Inside United: Realtime

Exciting News & Updates from UCGIA

Beyond Today TV Moving from ION Television to Word Network

April 23, 2015

Beyond Today Moving to Word Network

We are pleased to announce that the United Church of God is pursuing a better option for its television airtimes for Beyond Today. Beyond Today Logo - low resWhen ION Television reduced its Sunday morning availability for religious programming at the end of last year, we were forced to choose a weekday morning for Beyond Today, and we began airing on Friday mornings. While response has been improving over time, the Friday morning audience has not worked out as well as we desired.

Therefore, effective May 29, we have cancelled our contract with ION and signed a new agreement with a familiar network of the past: The Word Network. We will air twice per week: Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. Eastern, followed by Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. And it all begins this coming weekend, April 24 and 25! In addition, these times translate very well for our U.K., Europe and Africa audiences—which is later in the evening for them.

Word Network’s reach

The Word Network is available in over 200 countries reaching millions of viewers in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas. It reaches 86 million homes in the U.S. alone through DirecTV, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Cox, Cablevision, Charter, and a host of other cable operators—and another 9 million homes on Sky TV in the U.K.

The Word Network is also provided to one million men and women serving in the United States Armed Forces in over 65 countries. And, it just expanded its reach to Latin America. Word’s website streams all programming live, and is also available to thousands of air travelers daily through “In Flight” services on selected airlines.

New streaming opportunities

As a result of moving to the Word Network, we will be spending less of our airtime budget, and so for the 2015-2016 fiscal year we are going to use a portion of it to develop and put Beyond Today on various streaming platforms and set-top television boxes to bring our video program before even more viewers. This is planned to include Rbeyond-today-rokuoku (as currently), plus Chromecast; Amazon Fire TV; apps on Samsung, Panasonic and Google smart TVs; and various gaming consoles (many of which we are already on using YouTube).

The airtime mix will be expanded—the usual traditional broadcast/cable/satellite TV—plus new innovative streaming devices. Our airtime budget will therefore be split into two main categories—traditional broadcast/cable/satellite airtime and newer streaming “airtime” technologies—both of which have the goal to deliver our Beyond Today program to additional viewer’s TV screens.

Your prayers for the ongoing success of our various efforts to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom and for His guidance and blessing is certainly appreciated—especially for the success of these new airtimes on the Word Network.

Victor Kubik—President, and Peter Eddington—Media Operation Manager

April 23, 2015 Posted by | Beyond Today, Media and Communications | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Learn More About UCG’s New Website

April 16, 2015

We’re very happy to say we’re almost ready to unveil the new UCG.org website!

The media team at the United Church of God has produced a promotional video that highlights many of the upgrades and enhancements you can expect to see at UCG.org when our new mobile-first website launches.

A key change is a new Beyond Today media section that will highlight and facilitate a more aggressive preaching of the gospel of God’s Kingdom. You can expect to see the new site in three or four days time!

Peter Eddington—Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services

Peter Eddington

April 16, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

LIVE: Wednesday Night Bible Study Webcast

First Fruits

April 13, 2015

The Cincinnati East, Ohio, congregation of the United Church of God (UCG) is continuing its bi-weekly Bible study series “Let Us Keep the Feasts.” Tune in Wednesday, April 15, at the time of 7 p.m. EDT live via webcast.

For the sixth study, Steve Myers, Cincinnati East pastor and presenter on Beyond Today, will cover the topic: “First Fruits.”

Is it possible that God is only dealing with a few people today? There is a huge spiritual harvest to come, but what does the biblical Festival of Pentecost tell us about the plan of God? God uses the representation of the harvest of first fruits to make a powerful point as to the deep meaning of His purpose. In this study we’ll discuss the details of exactly what a first fruit is, and the responsibilities it carries. Join us for this in-depth examination of Pentecost and the first fruits.

Here is the schedule for the remainder of this series:

  • April 15, 2015: First Fruits – Steve Myers
  • April 29, 2015: The Power to Change – Darris McNeely
  • May 13, 2015: The Holy Spirit in Us – Steve Myers

 first fruits

 

Plan to watch online. You can also view the Bible study using your smartphone Internet browser.

