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GordW's picture

GordW

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Projections in Worship and other aspects of Church Life -- Pros and Cons

We come upon this topic every once in a while.  I thought it might make sense to discuss it in a thread all of its own.

 

Some queries to get us started:

  • When is projection approppriate?
  • What are the challenges (technical and theological)?
  • Why do it?  Why not do it?
  • How often?
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RitaTG's picture

RitaTG

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I have been quite involved in this aspect of church support and I offer to help anyone that may be considering using that sort of technology.

I feel that it can be a very positive tool if used carefully.    Unfortunately, in my experience, it is often either overused or used ineffectively.

I would suggest the "less is more" approach.    I have found that points made and illustrated should be like the callouts in magazines.    Stick to the essential points and do so tastefully and with as few words as possible.    Be mindful of those that have eyesight challenges and keep the text large and with good contrast.    Also, pictures etc should be appropriate and not overused ..... there is often too much of a good thing.     A good presentation should enhance the message and not overwhelm it.

Just some thoughts from a gal that has spent a few Sundays helping a pastor present his messages......

Hugs

Rita

YouthWorker's picture

YouthWorker

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Rita pretty much sums up all my thoughts -- it *can* be effective when used properly.  Problem is, most people don't know what "properly" means -- they get caught up in all the animations, fancy slide transitions, overly wordy slides, etc... And then there are all the potential copyright infringements...

 

I have seen it used effectively and I have seen it used terribly -- it's all a matter of execution.  And this isn't only in church -- having gone through the education program at my university, in which every course ended in 20-50 student presentations, almost all of which used powerpoint, I have seen many terrible ones and a few effective ones.  Most fall somewhere in between.

 

In our church, it's usually used for the lyrics on a contemporary worship sunday (about once every month or two) -- and I think we usually have copyright permissions, etc.  We also tend to use it after a major church event -- we will show pictures in the half hour or so before worship and then turn it off and put it away once church starts -- it allows people to become more familiar with what goes on in church.  (And in the case of pictures from a youth event, it helps connect the youth with the wider congregation.)

DKS's picture

DKS

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 As someone who has been using projection technology since the early 1990's and who introduced it to General Council (we used WordPerfect 5.1 Print Preview or WordPerfect for Windows) I have seen projection used, by and large, extremely poorly. 

 

Currently I work as a volunteer host/producer for Rogers TV. That has exposed me to a lot of professionals in video production. That's part of the problem. 99.9% of those using video or PowerPoint in the church don't have the basic tools to create effective presentations. Foundational guidelines are ignored. There is little awareness that a good video presentation takes a lot of time and skill. It's a bad use of a minister's time. 

 

Fortunately I serve a church where there is very high ambient light, making projection problematic. It's also a historic sanctuary, intended for preaching. I'm glad of that. 

 

 

 

RussP's picture

RussP

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Life and work (activities in the church)  before the service.

 

Words to the hymns.

 

Pictures in the book the youth minister is showing the kids.

 

Special events like trips to ElSalvador or New Orleans.

 

I think it would be off more than being on, but when it was on, it would enhance the worship.

 

 

IT

 

Russ

 

GUC's picture

GUC

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I use powerpoint and other presentation software for worship, and it is a good use of my time and good stewardship of my congregation's resources. 

 

The basic algorithms for tracking conversations about ministry practices are:

 

"What I do" = <insert theological rationale> is good

"What I don't do" = <insert theological rationale> is bad

mrs.anteater's picture

mrs.anteater

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I sat next to a gentleman with a vision problem the other day- he could not read the hymbook or the bulletin but he saw the text on the wall.

While I like to have a hymbook to folow the music of songs I don't know, I really appreciate having the projection on the wall for all the elderly who can't read the small print. It helps save on printed inserts in the bulletin, too.

gecko46's picture

gecko46

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We have been using projection in our sanctuary for approximately three years.  I am the person who prepares the powerpoints for worship and operates the LCD and laptop.

The only times we don't use it now are when I am away or summer services (I am usually away during the summer and I think it is good for congregation to have a change).

People have really come to depend on the projection of hymn words.  Many in our congregation are older and find holding a heavy hymnbook to be tiresome.   I have received a great deal of feedback over the past 3 years and people feel the images enhance worship, and tell me they miss the projection when I am away.

I have learned a great deal....an ongoing process...from listening to members of the congregation and attending workshops.

