|Women’s commission provides better online access|
The United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women launched its redesigned Web site in early September, expanding its online resources and access. A UMNS photo courtesy of the Commission on the Status and Role of Women.
A UMNS Report
By Linda Bloom*
Sept. 16, 2008
A redesigned Web site for the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women offers a wider variety of online resources in a user-friendly format.
The old site "was basically a notebook for text" that "had the skeleton of the organization" but no flesh, said Lindsey Graham, the commission’s Web editor.
M. Garlinda Burton
The new site, launched in early September and designed by X9 Technologies based in High Point, N.C., allows the commission to provide more online resources.
That was a key goal, according to M. Garlinda Burton, the commission’s chief executive. "We realized there is a whole community of folk who already look to our Web site for resources and want us to offer more things," she said.
The end product means faster communication and more information. "It also allows us to work more immediately with sisters and brothers outside the United States," Burton said.
Burton’s welcoming message on the home page spells out the commission’s duties—confronting institutional sexism, advocating for women facing discrimination, nurturing the gifts of women to the church and training church leadership to recognize and address sexism and sexual misconduct.
The Web site’s format allows for greater exploration into those issues in a more visually pleasing way. "We’ve gone from this block of text … to a much more personalized 'here’s who we are, we want to be able to help you' (site)," said Graham, a candidate for ordination in the West Virginia Conference and now completing her master’s thesis at Garrett-Evangelical Seminary in Evanston, Ill.
Graham noted that many calls to the commission’s office relate the "if this happens to you" page on its Web site. That page gives examples of sexism, sexual harassment and sexual abuse and offers a link to the separate sexual ethics Web site.
Other major resources include an educational curriculum, statistics and studies, tips on advocacy for all levels of the church, a reference guide to church law, worship resources, book reviews and information on women bishops in The United Methodist Church.
Blogs and discussion groups will be developed later. Burton intends to start a blog on her personal observations about the involvement of women in the church. She wants to point out "where doors are open" in the denomination and "where the church still needs to do work" in terms of sexism.
*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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