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Consultant reports on communication technology survey

The Pacific NW Conference will discuss next steps in response to Communications and Technology Assessment.

The Conference Council and Board of Directors received a briefing on Nov. 6, on the results of the Communications and Technology Assessment. The study was commissioned by the conference and completed by Kathleen Hosfeld of Hosfeld & Associates, Inc., a Seattle consulting firm.

The conference commissioned the study to “identify more effective ways to use the gifts and skills within the conference through efficient modern communications means, methods and technology.”

According to Kathleen, who is also moderator of All Pilgrims UCC in Seattle, the study combined surveys, interviews and professional assessment to respond to 30 specific questions about communications means, methods and equipment used by churches, conference staff and conference leadership. Surveys and interviews reached about 50 percent of the PNC churches, with representation on both sides of the Cascades.

Under the leadership of Conference Minister Mike Denton, new life and enthusiasm have infused the PNC leadership structure.  As new energy flows in to revitalize its role in engaging member churches and doing ministry, the conference lacks basic communications infrastructure to support full participation, to further facilitate such revitalization or to provide transparency of action.

The report documents a significant “digital divide,” in which many churches have virtually no communications technology or infrastructure. This report says that the PNC as a whole, and the churches within it, lag behind nonprofit organizations of comparable size in communications practice and technology adoption.

The study also found that clergy who lead churches, congregation members, conference leaders, specialized ministers and youth have distinctly separate needs for communication, and varying degrees of interest in bettering their technology proficiency.

Hosfeld & Associates included in the report a series of recommendations for how to address technology needs and desires going forward.

One key recommendation was to bring all churches up to a baseline level for email, Internet, Website and distance meeting equipment.

Another recommendation is to provide technical support and training to establish baseline proficiency with communications technology within the Conference.

Mike will be meeting with Kristine Zakarison, moderator, and Brandon Duran, moderator-elect, to digest the report in detail, to identify implications for the conference and identify next steps in response to the report’s findings.

Copies of the report are available for download from the Communications and Technology project blog,

Those without digital access can request a printed copy from the Conference Office.

Copyright Pacific Northwest Conference News © November-December 2010


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