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News and updates

News and updates

June 18th: Voting now open

Voting for the winner of the 2009 Local Church Website of the Year has now opened. Ten churches were selected by an expert panel of judges to go forward to the public vote, which closes on July 8th. The winner of this award, along with the other five category winners, will be announced on July 9th.

The ten shortlisted local churches, in alphabetical order, are: All Saints, Bury; Audacious City Church, Manchester; Emmanuel Church, Greenwich, London; Holy Trinity, Ripon; Living Hope Community Church, Port St Mary, Isle of Man; Reepham Benefice, Reepham, Norfolk; St Andrew's Church, Higher Blackley, Manchester; St James, New Barnet; St John's, Egham and The Storehouse Church, Tarporley, Cheshire. Editor Andy Jackson said: "The judges were really pleased at the exceptionally high quality of entries into the competition and this made the job of selecting the church websites to go to the public vote very difficult. The shortlisted websites were decided after hours of research and deliberation and my thanks go to all of the judges for their time and efforts.

"Those responsible for the websites that didn't make the shortlist should be far from disappointed. I've visited every website entered for all awards a number of times and it's astonishing to know that most of them have been created and published by volunteers. They all deserve a special thank-you for their very hard work, time and dedication."

June 16th: Voting to start on Thursday

The voting for the 2009 Surefish Local Church Website of the Year will open by 5pm on Thursday (June 18th). The top 10 shortlisted websites will be open to a public vote which will decide the winner of that category. The voting will be open until July 8th, 2009, the day before the presentation of the awards.

June 9th: Pam Rhodes to host awards ceremony

Presenter and broadcaster Pam Rhodes, who regularly presents Songs of Praise on the BBC, will be hosting the Surefish Church Website of the Year awards on July 9th.

May 26th: Latest press release

The latest press release about the Surefish Church Website of the Year can be viewed by visiting Christian Aid's press release page

May 26th: Deadline time

The deadline for entries will be 4pm on June 2nd, 2009.

May 14th: Deadline extended

The deadline for entries has been extended by one week to June 2nd, 2009. This is so that more entries into the regional and national categories can be received.

May 14th: First set of prizes announced

As well as certificates and trophies for all winners, and being featured in the Church Times and on the Surefish website, we are pleased to announce that our partners and sponsors have given a very generous set of prizes for the Church Website of the Year awards.

Award-winning ISP and hosting company Christian Technology will give a year's hosting to all six award winners, worth up to £250 each.

Divine Chocolate has given all award winners a hamper of chocolate featuring one of every flavour in its 100g bar range so that all six award winners can share in the success of their winning websites!

Christian think-tank Ekklesia will give a day's consultancy to the winner of the Local Church Website Award, a prize worth up to £300.

The Greenbelt Festival has given a Family Ticket into the 2009 festival worth £230, so that the winner of the Local Church Website of the Year award can send a family to Cheltenham this August Bank Holiday.

Other prizes will be announced in the next few weeks.

May 12th: Greenbelt and Divine Chocolate become sponsors

More partners of the competition have been announced. We're delighted to welcome Divine Chocolate and Greenbelt as sponsors of the awards. Visit the partners page for full details

April 30th: Banners and buttons

Because the winner of the Local Church Website of the Year will be voted for by visitors to the Surefish website, and because we would like help in promoting the competition so that even more churches enter, we would very much appreciate buttons or banners being added to your website. Click here to visit the page with graphics to download

April 28th: Nominations top 130 mark

The backlog of church website nominations was completed today with the total number of entries standing at more than 130.

Andy Jackson, Editor of, said: "The quality of entries has been fantastic. There have been very few websites that won't go through to the next stage because they are out of date or not very well designed. This is going to be a very difficult competition to judge, which is great news for all involved with their church website."

The deadline for entries is May 26th, 2009.

March 22nd: Website of the Year on BBC Radio Cambridge

Andy Jackson, Editor of, is also being interviewed about the competition on BBC Radio Cambridge.

March 20th: Website of the Year on Trans World Radio

Andy Jackson, Editor of, talks about the Church Website of the Year competition on Trans World Radio, between 5.30pm and 6.30pm, on Thursday 19th March. Listen on Sky channel 0138, Freeview or online.

Visit the TWR website

March 20th: 10 Principles of Effective Web Design

Read Smashing Magazine's 10 Principles Of Effective Web Design

March 13th: Surefish Church Website of the Year launched, Christian Aid’s community website has launched the Church Website of the Year competition.

The awards will recognise the best local, regional and national church websites, as well as the best blog, youth website and most innovative site.

The competition, which is being run in association with the Church Times, will recognise the voluntary work put in by thousands of people in the UK in designing, publishing and maintaining a church website.

Websites offer regular churchgoers, visitors and those new to an area an insight into the life and work of the church. They are one of the best and cheapest ways of promoting the location of the church, its activities, special events and regular services.

This competition not only recognises the websites of local churches, but those covering larger areas, such as synods, dioceses and connexions, as well as the national websites of churches and denominations.

It will also recognise the best Christian Blog, the best Christian youth website (either a site produced by young people or for young people), and the most innovative Christian website.

Anyone can nominate a website for one of the six awards by visiting The closing date is 26 May, 2009. The public will be able to vote for their favourite site in a shortlist published in early June. The winners will be presented with their awards at a ceremony in central London in July.

Surefish editor Andy Jackson said: “One of the Surefish discussion forums offers users the chance to discuss church websites and so we thought it would be good to recognise the unsung heroes that work behind the scenes to promote the life and work of their churches online. They deserve the recognition.”

Paul Handley, Church Times editor, said: “A huge amount of creativity and enterprise can be found on church websites, much of it at near-professional standards, giving the lie to the idea that the Church is stuck in the past. We hope that these awards will showcase the best.”

To find out more about the awards, and to enter your church’s website, visit

Local church ministers' email service

If you are a local church minister, you can sign up to Christian Aid's dedicated email service. Simply send your name, address and name of your church to


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