The Realm of Possibility

| February 4th, 2024

Dear Beloved Community,

In these weekly letters, I often enjoy the opportunity to write reflectively for you about a happening in the life of the church, or the chance to tell a meaningful story. And some weeks, I simply need to pass along some news! This week is one of the latter.

This February, our church family will fully adopt a new tech platform for our shared ministry called Realm Connect, available as an app to download on your smartphone or tablet and as a website to login to on your computer. Perhaps you’ve heard this mentioned around the church house in the past weeks and months! Or perhaps you’ve noticed the “Members” button in the top right hand corner of our church website, and wondered where that would take you. Realm Connect functions in part as our church database system, coordinating all the data of our membership to our giving, our Sunday School class rosters to our summer camp payments. And with the full adoption of Realm Connect by you, our active members and friends, Realm Connect will become the primary place where you can go online to find all the inner workings and information available to the active congregation of First on Fifth. 

Let me tell you more!

In the weeks ahead, you will receive an email from our wonderful Ministry Assistant, Olena Withrow, inviting you to login to Realm Connect for the first time. As you do, you’ll be able to see your own profile within our church’s system. There, you can add a picture, or update your email address. You’ll also be able to see the various groups you participate in within the church, like your Sunday School class, or your musical ensemble, or your committee or ministry team. You can find church documents like Quarterly Church Conference reports and the Bylaws (riveting, I tell you!), look up your pew-mate’s mailing address for the card you’ve been meaning to send, register and pay for any upcoming events, and even track your family’s confidential giving to the ministries of First on Fifth. All of this information is customized to you!

Perhaps by now you’re getting a bit anxious, wondering how in the world you’ll know what to do! We’re all in luck, because throughout February, Olena will be offering training sessions and troubleshooting time as you begin to learn how to use Realm Connect. Stay tuned for that schedule.

Once you have your login, you can start playing around in Realm Connect and familiarizing yourself with it. You can also watch all sorts of training videos that Realm Connect provides by clicking this link. Our church’s staff and elected leaders have received their logins and been through an initial training, and are already using Realm Connect with excitement for what it will do. 

Our church’s adoption of Realm Connect has, like most things worth doing, taken a village! Deep gratitude to the host of folks who have brought it to life, including:

  • Scott Hudgins, who first introduced our staff to Realm Connect’s vast possibilities
  • Judy Eustice, who served as our Realm Transition Manager as we began this work two years ago and waded through scores of data
  • An initial group of members who served as “guinea pigs” with Realm, including many who served on the Administrative Task Force during the pandemic and helped to give it life
  • Sally Barbour, who faithfully attends to data in Realm with her exacting eye
  • Amy McClure, whose pastoral sensitivity to how Realm will serve our people has meant so much
  • Olena Withrow, who has picked up the baton and is carrying us across the Realm finish line!

More to come about Realm Connect in the weeks ahead!

Together in God’s work of Love,
Pastor Emily