Communicating with rota members within 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 "View" page within the Rotas module...

...and is also used by the Rota group email feature on rota pages within the My Rotas section of My ChurchSuite.

Overview of intended functionality

The rota group email is helpful for circulating swap requests, prayer requests or other important information about the rota. The Rota group email feature is a 'closed group' email address and can only be used by the rota's members, defined as: -

  1. ministry members (irrespective of whether the rota's underlying ministry is active or archived),
  2. ministry overseers
  3. any ad hoc people that have been added to the rota not in the ministry and who have future serving dates remaining on the rota

Anyone (including Users) who is not a rota member is unable to use that email address and will receive a bounce-back email notification if they attempt to send an email to the rota group email address. A rota members will cease to receive rota group emails when they are removed from the rota's underlying ministry or when an ad hoc rota member has served their final date on the rota. Closed group emails are private to the group and are therefore not listed in the Communication logs in ChurchSuite, but are listed in each rota member's My Communication section in My ChurchSuite - and, of course, they're delivered to their regular email application.

In addition to the functionality described above, there's a Rotas module setting that you'll also want to review, which further determines how rota group emails function. Within the module's settings click through to the My ChurchSuite Options tab and locate the Group Email option.

This setting determines who rota group emails go to - either to Ministry members or Rota members. Ministry members is more restrictive since messages will only go to those rota members who are in the rota's linked ministry. Since rotas often contain ad hoc people who may have been drafted in to serve serve one-off dates (but who are not in to the rota's underlying ministry) you may prefer to choose the Rota members option. While all rota members can send group emails (including ad hoc rota members), this module option determines who receives the group emails - the ministry members only or all rota members. Save any module setting changes made before leaving the page.

Communicating with rota members

For each rota in the My Rotas section of My ChurchSuite there's an Email button located at the top right of the rota page.

Clicking the Email button opens the email compose page. Note that My ChurchSuite doesn't support HTML formatting tools or file attachments. In such 'use cases' a rota email author may prefer to copy and paste the rota's group email address and send the message to the group email address from their regular email application where broader functionality is available.

Add an email Subject and type the Body of the message.

Before sending, notice that the author can select how Replies are to be handled within the group - choosing either to Send replies to just me (i.e. the author only - the default) - ideal where you just want to solicit a response or feedback - or to Send replies to me and all other [group] members - ideal for discussion threads. Once this option has been set, all subsequent email in the thread relating to the first message will follow this protocol.

Important - sender email address privacy

A rota group email sent with Send replies just to me will always disclose the sender's email address in the reply-to email address field of the email - this is obviously necessary so that replies are correctly routed back to "just the sender" rather than to the group email address. This will happen even if the sender has set their email address "not visible" for their My ChurchSuite privacy settings. It is not possible to send an email requesting replies to just one's own email address and not have that email address disclosed.

Conversely, a rota group email sent with Send replies to me and all other [rota group] members will use the group email address in the reply-to email address field, ensuring that replies are routed back to the group email address and therefore to all the rota group members. This is done without disclosing rota group member email addresses.

Finally, ministry overseers have the same Email functionality as rota members, but with a further option to Append rota to email - in the same way that that have this option when publishing a draft rota. This feature may be useful after significant rota changes where an overseer wants to ensure rota members know about them.

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