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Latham-based web company hopes to change the way churches get online

Valleyview Alliance Church of Vestal was the first church to get online with steepleconnect.com, a new platform being offered by eSolve Solutions of Latham. The company is hoping to attract more congregations to the system, which is custom-tailored for the needs of churches.

Valleyview Alliance Church of Vestal was the first church to get online with steepleconnect.com, a new platform being offered by eSolve Solutions of Latham. The company is hoping to attract more congregations to the system, which is custom-tailored for the needs of churches. Submitted Photo

— While in the online news world “pay walls” are the topic of the day, in the non-secular sphere some churches are thinking about “prayer walls.”

At least, those that are early adopters in steepleconnect.com, the latest development of eSolve Solutions, a Latham web company owned by Guy Cortesi. Part website, part social network and part donation plate, Cortesi said the idea was born when a church in the Binghamton area was on the hunt for a new website.

A congregant of the church, Adam Smallcomb, partnered with Cortesi's son, Timothy, in getting things started.

“We decided to take it a lot further,” Guy Cortesi said, adding that once they got under way, it became clear there was an untapped market for a robust, easy-to-use, affordable web presence for churches.

“We found that in like 60 churches, there might be 30 that don't have a site, or have a minimal site,” Cortesi said. “We also found that most of them aren’t being maintained, and if they are being maintained it's a lot of work.”

Churches that join steepleconnect (there are three right now, but Cortesi hopes to add more, including Capital District houses of worship) get their own corner of the website that integrates a lot of features Facebook users might be familiar with. There are places for full-featured calendars, blogs and general information about a church. There's also a way to make a secure donation to the church and even to share podcasts of the sermon from each week's worship.

The Rev. David Murphy, of Valleyview Alliance Church in Vestal, said the website has been a useful too for his church in many ways. Even serving as the guinea pig for the development of the system and putting in money up front, it's been cheaper than getting similar features out of website built privately from the ground-up, he said.

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