The Methodist Church in Britain is seeing cyberspace as a key part of its communications and mission - and has completely revamped its website.
The UK development agency Christian Aid is among others who are looking to revamp their web presence in an effort to connect the virtual world with life and death struggles in the real one.
For the past week, visitors to www.methodist.org.uk have seen a completely redesigned site that aims to be "easier to use and more expressive of the best of Methodism", say its creators.
Dave Webster, who jointly heads up Communication for Electronic Resources within the Church, says “the old site was showing its age, and contained far more information than it could easily direct people to. The new site makes it easier to quickly find useful information, whether you are a Methodist minister or member, or even if you are just interested in one aspect of the Church. It is also more inspiring, and attractive.”
The site will feature a daily prayer, and dedicated sections for particular elements of the Church’s work and mission. The new site also makes use of Web 2.0 ideas, allowing people to form networks around common interests as active users rather than passive readers.
“This moves from the old model where we presented information to people to a new form where the website is also a way for everyone to contribute,” declares Webster.
“Over the past few years we have launched podcasts and weblogs amongst other things, but the new site draws together all of these ideas to create something that it flexible and useful enough to support the whole of the Church in its work.”