IGRC clergy email accounts to end March 1


Email at symbolO'FALLON -- Due to recent problems with the IGRC email system that cannot be resolved, IGRC clergy email accounts will be ended on March 1 if a policy change is approved in the next few days by the Conference IT User's group.

The announcement was made Feb. 2 by Rick Van Giesen, director of administrative services at Covenant Keepers 2015.

Pastors are being asked to provide their District office with an alternative, non-IGRC email address which they would designate to receive IGRC email. If the pastor changes his/her email address, it will be their responsibility to notify the District and Conference offices of the change of address. Cards were provided to Covenant Keeper attendees to complete if they wished to get "a head start" in addressing this issue.

Provide your new email address to the Conference and District offices here...

Conference staff and district offices will retain their IGRC email addresses.

Should the IT User's group approve the policy change, a resolution will be brought to the 2015 Annual Conference, seeking the repeal of legislation passed eight years ago and aligning the new practice with a revised policy. Normally, a policy change would need to be made before any action could be taken, but conference leadership has deemed this an "emergency situation" needing immediate attention.

IGRC Director of Communication Ministries Paul Black said that the 2007 Annual Conference approved a mandatory email system which was to be used for conference communications. "At that time, the issue was portability," Black said. "More than 80 percent of pastors (in 2007) had email addresses that were tied to their internet service provider. When clergy moved, district and conference offices expended a great deal of time and manpower tracking down new email addresses. Now, with the popularity of Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo and Outlook addresses, portability has been addressed and with the change in policy, responsibility for keeping the address properly updated rests with the clergy where it should reside."

Over the past several months, the IGRC email system has been compromised due to infected machines opening the email system. When the infection gets inside the email account, it triggered spam email by the hundreds each minute, causing the entire IGRC.org domain to be blacklisted by other internet service providers because individual practices impact the whole domain. Once the system was "cleansed" and send/receive functions restored by the first attack, two additional attacks caused the re-blacklisting of the IGRC.org email addresses with the system crippled for up to six weeks.

"Although previous problems in previous years caused brief outages due to equipment, weather and internet connections, we cannot solve this problem long-term because it involves behavior," Black said.