Emailing those on a rota through My ChurchSuite

For each rota you create in ChurchSuite, a unique rota email address is also created for that rota. The specific rota email address can be located on the rota page within your Rotas module. Typically the rota email address is helpful for circulating swap requests, or to circulate prayer requests or special information about a change in ministry processes.

Essentially this email address can only be used by the rota members, which includes all ministry members (irrespective of whether the ministry is active or archived), ministry overseers and any ad hoc rota members with future service dates remaining that have been added to the rota but are not in the underlying ministry. Anyone who is not a rota member (ministry member, ad hoc member or overseer) is unable to use that email address and will receive a bounce-back warning. 

Within My ChurchSuite > My Rotas, opening a rota will display the [email] Rota button (top right). Being a group email, messages are distributed to everyone who is a rota member.

In the Rota module settings in ChurchSuite, you have the option to designate how rota group emails should function. With Manage module or Administrator permission, go to the Rotas module settings (the cog wheel in the top right corner of the module). From there, select the My ChurchSuite tab and scroll down to the Group Email section.

Here you can specify how emails should be distributed - either to Ministry members or Rota members. Ministry members is likely to be more restrictive since messages will only go to those rota members who are in the associated ministry. Since rotas often contain ad hoc people who may have been added to a rota, but not to the associated ministry, you may prefer to choose the Rota members option. Save any module settings you change before leaving the page. Rota members comprise ministry members, ministry overseers and ad hoc serving people who are due to serve on a future date (but not those who have served their last ad hoc time on a rota).

A further consideration is that since a rota will likely cover a wide range of dates, rota group emails will be sent to all rota or ministry members contained in that rota with future serving dates remaining. Therefore if you've constructed highly elaborate ministry and role structures, perhaps in an attempt to combine several separate ministries into one rota, the email distribution list could become quite sizeable, resulting in people possibly receiving a considerable number of emails unnecessarily. We therefore recommend, where possible, creating a separate rota for each of your ministries and only for an appropriate length of time; perhaps a term or a quarter. This will ensure rota communications are directed only at those who need to know and in a timely manner.

Within My ChurchSuite, selecting [Rota] Email opens the email editor. At this time, email attachments are not possible (feature coming soon!). The email author can provide an email subject and compose the body of their email.

Before the email is sent, the author must specify how replies are to be handled within the group - choosing either to send replies to the author only ("Send just to me" - ideal where you just want to solicit a response or feedback), or to all the other group members too ("Send to me and all other group members" - ideal for discussions). Once this option has been set, all subsequent email threads related to the first message will follow this protocol.

My ChurchSuite rota group emails are closed-group messages that are private to the group members only and as such are not logged or recorded in ChurchSuite's communication logs. They are however visible in the My Communications log for each group email recipient, including the author. Rota members cease to receive Group emails when they are removed from the Ministry, or when ad hoc rota members have served their final date on a rota. 

Note: A rota group email sent with "Send replies just to me" will disclose the sender's email address in the reply-to field of the email, in order for the replies to be routed back to just the sender instead of the group's email address (irrespective of whether "email is visible in My ChurchSuite" has been set to not be visible - it's not possible to send an email requesting replies to "just me" and not have the sender's email address disclosed). A rota group email sent with "Send replies to me and all other [rota group] members" will disclose the rota's private group email address in the reply-to field of the email ensuring that replies are routed back to all rota group members without disclosing all the rota group member email addresses.

Ministry overseers have an additional rota group email option, shown below - the "Append rota to email" option will append the rota and rota member list to the body of the email before sending - just like overseers can do when they first publish a draft rota. This may be helpful when there is a significant update to a rota that you want to put in people's inboxes to alert them to the changes.

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