Thursday, June 09, 2011

UU smart phone app?

What would you want in a UU app on your smartphone? That is the question posed by our UUA. The Rev. Ms. Naomi King, one of our most tech-savvy leaders, who regularly ministers to people via Twitter and Facebook, has already blogged a number of good suggestions for a religious app. Naomi included news, podcasts, “find a church”, aids for spiritual practice, faith-development-based games, music, texts (“mobile faith libraries”), and ritual calendars, among other things. She suggested that the app be useful for all ages, and work across many platforms.

I am embarrassed that I did not come up with music in my list, but I am used to Naomi being more comprehensive and more thoughtful than I. Some other things which would be nice to have in a mobile app: links to our UUA bookstore, with a featured “book of the week” (with a discount?); a “Today in U/U/UU History” feature; and a daily chalice lighting (which Naomi regularly collects on Twitter–search on #chalicelight or #chaliceout). When Naomi posted this question on FB, the Rev. Mr. Craig Schwalenberg said that he is still waiting for a virtual chalice. I can imagine the UU app including a choice of chalices (chalii?), which you could “light” by tapping the screen, whereupon a flame would appear (and even flicker a bit).

A daily quote would be nice, sort of a mobile Wayside Pulpit. That could be a specialized subset of the Mobile Faith Library (which would also include our Principles and Purposes / Sources from the bylaws). I assume a mobile UU News feed would include the Pastoral Letters written by our UUA president, and news about our congregations–both when they do good things, and when they are affected by natural disasters, etc.

In addition to daily featured podcasts and blog posts, there should be links to “Discover UU,” the Interdependent Web, UUpdates, UU TV, and other aggregators.

I like Naomi’s idea of a ritual calendar. The congregation I served in 2009 put together a booklet called “Advent-ure Season,” with things to celebrate every day from December 6th to January 3rd. We included activities for all ages, and conversation starters, for each day. A daily thing to celebrate, and recipes or games or crafts and conversation starters would be a wonderful thing–-and could be its own app, really.

What else would you like to see in a UU app? You can answer here and/or the UUA’s original question.

(original post, with links, at So May We Be)


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