I have learned that less is better, that simplicity is good.  Too much can detract from the service.  I consult with the minister regarding his message/themes for Children's Time and the Sermon and try to illustrate these tastefully and respectfully.  No complaints thus far.

Sometimes I use images with hymns, particularly backgrounds and have learned how to use fonts and font sizes that are clearly visible.

Our screen is very large - 12ft. by 9ft. and is clearly visible from all corners of the church including the balcony.

One disadvantage for me personally is that no one else is comfortable using the technology but I guess the upside is that I have a reason to be in church on Sunday.  I enjoy church so that isn't a problem.

We have copyright licenses which allow us to project the hymns.

As for the images, there are some good resources on the internet for worship and images that are available through Creative Commons.

I take numerous photographs which I use in worship,  and several people in the congregation contribute images on an ongoing basis.  Having their participation and input is great.

If anyone would like the URLS for the worship sites I use, I am happy to share.

OTownMike's picture

OTownMike

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We are going to purchase one for my church, but before we start using it I am going to have some conversations with my worship cte. before we fire it up. 

 

First, I think we need experts in Windows and whatever program we choose to use most often...probably PowerPoint to run it every week. I have never been to a worship service using a projector that was pulled off without a hitch. Nothing is more jarring than getting snapped out of prayer, etc. by a miscued slide, a wrong slide, etc. It has to run smoothly every time. Hymn books and bulletins rarely malfunction in this way. 

 

Second, there's something relationship building about sharing a hymn book. My two young sons generally sit in the pews while I am at the ready in the pulpit. Several wonderful people have taken it upon themselves to share their books with them, trace the words with their fingers, and teach my boys the joy of singing our sacred music. I have seen similar interactions between the young and the elderly. If my boys just looked up a screen they would miss out on that. Besides, they stare at too many screens as it is. (Just like many who worship with us...they get a lot of Powerpoint at work, so maybe they enjoy the break?)

 

Third, I often don't enjoy scripture being illustrated for me. I enjoy it when my mind's eye comes up with it's own imagery. To be sure, we sometimes can be challenged, inspired by a work of art depicting scripture...I can't count the number of times I've been led to a new place by great visual art....but I don't need it every time, especially if the filter is just whatever comes up first in a Google image search. 

 

Don't get me wrong. I am looking forward to exploring how we might use this new tool, but I am a little wary of some of my folks wanting to use it for the sake of using it. 

 

And, I can't wait to fire up NHL '11 on it in the sanctuary when no one else is around ;-)

DKS's picture

DKS

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GUC wrote:

I use powerpoint and other presentation software for worship, and it is a good use of my time and good stewardship of my congregation's resources.

 

In a 40 hour week, how many hours do you use in that work? 

 

Quote:
The basic algorithms for tracking conversations about ministry practices are:

 

"What I do" = <insert theological rationale> is good

"What I don't do" = <insert theological rationale> is bad

 

Not really. Some of us have come to certain conclusions over time and experience. You are free to disagree. 

OTownMike's picture

OTownMike

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How do you do the quote thing? Anway, DKS, the amount of time GUC spends is  up to her/his Pastoral Charge based on their own conclusions based on their experiences ;-)

 

gecko46: I need someone like you to show us how it's done. 

 

paradox3's picture

paradox3

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OTownMike wrote:

How do you do the quote thing?

 

On the line under a post, you will see:

 

edit      reply     quote 

 

(in yellow . . . look down a bit)

 

If you click on Quote, you will get the entire post in your comment box.  Just delete out what isn't necessary. 

GUC's picture

GUC

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DKS wrote:

In a 40 hour week, how many hours do you use in that work? 

 

I don't approach Prezi as an extra step.  Some people sketch out their sermon on paper or in MS Word...I can lay out the ideas in Prezi, which is basically a blank canvas.  So it takes me the same time were I using paper or word processor: sometimes it comes quickly, sometimes it doesn't.

 

When it comes to powerpoint, it is used primarily for linear, repetitive stuff in the order of service, so after investing time in a reusable template, weekly variations are cut and pasted.  After three years of use, most everything is on file.

RussP's picture

RussP

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OTownMike

 

Always wonder about the hymn book thing. Would you rather have a congregation signing into their books, or looking to Heaven i.e toward the screen, and belting out their songs. 

 

I vote for belting.

