by Jon White, Café editor
A year ago the Café transitioned into a new stage of life; we formally incorporated as non-profit and began seeking the financial support of our readers. We were faced with that choice because our site had grown too big for the private servers where it lived, and we needed to engage the services of a commercial server company (we use Bluehost, BTW). Because of that we also needed to update the software we use to manage the site and its contents, which meant a whole new look for the site – which not everyone loved – but the same great content remained! It was a bit of a gamble, but one I am happy to say has worked out pretty well. Donations have met our operating costs and readership continues to grow, as does our reach on social media.
So I’m here again to ask for your support, but I’d like us to do more than just maintain; I’d like for the Cafe to be even better!
Oh, just in case you didn’t know, we are completely independent and autonomous ministry and receive no support from the Episcopal Church, nor are we a ministry of any diocese, parish or other church institution.
My wish list for 2016
First off, we have always relied on volunteers for everything we do, from content creation to addressing technical issues with the site. If we can get sufficient support, I’d like to be able to create our first paid position, a part-time journalist who can follow up on stories and create even more original content. A free press, with investigative abilities is as important to the accountability and transparency of our church leadership as it is for civil authorities. We’d also like to contract with a technical service provider (our own geek, as it were) to ensure emerging issues are dealt with with quickly without imposing too heavily on our volunteers.
I’d also like to begin the process of a custom redesign of our site to meet our specific needs. Our current layout works pretty well, but after a year we have a better idea of what’s working and what the weakenesses are – and what opportunities we’re missing. Last year we had no resources and little time and I’m pretty pleased with how things turned out, but I also know how much better it could be if we had the time and resources to plan and execute a site to meet our specific needs.
And for a stretch goal, I’d really like to create a Spanish language version of the Café and am intent doing so as soon as possible, but that is a really big undertaking and we need some dedicated effort and resources to make it happen.
So there you go, you can make it happen (or not) – but I can promise that we will continue to do all we can to bring you the best content possible.
And lest I forget, I want to thank all of the volunteers who have made this amazing first year of EpiscopalCafe2.0 possible: Andrew Gerns, Cara Modisett, Rosalind Hughes, David Streever, David Allen, Matthew Weston, John Chilton, Ann Fontaine, Anne Smith, Martin Elfert, Jennifer Brandlon, Amy Haynie, Lora Walsh, Leslie Scoopmire, Kristin Fontaine, Maria Evans, Linda Ryan, Linda McMillan, David Sellery, Laurie Gudim, Annette Joseph, and Alice Campbell as well as all of our contributors!
If you’d rather not make a donation online, donations can also be mailed to: Episcopal Cafe, 200 Virginia St, Beckley, WV 25801.