This week, a series of new features launched on A Church Near You based on feedback from our 16,000 editors. Churches using the site will now be able to embed videos onto their pages, add biographies for clergy and use the site as a Benefice website, with new Benefice homepages and an easy tool to copy events onto every church in the Benefice, saving editors from entering this information multiple times.

A Church Near You is an important tool for the Church of England, with 80 per cent of visitors coming to the site for the first time, this is an amazing opportunity for local churches to reach out to people in their community and welcome them into the church for a life event, special event or regular service.

Has your church claimed their FREE page on A Church Near You? With nearly 1.2 million users annually, ACNY is at the heart of all the Church’s national campaigns; 23 per cent of churches that engaged with the site this Christmas saw an increase in attendance figures.

Visit A Church Near You today and explore:

  • The new Benefice homepage. If you are the editor of multiple churches in a Benefice, you can now edit a home page for these churches, with a friendly name of the Benefice, cover image and welcome message. This will have tiles to link visitors to all the churches in your Benefice. To edit this, click on 'My Churches and Benefices', next to the 'Log In' link, and click on the name of the Benefice to edit. Every editor will see this link, but only editors of churches in a Benefice should edit this. If you want to now use ACNY as your Benefice home page, you could now point your domain name to your Benefice home page. Find out how to do that here.
  • You can now copy events to the pages of other churches you edit. Edit an event or service you have already saved, scroll down to the bottom of the form and select the 'Copy' box. You will then be taken to a page where you can select which churches, from those you edit, you would like this event or service to appear on.
  • Regular events that don't follow a weekly pattern can now be added using a custom form. When adding a new service or event, select 'Regular event' and select 'Custom' from the drop down list of options. This will then open a calendar, where you can simply click the days on which the event or service happens. 
  • Videos can now be embedded in pages. Click on 'Add a page' or edit one you have already created on the left hand side tab and scroll down to the 'Video URL' section. Paste the web address of a YouTube or Vimeo video and scroll down to the bottom of the page and select 'Save'. 
  • Re-order your pages. Now, when you add or edit a page you're able to choose in which order they will appear. Before saving a page, scroll to the bottom and select a number between 1 and 10. 
  • When you reply to an inbox message from the public, the enquiry will now be populated in the body of the email software you use, and the subject line will also be filled in. We've also included a link from the inbox to show you how to use your own email client/service such as Outlook or Gmail to reply to emails received into your A Church Near You inbox so that you do not have to copy and paste information.
  • You can add a biography about your vicar, or select which member of clergy leads your church if you are part of a team ministry. Click on the 'More information' tab and scroll to the bottom of your list of clergy and click 'Edit'. Ensure all those clergy who lead your church are ticked, and de-select those without a direct role in your church. Write a biography about your clergy, such as their interests, hobbies or what they love about the church.
  • Link to your Instagram page. If your church uses Instagram, click on the pencil on the 'Social' tab on the left hand menu and paste the URL of your Instagram account so that visitors can find you on that social platform. 
  • New Tags: many of the tags requested by our editors have been added, including: Eco Church, Refreshments provided, Choral Evensong, Men's group, Women's group and Worship band. There are also more tags available for News and Notices.

If you use A Church Near You and have ideas of how to make it simpler to edit your page or improve the experience of the public looking for local worshipping communities, please tell us your suggestion using our A Church Near You form here.

We have lots more exciting plans for A Church Near You and will continue working to grow the platform. You can find out what’s planned on our Trello board here.

If you would like to become an editor of your church's A Church Near You page, find out how here.

Amaris Cole
Digital Communication Manager

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