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Who was Rasmus?

This project is named after Rasmus Jensen, the first Lutheran pastor in North America.

Pastor Jensen was the chaplain of an expedition sent in the spring of 1619 by King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway to search for the Northwest Passage to India. The expedition landed on the shore of Hudson Bay at the present day site of Churchill Manitoba in the fall of 1619.

His commemoration date is February 20.

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Project Rasmus

Synod and Congregation Requirements Gathering Session

  1. Purpose of the meeting
  2. ELCIC Challenges
  3. What are the potential benefits?
  4. Goals of this initiative
  5. What prompted this initiative?
  6. Where are we in the process?
  7. Draft Solution Areas
  8. What does Notes offer?
  9. Decisions
  10. Pending decisions
  11. Outstanding issues
  12. What could the future hold? (brainstorming)
  13. To Do list
  14. Next Steps

Purpose of this meeting

Input from Synods and Congregations is needed to maximize the utility and completeness of the planned solution

(agenda and list of participants)

ELCIC's Challenges

  • Finding suitable congregation management software
  • Creating and maintaining a sense of community across ELCIC
  • Finding and sharing available gifts
  • Working together on developing resources for use by ELCIC
  • Communicating with dispersed locations
  • Managing many copies of the same data
(more challenges)

What are the potential benefits?

  • Standardized custom software for ELCIC congregations
  • Electronic communication through email and Notes forums
  • Comprehensive and customizable databases of talents, gifts, skills, experiences, etc.
  • Environment offered by Notes can be used to facilitate electronic collaboration
  • Automation of forms based processes such as congregational reporting and materials ordering
  • Distribution of web site content authoring
  • Ability to have databases dynamically drive web site content
  • Contributing to the global church community by pioneering the use of technology as a tool for Christian ministry

Goals of this initiative

  • Move to current and industry standard software
  • Gather data more efficiently
  • Simplify the sharing and analysis of information
  • Include all locations in a collaborative environment
  • Capitalize on the opportunities offered by the Internet

What prompted this initiative?

  • Existing information systems were no longer meeting the needs of ELCIC
  • Investigation showed the problem was wide spread.
  • An additional need for improved communications was expressed by all levels of the church
  • Core problem areas were identified
  • IBM and ELCIC started working to define a solution in May of 2000

Where are we in the process?

  • Define detailed functional requirements
  • Consultation with National office Staff
  • Iterative prototyping
  • Demonstrations of functionality
  • Define detailed design of solution
  • Build solution
  • Test solution
  • Implement solution (Jan. 1, 2001 target date for release 1.0 and core infrastructure)
  • Enhance solution over time

Draft Solution Areas

  • Human Resources Application
  • Contact/Mailing List Application
  • Congregation Membership Application
  • Event Registration Application

Contact/Mailing List(handout)      (comment summary)

  • ELCIC-wide shared contact information list
  • National office/Synod users would manage their mailing lists
  • Information pool which drives event registration
  • Tool to identify selected attributes such as talents, skills, interests, experiences among ELCIC contacts

Human Resources(handout)      (comment summary)

  • Manage ELCIC employee information
  • Track work histories
  • Manages Call process
  • Official human resources mailing list
  • Enhanced security features restrict access to confidential data and forms

Congregation Membership(handout)      (comment summary)

  • Individual congregations manage membership and donation data
  • Key interactions with members, guests and adherents are tracked
  • Key summary statistics can be auto generated and submitted to National office/Synod offices
  • National/Synod can ONLY see summary data released by congregations

Event Registration(handout)      (comment summary)

  • Managing major ELCIC events at National and Synodical level
  • Accessible via website for self registration
  • Tracks session registration, travel needs, accommodations and billing
  • Provides tool for all National office/Synod staff to intelligently answer questions about event registration status

What does Notes offer?

