‘My Methodist Space’

The United Methodist Church today rolled out its new website — still “UMC.org”:http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.2453643/k.6EAB/Welcome_to_the_New_UMCorg.htm — that includes “the first large-scale social networking site developed for people of faith.”

The site’s “community”:http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.2454807/k.A7C4/UMCorg_Community.htm and social network, modeled on MySpace and Facebook, allows visitors to connect with one another 24 hours a day. People can set up personal profiles, establish networks of “friends” and upload photos.

This is a church network, though. It filters out offensive language. There are reviews of video and photo content. And visitors can also flag inappropriate content to be checked out.

ourchurch_main_467.jpg“UMC.org is more than a Web site—it’s about relationships and bringing people of faith together in innovative new ways,� says the Rev. Larry Hollon, head of United Methodist Communications in Nashville.

It is a good-looking site, easy to navigate. There’s a lot of good material on “our rich theological heritage.”

The new site also includes:

An “Our People” section, “where visitors can identify their own personal spiritual gifts, see how they can use their individual talents to make a difference, and read inspirational stories of faith about members of The United Methodist Church.”

A “Prayâ€? tab, where visitors can submit a prayer request.

A “Serve� section, which connects people with volunteer opportunities in their communities.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.