December 12, 2011

Community and Security

How much is too much?

I’m grappling with this question as I re-evaluate our policies about security and the Internet.

There are mean, scary people out there, and I want to do my part in protecting people of the diocese. At the same time, we are in a new time and place, where our virtual locations are nearly as important as the physical plants of our churches. People connect via e-mail, and they view our websites as reflective of our congregations.

So how do we balance security with community? Do we include e-mail addresses of our church leaders - -senior and junior wardens, diocesan commission chairs, priests, and deacons. By virtue of ordination or acceptance of these key positions, doesn’t that require a public – online - presence?

My general policy for our diocesan website is to have e-mail addresses listed for these leaders. We don’t list home physical addresses but e-mail ones seem to find that balance of accessibility without sacrificing safety. But that means people still are vulnerable to hate e-mail or to malicious spammers. 

Is accessibility and accountability worth the risk? 

I await your good advice. I think this is difficult enough that we need to constantly re-assess. What do you think? What is the practice of your church?