I'm not an active WL right now, but the church where I used to be is thinking about what is going to happen if we have to stop meeting on Sunday mornings - in California, one state over from me, they are strongly discouraging gatherings of over 250 people, which is going to affect a lot of churches if it becomes a rule.

I've been doing a little brainstorming myself, and one thing that struck me is that if we're not gathering as a congregation, it's not really a situation where we need to "livestream" the service - the individual bits could be completed with a Saturday night deadline, assembled into order and then maybe just dropped as a podcast on Sunday morning.  "Congregational singing" maybe doesn't happen, the music part of the service could be linked youtube videos.  Does it even need to be video'd, would an audio-only "service" work just as well?  Do the communion elements still need to be blessed by an ordained minister, or could everybody watching just have their own bread-ish substance and grape-based beverage ready to go and serve themselves when they get to that point in the service?  Prayer Requests and offerings could be handled online and maybe even have everybody who plans to "attend" post a picture and a little news about their "Christian walk."

At some point,hopefully, it will be safe to assemble in large groups again, but in the meantime, what if we had to go online to hold the congregation together until that day comes?  Right now we have a traditional worship service and a contemporary service, and certainly some parts of the service could be re-used, tho' I'd be disappointed if it turned into just two identical services with different music...

Ideas & comments on ideas all welcome.

Charles

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For what it's worth, this is happening now.  They are not meeting for an actual service this Sunday, 3/15, but are saying they're going to "livestream" something, I'm not sure they even know what yet.  But I think the intent is just to have SOMETHING available to keep people connected to the church until they can start meeting again.  There are probably ways to take advantage of social media to do that that would work BETTER than just a video of what's going on in an empty sanctuary.

Hey Charles! Our church discontinued services starting last Sunday as well... for at least the next 4 weeks. We do not live stream, for whatever reason, although we have a 2nd location that has live worship then streams the message from the main location each week. Anyway, what we did this weekend was the pastor and a small worship team met on Saturday and recorded a service. Worship was normal length, but more "acoustic". Had keyboard, acoustic gtr, some electronic percussion and vocals. It was simple but well done. Recording was very good quality and mixed well. They were on our regular stage, although in a condensed, simplified setup. The pastor then gave a message that was off of the current series and instead brought a word specific to what everyone is going through. As much as possible, they tried to make it feel like a live service. Then the video was nicely edited and put together, and made available Sunday morning for people to watch from home.

We're determining what this will look like in the weeks ahead and what will change or not change. Crazy times. Hopefully this doesn't last as long as some say it might.

Well, this past Sunday (3/22), they did some sort of a "drive-through" church.  I didn't go (and, yeah, I realize that shouldn't be talking about services I didn't even attend, but I've kinda decided that as part of my post-WL time, I still need to 'self isolate' from a situation that just makes me unhappy), but it looks like they just had a driving path through the parking lot - a place where you could drop off canned goods & stuff to be donated elsewhere, a place where you could pick up a few groceries if you were out, a place where you could drop off your offering and a final stop to greet the pastor... I don't know if they were doing communion or not, but there are probably ways it could be done relatively safely...

Anyway, as I've mentioned before, I resigned / retired as WL back in September, and I'm still not entirely over why I did, but I'm  still staying away for now - but I thought this might be worth mentioning to others... surely lots of other churches are having to do things like this, let's hear about it!

Attachments:

They'd doing the drive-through worship again this week, here are the details they sent out:

This week we will be offering drive-thru worship. Since we'll be facing warmer temperatures soon, we are moving it to start at 9:00 a.m.
 
If your last name begins with A through M please come from 9:00 to 9:30 a.m. 
 
If your last name begins with N through Z please come between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m.
 
Ways to prepare:
 
1. For the safety of attendees and those staffing our drive-thru, please stay in your car and keep your windows rolled up the entire time. Even though we're outside the wind can blow further than 6 ft. If you'd like to leave about an inch crack open so you can hear and speak you're welcome to do that. Please turn on your vent to interior circulation. 
 
2.  If you would like to bring donations for our shared pantry, place donations in your trunk or on the left side of your car in the back seat so the donations can easily be taken out of your car without you getting out. Please only bring non-perishable donations, paper products, or cleaning supplies. 
 
3. You can text prayer requests to 480-749-7060. Unless you specify that this can be shared with the church, the Prayer Team will pray for it privately.
 
4. You can mail tithes and offerings, donate online, or prepare them in advance by placing them in an envelope in your trunk or on the left side of your car in the back seat so our volunteers can collect them.
 
You will be directed West through the parking lot and then you will turn around and exit towards the East. Share your much-needed smiles and waves with each other!
 
If it's similar to last week, no one will be in their car in the parking lot more than about 5 to 10 minutes.
 
We are taking every precaution to make sure that we are doing good social distancing of 6 feet and using gloves for donation collections.
 
If you would like to just drive through without stopping, we'll have a blessing that you can read through your car window. We're doing everything that we can to make this safer than walking through a grocery store or using a food delivery service. Use your own wisdom on whether you feel comfortable in coming. 
 

 
Online Gathering for Worship
 
Worship will also be available online on our website at www.desertfoothills.org. This week we will be sharing communion together. 
 
As you may know, as United Methodists we believe that communion is the shared experience of the people gathering together and the mystery of Christ with us all. In these extraordinary times, our bishops and pastors have determined that our gathering will be online as we share together. 
 
You don't have to have any special elements at home. You can use bread, a cracker, a cookie, or whatever you have. We use grape juice when we're together, but you can use whatever drink you would like. Have your elements ready before you participate in our online gathering for worship.

This:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCEskjR_RH8

is a stream of a Vineyard School of Worship online discussion of livestreaming worship services, and from listening to the first couple minutes, it sounds like they ARE discussing what's going on now that we aren't doing live services in church.  I haven't listened all the way through (it's an hour and a half long), but might be of value to somebody...

We're about four weeks into "livestreaming" after a couple weeks of pre-recording the service during the week. Our sound quality remains rather amateurish, as befits our musical capabilities. Last week's sound consisted of mainly piano and loud vocals over almost inaudible drums, guitar, and bass. We are what we are, I guess. If anyone has a recommendation for hardware to go from the PA stereo tape out or line out RCA connectors to a stereo mini-plug at mic voltage, I'm open to suggestions. We're using a single fixed position Canon VIXIA R800, but we're still using the internal microphone. Huge dollars for updating production processes has yet to even be a budget item for us. I mean, we're still using PowerPoint and a projector on a retractable white screen, for goodness' sake.

Are you sure it needs mic level?  I looked at the manual a bit and it looks like there's an A/V in/out connector on there that could handle line level.  If you're just hearing vocals and (electric?) piano in the audio, that sounds like the camera may be set up too close to the speakers... try putting it out in the seats so it hears what somebody sitting in the seats would hear... if there's not much drums / guitar / bass in the camera audio, that sounds like somebody may already be taking the sound off the PA (what comes out of the speakers?) which is going to miss anything that has its own amp and is loud enough for the room without going through the PA...

Camera is out in congregation. A/V are outputs only. Using the mini HDMI out connector disables the 3.5mm A/V out. Stereo 3.5mm mic input is the only connector for external audio. Our FOH levels are so low that the acoustic piano's unamplified output overwhelms attempts at mixing and becomes the dominant sound producer in the seats. Compliant and conscientious instrumentalists who run their amplifiers at a conversational level are buried in spite of microphones on their cabinets. The electronic drums are at a level that the sounds of the sticks hitting the pads are audible in the seats over the FOH output. Here we are in 2020 and still fighting the same battles as 20 years ago, though now it's a matter of survival in the time of shutdown.

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