Dean’s Letter: Event Booking Software

The Dean recently sat down with our Communications Coordinator, Wayne Riehm, to hear about the new calendar system we are launching for the cathedral community. This is a transcript of their conversation.

Penny:             Hello St. Paul’s. Today I’m talking with our communications coordinator, Wayne Riehm.

Wayne:            Hi there. Good to see you.

Penny:             Wayne has been with us for several years on a part time basis. But as we got into the pandemic, his role expanded. As important as communication always is in the church, digital communications became absolutely crucial during the pandemic, during the lockdown phase, and Wayne stepped up and did extra hours. And he controls so much of what we do, he puts together the weekly email, he puts everything up on the website for us, He makes sure that everybody has the right Zoom links and keeps our accounts straight. And in general, he’s just indispensable and in the middle of all that Wayne and his wife had a baby last year. And I’m so grateful to you, Wayne, for the skills you bring to this and your team spirit and your great work ethic.

Wayne:            Fantastic. Thank you so much Penny. That’s very kind of you.

Penny:             You’re welcome. Today, we want to talk about the new calendar system for the cathedral. Communications and calendar go hand in hand. Everybody knows how important it is for us to know what’s coming up and what time things are happening and whether they’re virtual or in person. We have a new computer system for our calendaring. Wayne, would you tell us why we need a computer system for our cathedral calendar?

Wayne:            Yes, absolutely. Well, as you can imagine, between our 80-plus ministries, the San Diego diocese, outside organizations, our music department staff, and just anyone else that doesn’t fall under one of those categories, we have to put a lot of things happening in a lot of different places, with a lot of people all over the campus. And to top that off, with the number of rooms that we have on campus, we’re only adding more with the new building. So it’s going to get more and more complex. A paper calendar just isn’t going to quite cut it. So we need some sort of system that’s going to keep track of all this, and that’s what we’ve implemented with with Espace. That’s the name of the of the program or the software we’re using. (That’s probably not going to come up too much in the day to day; that’s just more of an FYI). So to kind of put it into context, we have easily more than 100, sometimes 150 events per month at the Cathedral. As you know, many of those are virtual now. But yeah, just to put it in perspective, we have a lot going on.

Penny:             Thank you. Yes, it’s a busy place. And we have, of course, had a calendar in the past; we’ve had several different types of online calendars. And alongside them in the past, we had what people will remember were called the blue sheets, where you would fill out a physical form, it happened to be on blue paper, saying you wanted a room for a particular event, and how many people and what kind of refreshments and so forth. What makes the Espace system an improvement over that old way with the blue sheets?

Wayne:            First and foremost, with the blue sheet, you had to physically go into the office and fill something out yourself. Hopefully you have good legible handwriting. And so right there, you know, whether that’s a hardship, or at very minimum an inconvenience for you, you no longer have to do that: you no longer have to physically go into the office. You can now do this from our website; this form is going to reside on the website and be accessible for any ministry or any ministry leader to go on and put in this information. That also means it’s going to be available to all staff; much of the staff is still working from home. And they’ll be able to see what’s happening on the campus without having to search for a physical blue sheet. And on top of all this it also consolidates all this information into one definitive place where it resides, you know, online for all of staff who all have access to this, to view and review. And it stays organized, essentially.

Penny:             Yeah, thank you. I already see what a great improvement it is; we’ve been using it for a few weeks. It’s quite bewildering to see the number of events that come up on our calendar. It’s great to see staff and ministry leaders working together. And will any parishioner be able to book an event?

Wayne:            Well, this is geared much more towards staff and to ministry leaders, or at least individuals representing these ministries. That is the intent of this. I have prepared a short video to show you that actually will walk through what a ministry leader or someone representing ministry will do  when you book an event, so we can take a look at that.

[Prerecorded how-to video follows]

Penny:             Now, what happens behind the scenes when I enter an event? What does that kick off in terms of activities?

Wayne:            After you’ve submitted an event, just like you saw in that demonstration, you’ll click Submit and an email will go to our receptionist, Judy, who will take a look at your events and review the information that you’ve entered. As the submitter of the event you will receive an email saying that it’s been submitted successfully. Judy will then either approve it or deny it. Either way, you’ll get an additional email stating whether it’s been approved or denied. Once it’s approved, you’ll actually see it on the website calendar. And so will everyone else. It’ll have the description and all the information that you just put in. If it’s denied, you will get an email as I said, but you also have the option to reach out to Judy. And you can maybe start a conversation, maybe figure out what a better fit, or a better date would be for your event. Additionally, after you submit an event, and you select the key communications component of that, that information will go to me, your communications coordinator and I will do with that information whatever you’ve requested on that on that form.

Penny:                    It covers everything you do; you do one activity to enter an event and you put in your 75 word description of the event, and the rest is taken care of, assuming it’s approved. Some of us are very comfortable with using digital media, and some of us aren’t so comfortable. What if I want to book an event, but I really don’t feel comfortable doing it online using Espace?

Wayne:            Well, the hope is, of course, that it’s so easy now that everyone does feel comfortable with that. But however, if that’s still not the case, you still have the option to reach out to a staff liaison, someone who can either help you with that, or maybe do that for you in certain circumstances. But at the end of the day, that information will inevitably have to go through the system, whether it’s you or someone else helping you go through.

Penny:             Do we talk to you about getting access to enter events? I assume you have to have some kind of log on

Wayne:            Not just to submit an event. There’s no need for a login. Any ministry leader can do it without any sort of account or anything like that. So you’ll just go to the website calendar and click the Book button.

Penny:             That’s great, because it means there’s there isn’t one more password to remember. My last question is, what if I start booking an event, but the space I want isn’t available, what happens then?

Wayne:            Well, as you saw in the demonstration, you won’t be able to book events that are conflicting with something that already exists on the calendar. If that room that you’re looking for is not available, there’s probably a very good reason: there’s maybe a worship service or another ministry has booked that space at that time. And so you know, we hope, the cathedral’s a pretty large place, we hope that there’s probably some other room or some other time that we can schedule your event. If you need to, you can maybe reach out to Judy or your staff liaison to figure out an alternative. But all of the spaces are listed there on that form. If you’re not familiar with those spaces, that would be another reason to reach out and try and work out, you know, where we can fit in your event. So we can always, you know, have a conversation as well.

Penny:             I think it’s a really good idea always to work with your staff liaison. Because that way we don’t get surprised by things popping up. And with the new building opening, we’ll have additional spaces that everybody’s getting used to. Some of us just had a tour this afternoon of the new space, as it’s coming along, and we saw the offices and the meeting spaces. We’re going to have several rooms where we can have gatherings and meetings. So do reach out to staff. And we can help you find the right spaces for your events. So thank you, Wayne; anything else you want to add about the Espace calendar?

Wayne:            Not particularly; I just hope that it’s a good easy system that works for everyone. You know, I’m sure with everything there will be its little bugs and learning curves and all that good stuff, but I’m sure it’ll be a step forward for all of us.

Penny:             Great, and we get to it simply by going to the website homepage and clicking on Calendar Events.

Wayne:            Yes. And that will be going live as soon as this video is released.

Penny:             Oh, that’s exciting. All right. Well, thank you very much Wayne. I really appreciate your work. I know it took about a year to find the right software, and I’m excited about this and hope that it makes life easier for everyone.  And to the congregation: see you via the live stream on Sunday.

Like this post? Share it with your friends and family...


Leave a Comment


Because of you, we can continue to serve as a center of transformative love, faith and service!

Have questions or need to make changes?
Feel free to contact us, and we will be more than happy to answer all of your questions.