This policy applies to all clergy, staff and contingent workers (“Employees”) of the Church of St. Luke in the Fields (“St. Luke’s”). Parishioners and other members of the St. Luke’s community (“External Users”, and collectively with Employees “Users”) are strongly encouraged to follow this policy as indicated below.
The purpose of this policy is to help you to understand how to use Social Media when:
- Using Social Media channels sponsored by St. Luke’s or technology assets owned by St. Luke’s such as computers, smart phones, and software, or devices that access St. Luke’s data
- Referring to St. Luke’s or our interests which include our:
- People (employees, former employees, contingent workers)
- Services and programs
Collectively these are “Covered Social Media Activities.” Personal use of Social Media by employees must comply with this policy when referring to St. Lukes or St. Luke’s interests.
St. Luke’s notes that an increasing number of people use and prefer digital communication over other forms. Social networking sites, on-the-spot communication devices and email can enhance communication, faith sharing, and deepen relationships. We encourage participation in online communities, networking, and the exchange of ideas; for many it is a fun, essential tool. Like any in-person community we assume there is a diversity of opinions on any topic; there is no assumed unanimity. Therefore, all “posts” should respect differences of opinions, and should speak for oneself rather than for the community as a whole or for an identity group within the community (“I” statements or using “IMHO” – in my humble opinion – are very effective, “we all know…” is rarely accurate). This policy is intended to support expression that is both free and responsible. Subject to the guidelines below, Users may and are encouraged to use the name of St. Luke’s to identify themselves in profiles, discuss matters related to St. Luke’s, or other similar uses acting with the understanding that others may interpret any public commentary as representative of an official statement by St. Luke’s itself.
The term “Social Media” refers to activities that integrate technology, telecommunications and social interaction through the use of words, images, video or audio elements. Examples include, but are not limited to, social websites, blogs, message boards, wikis, podcasts, image and video sharing sites, live webcasting, location check-ins, comment posting, Tweeting, participating in streaming feeds and real-time web communities.
Currently St. Luke’s online presence consists of an official Facebook page (“Page”), an informal Facebook group (“Group”), a website (“Website”), email blasts (“eblasts), Advent/Lenten blog (“Blog”), a Twitter account (“Twitter”) and a YouTube Channel (“YouTube”). Because Social Media is a constantly evolving area, this policy applies to all new Social Media platforms whether or not they are specifically mentioned in this policy.
Questions concerning the policy should be directed to the Communications Coordinator. This policy and guidelines may be updated and modified at any time. The current version of the policy can be found on the St. Luke’s website (www.stlukeinthefields.org) or obtained from the Communications Coordinator.
Be discerning –
- Use the right medium for your message. A blog or social network might not be the right place for messages intended for a small group. Consider email or other means.
- While parishioners are welcome to contact St. Luke’s clergy and staff via email about any matter, clergy and staff should not use electronic communication (in any form) to initiate contact with a parishioner about matters that are pastorally or ethically sensitive, emotionally charged, or requiring extensive conversation.
- If a parishioner uses electronic communication to contact clergy or staff about a sensitive issue, clergy or staff are advised to use reasonable discretion when responding, bearing in mind that other individuals may have access to the parishioner’s email account.
- Remember that what you write will be public, most likely for a long time. A blog or community post is visible to the entire virtual world, search engines index our public sites, and deleted content can always be found in personal and public caches. What you write, even if edited or retracted, is archived and can be with you longer than you might expect.
- Respect your audience. Remember that frustrations with individuals are best expressed in person, snark is unseemly, and sarcasm does not often translate well. Be careful with humor. Do not use personal insults, ethnic/racial/economic/sexual or gender related slurs, profanity, or publish any conversation that someone might reasonably expect to be confidential.
- Make clear your role: If you are making posts on a non-St. Luke’s site, or if you are a member of an outside organization and granting interviews to appear in any media, please make certain, if mentioning St. Luke’s specifically, to avoid sounding as though your post or soundbite represents the official views of St. Luke’s.
