We are very pleased to announce the appointment of our new Subdeacon for Interstellar Space (that is, the internet). John Paul Mallery is a website and marketing developer in Austin, Texas, USA and a lifelong Episcopalian. He is originally from Mississippi; the late Presiding Bishop John Maury Allin was his mentor and friend in the faith.
The new Subdeacon’s role is to develop our web platform to take advantage of new technology, adding social networking to develop our online community, while enhancing the centrality of the prayers.
Earlier this year, we raised $5000 to accomplish these goals. We signed a contract with another provider who later backed out of the deal. John stepped up to fill that gap as a volunteer.
He too has been a member here for several years. Indeed, the whole concept of developing a real online prayer community was his from the very beginning. We talked about this two years ago in one of the most creative conversations I’ve ever had.
I take responsibility for the time delay and hiring the wrong person. It’s my fault. And yet the slow pace of our rebuilding project has also been beneficial, because I’m clearer than ever about what I don’t want. Let me explain.
At the suggestion of Fr. Bob Solon, one of our clergy advisers who is currently a Th.D. student at General Seminary, we founded a Facebook group, which now has 900 members. It’s been a great benefit to our site, though its main function is to remind people to pray twice a day if they can, by providing a link and a preview of the Daily Office. I’ve “met” some great people in the Lord thanks to Facebook. Maybe someday we can gather for a weekend social/retreat.
However, it’s become clear since we established the Facebook group that violating members’ privacy is central to the company’s business plan. So we want our new site, which John is working on, to be the anti-Facebook.
We will never follow you around the web, as that company does, to learn every detail of your life. We will never commercialize your private information. Subdeacon John will help me see to that, because it’s all in the design. We think we can get by with a minimum of cookies.
We ask your prayers for all of our volunteer Subdeacons, including Andrew, Clint, Cody, Dinah and John. Each of them adds a distinct contribution to this site, and together they constitute a community of support and advice for me as Vicar.
An exciting aspect of Subdeacon John’s new project is the impact it will have on the Prayer List operated by Subdeacon Andrew. When you need emergency intercessions or sudden thanksgivings, our active community will be there to respond. And as Andrew makes changes to the ongoing prayer list, he will be able to post the revisions directly.
Most of all we want you to “meet” each other, rather than feel you’re praying in isolation with the aid of a machine. We live in a sinful world, but God has scattered saints everywhere and brings us together for worship, prayer, work and celebration. That’s what “church” is, a community, and so we will establish a better one, with God’s help, John’s study and designing, and your support.
God invented the internet, knowing that some would use it for Good News and others for bad. Please help us design the community you want, that actively spreads the Gospel beyond all previous boundaries. We solicit your participation, guidance and help.
Thank you for praying with us.
28 June, 2012