Peter Eddington—Media and Communications Services, UCGIA

April 13, 2015 Posted by | Beyond Today, Media and Communications, Ministerial Services | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

NEW UCG.ORG Website to Launch

April 7, 2015

2nd Quarter 2015

UCG.org to Re-launch with Responsive Design and Other Improvements!

The Internet team at the United Church of God is always looking for ways to improve our visitor’s experience. Over the past several months we’ve been very busy building something that we think you’ll love! We’re very happy to say we’re almost ready to unveil the new UCG.org website!

Why a new website?

The Internet is constantly shifting in capabilities, browsing habits and tons of other factors. We like to stay as current as we can—so that we’re ready to give an answer when people are searching for God’s truths. We’ve thought long and hard about the best way to organize the new site, what it should look like, and how it will function. We didn’t want just a face-lift. We wanted a change that can be expanded and improved upon for years to come—with a strong backend and thoughtful organization. We think you’re going to love it!

What Can I Expect on the new site?

  1. New, mobile-friendly responsive design

    beta ucg site

    Beta sample of new UCG.org home page

We’ve redesigned the site from the ground up to make it more accessible on your smart phone, tablet, television or any other device that you use. A responsive design means the site should be accessible no matter what screen size you’re on at the moment. Over 50 percent of our traffic is from mobile phones and tablets now, so it is important to us that everyone has a seamless experience when they visit the website.

  1. More deliberate focus on presenting who we are as a Church

The Internet has changed really quickly! For years the strategy was to put as much content on your homepage as possible so search engines could find your site and make sure that visitors could find the information they were looking for. With advances from search engines this isn’t the case anymore. We’re planning to move all gospel-preaching content off of the “United Church of God” section of the website, and really focus in on who we are as a Church.

We’re going to give visitors a much clearer way to find a congregation near them and a really good idea of what they can find when they get to services. We’ll show them our outreach efforts, sermons, and even invite them in to watch a webcast Sabbath service so they can answer God’s calling.

  1. More deliberate focus on presenting the gospel message
beyond today

Beta sample of home page for new UCG.org Beyond Today media section

Just because you won’t see all of our media content on the “United Church of God” section anymore doesn’t mean we’re shifting focus. The new “Beyond Today” media section of the website will be better than ever!

With the coming magazine name change from The Good News to Beyond Today, our gospel message will be more findable and more robust than ever. Beyond Today is not just a television program anymore. Beyond Today is a place where people can find all the wonderful truths of God’s way of life in tons of different ways—videos, Bible studies, blogs, booklets and study aids—and all mobile-friendly and accessible to millions around the world. With a clear focus on our gospel-preaching effort, we’ll have the opportunities to reach people in many new emerging markets and emerging devices.

  1. New Congregation Websites

Along with the other changes we plan on slowly rolling in our local congregation websites, with tons of new features. All the sites will be searchable and findable inside the main UCG.org site now, which means a seamless experience for the user and a much better interface for the local congregation website helpers. All posted sermons given in local congregations will be findable on our main UCG.org website for everyone to hear, and we have a lot of great things in mind for those as well.

  1. New Members’ Website

In Quarter 3, we also plan on integrating the members’ site into the new UCG.org. It will provide a much more seamless experience for our members looking for pertinent member content.

Other Changes

We’ve also been keeping an eye on feedback from users and we’re deciding to sunset a few things.

  1. Simplified user accounts without in-site friend requests or messages

Friend requests and personal messages in-site will not be in the new website. We found a vast majority of users are not using this functionality, and there are many other options for interactivity on the Internet today.

To replace messaging we will allow any user to configure their account with a contact form so others can send them an e-mail message. All e-mail addresses will be obscured for privacy on UCG.org and the function will be able to be turned off. This lets site visitors drop a note to their favorite UCG.org authors and start to build a relationship right away. You should archive any messages you wish to keep now because when the site rolls over you will not be able to access the archived messages.

  1. Look for us on other devices you use!

The future of the Internet is having your website’s content on whatever device someone uses—be it a smart TV, set top box, wearable, phone, or something we haven’t even considered yet. We’ve built the new site with this in mind and hope to jump onto emerging technology as quickly as possible. Our Roku channel is the first example of this, but we want to make sure we’re available on streaming devices everywhere that people have a question about the Bible.

