Welcome to Realm Connect

Nearly a year ago the Laurel Heights UMC Finance Committee approved the purchase of a new church administration software called Realm Connect. A leading software tool in local churches, Realm Connect allows members and staff to find an email address, check for church news and updates, send a group notice for a meeting, and communicate in other ways within the Laurel Heights congregation. It also allows members to manage their financial giving, such as making a contribution or checking on the status of a pledge. The Realm Connect application can be placed on a desktop computer or a smart phone.

Up to now, membership information (names, phone numbers, addresses, etc.) has been available to us all in print-out form, and in prior years in a pictorial directory format. Of course, in both cases the contents were outdated very soon after printing. This new program will update regularly to include new members, changes of information, etc.

For the last several months the church staff has had the benefit—I would say the blessing—of having the Realm app on our phones and desktop computers, and with it the ability to access an address, a phone number, or an email at the stroke of three or four keys. Near the beginning of this year, the Realm Connect app was shared beyond the staff with a few lay leaders, and about two months ago the Administrative Council was invited to secure Realm Connect in order to begin using its many features for connecting with each other and the wider church family.

Later this month Realm Connect will be made available to the entire congregation. Only members of Laurel Heights will have access to relevant information, and each member can determine which information can be shared with the online directory. Consider a scenario in which you are wanting to reach out to a new acquaintance, a church leader, or a visitor to your online Sunday school class. You will be able to do so without having to either consult a computer print-out or pictorial directory that may or may not have updated information or call the church office for a phone number or email address. I hope you will find, as I have, that the difference is dramatic.

On the flyleaf of his novel, Howard’s End, the writer E. M. Forster placed these two words: Only connect. With that simple message he described so very well what our life together is about: connecting. I look forward to the many, many ways we will be able to build and strengthen that matrix of community—especially during a time of physical separation—by this wonderful new means.

Grace and peace.

Rev. Paul L. Escamilla, Senior Pastor