New church website makes it easier for members to serve

The Vineyard, a new website created by the Church, provides a more coordinated way for members and friends of the Church to complete volunteer service opportunities via the web. 

Joe Jatip, program manager over the Helping in the Vineyard website, said one of the main projects on the Vineyard involves translating the seminary and institute manual, Teachings of the Living Prophets, into 31 languages. He said they need members with different language backgrounds to help with translating these manuals primarily into Spanish, Portuguese, French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian. They hope to finish this task by the end of August. 

“We’re confident we can get the members engaged and involved and help us out with that,” Jatip said. 

After the manuals are finished, the Vineyard will continue to provide ongoing service opportunities. Most of the projects are completed online and include updating and enhancing images, videos and articles from the Church library. Other tasks include tagging images, translating content into different languages, family history indexing and comparing plain text to printed church publications. 

Jatip explained that the Church gathers photos contributed by members and uses them for many publications including manuals, books and the lds.org website. 

“We’d like members to contribute photos online of the gospel in action,” Jatip said. “Whether it’s service opportunities, missionary opportunities, teaching members, pictures of a family home evening activity or pictures of your favorite temple or church pageants.” 

Projects such as image uploading and making church multimedia available for the web are ongoing. Volunteers may also spend a few minutes tagging photos to make them searchable on the web. The Church will make those photos available to members who can use them for other purposes, such as the media library. 

Volunteers may also help with digitizing documents from the 1970s and 80s. Jatip said old documents that are digitized by the Church don’t come out in the most readable format, so the Vineyard needs people to identify where page breaks should occur compared to the original document. He said this is done in all languages and volunteers don’t need to know the language of the document they are working on;they just need to know where one character or word ends, where the page break is and where paragraphs start and end. 

“This is an ongoing thing so we’d love to get members who have these languages or capabilities and the desire to serve online to help out,” Jatip said. 

In 2010, the site had a goal of achieving 10,000 users. This year, they are up to 11,500 with a goal to reach 25,000 users by the end of December.

Volunteers can easily log onto the web using their LDS account and spend as little or as much time as they’d like, from five minutes to a few hours. 

Those who are interested simply need a computer with internet access and an LDS account to volunteer. LDS accounts are available to those who are not members of the Church and can be setup online for free. 

“If you have a few minutes to spare, and it’s the difference between going online and using Facebook or doing something else online, maybe consider every once in awhile going onto the Vineyard and serving,” Jatip said. “It’s very simple.”

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