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Every parish in the world should have a web page, though not every parish will have the resources or the need for a complex or expensive web page. The recommendations given here are not Canon Law, but rather represent the opinions of the directors of the Society of Archbishop Justus, which was formed for the purpose of furthering Christian communication on the internet.

Parish web pages serve these purposes:

  • Help newcomers and visitors find the church.
  • Help parish members stay in touch with the church, by providing phone numbers, schedules, announcements, copies of church newletters, and so forth.
  • Express the cultural and civic identity of the parish, describing its history and role in the community.

In the first screen of every parish web site there should be certain basic information that every visitor to the web site needs to know:

The name and address of the parish. What is it and where is it. Include city and country, and provide a link to good-quality directions for how to get there.

Service times. If people are looking at your web page to find out what time the Ash Wednesday service is, they don't want to do a lot of clicking around, and they are probably in a hurry. Very early on the first page there should be a current list of service times and locations.

The affiliation of the parish. Of what diocese is it a member, and of what province or national church. If it is a member of the Anglican Communion, i.e. if it is a member of a diocese and national church that is in communion with the See of Canterbury, then it should say so on its first screen. Link to the diocesan home page, if there is one.

Contact information. The name and phone number and email address of at least one person in the parish office. Make sure you also include a webmaster contact (the name and email address of the person who made the web page.)

It is not urgent that any other information be in the first part of the web page, but we have suggestions for what else should go in the first part of the web page.

Parish style. Episcopal churches vary in style and temperament. Some use incense and ring bells and are very formal. Some are very informal. It is common for people who have just moved to a new city to try to find a parish that is stylistically similar to what they left behind. Help them.

Parish history. When the church was built, and what role it has played in the community. Include photographs whenever possible. People really like photographs of churches. If you are very ambitious and your church is very pretty, you can produce a "virtual tour" to let people look around.

Full staff listing. Not just the basic contact information, but names, email addresses, phone numbers, and any other relevant contact information of all staff and vestry members for whom you think it is appropriate to publish such information. Note that in some countries the law requires you to get people's permission to be listed this way, and it is always polite to ask permission.

Event calendar. A summary of upcoming events, with contact information for suggestions for how to get more information.

Parish newsletter. Any news that you distribute on your web site saves postage, and it's much easier for people to find. Churches spend a lot of time, energy, and money printing things and distributing them to the members. Everything that your church prints on paper for public distribution should also be on its web site, somewhere.

Commentary on nearby or related parishes. Many parishes are part of a larger group or deanery or cluster of parishes. It is good to talk about this on your web page.

Links. If you want to provide a few "links to other places", then do so, but be careful that you keep your link collection up to date. Often it's better just to refer people to some other collection of links. Your diocesan home page (a link to which is mandatory for a parish page) will almost certainly have a "links" section; you can link to it.