New Spirit

Gary Allman Five-minute read.   Resources

Welcome to the first ‘online only’ version of Spirit. Its been a long time in the making. It’s was (and is) a huge project to undertake, and it will evolve as we learn how to get the best from this new format. First and foremost, you can print it if you don’t like reading off of a screen. But, I’m jumping ahead of myself.

Diocesan Communications Director, Gary Allman photographing the ‘Awakening the Spirit’ event. Image credit: Gary Zumwalt

I’ll admit to a combination of deep disappointment tinged with anger when the delegates of the Special Convention of the diocese voted to approve a budget that defunded the printing and postage budgets for Spirit. We couldn’t even send the 5,000 families who received the magazine a postcard to explain that there wouldn’t be another print issue.

At the same time I was handed the challenge to produce an online version of Spirit that could be printed. We already produced an online magazine-style version, but unfortunately, while that version could be printed, it wasn’t phone friendly, and 48% of our online readers use their phones to access the diocese online. As that wasn’t going to work, I set about a complete re-design.

Personally, I am very pleased with the result which we’ve been able to put together in — what is in design and development terms — a very short time, and with limited resources.

We’ve tried to keep the general layout and design familiar, and the print version uses bigger print to aid readability. For now, to print a copy just click on the print version in the menu and use your web browser’s print facility. We’ll be looking at adding an easier to use ‘print button’ in the future. You can print the entire magazine, or just individual articles, depending on what you happen to be looking at on your screen. There’s some help here.

An online magazine has great advantages over a print version. We are not limited to a certain number of pages and no longer need to edit text to fit on a page. That means we can publish longer articles, we can include more pictures — over 120 in this issue — and even videos, there are three, see if you can find them! Not needing to meet the stricter demands of magazine print quality, we can now include cell phone photographs. We can provide links to related information that you may find of interest and it is possible for you to search for the things you are interested in. We have also provided a way for you to find articles organized by topic too — spirit.diowestmo.org/topics/

All of this I hope will help bring you all closer together in the community that is The Diocese of West Missouri.

And finally there are two things I really love about the online format. First, if you (or I) spot a mistake after I’ve hit ‘publish’, I can go back and make it right. You can’t do that in print. And, second when I am facing that blank screen and having to write my piece, I don’t have to fill a page. I can write as little or as much as my whim dictates.

I hope you enjoy the new format, please let me know about any problems you have, and keep on submitting news and articles.

In reality this is a double issue – so don’t expect subsequent issues to have as much content! Since the March Issue of Spirit, we’ve held:

There was a lot more going on besides, with several installations of priests which I’ve just not got time to include. And, there is a ‘whole lot more’ covered in the articles of this issue.

As a member of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, I’d like to talk about one event in particular.

In September I attended the human trafficking workshop for men held at St. John’s in Springfield. Mike McDonnell — St. George Camdenton, and the Rev. Brian McVey — Church of the Advent, Nashville, Tennessee were the keynote speakers. The meeting was organized by the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. I am sad to say, given the importance of the subject, the workshop was quite sparsely attended.

It might be that the worthy men of the diocese do not believe that they can influence human trafficking, or that it impacts their lives. The paper that Mike presented would have opened their eyes, disturbed them, and quite possibly precipitated some in-depth soul searching.

Even more harrowing were the stories of the victims of human trafficking and the criminals behind it, told by Fr. Brian, who has spent many years providing ministry to the victims and perpetrators.

So, I challenge the men of the diocese to take 20 minutes and read Mike’s paper. Next year I shall be inviting Fr. Brian to write an article on Human trafficking from his unique perspective.

I’d like to warn readers that Mike’s paper makes hard reading. It doesn’t pull any punches, and confronts, head on, a topic most people would rather not discuss. Human, and specifically male sexuality. The sad truth is that if we choose to be offended and pretend that this problem doesn’t exist, there cannot be an informed discussion. Without discussion there will be no change.

Gary Allman is Communications Director with The Diocese of West Missouri.

Gary Allman

Gary Allman is the Director of Communications at The Diocese of West Missouri

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