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UMC.ORG COMMUNITY TOPS 1,000 USERS AFTER THREE WEEKS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2007
CONTACT:
Sarah Fait 202-715-1560 or sarah.fait@dittus.com

UMC.ORG COMMUNITY TOPS 1,000 USERS AFTER THREE WEEKS
New Web site Connects People of Faith around the World

Washington, D.C. - United Methodist Communications today announced that only three weeks after the official launch of the new UMC.org, the denominational website for The United Methodist Church that includes the first large-scale social networking site by a mainline denomination, more than 1,000 users have signed up to use the community feature.

"Our members told us they wanted to connect with others who share similar interests, beliefs, and values," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications in Nashville. "We created the new UMC.org Community feature for the millions of people looking for a faith-based community to which they can connect. This feature on UMC.org responds to that expressed desire."

Launched January 29 after more than two years in development, the redesigned and enhanced Web site for the people of The United Methodist Church includes a variety of additional new features to provide information about the church and help connect people around the world to it. At the last check, UMC.org Community had 1,222 users.

United Methodist Communications was recently honored by Kintera, Inc., for the Web site at its 2007 Annual User Conference in San Diego. Kintera presented two awards for UMC.org-a trophy for "Most Creative Web Site Rebranding," for demonstrating innovation in rebranding its Web site look, feel and navigation, and a certificate of achievement in the "Most Innovative User of Kintera Sphere" for showing technological innovation using Kintera Sphere products and solutions. Kintera provides an online solution to help nonprofit organizations provide to their donors giving convenience, financial transparency, feedback about the social impact of their gifts, and a sense of belonging and appreciation.

UMC.org Community provides a venue for people with wide-ranging beliefs to engage in online faith discussions at their convenience. Visitors can set up personal profiles, upload photos and establish networks of friends. New features designed just for UMC.org Community include the online needs registry that connects donors with churches; postings for volunteer opportunities locally and globally; and worship materials.

UMC.org community is strongly committed to online safety and mutual respect. The online community has filters that edit out offensive language, a minimum age requirement of 13 years old, security technology review by senior professionals, manual review of photo and video content, and a self-monitoring approach that allows users to flag the content of inappropriate posts for review by an administrator.

Among the site's other features are:

  • "Leader Resources," which give church leaders the tools to lead more effectively.
  • "Our People" section, where visitors can identify their own personal spiritual gifts, see how they can use their individual talents to make a difference, and read inspirational stories of faith about members of The United Methodist Church.
  • "Find-A-Church," which helps visitors identify a United Methodist Church in any community in the United States.
  • "Pray" tab, where visitors can submit a prayer request asking others to remember their needs in their prayers.
  • "Serve" section, which helps people connect with volunteer opportunities in their communities."MethoPedia," or the United Methodist encyclopedia, which offers a subject-specific view of all resources and stories from the denomination.

For more information, visit www.umc.org. The online launch event can be viewed at http://umc.acrobat.com/p90424296/.

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About The United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church was formed in 1968 when The Methodist Church and The Evangelical United Brethren Church united. Today, The United Methodist Church has more than 8 million members in the U.S. and nearly 11 million globally. It is the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States. The General Commission on Communication is charged with planning and implementing the official United Methodist presence on and use of the Internet.