September 15, 2021
Message from Worship and Music Action Team
As we move into this complicated fall, it is clear that some number of us will likely find that staying with Zoom is a safer choice for worship. As this year’s chair of WMAT, I am writing to offer this update and rationale for using technology as a tool for including everyone, both near and far, in our worship services. It feels important that we don’t allow our zooming members to become “out of sight, out of mind.” To that end, we plan to add a screen and two cameras to the sanctuary on a trial basis. The proposed screen is an 86″ diagonal LED flat screen, which would be mounted above the piano and would be easily removable. This would allow the worship team to explore its potential benefits to both in person and remote attendees. Some ideas that immediately come to mind are:
- Welcome in our remote members, giving them an equal chance to be worship leaders as well as participants
- Welcome guest speakers and musicians from all over
- Stream hymn lyrics so we don’t need to handle shared hymnals
- Play music that we can’t currently have live because of current Covid policy
- Post video or text announcements before services so that verbal announcements take less time
- Offer a closeup of the speaker or performer, so those who are physically distanced at the back of the sanctuary can still see well
- Show Share the Plate information or photos during the Offering
- Share beautiful images and photos of community members that enhance our worship and relationships with one another
The members of the WMAT team view this as a welcoming and inclusive use of technology, a covid “lesson learned” if you will, since gathering in community is not the all or nothing experience of our pre-pandemic lives. WMAT imagines that over time, the screen could actually become more of a window through which we can see Follenites who need to remain outside of our beloved sanctuary.
Sadly, this is all hypothetical for now, since we are still gathering outdoors. Once we do return to the sanctuary we will be looking for your feedback on this experiment, likely in the form of a short survey.
Melissa Howe, Chair, Worship and Music (WMAT)