We look forward to everyone’s feedback as we start rolling the project out live. You can expect the first round of updates sometime in Quarter 2 of this year, and more improvements throughout the rest of 2015. We really appreciate everyone’s prayers for God’s blessing on the project and the continued support of the entire Church.

Tom Disher—Senior Web Developer & Beyond Today Media Promoter, UCGIA

Disher-Tom

April 7, 2015 Posted by | Beyond Today, Media and Communications | , , , , , | 17 Comments

DISH Network Changes Channel for ION Network

March 31, 2015

Here is an important update for those who watch the United Church of God’s Beyond Today TV program via satellite on DISH Network. DISH has moved ION to channel 250. It’s no longer on channel 216.

This is a unilateral decision by DISH and is a permanent change. It appears the change was made two Fridays ago. During the transition DISH has been airing a change notification. However, such a notice would not help those viewers who DVR the program, so if you have your recorder set for Friday mornings please update your settings.

A full station listing for Beyond Today can be found online at www.ucg.org/beyond-today/channels. (The DISH listing will be updated later today.)

Peter Eddington—Media and Communications Services

March 31, 2015 Posted by | Beyond Today, Media and Communications | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

TONIGHT: Live Bible Study Webcast

Why Should We Leave Sin?

March 18, 2015

The Cincinnati East, Ohio, congregation of the United Church of God (UCG) is continuing its bi-weekly Bible study series “Let Us Keep the Feasts.” Tune in TONIGHT, Wednesday, March 18, at the time of 7 p.m. ET live via webcast.

For the fifth study, Darris McNeely, a presenter on Beyond Today, will cover the topic: “Why Should We Leave Sin?” “Why is Egypt a type of sin? God was determined to deliver Israel from the shackles of Egyptian slavery and plant them in a land of promise. Why was this event so important to Israel’s history? The tyranny of Egyptian culture enslaved not only the Israelites but the Egyptian people as well. As we prepare for the spring Holy Days we’ll explore many spiritual lessons from this account.

Here is the schedule for the remainder of this series:

  • March 18, 2015: Why Should We Leave Sin? – Darris McNeely
  • April 15, 2015: First Fruits – Steve Myers
  • April 29, 2015: The Power to Change – Darris McNeely
  • May 13, 2015: The Holy Spirit in Us – Steve Myers

 why should we leave sin

 

Plan to watch online. You can also view the Bible study using your smartphone Internet browser.

Peter Eddington—Media and Communications Services, UCGIA

March 18, 2015 Posted by | Beyond Today, Media and Communications, Ministerial Services | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beyond Today Program “Who is the Antichrist?”

March 16, 2015

Episode Obtains Fourth Highest Response for 2014-2015 Fiscal Year

The Beyond Today television program “Who is the Antichrist?” produced by the United Church of God and hosted by Steve Myers, aired March 6-12, 2015. We are pleased to report that a total of 1,035 telephone and Internet responses were generated. This makes “Who is the Antichrist?” the fourth-highest viewer response episode aired so far this fiscal year. Please see the “top ten” program listing below.

 Beyond Today –Top Ten Programs–2014-2015 Fiscal Year

Beyond Today Top Ten Programs 2014-2015

Internet responses for “Who is the Antichrist?” originated from the following thirteen countries: Australia, Canada, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad/Tobago and United States.

Please tune into Beyond Today on the ION television network Friday mornings here in the United States at 8:30 a.m. Eastern/Pacific, 7:30 a.m. Central/Mountain. To find the ION channels in your area, please visit www.iontelevision.com and click on “channel finder” located on the top right corner of the webpage. Enter your zip code and you will be shown the channel number(s) on which ION television can be viewed in your area.

Also, Beyond Today continues to air regularly in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Trinidad/Tobago and South Africa—and soon in St Lucia. Please see our channel listing online at http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/channels.

As always, we sincerely appreciate your prayers as the United Church of God continues preaching and publishing the good news of God’s coming Kingdom.

