Church website awards will encourage creativity and communication

By staff writers
May 22, 2009

The awards which recognise "the unsung heroes who create and maintain church websites" closes on Tuesday 2 June 2009, and those who still want to enter are being urged to get their fingers out and type

The Surefish Church Website of the Year Award is sponsored by Christian Aid and the Church Times. It has six specific categories, five of which will be judged by a panel of experts.

The overall winner of the 2009 Local Church Website of the Year, will be voted for by visitors to the Surefish and Church Times websites.

The awards are also sponsored by the Christian think-tank Ekklesia, which is offering a consultancy day worth up to £300 as a prize, Christian Technology, which is offering free web hosting for a year for each of the six winners, worth up to £1,500, and Divine Chocolate, which has donated a hamper of fair-trade chocolate for each of the winners.

The winners will also receive a trophy and certificate. The overall winner will also receive a family ticket to the Greenbelt festival, worth £231.

Andrew Jackson, editor of Surefish, Christian Aid’s community website, says: "We are particularly keen for entries from Methodist, Baptist, United Reformed Church and Catholic sites to match the large number of Anglican Church entries that we have received.

"We would also like more entries into the regional website award, for dioceses, synods and districts, and the national category, for the websites of denominations," he added.

The six categories are:

* 2009 Local Church Website of the Year
* 2009 Regional Church website of the Year
* 2009 National Church website of the Year
* Best Christian Blog
* Best Christian Youth Website
* Most Innovative Christian website

The winners of five of the categories will be made at a special judging day which will also decide the shortlist for the Local Church Website category.

The winner of that award will be decided by an online vote.

Paul Handley, editor of the Church Times, said: "The awards are showing the immense talent that people bring to their church and community websites. Some of the entries are very strong and the panel of judges will have a tough time deciding on the winners."

Simon Barrow from Ekklesia added: "The explosion of new media in recent years is democratising communication and enabling Christians to come out of the ghetto so that they can help shape the positive values and possibilities of webspace and the blogsophere. These awards encourage people to connect, and reward innovation, creativity and quality in web communication. It's great to be involved with the whole process."

The award ceremony will take place at Christian Aid headquarters in London on Tuesday 9 July 2009.

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