Everybody's Going Surfing
By Michael S. Bauml, Web Coordinator
When" Surfing USA" was released by the Beach Boys in the
early 60's, no one realized how prophetic the song was! Today everybody is surfing - but
not the ocean. They are surfing the World Wide Web!
Since the onset of video games, man's love affair with
interactive audio and video has grown to epidemic proportions.
The rapid advancement of computers and their availability to
everyone has placed the world at our fingertips. Like most
technological advances, however, the Internet has its
advantages and disadvantages. It can be a dangerous breeding
ground for pornography and pedophiles… or it can become an
obsession for those lured into cyberspace. On the positive
note, it can be an extremely effective evangelism tool.
Many of our newer parishioners had their first contact with
the Saint Luke community through our web site. Attracted by
the site, many of them made initial contact via e-mail to our
parish priest. Being familiar with the pastor and parish made
them feel comfortable when they worshipped in our edifice for
the first time. They even felt more compelled to return.
It is extremely important that the web page be kept current
and lively with pertinent information on our faith and the life
of our parish. The site has basically three components: (1)
historical, (2) informational, and (3) interactive.
(1) The web site in effect is a running history of our
parish. The monthly events page is archived by month and year
and can be viewed as a historical pictorial of our life in the
parish. Likewise the prayer of the week filters into an
archive that can be viewed. Even the history of our recent
construction is preserved in a slide show accompanied by
musical selections from our choir.
(2) The bulk of the site is informational. Directions to
the parish, the Sunday bulletin, upcoming events, ministry
activities and reports, and other items relating to the
administration of the church can be easily found. "Current
issues" features articles relating to our faith as well as
issues in the modern world. A large article in this section
covers everything from bio ethics and cloning to environmental
issues. "In the News" presents copies of articles involving
Orthodoxy in general and the Saint Luke Parish in particular.
"Parish Info" contains articles from "How to make altar bread"
to "Preparation for Holy Communion." "The Faith," "Bells,"
"Saints," "Iconography" and other sections provide a resource
for Orthodox Christians around the world.
Our web site offers many opportunities to interact with
visitors and one another. The "members only" area is a secured
area for members of the parish with message boards and
classified ads area where members can converse and even place
ads. The main site also maintains a message board for ongoing
discussions as well as a chat room hosted by Father Andrew.
The cookbook page offers recipes and is a depository for
additional recipes. There is a Bible search for those seeking
to find specific passages; a site for our bookstore; and a site
with items for sale by the parish.
Periodically, we obtain a report indicating the number of
visits to our site and their origin. We have many visitors from
around the world. One young Jewish girl from England asked and
received help from us for a school report on the Orthodox
Church. We responded to a request from a man in Belfast,
Ireland, who wanted a Bible that he could not afford.
I would like to share a few e-mails we received. This was from
California: "When searching Google.com for various subjects
surrounding Orthodoxy, I often come across links to your
Website. I appreciate your site more and more each time I
visit. I'm from a Serbian Orthodox church in California. I
found myself laughing out loud when I read your bulletin
regarding attendance. It looks like we have about the same
size parish and the same time problems. I am an older,
non-Serbian, 'by marriage' Orthodox woman, who stayed away a
long time. Five years ago my husband and I heard an entire
service in English and we finally got it! I feel like we are a
couple of 'converts'. What a journey this has been. My
husband teaches Sunday school and I'm the Building Committee
chairperson. We will continue to stop in…we pray your church
is fruitful. Thank you so much."
Another was from Ohio: "Just a short note to let you
know how wonderful your Website is. I happened across it
tonight and just spent almost an hour going through it!!!!
And I still didn't see it all."
This one concerned our movie club: "I found your name on a
web site re a parish movie club. I am an Anglican priest,
Director of Parish Support Ministries for the Diocese of New
Westminster, BC, Canada. For eleven years I was a parish priest
and used movies extensively. In November I am teaching a one
day seminar in a 'Theology and the Arts' series at the
Vancouver School of Theology. I would sincerely appreciate any
insight, resources, or methodology that you are willing to
In a sense, our web site has a life of its own and it
must be kept current and constantly updated. This requires the
efforts of the entire parish. Ministry leaders are asked to
review their pages and keep them current and alive.
Parishioners are to contribute articles that they see or new
items to be added and be active on the interactive areas of the
site. The web team must constantly work to improve the site by
updating the current areas and developing new sites of
interest. Along this vein, we are currently expanding the
"Saints" and the "Iconography" pages and will be working on a
visual tour of the church. Also coming soon is an online Bible
Study hosted by Father Harrison.
I encourage you to take some time and view the parish
web site. I also highly recommend reading the "Parish Info,"
"Iconography," Father's pilgrimage to Greece (accompanied by
music from Zorba the Greek), the spiritual legacy of Father
Borichevsky with the audio of some of his radio programs, or
the "Kid's Page" with the videos of the Crucifixion and the
So, come on, join the fun! Surf's up. Catch a wave over to