Peter Eddington – Operation Manager—Media and Communications Services

March 16, 2015 Posted by | Beyond Today, Media and Communications | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

TONIGHT: Bible Study Webcast — Let Us Keep the Feasts

What Is Sin?

March 4, 2015

The Cincinnati East, Ohio, congregation of the United Church of God (UCG) is continuing its bi-weekly Bible study series “Let Us Keep the Feasts.” Tune in TONIGHT, Wednesday, March 4, at the time of 7 p.m. ET via webcast.

For the fourth study, Gary Petty, a presenter on Beyond Today and San Antonio/Austin/Waco, Texas, pastor says: “We’ve all heard of sin. It’s a very religious sounding word. But, what do the Days of Unleavened Bread teach us about sin and its dangerously pervasive consequences in our lives?” Join Gary as he explores “What is Sin?

Here is the schedule for the remainder of this series:

  • March 4, 2015: What Is Sin? – Gary Petty
  • March 18, 2015: Why Should We Leave Sin? – Darris McNeely
  • April 15, 2015: First Fruits – Steve Myers
  • April 29, 2015: The Holy Spirit in Us – Gary Petty
  • May 13, 2015: Power to Change – Darris McNeely

 

what is sin

Plan to watch online. You can also view the Bible study using your smartphone Internet browser.

Peter Eddington—Media and Communications Services, UCGIA

March 4, 2015 Posted by | Beyond Today, Ministerial Services | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

LIVE Bible Study Webcast on Wednesday

The Solution For Sin

February 16, 2015

The Cincinnati East, Ohio, congregation of the United Church of God (UCG) is continuing its bi-weekly Bible study series “Let Us Keep the Feasts.” Tune in on Wednesday, February 18, at the time of 7 p.m. ET. It is available live via webcast.

For the third study, Steve Myers, a presenter on Beyond Today and Cincinnati East pastor, will cover “The Solution For Sin.”

Here is the schedule for the remainder of this series:

  • February 18, 2015: The Solution for Sin – Steve Myers
  • March 4, 2015: What Is Sin? – Gary Petty
  • March 18, 2015: Why Should We Leave Sin? – Darris McNeely
  • April 15, 2015: First Fruits – Steve Myers
  • April 29, 2015: The Holy Spirit in Us – Gary Petty
  • May 13, 2015: Power to Change – Darris McNeely

the solution for sin

Plan to attend in person, or you can listen online. You can also view the Bible study using your smartphone Internet browser.

Peter Eddington—Media and Communications Services, UCGIA

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Beyond Today, Media and Communications | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Church Media Showing Record-breaking Growth

February 6, 2015

The year of 2014 saw the highest number of visitors ever to the United Church of God website at UCG.org—6.89 million unique visitors! This is up from the previous high in 2013 of 6.4 million unique visitors—a 7.6% increase. And currently, Alexa.com ranks UCG.org in the top 20 in the world among Christian denomination websites!

ucg

Our goal, and a rather challenging one, is for UCG.org to become the leading online Christian content source. To accomplish this requires God’s blessing, talent, teamwork, employee involvement, member involvement and hard work. We pray that we will continue to make good progress in this regard.

The 2014 calendar year saw more than 48,000 responses to our Beyond Today broadcast. This is the best year so far, and a 17% increase over 2013.

Here are some encouraging figures as of January 31 this year:

  • United News circulation is the highest it’s been in almost 4 years—13,301.
  • Our coworker count is now the highest it’s ever been—3,694 (17% higher than a year ago).
  • Our donor list now includes 7,258 people. That’s a 50% increase over the same time last year.
  • Combined with our coworkers, we now have more of our readers and viewers contributing to the work of the Church than the total number of members in the U.S.
  • 2014 was an all-time record for the number of personal correspondence (PC) answers sent.
  • Pieces of mail containing donations for December 2014 were the highest since United began—8,233—an 82% increase over December 2013.

Please continue your ongoing prayers for success in preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God around the world, and for God’s blessing on the work of His Church in this age.

Peter Eddington—Media and Communications Services

February 6, 2015 Posted by | Beyond Today, Media and Communications | , , , , , | 6 Comments

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