Home page
About our Church
Official web pages
Make your web site
  About web sites
  Content and form
  Design tips
  Diocesan pages
  Parish pages
  Common mistakes
  Choose a name
  Choose an ISP
  Web hosting
Getting more help
About this web site
Church words
Staying in touch
Site map

Every diocese in the world should have a web page, but perhaps not for the reasons that first come to mind. The information on this page is not Canon Law, but rather represents the opinions of the directors of the Society of Archbishop Justus, which was formed for the purpose of furthering Christian communication on the internet. You are reading this on the Internet, and this is communication for and about Christianity, so we are on our home court here.

Most people interact with the church through its parishes, through its individual congregations. Bishops are important to the survival of the church, to the continuance of the faith, and to the governance of parishes. Bishops are the embodiment of Apostolic succession. But most churchgoers see a bishop only a few times in their lives, and most non-churchgoers have never seen a bishop at all, save perhaps on television. Bishops are the authority of the church and its strength, but they are not its everyday public face.

So who looks at diocesan web pages? For what audience should they be written? What should they contain?

Every diocesan web page should begin, on its first screen, with a precise and direct statement as to what the web page is and what the diocese is:

Imprimatur. A small assertion that this is the official web page. Sooner or later there will be an attempt to produce a fraudulent web page, and if every diocese gets in the habit of including an imprimatur, it will be less difficult for the public to detect the fraud.

Church affiliation. The Anglican Diocese of Kigali. The Episcopal Diocese of Texas. Where there is any possibility of ambiguity, this should include a statement of, and a link to, the appropriate national church or province.

Geographic identity. Describe, in general terms, the geographic range of the diocese, and provide a link to another page that describes with absolute precision the boundaries of the diocese. It should not take more than a few seconds to determine whether or not a city or parish is or is not inside the boundary of a diocese.

Contact information. The most common information sought from a diocesan web page is name, email address, postal address, and telephone number. What are the names of the bishops? How can I reach them or their offices? Where can I turn for more information? Make sure you also include a webmaster contact, in case there is a question about the web page itself.

Articles of belief. Just as Bishops are the embodiment of Apostolic succession, diocesan web pages should be the primary place to turn for material about Christianity, Essays about "What is the Anglican church?" and "What Anglicans believe" and "What it means to be married in an Anglican church" belong on diocesan web pages, because Bishops are ultimately the authorities on these maters. Parish web pages can link to the tracts on their diocesan web pages.

Parish directory. Diocesan web pages should contain a list of the parishes in the diocese, kept as up to date as possible, with names, email addresses, phone numbers, links to parish web pages, and so forth. Many people are unsure about the boundaries of dioceses, so a diocesan web page should be quite explicit about the geographic boundaries of the diocese, about what parishes are and are not in the diocese. People searching for a parish church will use diocesan web pages as their primary resource.

Outreach directory. Diocesan web pages should contain complete information about diocesan outreach programs, missions, hospitals, ministries, and buildings. These agencies are very rarely funded by individual parishes; even if they are not diocese-wide, or linked just to one parish, the diocesan web page is where people will turn to look for information about those resources. If a parish runs a Samaritan Center all by itself, the diocesan web page should document that along with diocese-wide programs like homeless shelters or medical centers.

Diocesan newsletter. Diocesan web pages should contain every word and every picture that is in the diocese's newsletter or newspaper, complete with events, editorials, and advertisements. Not everybody who should see the diocesan newsletter will be on the diocese's mailing list.

Official positions. Diocesan web pages should contain all current official news from the diocese and the national church. While the parish is the public face of the church, the diocese is its official face, and reporters, politicians, and scholars will turn first to diocesan pages rather than to parish pages to find official news and information. National church pages also contain press releases; very few dioceses are big enough to have a full-time press office, but only the diocesan communications officer can make the decision about which press releases are most relevant for the official face of that diocese.