Finding Open-Licensed Pictures on Flickr

If you’re using photo’s or other images in a presentation, newsletter, leaflet, or anything else, then it’s  important to make sure you are using images which you’re allowed to use. The photo sharing website Flickr makes it easy for photographers to license their photo’s under something called ‘Creative Commons‘ which allows you to use their photo for free, usually under the condition that you give them attribution. This post will walk you through finding Creative Commons licensed images on Flickr.

1 / Search and filter.
First, go to and find the search box located at the top right of the page. Enter a search term and hit return, you’ll be then be presented with oodles of thumbnails. Continue reading

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Hi to all readers who have arrived at the Comms Blog.  I am the senior end of the Comms Team, senior in terms of age that is, to Jon who is the tecky whiz kid.  In my case the phrase about old dogs and new tricks comes to mind… but with a large amount of optimism thrown in, and Jon on the other end of the emails/skype I am to disprove this.  Watch this space….

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Why WiFi?

Over the next month or so you will hopefully see some free and open WiFi appear in the main church at St John’s. WiFi provided like this, in this context, is beginning to go out of fashion these days due to the ubiquity of mobile internet – but we’re not introducing WiFi to be useful, we’re introducing it to be welcoming.

iPad Bible (by Brett Jordon on Flickr)

I was struck last Sunday evening, by the recent increase in iPads and Bibles on phones being used in church (especially after the speaker that evening proudly told us all he was Mac fan and never preached without his iPad), not least by quite a few staff members. Having spent many years upstairs on the PA and video desks I’ve seen smartphones and then iPads during services slowly increase – but usually only the with the people you’d expect to be the early adopters of the tech – not the ‘early majority’ (to use marketing talk) who are the ones we’re seeing now.

WiFi spot (by TheDigitel on Flickr)

This got me onto an old idea that had sort of wondered through my brain after last year’s Christian New Media Conference (CNMAC). Free WiFi in church. Church has a stuffy image, one that most people would associate with a dislike of glaring screens and the social web – especially inside and during a service. By saying ‘we have WiFi, it’s free, just connect’ we’re saying it’s ok to use your iPad in a service, it’s ok to make notes in Evernote and it’s ok to use the Bible app on your phone so you can compare versions, highlight and share. Because it is ok.

I don’t expect the WiFi to actually get that much use, most people have mobile internet, my main reason is simply so that we can say ‘we have WiFi’. Saying ‘we have WiFi’  is another of those little ways we can say that we’re a little bit more normal than you might think, and coming to a service isn’t like going to a service in middle ages (or what your gran took you too when you were 9), we’ve moved on.

I’ve gathered some associated reading on this if you’re interested:

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Living Stones – News from mission partners

At St John’s we support a large number of mission partners through our Living Stones program – these are people commissioned and sent out [...] to full-time Christian work, either in this country or overseas”.

At the moment we produce a regular printed newsletter featuring four or five mission partners on a rotation basis, and this is given out at Sunday services. This Sunday, issue 11 of the newsletter was published. This got us thinking about how we could bring Living Stones news online, and we had a few broad thoughts we’d like to share.

A group blog is an obvious idea for this, and I often cite the DfID blogs as great examples of group blogs – for example the International Citizen Service blog. Regular posts from all  the contributors keep the blog balanced and fresh – providing content on a range of topics under the broad subject. But how would this work for us with so many mission partners? I would have thought perhaps one post a week would be about right – so maybe ask those involved to post once a month. But that only leaves space for 4 or 5 people to be involved – I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I’d quite like a few more than that involved!

So what about several posts a week? It’s certainly an option if interest from mission partners warrants it, but I want to be careful not to overload people with news. Another option still is to have 5 partners blogging every month for 6 months, and then bring new ones on – but I shy away from this a bit as I’d really love those reading the blog to develop  a bit of a relationship with those blogging, so they want to follow their stories over more than just 6 posts. To me, limiting the amount of time that somebody’s blogging for just defeats the point a little.

Audiobooing (by tuija on Flickr)

There’s all sorts of other things we could do too, Twitter, for example could be great for people where internet access is limited, as it can be updated via text message. Or what about asking people to Audioboo their prayer requests every morning?

Of course this all relies upon people wanting to commit the time – on top of regular prayer letters and other updates they might be producing – but I think there’ll be at least a few up for it. And it’ll be a while before we get anything together I assure you, but if you’ve got ideas or experience – we’d love to hear ‘em in the comments.

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Welcome to commsblog.

Welcome to commsblog, the blog from the Communications Team at St John’s Church. We want to use this blog to share a little bit about our experiences in running communications for a large, modern church. We’ll try to cover all aspects of our communications work, not just the digital. We’re also keen to talk to others in similar roles doing similar things. Please do get stuck in and comment on what we write, we’ll be very grateful if you do.


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Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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