The Weekly View – July 22, 2021
In This Issue
- Weekly message from Rev. Joanne Whitt
- Weekly Facebook video
- This Sunday's Guest Minister, Rev. Sharon LeClaire
- Outreach Opportunities
- Upcoming Events
Dear St. Luke family:
When you read this, I’ll still be on vacation. I hold the whole congregation in my prayers while I am away. I’m taking the opportunity in this Friday’s email to explain a little bit about the struggles and complications of “hybrid worship.” Please bear with me; it will help you to understand what Beth, Erich, Jose Guarcas, and I go through on Sunday mornings. All of this falls into the category of “Things They Didn’t Teach You in Seminary.”
For the foreseeable future, we intend to offer what we’re calling “hybrid worship” – worship in person in the sanctuary, as well as online for people who still feel unsafe as the pandemic recedes and for those who are traveling or homebound. We’ve been relying on Zoom, but I’m reminded by Beth and Erich, our Zoom gurus, that we all need to keep in mind that Zoom will never be perfect. It’s fundamentally an application for meetings, not for broadcasting, and has these challenges:
- Video resolution is lower than in other applications.
- Sound quality is at a basic level and not easily controlled.
- Your own connection to the internet, your device, and your settings will impact your Zoom experience.
Hybrid worship was easier when everyone was on Zoom, because our sound and videos were being controlled from two computers – my laptop and Beth’s – and transitions were pretty easy. We now use three computers:
- One computer for the slides, which is connected to the sanctuary screens and to a second computer that broadcasts to Zoom
- A second computer that broadcasts to Zoom and is connected to the slide computer and the soundboard, which is connected to a converter connected to the computer which broadcasts to Zoom (are your eyes blurring yet?). All these connections create lag times, and Zoom has lag issues all by itself.
- A third computer which controls and monitors the Zoom experience.
- We also have 3 to 4 other devices (cameras) connected to Zoom so at-home worshipers can see the sanctuary from different angles.
Everyone’s experience on Zoom is different. Beth, Erich, and Jose are monitoring Zoom from two of our computers, but what they see and hear is most likely different from what folks at home see and hear. We’re working to improve your Zoom experience. Over the next several weeks, St. Luke is investing in new equipment:
- New microphones, and more of them
- A new soundboard that will connect directly to the computer
- New cameras for broadcasting
Even with these improvements, some worship sounds can’t be replicated on Zoom: the organ, congregational singing, and prayer requests. Even with a new camera, the video quality still will be impacted by the number of connections that we’re using in the sanctuary. More connections to WiFi dilute the quality.
Over the next several weeks, we’ll be considering whether to continue with Zoom or move to another platform, such as Facebook or Youtube. These platforms are easier to use and improve video and sound quality. The downside: they also eliminate the opportunity for folks to talk with each other in the other Zoom squares. Folks can still use a chat box for written messages, and we can schedule a Zoom coffee hour after worship so folks can catch up.
Whew. Thanks for reading all the way through this. We will keep you posted about our progress as we continue to experiment with our in-sanctuary and at home worship experiences.
This Sunday, the Rev. Sharon LeClaire will be our guest preacher. She’ll preach from Luke 17:11-19; her sermon is entitled, “Clean.” I’ll be back next week, and in the pulpit Sunday, August 1.
Grace and peace,