How to Use a Church Gmail Account

If you chair or are in a committee, or if you have a job role at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg, you might be asked to use a “church” email address. We define this as an email address that ends with our domain, which is

Benefits of using a church email address

The benefits of using a dedicated church email address include:

  • The ability for more than one person to read and respond to email with the same address.
  • When one person leaves and someone else joins a committee, there’s an email history of a committee for a new chair or committee member.
  • You can view and use the email account on your computer, phone, tablet, or other device and have the same email in the same folders and with the same tags.
  • Multiple people with the same address collectively will benefit from organization in the account. For example, if one person makes folders or tags to organize email, everyone will be able to use those going forward.

Information and Setup

Using a church email address is easy. Here are a few things you need to know, and some setup instructions.

Church email is Gmail

Our church is using a suite of free (for non-profits) cloud-based services known collectively as Google Workspace (formerly known as GSuite). We use it to work collaboratively in many ways such as documents like orders of service, and the church calendar, which is a Google calendar. Our “church” emails that end with our domain are Gmail and are more secure because they are managed within Google Workspace.

Set up and use Gmail

The easiest way to use Gmail (especially when more than one person is using the account) is to do one of two things:

  • Method 1: Open a browser such as Chrome or Edge, navigate to, and then log in using the email address and password. Or,
  • Method 2: Install the Gmail app on your phone or device and add the Gmail account to it.

Method 1: Access Gmail through a browser

You can use this technique from any computer, phone, tablet, or other device, as long as you have access to the internet.

Important note: If you are working on a public computer (like at the library) or someone else’s computer, never confirm the browser’s request to “save your password”! If you are asked “Do you want to save (or update) the password for this site?” after you log in, please select “Never” or “No” or equivalent.

Log in to Gmail

  1. Open a browser such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari.
  2. Type in the address bar: and then press the Enter key (or tap the Go key on your phone).
  3. Select the Sign in button. (If you don’t see a Sign in button, refer to Note #1.)
    sign in button
  4. Enter the full church email (1) and password (2)  to log in. (If you get a “Choose an account” message, refer to Note #2.)

login and password screens

Note #1: If you don’t see a Sign in button, you might need to sign out of your personal Gmail account. There’s a small circle with an initial or a picture in the top-right corner of your browser that will indicate which account you’re using. Select this circle to switch between accounts, or sign out and then sign in again, or create/add a new account.

gmail profile button

Note #2: It’s unlikely, but possible, that someone in the past added a personal account with the same email address (this is only true as far as I know for one of our accounts). If you see a “Choose an account” message, please select the Google Workspace account option.
Gmail choose account screen

First time you log in, add another account to your browser

If this is the first time you are trying to access the account, what you need to do is add a new account in your browser and then you can switch between your personal one and the church one. With some browsers (Chrome), you might be asked when you open the browser which account you want to use. You can even colour-code the browser window to visually remind you which account you’re logged into in the window.

To add a Gmail account to your browser:

  1. Click or tap the circle that indicates and, depending on the type of browser you’re using (desktop/computer or phone/device).
  2. Select “Add” or “Add another account” or “Manage accounts” or similar (it’s different on different devices and in different browsers).
    Gmail add another account screen
  3. Enter the church email address in the “Email or phone” field. (see previous graphic)
  4. It’s unlikely, but possible, that someone in the past added a personal account with the same email address (this is only true as far as I know for one of our accounts). If you see a “Choose an account” message, please select the Google Workspace account option. (see previous graphic)
  5. Enter the email’s password and then select Next. (see previous graphic)

Set up the Gmail app on your phone or device

To set up a Gmail account on your phone or tablet:

  1. Go to the app store appropriate for your device (e.g., Apples’ App Store, Google Apps on an Android phone).
  2. Use the search function to search for “gmail.”
  3. Locate and then install the app called “Gmail” from “Google LLC.”
  4. When the app is installed, open it.
  5. Log in using the full email address as the username and the password.

More information about setting up Gmail


What happens if we change the password to the shared Gmail account?

Answer: If one person in the committee changes the password of a shared Gmail account (which you do in Gmail, once you are logged in), then that is the new password that everyone who access the Gmail account must use.

Please use Slack, a Zoom call/meeting, or a phone call to share passwords with the rest of your committee. NEVER share passwords by sending them in an email.

Can I still use a program on my computer, like Outlook?

Answer: Yes, but you might find it easier to use a dedicated app for Gmail. With other types of email accounts, the typical thing to do would be to set up an account for it in an email program on your computer like Outlook or the Apple Mail app. It’s still possible to set up Outlook to use email, but you must set it up with IMAP (not POP) so that the online mail and mail folders stay “the same” as the folders on your computer. POP accounts download all the email to your computer and then delete it from the server, which defeats the whole purpose of having a dedicated email for a committee or job role when there might be more than one person working in the same email.

Setting up IMAP accounts are more complicated than using the Gmail app on your device or logging in to a browser directly. This is why we strongly advise you to use a dedicated app or access Gmail directly through a browser: these are the methods that will keep the email consistent from person to person and device to device.

Can’t I just forward the email from the church account to my personal email?

Tip: Instead of forwarding, read this article to learn how to set up your app or browser to send you alerts when you receive email.

Answer: No, please don’t do this or ask the webmaster to set it up for you. Although it’s possible, our policy is not to set up forwarding for these reasons:

  • When you forward the church email to your personal email, you will probably read it, and likely want to respond to it. When you press “Reply” to a forwarded email:
    • The response will be “from” your personal email address, not the church email address.
      • This exposes your personal email address.
      • This gives an inconsistent experience. If you are participating in a committee or job, we want you to use the email address you’re assigned for that committee or job, and only for that purpose. (You wouldn’t enter your work address in a contact form when you were shopping online, would you?)
      • The “from” address, being your personal address, might confuse the recipient as to who sent them the email response (“Gee, this is from Bob, but I sent my email to a committee…”).
    • The response you send will be in your own email program’s Sent folder, not the Gmail Sent folder.
      • Others who use the account can’t see it, because it’s not in the account (it’s on your computer).
      • If you decide to access the account online or through an app, you won’t be able to see it, either, for the same reasons.
      • Your successor in the committee/job won’t see the conversation, and there’ll be no history of it.
    • If the person then replies to the email, it goes directly to your address, not to the committee’s address.
      • The conversation is now solely on your computer, and you can’t see it anywhere but there.
      • No one else in the committee can see the conversation.
      • Your successor in the committee/job won’t see the conversation, and there’ll be no history of it.
  • It compromises our domain’s email security, because forwarding spam (which can happen) will “mark” the domain as being a “domain that sends spam.” Read more about how not to become an accidental spammer here.

The only reason to have committee-specific email sent to a personal email address (by having someone manually forward specific emails, not by setting up automatic forwarding) would be if someone wasn’t able or willing to set up an app on their phone or use a browser on their computer. Having said that, if they aren’t able or willing to use the technology we’ve collectively decided to use, then they might not be the right person to use the email at all. Consider that they might contribute in other ways to the work of the committee that are important and valued. If someone on your committee needs to see a particular email, but they have decided that using the email is “not for them,” then send them the contents of the email with the express understanding that they are not to reply to the original sender in the capacity of the committee. This should be a marginal use for exceptional circumstances only. Please reach out to me (Karin Carlson, Webmaster) if you have concerns or questions about this.