saved them time, it's also served to inform outsiders on their ministries. "It’s also a great opportunity for people outside of parish to get an idea of who we are and what we’re about."
Visitors can learn more about the parish's ministries, see photos and videos of recent events, check the parish calendar, and even learn about sacraments.
"It's a one-stop-shop for them," said Fr. Norman. And according to Norman, the benefits aren't just for the visitors. "If I can streamline and be more effective through technology, it allows people to contact me on a constant basis. The fees we pay are reasonable -- even for a smaller inner-city parish. It's the best value for a good product.”
Fr. Norman admitted that he was concerned about the technological learning curve. Given his current responsibilities, he was unsure if he’d be able to take on more by learning how to create and maintain websites.
“You can customize it in an easy online environment. You don't have to learn programming,” he said. “Now it's second nature. I'm putting in my bulletin weekly and I don't even have to think about formatting or how I’m going to do this.
“I can tell whether I like something or not by how involved I get. There were times when I was up all night working because I just didn’t want to quit.”
See for yourself how easy it is to use Websites from Our Sunday Visitor.