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The Calvary Lutheran Church Web Site 

We suggest that you visit the web site for Calvary Lutheran Church  and tour around it for a while.  Then come back and read the review.  Feel free to write us with your comments or criticisms at feedback@hartsem.edu.

Calvary Lutheran Church, Richland Hills, Texas

The Calvary Lutheran Church site holds lots of pleasant surprises for those willing to peel through its many layers. Going through it page by page, the viewer is left feeling as though they are getting just a small glimpse into a vibrant congregation of people. Though basic organizational necessities such as service times, church maps, and staff contacts are quickly located, it is obvious by the link structure, that the emphasis of this website goes far beyond simply documenting routine church activities. This site draws the viewer into to a world of spiritually moving artwork and writing, while at the same time conveying a strong sense of community, and providing ample educational resources.

The very first left-hand link goes to pages of original artwork and photographs, submitted by church members. There is also a "Coffee House" link, where members are permitted the space for poetry and prose of faithful reflection. These pages are not simply static, new submissions can be made right on the site, encouraging readers to contribute. The pastor himself has posted an extremely well-written series called "The Gospel According to Winnie the Pooh." Being a die-hard fan of the original Pooh stories by A. A. Milne, I was extremely pleased to see that Pastor Heinze captured perfectly that amazing blend of light-hearted humor, childhood magic, and deeply profound messages of life and hope. I found myself alternately in laughter and tears while reading through them, and longed for a continuation of the series when I realized I had reached the end.

The Pastor also hosts the "Calvary Café" every Wednesday night, where he cooks for his congregation. The part of the site dedicated to this weekly event includes a menu, an archive of his recipes, and links to all kinds of recipe sites on the web. There are many more gems in this site than I have room to mention in this review, but I must also mention the youth portion of the site, since so many church websites are regretfully lacking in this area. The youth section is large enough to be a separate site in itself, and its design is in comic book style, with large easy to read text, and bright colors. These pages are full of events, programs, and links that encourage children to actively take part. It has something special for each age group from elementary school through college age youth. Their attitude is summed up very nicely on the opening page . . . "At Calvary, youth are not the church of the future. They are members of the church today."

The graphics and general design of the web site are simple and pleasant. There aren’t any glaring colors or flashing icons to distract the viewer, but neither does it completely do justice to the exceptional quality of the site’s content. As a whole it lacks uniformity in its organization and design. The large number of links on the home page can be somewhat overwhelming for the first time viewer, and the layout on a few of the pages can appear chaotic. Having the links in the same place on each page would make it easier to navigate, and some uniformity could be gained by lining up graphic and textual elements, perhaps with tables.

It is apparent that the designers of this site wanted viewers to go away with more than a list of church members and service times, they wanted to give each visitor a look at the unique spirit that sets Calvary Lutheran apart from other churches with a web presence. In that they have wholly succeeded. Those who do take the time to follow the myriad of links will not be disappointed, but will find a church website and a living congregation with unusual depth and creativity.




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