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Last updated 23rd November 2018

Using the 'A Church Near You' website

What this page contains:

  • Background story, plus message from Bishop Julian about the 'A Church Near You' website
  • Important information for A Church Near You page editors
  • Key features of the upgraded A Church Near You website

Exciting new changes have arrived for the popular 'A Church Near You' website, now including the chance for Anglican parishes in Lancashire to use it to create their own free and bespoke website!

The upgrade was partly shaped by clergy and parishioners from across Lancashire who attended focus groups at the Diocesan Offices near Blackburn in 2017.

A full list of key features are bullet-pointed at the end of this page. All parishes should have appointed, or should appoint soon, 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.

Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn, said: “A Church Near You is the online information portal accessible to all churches across the country. Each church can ‘own’ its own page, appoint an ‘editor’ and keep it updated with the latest information about what is happening.

“It is a powerful tool and receives a lot of visitors ... people wanting to find out what is happening at parishes local to them. It is particularly popular at Christmas and Easter.

“This updated version of A Church Near You is even more engaging than before, with new functionality that allows parishes to effectively have a new website for free.

"Any parishes in our Diocese not already on A Church Near You should seriously consider doing so, not least because it is now central to national social media campaigns to promote church attendance, such the one planned for this Christmas: #followthestar"

The new site has been enhanced 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.

There were two phases to the relaunch project, with the second phase offering parishes the opportunity to use 'A Church Near You' to have their own bespoke website.

The CofE’s Digital Communications Team from London spoke to 1800 people across the country to gather insights and thoughts on how to make the service much better for a site that receives over 13 million page views each year.

Those contributors included around 40 clergy and parish representatives who attended two focus groups in Blackburn in 2017. 

Key features following the upgrade

  • 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 will not only be 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.
  • The gallery is back – by popular demand! We will be capping this at 20 images to ensure that these 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.

Information for A Church Near You editors in parishes

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

The new upgrade 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's page, showing you how many people have visited your page this week, month and year.

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