Friday, 3 September 2010

Ecumenical Websites: CTE

Churches Together In England uses an advanced website package.  This is a working website and if you're registered as a member of one CTE meeting or several, you have access to pages with minutes and meeting papers.  This has advantages because if you're close to a computer, you can download and print late papers.  The disadvantage is, of course, if you forget to look, you turn up without the papers!  Gone are the days when someone printed the papers and posted them to you; such are the benefits of technology!

However, this software allows for more uses than CTE makes of it, in terms of user interaction.  There is, for example, the possibility of a chat room for those who are registered and logged in.  As far as I can tell it has never been used. 

Members can write and post articles directly onto the site.  They can assign an article to any appropriate page and it will appear there after it has been moderated by CTE staff.  This page features some of the articles submitted to the site.  This facility could perhaps have greater prominence on the home page.

But I suspect most visitors to this site are not members.  What will they find?    I find this website harder to navigate than the CTBI site.  There is a system of menus and submenus, which is difficult to follow and if you don't know where to look can be quite frustrating.  Also, when you are several submenus deep it is rather easy to lose your place and have to start over again. 

There is a wealth of material and it is perhaps best to hunt around and see what you can find.  Good places to start might be Working Together, which offers a long list of issues where churches in England are collaborating and Common Cause, which lists some of the major ecumenical Christian organisations.

It is worth noting, this site is also the site for the work of the Free Churches Group.  They share their offices with CTE and also share the website.

Perhaps the best way to describe this site is eccentric.  There's a lot of interesting material on it, although you might depend upon serendipity to find stuff.  It is a pity CTE doesn't use the potential of the site to encourage conversations. 

Star rating: **** out of *****
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