Search for Grace MB Church Kitchener in your internet browser search engine and the first link will take you to the church’s website.
The church owns the website address "gracemb.org" (domain name courtesy of webmaster Clare Snyder), however this address automatically forwards the user to "gracemb.weebly.com", as the website is built and served through Weebly’s limited free service. I (Mathieu Cain) am the current website's creator and curator.
The website’s default page is the Welcome page featuring any major church events in the primary display, a condensed 7 day vertical scrolling calendar to the left, and the latest sermon below that. An automated slideshow showing the front and back public facade of the church greets viewers with the Sunday service time. (Did you recognise the Belmont Village mural as a darkened and faded backdrop to the slideshow? it subliminally sets the church within the Belmont Village neighbourhood).
The user can navigate to pages on the church website in at least three ways: (1) through the drop down menu bar at the top right of the screen; (2) through the list of page links listed at the bottom of any page (note that pages are organised by relevance rather than alphabetically); (3) through links in blue and occasional picture markers on primary pages (e.g., "ABOUT US" and "WHAT WE DO" pages). Worth noting that links to external websites (e.g., MB Mission, MCC, Biblegateway) will open pages in separate internet browser windows (tabs), while internal church links will refresh the existing page to the selected church page (e.g., "beliefs and mission" takes the user to the church’s stated mission and the MB confession of faith (which itself is externally linked to the Canadian Conference of MB Churches’ detailed edition); "--> full calendar here <--" takes the user to the full calendar page, where the user can view events by the month (also be aware that clicking on any particular calendar event will display more information about that event if any is available); "--> past sermons here <--" takes the user to an archive of past sermons (note that sermons are grouped in 4 month cycles)).
Past sermons are accessible through the "WORSHIP" page (under "WHAT WE DO" in the main menu). As previously noted, sermons are grouped here in 4 month cycles, and that there are currently 19 pages of sermons, extending back to January 2014 (note that services prior to this are archived on CDs and stored at the church). Links to any of these archived periods can be found at the bottom of any given page of sermons. Note that clicking on the icon to the far right of any sermon's audio player (icon resembles the facade of a Roman Pantheon) takes the user to the sermon on Archive.org where the user also has the option of downloading the sermon as an MP3 file to their own computer. Along with sermon headings, a link to that week's Bible passage leads to the full Bible text on BibleGateway. While a full website key word search is not available for the free version of the site, a key word search for the Bible is provided on this page too (courtesy of BibleGateway).
Users may reach out to the church through the "CONTACT US" page, which locates the church on a map of the area, and provides two built in website based e-mail forms to either the pastor (i.e., Harry Whyte) or the board chair (i.e., Gerry Ross). Should a user wish to call or e-mail the church office through their own e-mail client instead, that contact information is listed at the bottom of any of the church’s main web pages.
Other web pages, such as "Photos and Videos" are updated from time to time upon the board and/or pastor’s discretion and approval.
Every Sunday morning, the person on sound records that morning’s full service. Following the service, I store the service as a digital file on the sound system’s laptop (note that these are available to anyone upon request), and extract the scripture reading and sermon portion (using Audacity, a free digital audio editor and recording computer software application). After some further editing (using the limited free online automated sound equalization service Auphonic), I upload the sermon to the web’s "Internet Archive" ("Archive.org" is a nonprofit digital library). I create a new listing on the church’s website on the "Worship" page, including sermon date, title of sermon, scripture readings (with link to direct bible passage on Biblegateway), and the sermon audio, serviced through an embedded player from the "Internet Archive". The most recent sermon is also placed on the church website’s front page, the "Welcome" page (i.e., replacing the previous week’s sermon). Unless I am away from church on a given Sunday, the sermon is typically available on the church website within a few days following the service, as my time permits. If I am away, the sermon is typically uploaded to the "Worship" page on my return the following Sunday. A detailed visual step by step “Dummy’s Guide to uploading the church sermon to the website” is in development for further process transparency, along with all credentials to access any of the web services.
Calendar events are updated as needed, following the publishing of the week’s bulletin. Hosts of special events will occasionally request their event be highlighted on the church website’s front page. Baring stipulations, I will often take a few liberties in the graphical embellishment of these postings, and post as soon as I am able (typically within a few days).
In an effort to drive a bit more internal traffic to the church website, a webpage (hidden from any menu listings for privacy) was created for the posting of the most recent weekly bulletin. The link is provided weekly (Friday or Saturday) through an e-mail service, courtesy of Bryan White, followed by myself from March forward, who graciously replaces the digital PDF on the website once it was received from Pat Kadwell. Note that the bulletin PDFs are themselves hosted on a dedicated Google Drive account I had set up for the church under the credentials of firstname.lastname@example.org (this account is only being used for administrative behind the scenes operations of the website, and not shared with the public).
Other custom web-pages are created from time to time to serve a limited particular need (such as online registration forms for Vacation Bible Camp; special events; job postings). These pages are typically not accessible through the main menu, but rather through a link on another page (typically on the "Welcome" page). These pages are removed once they have served their purpose.
Note that additional features such as a weather forecast to assist with preparations to attend church, a daily Bible verse or passage to provide a focus for the day, and a number of media content were previously removed from the website upon request from the Board and previous pastor to provide more focus to the site.
Further development of the website was deliberated upon in 2017, in consultation with the congregation through a survey, including the addition of a private member’s area with more detailed events, contacts, and discussion forums. Such additional advanced features would potentially cost up to about $150 per year (noting that besides the minimal cost of maintaining the rights to the church domain "gracemb.org", there are no other monetary expenses for maintaining the existing church site). Such development was put on indefinite hold until further notice.
A final note of interest, the Internet Archive has a feature called the “Wayback Machine" which allows the user to view snapshots of how the church’s website has evolved since July 12, 2007. You may note a few changes in the design over its life.
Where are people coming to church from and how far?