Google is currently rolling out its updated Calendar for web, with significant changes to both appearance and functionality. How will this impact churches that use Google Calendar? Read on.
No action is required on the part of users to implement the update. The changes will happen automatically over the next several weeks, with some ability to go back to the “old” calendar during the transition period. After February 28, 2018, all users will have the new calendar, and there will be no option to roll back to the previous version. It is also possible to manually upgrade your calendar immediately, as explained in the announcement linked above.
Every church is different, but here are a few changes that are relevant to churches:
- Each event now displays more information, such as which room is reserved, or who else is attending the event.
- Adding events is much quicker – click any open spot on the calendar, type in the name and time of the event, hit “enter” and you’re done!
- The new calendar has a responsive layout – the calendar display adjusts automatically to your screen or window size; no more scrolling to see the whole calendar.
- The calendar is more customizable, in terms of color, detail density, and event layout.
If your church uses Google calendar, either internally (a private calendar shared by church staff and volunteers) or externally (a public calendar embedded on your church website), it is important to prepare staff and volunteers for the change.
A church event in the new Google Calendar.
Internally, this may be an opportunity for church staff and volunteers to use Google Calendar more deeply, such as scheduling calls between staff members and volunteers in different places, and conducting the call directly within the calendar. Perhaps room reservations can be coordinated through the calendar, visible to all, rather than on a paper list visible to a few.
Externally, people looking for a church will likely be impressed to see an active calendar displayed on the website of a church they are considering visiting or attending. If your church does not already have an online calendar (for example, through the Church Website Project), then Google Calendar is worth investigating.
Tyler Stahl is a new member of the diocesan Technology Committee, having joined in November. A freelance web developer, he is the webmaster for his home parish, Christ Church, Ridgewood.