Following feedback from users, we have now found a better way to display the Daily Devotions on your website. This method has been made possible through the work of Walt Johnson, a member of the Metropolitan Congregation of Wilbrahim St. Ninian’s United Reformed Church, and a business partner at Bytesize Computers. Walt has written a PHP script which means that we can embed the Daily Devotions, in its original form including headers and logo, into our sites using just a bit of HTML.
So, to use the new method, the instructions are as follows (if you are adopting this method, you can then remove the other, ie you can delete the CyberSyn plugin and clear the page that was pulling the feed):
- Create/open the page on which you want the Daily Devotions to display.
- In the ‘Edit Page’ screen, switch from ‘Visual’ to ‘Text’ mode
- Paste in the following:
<iframe src="http://devotions.urc.org.uk/urcddtoday.php" width="100%" height="1200" style="border:none"></iframe>
- Save the page. If you haven’t already, you then need to include it in your site’s menu.
That’s it! The page should now pull the latest Daily Devotion as an embed into the page itself.
If you are giving it a go, please let me know how you get on.
You may or may not be aware that there are now daily reflections, written by all kinds of contributors, made available by the United Reformed Church as emails (you can subscribe here to receive them: http://devotions.urc.org.uk/) – and now you can also find them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/URCDailyDevotions/.
Some iChurch webmasters have indicated an interest in having these appear as a feed on their website, so I’ve put together some instructions as to how to do that. I hope that helps!
- First, go to Posts – Categories, to set up a category just for the daily devotions.
- Give the category at title: you can call it whatever you like, but I might suggest ‘Daily Devotions’, for clarity.
- In the Add New Category field, when it asks for ‘slug’, what it is looking for is the computer-friendly version of the title you have just given it. You can work this out by taking out any symbols, using lower case letters in place of any capitals, and by adding a hyphen in place of any spaces you may have in your title, so, for example, with my suggested title, this would translate to a slug of daily-devotions.
- Save category (you don’t need to give it a parent category or description).
- Go to Plugins – Add New, and search for ‘CyberSyn’. Install and activate the CyberSyn plugin.
- In the dashboard, go to CyberSyn – RSS/Atom Syndicator.
- Into the ‘New Feed URL’ field, paste: http://us13.campaign-archive1.com/feed?u=8958e2851d933a7a389a9f51c&id=9c17704e4e, and click the blue button that says ‘Syndicate’.
- This will bring you to a configuration page. Here you need to change the following settings:
- Give the feed a title – whatever you like, but I would suggest something like ‘Daily Devotions from the United Reformed Church’.
- Next to ‘Syndicate this feed to the following categories’, you need to select your new category (in my case, ‘Daily Devotions’).
- Select ‘Extract Full Articles’ – this is important so that the whole devotion appears rather than just an excerpt and link.
- Choose which user to attribute posts to (I’m choosing myself).
- In the field next to ‘Shorten Post Excerpts’, add a 0 (zero).
- You don’t need to change anything else. Now click the blue button (‘Syndicate This Field’).
- There’s one more thing to do in this section: navigate back to CyberSyn – RSS/Atom Syndicator, select the checkbox next to your feed, and click the blue button that says ‘Pull Selected Feeds Now!’.
- Next, you need to go and create a page on which you will display the Daily Devotions.
- Under ‘Page Attributes’ on the right hand side, from the ‘Template’ dropdown, select ‘Custom Layout’. This will make a new area appear at the top in the centre of the screen you are looking at.
- Click the grey button to ‘Add Section’ (skip this step if your site is running iChurch 4 rather than 5).
- A new little grey area will appear. Above it, from the dropdown that says ‘Select Element’, select ‘Blog’ (in iChurch 4 or 3, this will be ‘Post List’), and click the ‘Add Element’ button.
- This should cause a new white bar to appear within your little grey area. The white bar should read ‘Blog’ on the left, then ‘Element Label’, and at the far right of it have a small grey triangle/arrow – click on this to toggle it open.
- Here you need to configure the blog feed. Tell it to pull posts from ‘Category’, and then specify which category, i.e. select, from the list, your new category.
- For ‘Number of Posts’, enter 1.
- Under ‘Meta Information’, select ‘Hide Meta’.
- Under ‘Sub Meta Information’, select ‘Show Sub Meta’.
- Under ‘Show Excerpts of Full Content?’, select ‘Show Full Content’.
- Scroll back up and click the blue button that says ‘Publish’ (after you have published the page the first time, the button then reads ‘Update’ instead).
- Once it has saved the changes, hit ‘View Page’ at the top, to check all is displaying correctly.
- Next, you need to add the page to your menu. To do this, go to Appearance – Menus.
- Under the list of available Pages at the left, find your new page (it should be at the top of the ‘Most Recent’ list). Select it, and click the ‘Add to Menu’ button.
- The new page will appear at the bottom of the menu. Click and drag it to wherever in the menu you want it to appear – remember, you can make it a sub-item of another menu item by dragging it below that item and indenting to the right. Once you are happy with your arrangement, click the blue ‘Save Menu’ button. Your page should now appear where you asked the site to display it – voilà!