Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Stealth Breviary

I almost entitled this, "What I did on my summer vacation," since I've been mostly AWOL on this blog for months.

One of the things I did was set up a Facebook page, and a blog, for our congregation. Our website, like most, can be very unwieldy to update, and is fairly static -- and thus forgettable -- from season to season. Even though only a small percentage of our people even own computers, much less have a competency in getting around well online, many of our leaders and information disseminators do. And it seemed to me that we needed a couple of different online vehicles; one to add some depth to our ministry, one to keep people plugged in to what's going on.
So this is what I did. I created a blog, updated almost daily (Saturday is this blogmeister's sabbath) , with a theme for each day. Yesterday was Mission Monday, which is pretty self-explanatory; this week I talked about the ELCA inviting individuals and congregations to send Thanksgiving greeting cards to missionaries this year. Today is Tuneful Tuesday, when I post a music video appropriate for the Sunday lectionary or Church calendar.  I write special posts for saints' days and commemorations, and anything else worth blogging about. I'm not sure that anyone else finds it interesting or helpful, but if nothing else it's imposed a welcome sense of structure in my life and made me better prepared for each Sunday, whether I'm assisting or in the pew.

Meanwhile, I created a Facebook page for our church. (And since you're my peeps, I'll invite you to "fan" us -- search "Hope Lutheran Church" and look for the stained-glass window.) This is, for our congregation, the 21st century version of calling Aunt Bee down at the store to spread the news about what's going on in our parish.

In an effort to keep readers interested, I've made a commitment to post something on Facebook every single day, even if it's just a teaser for something on our blog. One day, searching for something worth posting, I thought, "Why don't I just post a snippet of liturgy from The Daily Office?" So I did. And I kept going. I'm very random -- one day I might post a prayer from the short-form individual/family devotional; the next I might post a few lines of a Psalm from the Morning or Evening Prayer; the next I might draw from the Noonday Prayer or Compline. And in response to persons wondering why I'm cherry-picking from the Book of Common Prayer rather than a Lutheran prayer book...frankly, it's easier, because my Anglican friends make better use of the Internet in the realm of daily devotions. Just sayin'.

But here's the real interesting thing: Of all our new and improved online activities, the random daily prayers are what draw the most feedback. Our readership loves them. I was ill for a couple of days, and someone mentioned to me that she missed the daily Facebook prayers. This has been a real "aha!" phenomenon, for me anyway. So if any of you are contemplating hooking up your people to Facebook -- go for it. And try this.


Dr. Rural said...

Great to see you posting again. Love your church blog!

backrowbass said...

Good stuff. I wish we could get things updated half as often.

I've become a fan over at FB.

(PS. Martin Luther didn't write Away In a Manger, I'm afraid. I grew up on that story too...)

backrowbass said...

Another thought: Do you know Phyllis Tickle's books of prayers for the Hours? Very nicely done, and they might be a good source for your daily posts.