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Using Art to Enhance
Your Message

   

By Katie Robbins

St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fairfield, Connecticut

 


St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fairfield, Connecticut
Photo by James Roberts, Senior Warden, Vestry

 
     
  Do you think of your Web site as a brochure of information that only needs updating every couple of years? Or do you think of it as another parish newsletter? At St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Fairfield, Connecticut, (www.stpaulsfairfield.org) we have designed our site to serve as an Internet magazine for parish communication, news, outreach, and ministry. In addition to carrying the weekly and monthly news (from our published bulletins), we use our site to archive special prayers, sermons, and the Rector’s articles. Furthermore, we’re able to showcase inspirational and amusing art, which enhances our faith in Christ. Of course, special parish events are shared in our special photo gallery and we are always finding new ways to promote our volunteers and causes through the site.

Creating a Parish Web site
 
There are a variety of free or economical hosting services that are good, but limiting in useable space. Because our Web site serves as a vital means of delivering St. Paul’s mission of an open Christian community of faith and fellowship, our Rector and Vestry have budgeted the monthly subscription fee for a minimal business “starter” site offered by the Internet hosting service (costing about $20 a month). This gives us a significant amount of more allowable storage space for large documents (via such as Adobe PDFs), photographs and art.

At St. Paul’s, all but the monthly Internet service fee is donated by parishioners or obtained at no cost, making the small business site within our communications budget very affordable. Currently my husband and I contribute the design, software and technical expertise as a part of our ministry for the church, but soon we will pass this task along to another willing parishioner. Initially my husband and I used our backgrounds in print publishing to help the clergy to develop a comprehensive Web site. We all worked to give each area of St. Paul’s a detailed representative section. Although this type of site requires more upkeep, we have a willing group of multi-talented parishioners to help. The office manager emails the Sunday bulletin to me each Friday and the staff oversees the maintenance of their various sections. We have a very apt and quick-minded proofreader, a few top amateur photographers, and a responsive audience to let us know where changes are needed. Now that the main template has been created, I simply go in once a week to update the bulletin and once a month to change the art and keep the site fresh.

Photos by the Rev. M. A. Osborn

Using Art To Enhance Our Message
 

We continually use the art offered by the Episcopal Church & Visual Arts (ECVA) at www.ecva.org as a wonderful means of developing the inspiration and joy of our faith. There are other Christian art Web sites, but ECVA has a large collection of beautiful images that follow the Episcopal Church seasons. We also use the art to help educate the youth, such as with the Stations of the Cross.

 
Fourteenth Station:
Jesus is laid in the tomb

By Simon Carr
Acrylic on Canvas
24" x 22"
 

Eleventh Station:
Jesus is nailed to the cross

By Noyes Capehart
Woodcut
17" x 14"

Images are from the ECVA exhibition Walking the Way of the Cross in the 21st Century.

 
Or we use ECVA images to communicate the hope and spirit for world peace.
 
 
Descending Dove
Johnny R. Ross
Mixed media
20" x 20" x 1 1/2"

From the ECVA exhibition
Icons and Prayer.
  Grant That We May
Lesli Pepper
(Text by St. Francis of Assisi)
Acrylics and prismacolor pencils
3' x 3'

From the ECVA exhibition
Illuminating the Word.
 
     
 

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2005 The Episcopal Church and Visual Arts