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Last updated 23rd March 2021

Using the 'A Church Near You' website

Introduction 

A Church Near You is a powerful tool for parishes to engage with and this page is all about helping you to get to grips with it if you aren't yet doing so.

It also contains further tips and advice to parishes already active on the site. 

What this page contains:

  • Important information for A Church Near You page editors, including links to national Church of England website advice
  • Key features of the A Church Near You website, including how you can now make it work for your church as your own bespoke website, completely free!
  • YouTube video about using A Church Near You, from Manchester Diocese
  • Links to vital features and advice specifically for A Church Near You parish editors

A free website! 

The popular 'A Church Near You' website, now includes the chance for Anglican parishes in Lancashire to use it to create what is effectively their own free and bespoke website!

A Church Near You is a very powerful tool ... it is created and promoted by the national church as well as every Diocese. This strength in numbers means it is invariably the first place regular and more casual churchgoers turn to when wanting to find out information about churches in their local area. 

An upgrade to the site in 2019 was partly shaped by a series of focus groups for clergy and parishioners across the country including several run in our Diocese in Lancashire at the Diocesan Offices near Blackburn in 2017.

A full list of key features are bullet-pointed below. All parishes should have appointed, or should appoint as soon as possible, their own A Church Near You editor who can 'own' your own parish page on behalf of the parish. The Diocese is not able to do this for parishes; each parish must 'own' their own pages. 

Find out more about A Church Near You by watching this helpful video from Manchester Diocese which highlights features also relevant to our own Diocese ...

 


A changed A Church Near You

Prior to the pandemic the site was enhanced in late 2019 for maximum impact and to create new features, including adding church schools into the databanks and a new analytics feature showing number of page views each week.

Since the pandemic began it has proved to be an important way of parishes being able to communicate online and to get information across about local activities. A Church Near You is the Church of England's largest website. Each year, 17,500 editors across The Church of England keep our church's pages up to date and welcome people into your worshipping community by advertising your services and events. 

The most recent updates to the site include:

  • Benefice homepages. 
  • A Resource Hub. Lots of exciting things to explore, including video resources. 
  • Vicar bio. So you can tell us more about the people who lead your church. 
  • Analytics. See the number who visited your page any week, month and year.
  • The ability to add videos to pages.
  • The ability to edit order of pages. 
  • Choose you own service pattern, including irregular patterns.
  • Copy events over to multiple churches you manage. Only do the work once!
  • And more!

More information about what A Church Near You can do ... 

  • Churches can add extra information to events and services, such as a location other than the church, times, accessibility and contact details. This will enable churches to showcase their one-off services out in the community or parish away days outside the church building.
  • Space to include information about the facilities the church has, from a post office to foodbank or Alpha.
  • Users are not only able to search for their nearest church – and now Church of England school – but they are also able to filter the search to show results that include key features and facilities they are looking for or need, such as accessibility, car parking or service type.
  • The ability to point your domain name (the URL of your site, for example www.stmaryschester.co.uk) to your ACNY page. This means you don't have to pay a fee to a website host or designer. It is estimated that this will save Church of England churches £1 million nationally.  A Church Near You editors will get a step-by-step guide to help make this change. 
  • An opportunity to add news stories and notice sheets to your pages, allowing you to promote upcoming events, good news stories from your church and notices.
  • Picture Gallery feature; capped at 20 images to ensure that photos are kept up-to-date.
  • Greater customisation choices – from the ability to select the branding of national campaigns for your page, to which news stories and events will appear on your church's homepage.
  • Analytical information will be visible to editors on the homepage when logged in – showing you how many people have visited your page this week, month and year.

Getting help to access or use A Church Near You

ACNY is managed nationally and therefore the Diocese of Blackburn offices have no editorial access to your church and is unable to make requests or amendments in relation to parish pages.


Information for A Church Near You editors in parishes

The following information is specifically for A Church Near You editors ...

The site now includes the ability to add news stories and news sheets, a gallery and, most excitingly, the option of using your A Church Near You page as your website by forwarding your domain name to A Church Near You.

When logged in, you will now also be able to see your analytic information on your church page, showing you how many people have visited your page this week, month and year.

The editor help centre is on hand to guide you through the key features, so if you would like some help, do read the help articles provided in the help centre via the link.

Finally, here is a summary page of key advice and help on the national Church of England website about A Church Near You. 

 

Ronnie Semley, page regularly updated

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