In Your Midst
Caught in the web
April 98

If you are one of the many who are still computer challenged in the '90s, you may be asking yourself, "what is a Web page and why would a church need one?"

www.stjames-cathedral.org. By now many of you have seen this address in the weekly bulletin. To most, it simply means St. James has a new Web page which allows us to use today's exciting new communication technologies to share our presence with people of all faiths throughout the Northwest and around the world. To those of us who may not be quite as techno savvy, these funny lower case letters with dots, a dash, and an org are yet another example of computer mumbo jumbo sneaking into our everyday lives.

Well, listen up Internet dummies! The World Wide Web is simply information organized electronically, as opposed to the printed page. Information is located on individual Web pages and stored on computers worldwide as part of the Internet. Although the Internet can mean different things to different people, communication is chief among its uses. The good news is that the Internet has become so easy to use, even a complete novice can readily access information and enjoy doing so.

St. James has chosen to set up a Web page as a means of establishing our presence in the greater community, as a way to share our faith and commitment to Christ beyond these Cathedral doors and beyond our congregation at Sunday Mass. There is no question that we have a physical presence with our magnificent building in the midst of a great city. But what gives the building life and spirit is not just its architecture, but what goes on inside it. And so great has been the desire to find out what goes on "inside" St. James, that we have already had people from Los Angeles to Baltimore logging on for a glimpse of our Cathedral community

The Cathedral Web page was launched last September after many hours of planning by a group of dedicated parishioners (the technology savvy types) who were determined to share the good news of St. James Cathedral in yet another very powerful and far reaching way. Starting out small, some of the first things the Web page provided were mass schedules, a map, weekly bulletins, and information on ministries. This is valuable information for all of us, but especially for visitors and out of town guests. As the site has grown, more and more information has been added. Planning a wedding? The Cathedral Wedding brochure can be found on the Web page. Want to read the Archbishop's weekly letter? It's right there too. We can also link to other sites, such as the Vatican Web page. Even this newsletter (In Your Midst) will soon be available on the Cathedral Web page.

The Web page is also a valuable source for special events information and breaking news. During the upcoming Holy Week, for example, you may find it more convenient to check the Web page for services and schedules than calling the Parish office.

Since the Cathedral Web page hit the Internet last year, it has continued to build and grow with seemingly endless potential. While this fascinating electronic medium can, of course, never be a replacement for the personal contact essential to our ministry, the Web page is another tool to help us spread God's word. While it is certainly no substitute for trudging up the hill in the rain to join God's blessed Cathedral community at Mass, it allows the community of St. James to reach out and be present to others who may be in Seattle or across the world in Shanghai. Through the Internet, people of all faiths and no faith at all can find us when they need us. Here over these Internet wires, all God's people can begin to experience our powerful parish community committed to living out our worship in service to one another.

Bev Gross is an interior designer and an active member of St. James parish, serving as a chore minister, a lector and member of the Cathedral Development Committee.

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