In our annual meeting, I updated the congregation on progress toward installing a sound and video system. There has been a lot of interest in these systems, including offers of contributions to “get the ball rolling.” After worship on March 7th, we will hold a zoom meeting to offer details and to answer questions. This report offers basic information to help with our discussions, and offers a proposal for congregational support.
Through Christmas, our online worship services included images, prayers, scriptures, and muli-media. When we return to in person worship in our sanctuary, I intend to use our screens in our building the way we used our screens during the pandemic, projecting all parts of the service so we can pray and read and sing together. I would like to supplement children’s time and the sermon with mutli-media.
We have selected a company that can install an audio-video system so what we project on our screens in worship will simultaneously be streamed online for those who cannot be physically present with us in our building.
As we have learned through the pandemic, our shut-ins have enjoyed the advent of online worship. I have received many grateful messages from elder members such as Dorothy Dahl, 92, grateful for the connection online worship offers them. Some of our members recovering from surgical procedures have found online worship a welcome source of peace and hope during their convalescence. Members traveling or away on vacation have been glad to join us online from their remote locations.
Our reopening survey helps us to see many of our cherished members who have special health concerns will not return to in person worship until safety protocols are no longer advisable, and will rely on our online services until it is safe for them to return.
From August to December, we added one new member through our online worship, and three guests have been regularly attending, actively participating, and contributing financially.Online worship is the digital front door of the church; guests will visit our webpage, sample our services online, skim a written sermon, before they decide to visit us in person.
In August, our Finance and Stewardship Ministry recommended that Council designate the $10,000 gift Betty Gene Diener bequeathed to the congregation as a fitting way to honor her generous commitment to the life of our congregation. Council approved this recommendation. Proposals to install a system were solicited from four audio-video companies, and one was selected: WI Audio Video.
Video System: We have been live streaming services to Facebook using an iPad without words or images. Installing a video system would allow us to livestream words and images and also to make our services available on multiple platforms, not only on Facebook. We cannot continue to use our current method of livestreaming when we return to in person worship without choosing to focus on members who worship with us on-line at the expense of those who worship in person, or focusing on those in person at the expense of those who worship online.
Sound System: As we have recently experienced, our analogue sound system does not allow the kinds of controls needed to share audio from our sanctuary with our congregation and guests online. A digital sound board and new microphones would allow us to share the sound of our musicians and vocals online.
Contingency: It is wise to plan for contingency costs for complex projects such as this. For example, a digital sound system can be controlled through a tablet such as an iPad. We may find that to add systems will require that we physically alter our current sound booth. We may need to increase the speed of our internet service. Should this project go forward, an amount to meet contingency costs should be included, with a plan for how unspent funds would be allocated.
|Diener Memorial Fund||-$10,000|
Installing an audio video system is an act of compassionate care for our shut-ins and members with health concerns who will be the last to rejoin us for in person worship and is necessary for growth in the future. I encourage Council and the congregation to initiate a fundraising campaign to install an audio video system giving our members an opportunity to care for the least among us and invest in our future together.