Parish Website: http://www.stedward.com/ (Diocese of Orange, Dana Point, CA)
What I love!
- a robust “seeker” and “inquirer” section
- simplicity is beautiful — _white background punctuated by crisp, vivid graphics
- scrolling header is geared towards needs of seekers and visitors (we should be more concerned with making organization easier for those “on the outside,” rather than those already “on the inside” of the parish) & invites those at all stages to take just one more step (i.e. joining a ministry, reading a blog, etc.)
- integration with social media and smartphone applications
- online giving and parish registration forms
Why is a “Seeker”section so important? With so many of our parish websites, we presume that those reading have already encountered Jesus Christ and are simply seeking information about programs, Mass times, etc. Imagine what this must look like for someone who isn’t even sure who Jesus is or has questions, but isn’t ready to call a phone number to find out a “RCIA” (whatever that means to a Seeker) meeting time. St. Ed’s “Seeking Faith” site puts the seeker–someone who may have once been a practicing Catholic, someone who is spiritual but not religious, or someone with questions–front and center, providing spiritual stepping stones leading up to the bold step of actually visiting the parish. In summary, St. Ed’s “Seeking Faith” actually tries to help online Seekers start to answer the question “Who is God?” — a welcome change from the typical parish website, where the only option for a Seeker is to click “RCIA” and find out “how to become Catholic” from a procedural, rather than conversion- or transformation-oriented perspectives.
Have you seen a great parish website? Let us know!