Tonawanda News — It’s usually considered bad form to use your cell phone in church. But on a recent Sunday, not to long ago, parishioners from St. Vincent De Paul Parish were asked to bring their phones to mass.
At one point in the service, when everyone pulled their phones out of purses and pockets, the church stepped into the future of evangelizing, as all the parishioners simultaneously texted a new online service that would change the way they communicate with each other.
The service is called “Flocknote” and it was designed by a Texan who thought that weekly sermons, traditional “snail mail” and church bulletins were simply not efficient enough in allowing church members to stay connected. David Hayes of Wheatfield, a church member who led the process of installation, said the service uses social media to provide a deeper connectivity.
“If you look at how most parishes and churches in general communicate today, they have bulletins and websites, but this is really taking it to the next level,” he said.
That means church leaders can use texts, tweets and Facebook to share important messages instantly. The program has already helped other churches solve big problems, according to church member Annie Esposito, who came up with the idea to use Flocknote.
“There are a couple of neat stories I’ve heard around the country,” Esposito said. “Flocknote saved Holy Week for one parish. The city had planned a construction project right in front of the church, right during Holy Week. The parish was already using Flocknote. They sent out a text asking parishioners to please contact the city, and all these people did. Sure enough the city heard the request and delayed the project until after Easter.”
The program can also assist with events such as winter storms, notifying people when an activity is closed at the last minute; or can send a message from the pastor.