Be responsible –
- Social Media are individual interactions, not official communications. Employees are personally and legally responsible for their posts. Official statements of parish policy may only be made by the Rector and/or the Vestry and are to be posted via Social Media only by the Communications Coordinator. If a member of the media contacts any individual about a St. Luke’s related post or requests information about St. Luke’s of any kind, refer him or her to the Communications Coordinator. If you would like to have something posted to the Website or the Facebook Page, please contact the Communications Coordinator.
- Prayer requests for St. Luke’s Prayer List should be made in person or via phone or email to clergy or email@example.com. Posting a personal prayer request for oneself online is not effective in order to be listed on St. Luke’s Prayer List. If a post does appear it will not be responded to by the Pastoral Care Network or Clergy (though responses might occur). Parishioners are strongly discouraged from posting prayer requests for others online.
- Do not share personal information about others in the community via Social Media without their permission; or, in the case of anyone under age 18, without the written permission of their parent or guardian. Publishing unidentified photographs of public events to St. Luke’s Facebook Group is appropriate, using photos for publicity for a St. Luke’s group or ministry requires permission from the Communications Coordinator. Do not identify people by name or “tag” them without prior permission. Never identify persons under age 18 by name. Official photographs and permissions are kept by the Communications Coordinator.
- Users should at all times respect confidentiality in relationships and leadership roles.
- Be accurate, and when you make a mistake, admit it and be quick to correct it.
Identify yourself and St. Luke’s –
- Employees should always use their real names to support authenticity and transparency; all Users are strongly urged to refrain from anonymous posts & comments.
- When discussing St. Luke’s via Social Media, all Users who are not speaking on behalf of St. Luke’s must include a disclaimer as follows: “This [post/site is] my own personal opinion. Posts are neither read nor approved by any official representative of the Church of St. Luke in the Fields before posting and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of St. Luke’s.” Employees do not need to include the disclaimer if the post is part of their official job responsibilities or they are authorized to speak on behalf of St. Luke’s.
- All St. Luke’s environment names, copyrights, and trademarks are the property of St. Luke’s and should be used according to our policies.(LIST)
Use of Official Name and Logo
Any use of the Church of St. Luke in the Fields name or logo for branding or titling personal pages, blogs or other similar elements of Social Media must be approved in writing by the Communications Coordinator prior to use. Any uses in existence at the time of adoption of this policy should be registered with the Communications Coordinator; they are not automatically included and should be authorized pursuant to this policy. Permission to use the name or logo of the parish may be revoked at any time at the sole discretion of the St. Luke’s Rector or person designated by the Rector.
Users must comply fully with copyright law when posting and uploading copyrighted materials. Any posting of materials to St. Luke’s Social Media channels sponsored by St. Luke’s must be limited to materials in which the copyright is owned by the party seeking to post the information. Some materials specifically indicate how they may be shared; err on the side of caution (for example, cite the URL rather than cut and paste a whole article or other material).
Social Media maintained by St. Luke’s are not intended for the use of persons under the age of 13. Any site operated by St. Luke’s that is oriented toward youth between the ages of 13 and 18 must require a registration for all Users and must be password protected so that only registered users may access the site. Registration will require the use of a legal name and valid contact information (operational email address). Adults may not request to “friend” or accept a “friend” request from a person under age 18 without written permission of the child’s parent or guardian. Photos published on sponsored sites should not include name or contact information for any person under the age of 18.
Clergy are strongly encouraged to set stringent privacy settings on any social networking profile. Clergy should not submit “friend” requests to parishioners and others to whom they minister. The disparity of power may not give the other person the ability to decline such a request. Clergy understand that there might be emotional impact of declining a “friend” request from parishioners, and are strongly urged to have a consistent policy of accepting all or none of the “friend” requests from parishioners.
Laws mandating reporting of suspected abuse/neglect/exploitation of children, youth, elders and vulnerable adults apply in the virtual world as they do in the physical world. (See Child Protection Policy, Sexual Harassment Policy)
Consequences of Non-Compliance:
Violations of this policy by St. Luke’s clergy and staff may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. Violations of this policy by External Users may result in the removal of relevant posts from Social Media channels up to limiting leadership opportunities or experiences for the poster.