Parishioners Interact Through Technology
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/19/2012 -- Thanks to modern technology, churches can share resources for services while retaining their own community identities.
Trinity United Church of Thunder Bay, Pinegrove United of Oliver-Paipoonge, and Grace United of Nipgnon, are joining efforts to reach out to parishioners through video conferencing.
“Church attendance is declining and we have all these buildings, and all these congregations, and so we've had to go through a process of trying to vision how we can restructure,” said Randy Boyd, the minister at Trinity.
Glena Clearwater, who has been leading Grace United services since the church lost its full-time minister earlier this year, said the video conferencing has been a success. “We had a very good turnout, and everybody was very pleased with it,” she said. “The volume was very good, so that everybody could hear everything, and on the large screen are all the words to every hymn, so it was very good that way.”
Each participating church employs a big screen, data project, and video-conference unit, allowing them to participate in providing the service.
For example, when the organist at one church begins playing, words appear on screen allowing those at the other two churches to sing along to the given hymn. The churches also take turns with other portions of the service, including prayers, sermons, and scripture readings.
The project started when Trinity received a $35,000 grant from the United Church of Canada for the project, adding to the $20,000 the congregation raised through donations.
The investment was necessary, said Boyd, to allow the church to restructure in response to changing demographics of parishioners and declining funding for ministers.
"Trinity really believes that there's a place even for small neighbourhood churches, and yet there's an issue of resources,” Boyd said.
The method is a great fit for churches such as Pinegrove, which has a half-time student minister, and Grace United, which does not have a minister at all.
“I personally like it,” said parishioner Larysa Turko, of the new format. “I think it's fun and interactive and interesting. So the service comes more alive to me.”
Broadway United, a church located on Thunder Bay's south side, has also been testing the project.
RenewedVision.com (http://renewedvision.com/) was established in 2000 as an endeavor to create production software for ministry markets. The team collectively has more than 40 years of experience in software development and live event production. In addition to developing products for the Church, the company has worked with companies such as Mercedes-Benz, Gulfstream Aerospace, Calvin Klein, Amgen Pharmaceuticals, Federated Department Stores, and others.
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