Photographs: A Window to Our Parish

What personal value do photographs hold for you? I’m betting that certain photographs are a window into what most influences your life. Cherished photographs, and even those you’ve captured with your smart phone but will never actually print and frame, hold important memories and help shine a light on your priorities. They show who and what is most meaningful to you. This special relationship with photographs is not only enjoyed by millennials (although millennials especially connect with photography in new and exciting ways every time a popular new app is released)—it helps all of us connect with people and places, including at church.

In the same way photographs can share the story of your life, our parish uses photography to share our mission. After all, photographs visually reflect, in a very intimate way, how our parish truly welcomes others, how we “live out the message of Christ in love and service to all.” The adage, “a photo is worth a thousand words” is as true today as ever, despite the ease for which photographs can now be captured. Consider the impact of proclaiming that we are welcoming vs. actually seeing the warmth and sincerity inherent at this parish.

If you think about it (and I do!) telling this parish’s story is essentially why I was hired. I use both digital and print tools to document our community so that current members feel engaged and visitors feel invited to join us. Photos published online help those who are browsing our Facebook or web page to actually visualize what to expect should they decide to celebrate Mass or attend an event at our parish. Photography takes the intimidation factor out and increases a person’s comfort with our community even before they physically enter our building.

As most of you know, when photos are taken some are printed in our bulletin or newsletter. Few can deny their worth in strengthening the overall message of a printed document. Similarly, but on a much larger scale, many full color photos can be published online quickly—via our web page and social media—with the added convenience of being able to not only enjoy them in full color but also share them with family and friends. That sharing allows the photos taken and published at our parish to be woven into people’s personal stories. What an incredible gift for both parties of that transaction! As the main photographer at church activities, I am blessed to be able to help build not only our parish’s photo library but also to provide meaningful personal memories to those who are actively involved.

Late this summer, our 2017 pictorial directory will be available to all who contribute their household’s photo to it. The book, which will not only share pictures of our parishioners but will also visually layout a history of our parish, will be treasured by many. If you haven’t already done so, please consider getting your household’s photo taken so that you are included in this important resource.

For now, though, please consider utilizing the many vehicles we have for telling and sharing our parish’s story. Follow us on Facebook. Visit our web page. Read the bulletin and our newsletters from beginning to end. Be informed. Share our message of welcoming, service and love.

In addition, a brand new and exciting communications resource was launched Holy Week. The Church of St. Edward is using Instagram! If you aren’t familiar, Instagram is like a simplified version of Facebook, with an emphasis on mobile use and visual sharing. Our youth ministry program has been using Instagram for several years now, effectively engaging our younger parishioners. This new Instagram account will be used by our communications office and will reflect the many ministries and activities thriving at our parish. It is a resource where we will post our very best photos and videos and we hope you choose to engage with it.

As always, feel free to contact me with thoughts about better communications at the Church of St. Edward. I value your input. Together we will develop, archive and share the story of this wonderful parish!

Melissa Cavanaugh
Director of Communications