About the UUA Services Plugin

The UUA Services Plugin is built into the Theme, and downloads with the Theme download. To activate it, see step 4 on Next Steps After Activating UUA Theme.

What the UUA Services Plugin Does

One of the things we wanted to be sure to build into the UUA Theme was an integrated way to handle services (Sunday morning or other services), arguably the most frequently updated part of a congregational site. The theme includes a plugin called UUA Services Plugin, that does the following:

  1. Creates a custom post type called Services
  2. Creates two custom taxonomies for grouping Services (Speaker and Topics)
  3. Adds three widgets:
    • Featured Upcoming Services Widget, used on the front page of the site to showcase the next upcoming service as well as some links.
    • Upcoming Service Widget that provides a listing of upcoming services, to be used in the footer, sidebars or on the homepage to list upcoming services.
    • Recent Services Widget, to be used in the footer, sidebar or on the homepage to list recent services.
  4. Adds two shortcodes that you can include on pages to display service information:
    • Service Archive Shortcode, which lists an archive of past services. Add
      [service-archive]

      to your service archive page to show links to all past services, with most recent services first.

    • Upcoming Service Shortcode, which lists the upcoming services, along with speaker and description. Add
      [upcoming-services]

      where you want to list all upcoming services.

What the UUA Services Plugin Doesn’t Do

Currently, the plugin cannot advertise more than one service at a time. If you have two worship services and they have different titles or descriptions, it cannot feature both on the homepage /in sidebars simultaneously. It will always feature the next service and its title and description.

Additionally, the Services Plugin doesn’t generate a unique page for the next service. This makes it a little harder to advertise a link to the next service on social media.

You can work with these limitations by creating a news item about your next service. Use the Posts plugin. Here you can include a long description, multiple service times, bios of speakers, and photos. You can then use the news item’s unique URL to advertise the service online.

How to Use the UUA Services Plugin

  1. Add your regular worship leaders’ names under Services > Speakers.
  2. Add some upcoming services under Services > Add New.
    • Set the date of the services using the date in the publish area. Services with dates in the future will be marked as ‘scheduled’ posts so that they show in the ‘upcoming’ shortcode and widgets.
    • You can include a title and description, which will be advertised on the homepage, upcoming services page, and sidebars throughout your site. Until the plugin is revised to accommodate longer descriptions, descriptions should be 50 words/240 characters or less.
    • You can add an image for the service by clicking on Add Media. (The image will only be displayed when someone clicks on the service title to learn more.)
  3. Add some past services under Services > Add New. Be sure to indicate the date and time of the service so that your site will know that the service already happened. It will show up under Past Worship Services on your website. For past services, you can add the text of the sermon, audio recordings, video recordings, or a picture. Add the text in the text box, and click Add Media to add an .mp3, .mp4, or .jpg of the service. If you podcast, see below for information about the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin, which integrates well with the UUA Services Plugin.

The plug-in automatically moves services from Future to Past when they have occurred. Be sure that your site’s settings use your congregation’s local time zone so it will do this accurately. (Go to Settings in the administrative dashboard to change the time.)

Podcasting

After reviewing the demand and the level of development necessary to maintain podcasts within the Services metadata, we decided that it would be preferable to instead recommend the use of the very effective Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin, which allows us to attach podcasting functionality to the Services without having to build and maintain that functionality ourselves.