Modern Technologies at a Historic Church

We live in an age when new technologies spread faster than ever. If you do not pay attention you can easily miss the birth, extremely popularity and eventual irrelevance of new technologies. The Walkman, for example, was born in 1978, became extremely popular in the 80’s and early 90’s but went by the wayside along with all cassette players when challenged by the shinny CDs in the mid-90’s. But cassettes are not alone in the music junk yards, in less than 10 years CDs have become the dinosaurs of music as digital formats now rules the world. One can argue the same thing for record players (I never had one), the original Personal Digital Organizers (I had one), VCR players (I have one in the attic), Fax machines (I had one), scanners (I sold the one I had), and eventually land telephone lines (I got rid of mine). It’s hard for me to believe that at one (fairly recent) time in my life none of these gadgets existed, then all of them became indispensable, and now they are irrelevant. But these are the fast times that we live in. This was not always the case. It took over 100 years for electricity to be widely available in America. Just one generation before me, my parents remember a time when there were no televisions or refrigerators around (by 1950, only 9 percent of U. S. households had televisions. The percentage was considerably lower outside of the U. S. where my parents grew up). The Internet is one of those things that was born in recent times and very quickly grew to be an indispensable need in the world. There are now few jobs that one can apply for without the Internet. Newspapers across the nation have gone bankrupt because of the Internet. The fastest growing retail venue is the Internet, which makes me wonder why Short Pump keeps getting bigger. Whether we like it or not, the world we live in is increasingly on-line. For that reason, it was inevitable that Providence Presbyterian Church should join the Internet age. The creation of the Providence website was a practical need. The website is the first point of contact for many families who move to this neighborhood. The website was how our current Youth Director, Steven Hughes found our church. Our website allows us to offer church information to visitors and also make church information available to church members. The most current and updated church calendar is always on the website. Information on current events and issues can always be found on the first page of the website.

The Internet is not only a form of communication but also a means of growth and fellowship. Yes, fellowship. There is something called “social network websites” like Facebook. Facebook was born in 2004 and in less than 5 years it has over 200 million uses around the world and an estimated $300 million income in 2008. Like any technology there are positive and negative effects. The good that comes from online social networks is that otherwise fragmented groups and people can now be connected through the internet. The way Facebook works is that you create a profile on the website. Once you have created a personal profile you can “friend” people so that they can see your profiles and your updates. There are security applications to ensure that strangers do not see your profile and private information. In this way, relatives and friends who are otherwise disconnected and might only hear of one another through an annual birthday card or Christmas card, can now keep up with one another on a daily basis. Through the Providence Presbyterian Church Facebook account church members and Providence Presbyterian Preschool families can follow what is going on at church from week to week. I would encourage all of you who have yet to visit our website to do so: https://providencepc.wordpress.com/ If you are not on the church mailing list, that is, if you have never received an email from Providence Presbyterian Church, please email us a ProvidenceGumSpring@gmail.com to be place on the mailing list. We rarely send out emails and mass emails are always sent out bcc so that your email will remain confidential.

Finally, I encourage you to open a Facebook account. You’ll be surprised at the old friends you’ll find and the new things you’ll learn about church members. Here are the steps to open a Facebook account

Step 1 Go to http://www.facebook.com. Towards the right side of the screen you will see a “Sign Up” Screen. On here you will need to enter your information. Notice it says email. If you do not have an email address yet you can get a free one off gmail.com or yahoo.com. After you enter your information click “Sign Up.” You can select what information is made public after you sign in so your birthday can and should be confidential (at least the year of your birth).

Step 2 After you click sign up they will ask you to verify a few words. Enter the words from the screen in the text box below it and click “sign up” again

Step 3 Facebook will then send an email to the email account you entered. You will need to go to this account and open their email. The email will direct you to click on a link to verify that your real. After you complete this you can login to facebook with your email address and password that you entered. You can login by going to facebook.com and entering your email and password at the top of the screen.

Step 4 Facebook also has the option for you to add all your friends in your email address book that you have. This is an easy way to get a quick contact group. You must wait for your friends to confirm your friendship. You too will be asked to confirm all friendship so that no one can randomly “Friend” you. Once this is complete you can edit your profile.

Step 5 At the top of your facebook screen you will see a profile link. Click that to make edits to your profile. You can also click on settings to edit other items like email settings, etc. You should also go to the “Settings” like on the upper right side of your screen and click on “Privacy Setting” and then on “Profile.” You can then decide who can see your information. I suggest “Only Friends” for all categories.

Step 6 Clicking on your friends link will allow you to see all of the friends you have. If you click on one of your friends it will show all of their friends so you can add people you might know on their list.

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