• John Harrison
    Does anyone have experience of ringers being asked to use iKnowChurch?
  • Alison Hodge
    John - the answer to your specific question appears to be "NO"!

    I don't know your motive for asking, but what are the real benefits of this software over standard packages that many people will use routinely? It says that it was "recommended" by the Church of England in 2019 and 2020 so what happened in 2021 and 2022?

    A problem with many software packages is that they take a lot of time to customise for the specific organisation and after that individual users need to become familiar with how it works and that still takes effort and time. Even if a lead person in the church is a computer guru, many volunteers in churches may struggle to use different software - is it better that churches stick to using the standard software that many people use routinely and is available widely?

    Of course, with any software package, especially from specialist suppliers, there are always risks of the level of support, and conflicts when operating systems upgrade, not to mention take overs and mergers etc.

    Having said that, a central repository for information and customised features for church activities such as contacts and communications SHOULD reduce the the risks of data leaks etc. It would also aid handover when those involved change roles. But, as an example, will the email feature in the software be used, rather than private emails? In my experience with various Teams accounts, yet another account to log in and use can be helpful but also frustrating. Content can still be confused (unless you go to the extreme of separate accounts on a single PC, or even dedicated PCs.)

    Coming specifically to ringing - i wonder if you are expecting ringers to be users? Or perhaps you have already been asked to do so? As has been discussed elsewhere on this forum, the concept of "membership" of a particular church is not clear so whether the software would really be appropriate for ringers of that church and also the regular and irregular visitors, peal ringers, visiting bands etc would need careful investigation.

    Let's hear from others as well.
  • Barbara Le Gallez
    I had a quick look at the package, as this post intrigued me. I did not like the sound of iKnowChurch at all. It seemed very controlling and invasive of privacy, e.g. "have oversight of your church people", "ensure no church visitor or member goes unnoticed", "Centralise all your church communication".
  • Alan C
    iKnow Church is a software package to ease administration for those who have that responsibility.
  • DRJA Dewar
    Sounds ghastly. I'd avoid it.
    (As an ex-IT person, now thankfully away from all that, I use VERY few 'apps'.)
  • John Harrison
    i wonder if you are expecting ringers to be users? Or perhaps you have already been asked to do so?Alison Hodge
    At the time I asked the parish was considering it and in particular the Groups part. The ringers were asked to have a look at it. I fed my thoughts back to the tower captain, saying that it seemed to be aimed at gropups closely involved with managing the church rather than semi independent 'service groups' like ringers, and that it felt Orwellian. I assume she passed on the comments but I don't know whether she filtered them.
    This week's parish message says they have moved to a new admin system and asked recipients (ie parishioners not ringers) to fill in contact details - just that standard info they already have. I don't know whether they intend to use the groups features.
  • Gerald Wilson
    The “gropups” feature sounds much more fun, John.
  • Mike Bateman
    I am a bellringer and also an administrator at my local church Which is using the Iknow church (IKC) system to communicate (mainly by email or could be SMS) with its church members and a wider community.

    I invited all our ringers to join a Team in the Iknow church system and most have.

    The team leader ( such as a tower captain) can then set up when events such as ringing for services practices weddings etc are happening and create rotas if wanted. The IKC system will then send out email reminders prior to such rostered events .
    The people on rotas can log in to add when they are not available and the Team leader(rota organiser) is notified if they try to put that person to ring on a date they know they won’t be there, or if things change later.

    It is maybe a bit more than is needed for regular Sunday ringing and practices but for weddings could work well as the vicar could use it to tell the Tower captain (Team leader) of an upcoming wedding from within the IKC system which the Vicar can use to organise all things related to the wedding .

    IKC is a powerful tool and can help organise lots of church related activities it only really needs a persons name and email address as a minimum and possibly a telephone number. The individual has the opportunity to add more information or not as they wish . It also enables compliance with data protection aspects and GDPR, As individuals details such as email address can only be seen by those authorised such as the vicar, church offficets etc and the Team leader for a particular team (Eg bellringers). If someone does not wish to be involved they can opt out at any time if they do so they would not get any emails or messages in future.

    If a local church does use it It could be useful for the ringers but needs some time to set up by an administrator initially and careful explanation to any one who is not comfortable with IT .

    We are still in the early stages of using it more widely so it is a work in progress for us.
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