All one community
Following the change of advice about public worship, and the Bishops’ guidance to re-open steadily and safely, at St Mary Magdalene, we re-opened for public worship on Sunday 19 July.
However, as a church we were keen to retain the benefits we had discovered in lockdown of online worship, so we are continuing to stream our services on Zoom and via our Facebook page.
We were fortunate that we already had broadband installed in our building and we have now installed a new laptop dedicated to running Zoom, which in turn sends the live stream to our Facebook page. A simple webcam is used to capture the pictures and the laptop takes an audio feed from our existing sound desk – it means that whichever microphone is used in the building (leader, preacher, reader or pray-er), can be heard by those on Zoom and Facebook.
We have also set up a second screen and projector which is used to display the Zoom screen and the audio from Zoom is fed into the church’s sound system too. This means that those at home can be seen and heard by the congregation in the building and, I hope, will help toward us feeling like one community – in different locations. Wonderfully, as it happened, those rota’d to read and lead prayers on our first Sunday back in church were at home and did so via Zoom.
Maybe this sounds like a lot of work? But we thought it was important for two reasons. First, we wanted those who didn’t yet feel ready to come back to church (or are housebound for other reasons) to feel as much a part of the service as possible. But we also want to continue to stream our services to Facebook. During lockdown we gathered a significant following who were engaging with our services via that platform and we want to continue make the most of that mission opportunity. It seems that Facebook is providing an easy and accessible way to explore church and faith.
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