A brief history
Webskein started life as our church's website, and has been developed through our Melchior Telematics partnership.
We looked around for an off-the-shelf solution, but couldn't see anything that seemed to fit the needs of a small church, or do the things we wanted to do, at what we thought was a small church price.
Since website development, database design, and information management are what Melchior does, we were inspired to create our own, and in the process developed a website kit for small churches and local Christian groups. We called it Webskein.
Our guiding principles were...
- That it should encourage and support a vision of the church at the heart of the local community
- That site maintenance shouldn't be an unnecessary extra burden
- That it should embrace the concept of a 'skein' of churches benefitting from shared resources.
...and that we would, as part of developing Webskein, try to apply gentle pressure to those parts of the wider church which should be doing more to support local churches in the way they use the web.
This project was a long time coming, but by the end of 2008 we had a number of 'pilot' churches using the kit and were ready to lauch this site to make it public.
In the summer of 2008, we launched an unrelated but relevant project called Good Church Websites. This is full of advice about setting up and running a good church website. (That's what it's for and that's what it does. It doesn't compromise the value of the advice by trying to sell you a product at the same time. We want Good Church Websites to be a neutral source of the best available information.)
Webskein is made available to the wider world through Melchior Online Limited.
Over a decade later, we continue to update Webskein and add features to it:- site search is a recent addition. (We also keep the text of Good Church Websites up to date:- nearly all of what we wrote originally remains true, but sometimes technological developments make minor revisions necessary.)
Why it's called Webskein
The 'web' part is fairly obvious, we hope.
The 'skein' part (leaving aside the obvious goose symbolism) is about the synergy from which churches in a group or locality - and different tasks and roles within one church - can benefit.
Both national and regional denominational organisations can do much to support their church websites.
When a new skein is established, our aim is to work with them to encourage that.
What kind of church is Webskein for?
Any kind of Christian church or local Christian group in the UK, rooted in its local community, and seeking to communicate the Good News through service and witness. The Webskein prototype was for a Baptist church. Our pilot churches were Anglican, of all shades and hues. We are strongly ecumenical, and Melchior Telematics has undertaken major development work for CTBI (Churches Together in Britain and Ireland).
(If you're reading this section because you need to know more than that about exactly what kind of Christians we are before exploring Webskein further, you are probably sharpening your claws on the wrong sofa.)