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An image from the new website for the United Methodist Board of Church and Society shows a clear identity for the agency and an easy-to-use navigational scheme. Image courtesy of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society. Image courtesy of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.

Image courtesy of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society

An image from the new website for the United Methodist Board of Church and Society shows a clear identity for the agency and an easy-to-use navigational scheme. Image courtesy of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.

Church and Society launches new website

 

By Linda Bloom
June 1, 2017 | NEW YORK (UMNS)

A clear identity, different look and more easily navigated content are improvements in a new website launched June 1 by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.

The “driving force” behind the project was the number of people asking the agency to update its online presence, said Tricia Bruckbauer, director of communications.

One of the major issues: the search function didn’t really work. So a key goal for the update, she explained, was to make content on the site easily accessible through the search bar.

The need for “a much more lively and engaging website,” also was expressed by staff and the social justice agency’s board of directors, said the Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, top executive.

“We want to help the church to discover new ways of working on justice and peace and the new website can be an avenue for that,” she added.

The new website is the result of six months of hard work by Church and Society staff and an outside agency.

Offering a platform for advocacy was part of the design strategy. “When we embarked on this process, we initially identified United Methodists interested in justice and peace efforts as our main audience,” Bruckbauer explained.

“They were really interested in gaining more information on any given issue,” she said.

Ways to take action on those issues — letter-writing to members of Congress, grassroots organizing, education opportunities and internships, the seminar program and Social Principles training — “will be much more clearly available to users who visit,” she added.

Based on recent inquiries and resources requested, health care in the U.S. and immigration, both globally and domestically, are “two issues at top of people’s minds,” Bruckbauer said.

In an effort to provide “clear and succinct” information, the website’s content includes individual pages with facts, resources and action suggestions for some 30 topics taken from the denomination’s Social Principles and Book of Resolutions.

The revamped website also uses the Board of Church and Society’s new logo, making more of a link to the agency’s mission and mandate and its role as a general agency of The United Methodist Church.

Henry-Crowe said that staff worked hard to get clarity on how to present the mission, “which is to help the church understand the possibilities of justice and peacemaking.” Church and Society also is the lead agency for ministry with the poor, one of the denomination’s four areas of focus.

Faith in Action, the Church and Society e-newsletter, gets a reboot, with online updates of articles, statements, press releases, messages from Henry-Crowe and information on what church partners are doing.

Bloom is the assistant news editor for United Methodist News Service and is based in New York. Follow Bloom at https://twitter.com/umcscribe or contact her at 615-742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.