Realm Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve put together some questions that have come up about Realm by topic area:
- General Questions
- Profile and Privacy
- Families, Youth, and Children (FYC)
- Ministry Teams and Other Groups
General Questions about Realm
How does Realm work?
Profiles: Your profile is your starting point. It contains your contact information, household members, email preferences, giving history, groups you belong to, and more.
Giving: You can pledge, contribute, and see your giving history through your profile.
Groups: Realm’s “Groups” feature simplifies interacting with others in the church, including committees and small group ministries. When you activate your profile, you are automatically part of a group called Westminster Presbyterian Church.
How do I get started with Realm?
If you have an email address on file with the church, you have a profile waiting to be activated. To activate your profile and get started with Realm, you need to open an email invitation called, “Westminster Presbyterian Church: Join our online community!” (Check your junk folder, just in case it landed there.) Follow these steps to activate your profile:
- Open the email and create a password. You will then be sent a verification email.
- Open the verification email and click on the link to verify your account. Your profile is activated!
- To log in to Realm, click on the Realm login button.
- Enter your email address and the password you created.
I didn’t receive an email invitation. What do I do?
If you did not receive an email invitation and you know you have a valid email address on file with Westminster, first please check your spam/junk folder. If the email invitation isn’t there, please contact Andrea Gillette.
If you did not receive an email invitation and you don’t have an email address on file with the church, you will need to give the church office your email address by contacting Janice Teliczan.
How do I get to Realm on my computer?
You must first respond to the invitation email and activate your profile. After you have activated your profile, go to Realm through the church website. Then click on the login button and enter your email address and password.
Is there a mobile app for smartphones and tablets?
Yes. To use the app, you must first respond to the invitation email and activate your profile. (If you did not receive an email, contact the church office.) To download the iOS or Android app, search for “Realm Connect.” (The full name of the app is “Connect – Our Church Community” from ACS Technologies.)
Why did Westminster buy Realm?
Westminster migrated to Realm in early 2020 to replace a database program that was no longer being supported.
Profile and Privacy Questions
What about privacy? Who can see my personal and contact information?
Realm is a private, password-protected system for members of our church community only.
To check your privacy settings, click on the arrow next to your name in the upper right corner of your screen (or “More” in the app). Then click on “Manage Privacy.” We urge everyone over 18 to choose “Everyone in our church.” Other Realm users in the church will be able to see your email and home address, phone number, birthday (month and day, not year), marital status, and the names of members of your household. If you prefer to keep certain information private, you can choose one of the other options.
Can I make changes to my personal and contact information?
Yes! We encourage everyone to update their profiles. To see your personal and contact information, click on the arrow next to your name in the upper right corner of your screen (or “More” in the app). Select “My Profile” to check the information about you. Click on “Edit Profile” to change any of this information.
Should I upload a photo to my profile?
Yes, please do! In a church as large as ours, it’s helpful to connect names and faces. Headshots are best! To upload a photo from your computer, click on the circle containing your initials.
For additional questions about your profile in Realm, contact Janice Teliczan, Executive Assistant.
Families, Youth, and Children on Realm
Who can see my children’s personal information?
To comply with our Child and Youth Safety Policy, privacy settings for children and youth under 18 are set to “Only the church staff.” Parents, please do not change these settings for your children.
Can I register my children for FYC programs and classes in Realm?
Yes. Watch for communication from the FYC office with instructions for how to register for classes and events.
For additional questions about FYC on Realm, contact the Rev. Alexandra Jacob.
Communications and Realm
Help! I’m not getting any email from the church and my committees!
After you have activated your Realm profile, you need to change your email settings for Realm. Click on the arrow next to your name in the upper right corner of your profile. Select “Email Settings.” Select “All posts and replies.” In the app, go to “More” and “Settings.”
Does Realm replace the church website?
No. The church website is the church’s public and welcoming online presence to people who may be unfamiliar with our church. The website will continue to provide key information about ministry areas, public events, and announcements.
For additional questions about communications through Realm, contact Suzanne McInroy, Director of Communications.
Giving on Realm
Can I make a pledge or donate to the church online? Can I see what I’ve given?
Yes. You can donate through the church website, the Realm website, and Realm app. To see your giving history, you must login to Realm.
Is online giving safe and secure in Realm?
All online transactions are conducted using an encrypted connection, through ACS Technologies (Realm) (who has been providing financial and other services for Westminster for many years), and Vanco, a PCI Level 1 Compliant Service Provider. Sensitive financial information (such as account and credit card numbers) do not pass through and are not stored on church premise computers; neither does church staff have access to this information. While “perfect security” does not exist, we have researched the details, methods, and reputations of the organizations and partners involved in providing online giving, and we believe that this is a robust and secure system.
For additional questions about giving through Realm, contact Nicole Cueno, Senior Director for Operations and Administration.
Ministry Teams and Other Groups on Realm
How will Ministry Teams and committees use Realm?
Ministry Teams and committees are encouraged to use Realm for their communication. Leaders and members within the group can post files and photos. Posting is as simple as clicking on the pen icon, writing a message, and clicking “Post.” You can also create a photo post by clicking on the camera.
Committee chairs will be set up as “Group Leaders” in Realm. Group leaders have these additional privileges:
- Creating events: Leaders can create a date-specific meeting, gathering, or event by clicking on the calendar. These are automatically added to the Realm church calendar.
- Adding and removing group members: Leaders keep their committee rosters up to date. To add and remove group members, go to “Participants” and “Manage Roster.”
How will small group ministries use Realm?
Small groups using email for communication are encouraged to use Realm as their platform for their communication. To have your group set up on Realm, please contact Andrea Gillette.
I’m a small group leader, and I communicate with my group via email. Why would I want to use Realm instead of email?
Realm offers several advantages for small group leaders:
- Realm has a dedicated space for your group, so all the messages, responses, and uploaded files are stored together. No more searching your email inbox for past communication!
- Your ministry expands: People in the congregation can easily find and join your group.
- Every message and all replies go to everyone in the group. No more out-of-date email mailing lists or “Reply All” requirements.
As the leader of a small group, how do I set up my group on Realm?
We’ve taken the liberty to set up as many groups in Realm already, but if you don’t see yours, please contact Andrea Gillette to have your group set up on Realm. She will designate the leader(s). To add and remove group members, go to “Participants” and “Manage Roster.”
As a leader of a small group, how do I post on Realm?
Posting is as simple as clicking on the pen icon, writing a message, and clicking “Post.” You can also create a photo post (click on the camera) and a date-specific meeting, gathering, or event (click on the calendar). Events are automatically added to the Realm church calendar.
Although only leaders can create events, any group member can post messages and photos.
As a leader of a small group, what should I post on Realm?
Your group will likely communicate on Realm the way it has via email. It’s our hope that eventually all small groups will shift from email to Realm.
What you post depends on you and your group. Some leaders may want to post questions, Bible verses, photos, and links to prompt reflection and discussion among the group. Leaders of task-oriented groups may prefer who’s-bringing-what types of posts. As you consider what to post, think about your long-time group members and what might make newer members feel welcome.
Above all, be yourself! Add a photo of yourself and encourage others in your group to do so.
For additional questions about groups, skills, interests, and ways to get involved using Realm, please contact Andrea Gillette.