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Methodists redesign social Web page

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — Methodists have a new way to connect.

United Methodist Communications on Monday unveiled the church's redesigned Web page that is meant to function as a social-networking site, similar to MySpace or Facebook.

The church spent more than two years developing the new umc.org, to allow visitors to set up personal profiles, upload photos, create a blog and establish a network of friends.

The online community has filters that edit out offensive language, among other safety tools that allow users to flag inappropriate posts for review by an administrator.

"It's about relationships and bringing people of faith together in innovative new ways," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications.

Other site features include resources for church leaders, a "people" section that includes inspirational stories, a section to submit prayer requests, a volunteer opportunities section, a "MethoPedia" or encyclopedia for Methodists, and a church locator.

The United Methodist Church claims 8.3 million U.S. members, along with many members overseas.