Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Communication

From the Rector's Rambling 4/20 and 4/27

Communication is very important for this Church. It is the vehicle for sharing information and for promoting the parish so that all everyone who are members can be up to date as to what is going on in the parish, and to draw more and more people to the parish that they may come to know Jesus and become holy too.
Since 1905 the parish has published The Chronicle, which you have in your hand. Originally a monthly newsletter, it is now our weekly ‘insert’ in the Order of Service given to those attending Sunday worship. Our monthly newsletter, started in the late 1990’s, is The Eagle. This is mailed to all parishioners, friends of the parish/parishioners, and anyone who has signed the guestbook in the past 7 years. This mailing list is approaching 850 addresses. We also publish 3 special editions of The Eagle that gets mailed to houses and apartments neighboring the Church and clergy housing, another 650 addresses.
Electronically, we have our outstanding website, www.stjohnsdetroit.org . Begun in the 1990’s by late parishioner C.A. Hocker, it is now maintained by parishioner Chris Sayers. In addition to The Eagle and The Chronicle published each week on the site, one can find an up-to-date calendar, event listings, organization profiles, sermons, and other information about the parish and its ministries.
We also have an email mailing list which allows for quick dissemination of information, announcements, and prayer requests- stjohnsdetroit@yahoogroups.com. If you are not subscribed to this list drop us an email at officemanager@stjohnsdetroit.org and we will make sure you get the latest information delivered right to your inbox.
Keeping everyone informed is important, especially since our members are spread out far and wide across the Metro Detroit region. Be sure to check these resources regularly so you can participate actively in the life of the parish.
But there is another important aspect of communications, and that is promotion and public relations. Although it sounds crassly secular, we need to be ‘in the marketplace’ to promote St. John’s Church. The world around us is clambering for peoples’ attention. The Church in general and St. John’s in particular, needs to get the message of salvation heard over the cacophony of sound seeking to ignore or contradict The Good News of Jesus Christ.
There are several ways that we seek to do this. The website is a major source of contact to the outside world. Several people have told us that they found St. John’s through a Google search or linked from another church organization. Others heard about St. John’s and used the website to find out more information before visiting. 350 to 500 people a week visit our website and look at, on average, three pages on the site.
Another way we promote the parish is through advertising. We advertise in various local newspapers around major holy days, when those not regular about church attendance are looking for a place to worship. We also advertise special musical events on the classical radio station, and some general advertising on WJR-AM and its webcasts. We also mail to nearby housing notices of events and holy days. And let us not forget our electronic signboard, which is seen by thousands of drivers daily.
But all this advertising does not replace the more important and fruitful approach of individual parishioners inviting people to join them at St. John’s. Advertising may bring “brand recognitions” (as they say in the Ad business), but word of mouth from trusted sources is the best promotion. Be sure to invite people to Church and follow up with prayers for them and offers of rides down here. They may say no at first, but you never know when God is going to use you to bring them into relationship to Himself through this parish!
But there is another important aspect of communications, and that is promotion and public relations. Although it sounds crassly secular, we need to be ‘in the marketplace’ to promote St. John’s Church. The world around us is clambering for peoples’ attention. The Church in general and St. John’s in particular, needs to get the message of salvation heard over the cacophony of sound seeking to ignore or contradict The Good News of Jesus Christ.
There are several ways that we seek to do this. The website is a major source of contact to the outside world. Several people have told us that they found St. John’s through a Google search or linked from another church organization. Others heard about St. John’s and used the website to find out more information before visiting. 350 to 500 people a week visit our website and look at, on average, three pages on the site.
Another way we promote the parish is through advertising. We advertise in various local newspapers around major holy days, when those not regular about church attendance are looking for a place to worship. We also advertise special musical events on the classical radio station, and some general advertising on WJR-AM and its webcasts. We also mail to nearby housing notices of events and holy days. And let us not forget our electronic signboard, which is seen by thousands of drivers daily.
But all this advertising does not replace the more important and fruitful approach of individual parishioners inviting people to join them at St. John’s. Advertising may bring “brand recognitions” (as they say in the Ad business), but word of mouth from trusted sources is the best promotion. Be sure to invite people to Church and follow up with prayers for them and offers of rides down here. They may say no at first, but you never know when God is going to use you to bring them into relationship to Himself through this parish!

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