General Convention

Report — Communications

Gary Allman, Communications Director

I welcome all news and event submissions. I am available for consultation on any communications and technology-related matters and relish the opportunity to help churches promote their ministries and activities wherever I can. If you have any questions regarding communications, diocesan or church-led, please contact me.  Direct line: (816) 226-4887, email: communications@diowestmo.org    

 

Highlights & Impact

Regular Activities

  • Curating/editing/writing content for New Spirit and producing the twice-monthly New Spirit Update emailed newsletter.
  • Ongoing prayer cycle graphics production.
  • Daily Prayers are published each evening on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Instagram Story daily updates (weekdays/some weekends).
  • Ad-hoc social media monitoring and sharing.
  • Communicators/Administrators Facebook Group, ad hoc posting monitoring.

New Spirit

The New Spirit website has seen a significant growth in both views and visitors over the past twelve months.

  • 2021 (12 months): 36k views, 18k visitors, 341 Articles.
  • 2022 (9 months): 45K views, 23k visitors, 281 Articles.

Source: WordPress monthly views & visitor statistics

The twice-monthly New Spirit Update email publication schedule has been maintained throughout the past twelve months. Benchmark data provided by our bulk emailing provider, Constant Contact, shows that the performance of New Spirit Update in terms of readership and engagement is significantly higher than that achieved by other ‘Faith-Based Organizations’ mailings.

Rates:OpensClicksBounces
Faith-Based Organizations43%3%9%
New Spirit 9-04-202271%22%2%
New Spirit 09-16-202169%24%4%
Source: Constant Contacts September 2022.

Some New Spirit Update cover images from the past 12 months.

Past issues of New Spirit Update can be viewed here.

Social Media

Facebook

During 2022 Meta (Facebook) has been rolling out a series of changes to the platform that appear to have reduced the effectiveness and reach of Facebook pages. Despite this, the diocesan presence on the platform has continued to grow.

Instagram

In 2022 Meta (Facebook) made significant changes to the Instagram platform to compete with the video shorts platform TikTok. This has had an adverse effect on the reach of the diocesan Instagram account.

Note: A Facebook glitch put our reported number of followers down to zero on two days in July 2021 causing the stats graph to look a bit odd.

Twitter

Facebook, Instagram & Twitter statistics, source: Hootsuite analytics

YouTube

  • 2021 (12 months): 2.5k views. 461 hours watched.
  • 2022 (9 months): 1.4k views. 247 hours watched.

Source: YouTube analytics

Note: Actual YouTube viewing figures for 2022 are underreported due to:

  1. The reporting period being 25% shorter
  2. Several major diocesan events were streamed via church YouTube accounts and not the diocesan YouTube account.

Diocesan and church websites

Website Statistics

Main website https://diowestmo.org

  • 2021 (12 months): 39k page views.
  • 2022 (9 months): 29k page views.

New Spirit websitehttps://spirit.diowestmo.org

  • 2021 (12 Months): 36k views, 18k visitors, 341 posts.
  • 2022 (9 months): 45K views, 23k visitors, 281 posts.

Administration websitehttps://office.diowestmo.org

  • 2021 (12 months): 17K views, 5k visitors, 142 posts
  • 2022 (9 months): 15k views, 5k visitors, 106 posts

Church and ministry sites

In the past 12 months the following church and ministry websites have been moved to diocesan hosted WordPress sites.

  • Calvary – Sedalia
  • Good Shepherd – Kansas City
  • All Saint’s – West Plains (currently awaiting domain transfer)
  • St. Paul’s – Clinton
  • St. Paul’s – Lees Summit (transfer done by St. Paul’s volunteer)
  • WEMO Youth – brought online for the youth missioner job advertisement
  • Campus Ministry – Holding page.
  • St. Augustine’s – Kansas City

Ministry webpages

As planned, all the outstanding administrative content on the main website was moved to the admin site in 2022.

Administration Website

Over 40 updates and additions have been made to the Admin site. A full list of the changes can be found here.

As planned, all the outstanding administrative content on the main website was moved to the admin site in 2022. As a result, the main diocesan website menu has been simplified. This has also enabled the provision of a search function on the Admin site. The next step is to review the content of the Admin site, and see how the information can be organized to help churches find the data or documents they need.

Diocesan IT

In December 2021, diocesan IT support was contracted out to a third party. There were some initial problems with the support provided, but we have been assured by the contractor that these have been addressed. A review of the contract has been added to the Communications Director’s list of planned actions for 2023.

The new telephone system costs 50% less per month and has twice the number of lines.

Diocesan VOIP telephone system

It was hoped to contract out the work to set up a new diocesan telephone system, but a quotation of in excess of $10k to undertake this work encouraged the Communications Director to research the process and subsequently perform the work.

