Back during the winter, council discussed looking at an automated calling system for the church. This is a system that can send out short recorded voice messages or text messages to the congregation. Pastor Mindy had used one at her last church and found it quite useful for sending out reminders of upcoming events or alerts in case of unexpected things like power outages, etc. We first applied for a grant from one of the major companies that offer this type of service, but did not get it, so we applied to the Endowment to fund a 1 year trial of DialMyCalls. If it proves useful, we would then put it in the budget for future years (at a cost of ~$550/year). The Endowment agreed and we are now getting things setup. The DialMyCalls system can send out text messages to cell phones and voice messages that can go to either cells or land lines. We can also set up various groups so that we can target smaller groups within the church rather than sending to everyone. At the moment we’ve created the following groups: General (everyone who signs up will be part of this group, this is where things like weather or power issues would go, as well as reminders for things like 200th Anniversary events), Council, Women’s Guild, Men of Grace, Choir, Young Adults, Youth/Family, Sunday School, and Prayer (we haven’t had a prayer chain in a while, but this would be trying to reinvigorate the idea). We can set up more groups if/when we see the need, and retire groups if there isn’t enough interest. We’ve had a few people that we’ve done a couple of experiments with, but it is now time to open things up to the entire congregation. Rather than automatically loading up all the phone numbers that we have in the office, we’re going to ask people to opt-in, since we dislike unsolicited calls as much as you do. We’ll have a sign up sheet in the narthex the next few Sundays or you can send an e-mail to email@example.com. We’d like you to put down your name, phone number (cell, home, or both) and any of the special groups you would like to be a part of. At present, we would expect that folks signing up would receive 1-3 calls or texts per week depending on the groups they choose to be part of.