From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ELCA Web Site Doubles in Size, Accesses, Advisory Committee Told

From news@ELCA.ORG
Date 16 Feb 2001 07:18:37


February 16, 2001


     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Web site of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
in America (ELCA) <> grew significantly in the past
year, nearly doubling the number of its pages as well as nearly doubling
accesses by viewers, the ELCA Department for Communication advisory
committee was told here Jan 26.
     From 1999 to 2000, the number of Web pages on the ELCA site
increased from 5,500 to nearly 10,000, said Rex Paisley, associate
director for Web-based interactive media.  Accesses grew from 4.2
million in 1999 to 7.8 million, he said.  During the 2000 ELCA Youth
Gathering in St. Louis, held over a two-week period in June and July
2000, there were 1.2 million ELCA Web site accesses, Paisley reported.
     The ELCA Web site is fairly young and has grown at a phenomenal
rate, said the Rev. Eric C. Shafer, director, ELCA Department for
Communication.  "Six years ago, the ELCA's Web site wasn't even
mentioned in any of my reports," he said.
     In 2001, the site will likely be redesigned, Paisley said.  The
department recently conducted an informal online survey about the ELCA
Web site to learn more about user preferences, he said.
     In today's growing electronic environment, the number of ELCA
congregations that have access to the Web, e-mail or have their own Web
site is also increasing, Paisley reported.  Though some congregations do
not yet have such tools, "I think we can celebrate that more and more
congregations are getting online," Paisley told the committee.
     Advisory committee members also learned about the new ELCA
Resource Finder
available through the Web site's home page.  A viewer may use it to
browse some 1,000 ELCA resources, said  Eliza Alvarez, assistant
director for resource information. The Resource Finder includes links to
the Web site of Augsburg Fortress <>, the
publishing house of the ELCA, and copies of articles from "Seeds for the
Parish" related to resources. Augsburg Fortress maintains inventory of
some ELCA resources; "Seeds" is a resource newspaper for congregational
leaders published by the Department for Communication.
     Advisory committee members also learned about other Department for
Communication efforts:
     + "Seeds" is expected to be available on the Web in 2001, said
Katherine "Kate" Sprutta Elliott, editor.
     + A follow-up research project will be done this year to learn
results from the ELCA Identity Project, a multi-million-dollar,
generation-specific advertising campaign for the church, said Kristi S.
Bangert, director for internal church communication (ICC) and marketing.
Spanish-language Identity Project print and broadcast ads are expected
to be launched March 1, she said. The Identity Project provided matching
grants to ELCA congregations and synods that developed media advertising
plans in their communities.  Funds were also used to buy time on
national cable television channels, Bangert said.  Aid Association for
Lutherans, a fraternal benefits society based in Appleton, Wis.,
provided $1.75 million for the matching grants, and the ELCA Church
Council contributed nearly $3.5 million, including $2 million from 1999
ELCA reserve funds for the project.
     + "Stand with Africa: A Campaign of Hope" will be launched during
Lent, said Stephen H. Padre, ICC associate director for world hunger and
disaster response. The campaign will focus on issues significant to
Africa, including HIV/AIDS, food security, and peace and reconciliation,
he said.  The three-year campaign is being coordinated by the ELCA World
Hunger Program,  Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) World Relief and
Lutheran World Relief, the overseas relief and development agency of the
      Advisory committee members reviewed the draft of a long-range
plan for the department.  The plan is to be presented to the ELCA Church
Council at its April 6-9, 2001, meeting here.
      Four members of the committee whose terms conclude this year were
recognized at a luncheon for their service.  They were Mary Butler,
Durango, Colo.; the Rev. Frederick H. Gonnerman, Northfield, Minn.; and
Richard Liefer, Oak Park, Ill.  The Rev. Mark R. Ramseth, bishop of the
ELCA Montana Synod, served as a representative of the ELCA Conference of
Bishops.  Ramseth's term on the committee also concludes in 2001.  This
spring he will become president of the Trinity Lutheran Seminary,
Columbus, Ohio.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG

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