I’m chuffed today to find Mothers’ Union Diocese of Winchester featured as the first ‘Website of the Month’ by Corbin Featherstone of Mothers’ Union enterprises.
When I started www.muwinchester.org.uk nearly two years ago, I had become convinced by friends that WordPress, or other blog formats, was the most sensible way for Mothers’ Union diocese and other charitable groups to create an internet presence that was both professional and cheap/free. I spoke about this to colleagues at the Mothers’ Union conference in 2009 using a brief summary of how I did it and what other options there were Blog Based Content Management 4 MU (most of which is still accurate). This was despite having been told by staff at the time that a blog wasn’t a website.
However, we live in a fast moving world and that view has changed, which is why I’m particularly thrilled to see that Corbin (the central Mothers’ Union ‘webmaster’) is now not only encouraging Mothers’ Union individuals and groups to use WordPress, but making it very, very easy to do so…
By completing the simple on-line application here, Mothers’ Union diocese that don’t yet have a website, or wish to update what they have, can make that possible using WordPress, which has an incredibly straightforward ‘backend’ or ‘user interface’ that the complete novice can use easily (that’s why I’ve been using it for nearly two years!).
To provide even more help and encouragement, to the Mothers’ Union diocese who think that they don’t have the expertise to create anything on the web, Corbin has also started to produce a series of website tutorials. Reviewing them, I think they are particularly good, and yes, I’ve learnt a couple of tricks I’d not spotted.
Corbin said to me today that he’d “really like to see all the disparate sites collated into one great big web presence” which would be great. To make that useful we need Mothers’ Union supporters to be using the ‘comment’ facilities on these sites (which WordPress provides automatically). This will enable feedback as to how different ideas and activities have worked at local level, and start a wider debate about some of the more difficult issues that Mothers’ Union leaders are grappling with. I’ve been particularly impressed by what Trevor Jordon is doing for MU Scarborough Deanery. This includes a debate about their proposed Diocesan re-organisation here and here.
All this means that we need a generation of computer using, web aware Mothers’ Union supporters willing to make good use of the technology available, and publicly debate the issues. That’s the rub – from the fear of both I encountered at our conference this year, I’m still not convinced that there are enough of us here to make this work. But I’d love to be proved wrong!