21st Century Headaches

Service Bulletin for 25 October 2020
 25 October 2020 A Proper 25 Service Script = .pdf
 25 October 2020 A Proper 25 Service Script = Word Document

“Rabbi Hillel, is it possible to teach all of Torah while standing on one foot?”

Panel from the bronze “Knesset Menorah” in Jerusalem.


21st Century Headaches

You’ve heard me say this over and over again: “Whoever lives by the sword, dies by the sword” is not a proverb about violence. It’s about technology.

Whether it is a hand pump drawing water from a well, an electric refrigerator, a car, or a computer, nothing is perfect and failure is always a potential problem. How many of  you have lost a freezer full of food because the power went out? How many of you have gotten into your car for a routine errand only to discover the battery was dead — or worse!? How many of you have had your cell phone die in the middle of a call because it’s charge ran down to zero? Whoever lives through their Twitter account dies by that account when it is hacked by people who want to steer you in one direction or another.

This maxim has been on my mind lately as we have tried to respond to two particular sources of headaches for our congregational leaders and perhaps for you.

The United State Postal Service

Long story short: we used to have two mailing addresses, one to our physical address and one to a PO Box. When COVID-19 restrictions were first put in place, we arranged  to forward all of our mail from our location to our PO Box.

I’m not really interested in blaming anyone here, but our experience with USPS mail has been pretty dismal over the last several months. Some of our mail, at least, has been forwarded from our Main Street address to PO Box 628, but not in a timely fashion — to say nothing of many items that are simply missing. For example, three out of four of the monthly lease bills for our copier got lost, though one made it into our hands, albeit two weeks late. Many of you have brought to our attention the fact that checks you have written were not deposited, sometimes for weeks, sometimes not at all.

Please know that we collect our mail from the Post Office regularly and we make deposits weekly. If you find that a check you have written has not yet cleared, it is almost assuredly because it is caught up somewhere in our mail system. I am sorry about that, but there isn’t much we can do from the Emmanuel Church office.

With respect to contributions, right now the safest and most reliable way is to use the PayPal button, which you can access from the Online Giving tab above.

And please, if you have anything to mail to us, please address it to Emmanuel Church, PO Box 628, Bel Air, MD 21014.

Google

It is second nature for people to start looking for information or a website through this most popular search engine. If you look for a listing for Emmanuel Church, Bel Air, MD, you will find links to our Facebook page and to our website itself, as well as our listing with the Episcopal Church Center, and a couple of pages with local Harford County attractions. If you look closely at our website link, you will see a blue tag indicating that Google thinks our website has been recently hacked. It recommends that you do not click on the link.

Our website has not been hacked! And, in fact, if you click on the link, you will be sent directly to our site without any issues. If you open the warning tag you will discover that it takes you to a place where the site can be “registered” with Google and and then “verified” as safe — something which, it seems, would need to be done every time the owner updates it. Though there is no fee to do this, it requires providing a wealth of contact information to the company, which I have no doubt would lead to endless calls and emails offering to sell Emmanuel Church advertising opportunities. It also allows them access to any links, browser histories, cookies, and other collectibles that may be associated with the website account. It is a “catch-22” situation. Their popularity is such that we need to have this tag removed to prevent it from scaring visitors and newcomers away. And yet the cost is higher than I feel comfortable permitting. I have initiated a conversation with our Diocesan webmaster and our new wed designers to see about fixing this issue without sacrificing our online security. Stay tuned.

By the way, I have long been a fan and use of Bing.com for searching. When you look for Emmanuel Church, Bel Air on Bing, you will find no such tags or warnings.

These are just two of the swords we are living with right now — there are a couple of more. Your Wardens, your Vestry, and yours truly want you to know what we are working with and that we have taken all the steps we can to address these issues. So, in the words of an old Sunday School class pin: Please be Patient! God is not finished with  us yet!

The Rev’d Canon Dr. Mark Gatza

Rector

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