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Transitioning from Classic Stake and Ward Websites to the New Tools on LDS.org Twitter Facebook Print E-mail
Written by Tom Johnson   
Friday, 14 September 2012

If you're still using the Stake and Ward Websites on Classic.LDS.org (pictured below), be advised that Stake and Ward Websites will be retired at the end of 2012, possibly earlier. You will need to use the new tools on LDS.org beginning in 2013.

Stake and Ward Websites will be discontinued at the end of 2012.

For many of you, this is welcome information, because closing the door on Stake and Ward Websites means one less point of confusion for members. Members will no longer wonder whether the ward uses the Classic website or the new tools on LDS.org.

Beyond just avoiding confusion, though, the complete transition to the new LDS.org tools opens up better technology for members in your wards and stakes. The tools now available on LDS.org far outperform the previous Stake and Ward Websites solution on Classic.lds.org (which was built more than a decade ago).

The new LDS.org tools offer more personalized experiences for members, provide publishing solutions for all organization and groups in your ward or stake, and offer functionality that is more robust and scalable to meet the demands of a growing, global church.

Major Differences Between Stake and Ward Websites and the New LDS.org Tools

Several months ago, we published a post titled From Local Unit Websites to a Suite of Tools. This post explained the gradual shift from an all-in-one website to a suite of tools.

The new tools on LDS.org aren't compiled into one single website, as with Stake and Ward Websites, but instead are independent tools. They function more like Microsoft Office's suite of tools, with independent, separate applications that are more specialized and functional than any all-in-one solution.

LDS Account Authentication

You can access all of these new LDS.org tools from the Sign In/Tools menu on LDS.org.

The new tools on LDS.org are available on the Sign In/Tools menu.

In addition to replacements for Stake and Ward Websites, the Sign In/Tools menu also contains links to Notes and Journal, Patriarchal Blessings, and your LDS Account settings. Leaders in bishoprics and stake presidencies will also see links to Clerk Resources and Leader Resources, but since these tools were not intended to replace Stake and Ward Websites but rather were developed as additional tools, they will be addressed in other articles.

Except for maps, each tool requires you to sign in with your LDS Account. Your LDS Account provides a single-sign-on experience for all Church websites, which means you just need one user name and password for all Church websites, rather than separate logins for each site.

Note that access to many of the tools requires your LDS Account to be associated with your Membership Record Number (MRN). This allows the sites to deliver personalized information for your specific ward and stake.

What New Functionality Do the LDS.org Tools Provide?

The new tools on LDS.org provide a wealth of new functionality. Here are a few highlights of functionality that is available in the new LDS.org tools that was not available in Stake and Ward Websites on Classic.LDS.org.

View Calendar Highlights

View Directory Highlights

View Lesson Schedules Highlights

View Newsletter Highlights

View Maps Highlights

As you can see, these new tools on LDS.org are robust and full of enhancements designed to give you a more personalized experience for local unit information. The tools provide greater options to accommodate all groups at Church and their needs.

The newsletter, calendar, and lesson schedules tools are particularly scalable. You can have dozens of newsletter categories, calendars, and lesson schedules for each group at church.

Migrating to the New Tools

To transition from Stake and Ward Websites on Classic.LDS.org to the new LDS.org tools, there aren't many steps to take, except with the calendar. The following list shows details for migrating to each new tool.

Calendar migration: If you have events already entered on the Stake and Ward Websites calendar, you can import the events on the new calendar. More detail about setting up the new calendar appears below.

Directory migration: Membership and household information automatically migrates. However, if you had photos uploaded in the Classic directory, these photos do not migrate to the new directory (due to differences in image sizes). Both members and directory administrators can upload the photos in the new directory.

Newsletter migration: Any previous news articles from the News & Events section of Stake and Ward Websites do not migrate to the LDS.org newsletter tool. You will need to copy and paste any previous information to the new newsletter tool.

Lesson Schedules migration: Any previous lesson schedules entered in the Lesson section of Stake and Ward Websites do not migrate. You will need to re-enter lessons into the new lesson schedules tool.

Maps migration: Maps was never part of Stake and Ward Websites, but maps now partly fulfills the ward/stake homepage view in Stake and Ward Websites. Maps also provides the ward/stake search that was available in Stake and Ward Websites. When you search for a ward or stake in the new maps tool, you can see the location, time, and building the ward meets in. You can also see leadership information to contact the local unit leader. You don't need to migrate any information into the new maps tool.

Migrating to the Calendar

The calendar is the only tool requiring some setup and effort with the transition. The steps for transitioning to the new calendar are listed in the calendar's help material. See Initial Setup in the Calendar help for details.

In general, follow these steps to set up the calendar:

  1. Set up locations based on the places members can meet for events.
  2. Designate building schedulers for each location.
  3. Define reservations for unit scheduling.
  4. Create all the calendars you need.
  5. Import events from the Classic calendar or from a third-party calendar.
  6. Associate locations with each of your events.
  7. Train your organization leaders.

Leadership Plays a Key Role in Software Adoption

Although the Church has made these tools available for wards and stakes, if local leaders don't use the tools, the likelihood that members adopt the tools decreases. Specifically with the calendar, newsletter, and lesson schedules tools, administrators in wards and stakes need to set up information and designate members with the right roles in order for wards to begin using the tools.

Let Us Know Your Wish List

Although many of the new tools provide features far beyond the basic Stake and Ward Websites functionality, these new tools are still being actively developed. Many are in early versions and are constantly improving with each new release. Please be patient as these new tools develop.

If there are special features you miss in Stake and Ward Websites that aren't available in the new tools, let us know by commenting below this article or by submitting your feedback in the LDSTech Forum. For each tool, project leaders often have a backlog of issues to address, features to code, and a product roadmap to complete. If the feature isn't currently available, it most likely will be in the near future. You can help guide development teams by submitting feedback.

Help Materials

Abundant help materials are available in each of these applications. Look for the help button (usually in the upper-right corner) in each application. Here are direct links to each help file:

Getting Help

If you run into specific issues or have questions, the best place to get help is the LDSTech Forum. The LDSTech Forum is an interactive forum with frequent participation from volunteers and employees throughout the world. To access the forums, go to https://tech.lds.org/forum. Within the forum, see the LDS.org Website section for links to discussions about each of the LDS.org tools.

 

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