  • Communicate with colleagues
  • Collaborate in teams
  • Coordinate business processes
  • Most scenarios where multiple people perform related tasks and where the tasks can be in varying stages of completion, can be automated with Notes
(more about Lotus Notes)


  • Mobility forms and terminology in HR app modified
  • There is a requirement to better identify a family unit, especially for managing donations/receipts and mailings in Congregation Membership app
  • Donation data entry MUST be fast, doable from home and keyboard driven as much as possible while still being visual to keep it easy to use for casual data entry personnel
  • Donations must be able to be "posted" and another entry must be entered to correct errors
  • The Congregation Membership and Event Registration apps should provide the ability to selectively hide groups of related data entry fields that are not used by the congregation or event
  • Congregation add/edit/deletes to a member's contact/address information should somehow feed the contact list database
  • Ability for congregation to not share address and/or contact information for a given member
  • ALL address fields should have a flag that notifies users that the address and or the contact information should not be distributed beyond "staff"
  • Congregation members should have two address fields and only the primary address is shared. In extreme cases, the church is used as the mailing address and the church would forward to the secondary address. The primary address is the one that is shared for ELCIC mailings. There should also be a field that allows the user to specify date ranges under which the second address should be used at the congregation level for mailing
(miscellaneous discussion summary)

Pending Decisions

  • Central backup service to National server
  • Synod Servers Synods will likely have their own Domino servers (infrastructure comments)
  • Help Desk Who will do it, how formal will it be, hours?
  • Training
  • Policies, procedures and standards
  • Costs to congregations
  • Timing of rollout/implementation
  • Church wide implementation of other Notes Features

Outstanding Issues

  • Need clarification on privacy/employment human rights and what we can/cannot request in different scenarios
  • Congregation membership add/edit/deletes will likely only be able to provide notification to National office/Synod rather than full automation
  • Benefit for mailing list accuracy, but nearly impossible to fully automate updates to the contact list, which is seen as the source for most mailings
  • Need finalization on who should be able to see what and under what circumstances
  • Need suggestions for which features should be selectively hidden
  • Need clarification on post office mailing address standards
  • Need to get standardization and agreement on forms (mobility)
  • Terminology and data access in mobility and CV components of HR application need to be revisited
  • How to deal with multiple households at one address
  • What does a "family" number buy us
  • Ability to enter donations from home
  • Congregation Membership and Event Registration may do too much for some people, how do we address this?
  • Data transfer from existing programs
  • Rework how congregation membership tracked

What could the future hold? (brainstorming)

  • Hosting church web sites or posting congregation supplied information
  • Common ISP for all locations to get name.ELCIC.CA email addresses for everyone
  • Complete accounting package for congregations and synods or build interface AP/GL (tied to donations) /Budgeting/AR/Payroll
  • Develop a skinny version of the event registration application for smaller events

To Do List

  • Put some thought into how much your congregation would be willing to pay for a collaborative environment The congregation membership application is just one of the tools we will be building that will take advantage of this collaborative environment
  • Document the functionality you need in your congregation management software and group them as REQUIRED or NICE TO HAVE There is a fixed amount of money to develop the applications so we need to prioritize the requirements and implement the ones that are deemed to be used in most congregations
  • Send in any information you can about the software you currently use
  • Do some blue sky dreaming about what we could do with this type of technology

Next Steps

  • IBM and National office will review the input from this session and determine if the current project plan needs to be modified
  • IBM will consolidate all of the suggestions and requests and attempt to illustrate how they would be implemented via modifications to the prototypes
  • Rasmus project team will work to find a way to keep you informed of our progress and to keep you in the loop

We appreciate your comments and suggestions about Rasmus at this e-mail.

  1. Purpose of the meeting
  2. ELCIC Challenges
  3. What are the potential benefits?
  4. Goals of this initiative
  5. What prompted this initiative?
  6. Where are we in the process?
  7. Draft Solution Areas
  8. What does Notes offer?
  9. Decisions
  10. Pending decisions
  11. Outstanding issues
  12. What could the future hold? (brainstorming)
  13. To Do list
  14. Next Steps

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