All diocesan staff roles, both full and part time, now have dedicated direct phone numbers, and extensions on the main diocesan switchboard number. The new telephone system integrates directly into the diocesan Microsoft Teams environment, removing the need for telephone handsets ((and the associated costs). The new direct numbers mean that staff members no longer have to use their personal mobile phone numbers for diocesan business, and provide improved integration for those members of staff who work remotely.

The new telephone system costs 50% less per month and has twice the number of lines.

Events Support & Coverage

Events Coordinator

From January through April, the Communications Director worked with Bishop’s Executive Assistant to cover the absence of the Events Coordinator (who resigned in December 2021).

May through August, the Communications Director provided training and support to the new Events Coordinator, Rachael Orth.

The Communications Director continues to provide support to the Events Coordinator as needed.

Event Coverage

Where possible volunteers are used to save time and expenses incurred by the Communications Director in traveling. On occasion additional assistance has been required to provide coverage and technical support for events.

I would like to take this opportunity to specifically thank the following people:

  • Adam James
  • Chris Morrison
  • Eric Rhodes
  • Mary Ann Teschan
Three of the volunteers helping to live-stream and document the ‘Celebration of Absalom Jones’ service at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City, Missouri. L-R Mary Ann Teschan (Still photography), Eric Rhodes (Camera Two), Adam James (Video & Audio mix). Not shown: Chris Morrision (Camera One), Emily Davenport (Social media monitoring). Image: Gary Allman
Chris Morrison on ‘Camera One.’ Absalom Jones Celebration at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City. Image: Gary Allman

Annual Convention

2021 saw our first full hybrid, online and in-person convention and our first annual convention with live interpretation. Running a hybrid convention is akin to running two concurrent conventions and requires a lot of additional resources, planning, and preparation.

The event passed with nary a technical hic-cough. Lots of lessons were learned and have been incorporated into the planning of the 2022 convention. In 2021 a team of 12, comprising diocesan and cathedral staff, volunteers, and two contracted interpreters, was needed to support the online attendees. In 2022, a team of 15 people will be required to support the online participants and provide technical support to those attending in person.

Plan for 2023

  1. Maintain the current New Spirit Update publication schedule, event and church support activities.
  2. Annual convention approving, recruit and train a Communications Assistant.
  3. Hold quarterly meetings of the communications committee.
  4. Review and if considered appropriate adjust the current social media strategy.
  5. Annual convention approving, build a new main diocesan website with the assistance of a yet to be formed working group which will produce the specification, manage the production and selection of new website content, and recommend and with the appropriate approval in place, commission a contractor to build the new site.
  6. Form a working party to inform the restructuring and reorganizing of the content on the Church Administration website and implement the changes.
  7. Review the diocesan IT support contract.
  8. Move 10 church Digital Faith websites to WordPress.

Success metrics

  1. Achievement of the New Spirit Update publication schedule.
  2. An active and effective Communications Assistant.
  3. Communications committee meetings held.
  4. Ongoing growth of followers and engagement on social media.
  5. A new main diocesan website.
  6. Improved accessibility of the information available on the admin website.
  7. IT support contract review.
  8. 10 church websites moved to WordPress.

Respectfully submitted,
/s/ Gary Allman
Communications Director, The Diocese of West Missouri.

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Report — Deputation to the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church

The Rev. Anne Meredith Kyle, GC80 Deputation Lead

Since the last Annual Convention, the deputation prepared for and attended the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church (GC80) in Baltimore, Maryland, July 8-11, 2022. The deputation in attendance included, in the lay order Ms. Amanda Perschall, Mr. Spencer Orr, Ms. Alexandra Connors, Mr. Curtis Hamilton, and alternate deputy Ms. Christine Morrison; and in the clergy order, Mtr. Anne Meredith Kyle, Fr. Jonathan Frazier, Fr. Chas Marks, Fr. Larry Ehren, and alternate deputy Fr. Sean Kim. Mr. Channing Horner, Mr. Bob Maynard, Fr. John Spicer, Mtr. Meg Rhodes, and Mtr. Cathy Cox participated in the preparation for the convention faithfully as alternate deputies. Bishop Diane Jardine Bruce participated in the House of Bishops, serving as the secretary to the HoB.

The Deputation worked diligently in preparation for, and participation in the GC80. The convention, which had already been delayed by one year, was shortened from eight days to four and changed in response to continuing concerns about the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. The actions of the GC80 are too numerous to list here. Those interested in the actions of the General Convention may visit https://www.generalconvention.org/about-gc80 which includes general information and links to resolutions, elections, the budget, and video of the GC80.

This 133rd Convention will elect the deputation for the 81st General Convention (GC81), which will be held in Louisville, Kentucky in the summer of 2024. The GC81, among other actions, will elect the next presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.

The next year will be spent in general organization and preliminary meetings of the GC81 deputation. Regular meetings to prepare for GC81 will begin in January 2024.

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