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New Tool Improves Management of Local Search Listings for Meetinghouses

Accurate information helps visitors find and feel welcome when visiting Church meetinghouses

Example of the meetinghouse information that can be edited with a new tool announced on Thursday, January 12, 2023. Screenshot from Google Maps courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.

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By Sydney Walker, Church News

This week the Church announced a change that may help more individuals find their way to local meetinghouses.

When looking for a place to attend church with the help of tools like Google Maps, Siri or Waze, some have found that the Church’s nearly 19,000 meetinghouses can be difficult to find or identify correctly.

This new tool will enable local management of the address, building description, working phone number and meeting hours. It will also provide better ways to make note of languages spoken or customs observed in specific meetings at each location.

In a notice sent Thursday, January 12, to area, mission, stake and district presidencies, bishoprics and branch presidencies, the Church Communication Department said, “We hope this new approach will allow people to more easily find us and join with us in our meetings and activities.”

The tool’s users will have additional abilities to answer questions posed on different mapping platforms as well.

Local Church leaders have flexibility in determining who will be responsible for implementing and maintaining the new tool at their level.

The move comes after two years of pilot efforts in various locations in North America, Europe and the Pacific.

Working phone numbers, meeting hours and answers to questions can all be input with the Church’s new map tool announced January 12, 2023. Screenshot from Google Maps, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.

While this new tool will help with search engines and online mapping tools, it will not replace the current Meetinghouse Locator tool found on the Church’s website, as the two tools serve different purposes.

Read the Complete Notice

“We want to help people find our meetinghouses so we can welcome them to worship, participate and serve with us. The Church recently concluded a two-year pilot of a software platform (called Yext), which is intended to help make meetinghouses easier to find in search engines and GPS map services (Google Maps, YellowPages, Apple Maps, Facebook, etc.). Church leaders recently approved a rollout of this platform for all meetinghouses worldwide.

“This tool will be managed, funded and supported by Church headquarters, but the information for each meetinghouse must be maintained by someone at the local level. This assignment should be given to a member of the stake communication council, where organized, or to a member of a coordinating or national communication council. The assigned individual will be responsible for managing the standard building information (such as address, description, phone number and hours); customizing listings to best suit region, language and local customs; and responding to questions and reviews.

“Individuals called to manage this information will contact local leadership to verify the correct information for each building or congregation. Local leaders can support these efforts by providing that information (this assignment may also be delegated to a clerk or secretary).

“We request that all previous efforts to manage meetinghouse information now align with this new program. Individuals assigned to this responsibility should collaborate with their area communication councils to avoid duplication of effort and diversity of strategy. We hope this new approach will allow people to more easily find us and join with us in our meetings and activities.”

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