 

IT

 

 

Russ

OTownMike's picture

OTownMike

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 I guess it depends. It's just nice, and all, and I don't want to lose those moments. I use projections exclusively when my praise band plays. It's something to see a few hundred faces singing along...

carolla's picture

carolla

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Our Presbytery hosted a worshop last Oct that addressed some of this - there's a previous thread with some summary info near the end of it for any who might be interested - http://www.wondercafe.ca/discussion/church-life/intersection-worship-technology-workshop

 

This October we are doing another one - specifically inviting worship committees and pastoral care committees to attend & share ideas about how technology could help them in fulfilling their mandates.  Awareness building of the realm of possibilities.

 

YouthWorker's picture

YouthWorker

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gecko46 wrote:

I have learned that less is better, that simplicity is good.  Too much can detract from the service. 

 

You're exactly right.  This is the mistake I see all the time -- people thing more is better or flashier is better -- but really, you want it to be plain and simple and sparse -- you want the minister and the message to be the primary focus, not the screen.

 

It also works excellently for video game night with Youth Groups.  Nothing beats MarioKart 64 on a ten foot by ten foot screen and the audio pumped through the church sound system.

carolla's picture

carolla

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We recently held a Doors Open event at our church.  Our archivist pulled a bunch of stuff out to display.  Among the treasures was an old "electric lantern" projector & a large box of glass sides - containing hymn lyrics and pictures!  The accompanying tag indicated this was used in the Sunday School in the 1920s & 30s!  So what's old is new again ...  interesting isn't it?

gecko46's picture

gecko46

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We continue to provide copies of VU in the pews for those people who prefer hymnbooks and like to read music.

We also continue to have bulletins because people wish to have these in hand.  A couple of people have tried to make a case for doing without bulletins but our worship committee and church board are steadfast in their arguments for keeping them. 

It is important to consider and respect that different people see, hear and process information differently.

 

We are a two-point charge.  The smaller church does not use projection except for special services.  It is a matter of someone having the time and knowledge to prepare the powerpoints and run the equipment.   At this time they prefer not to have the projection on a weekly basis.

Listening to members of the congregation and adjusting according to their ideas and suggestions makes projection succeed or fail.

The layout of the sanctuary is significant as is lighting.  I've been in churches where the slides are projected on a wall and to the side which made reading difficult.

 

We have a Praise Team and they really appreciate having the words to their songs projected so that the congregation can sing along.

Russ mentioned that people "sing out" more when reading from the screen as opposed to singing into their hymnbooks.  Members of our congregation have commented that this is indeed the case.

GUC's picture

GUC

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Having the screen behind (or slightly off to the side of) the pulpit has advantages.  People are already looking in that direction, so the don't have to rock their heads (or eyes) back and forth.  One would think the screen should be in the exact middle of the front .... or two screens on both sides of the front.  But that requires head and eye movement, and you'd be surprised how distracting it is for the worshipper to have competing focal points...even slight eye shifting is problematic...that's what our folk say.

DKS's picture

DKS

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carolla wrote:

We recently held a Doors Open event at our church.  Our archivist pulled a bunch of stuff out to display.  Among the treasures was an old "electric lantern" projector & a large box of glass sides - containing hymn lyrics and pictures!  The accompanying tag indicated this was used in the Sunday School in the 1920s & 30s!  So what's old is new again ...  interesting isn't it?

 

That's how I became interested in A/V in the 1960's... running the projector in Sunday School at Beaconsfield United in 1960. But that was long ago and slides were never used in worship.

 

BTW, if the slide set is complete, the United Church Archives is looking for them. Once ubiqitous; now rare.

DKS's picture

DKS

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GUC wrote:

Having the screen behind (or slightly off to the side of) the pulpit has advantages.  People are already looking in that direction, so the don't have to rock their heads (or eyes) back and forth.  One would think the screen should be in the exact middle of the front .... or two screens on both sides of the front.  But that requires head and eye movement, and you'd be surprised how distracting it is for the worshipper to have competing focal points...even slight eye shifting is problematic...that's what our folk say.

 

And given your sanctuary at Grace, Sarnia, which is less than 20 years old, it works.

DKS's picture

DKS

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YouthWorker wrote:

gecko46 wrote:

I have learned that less is better, that simplicity is good.  Too much can detract from the service. 

 

You're exactly right.  This is the mistake I see all the time -- people thing more is better or flashier is better -- but really, you want it to be plain and simple and sparse -- you want the minister and the message to be the primary focus, not the screen.

 

if you want to see extremes of this, just google "worlds worst powerpoint".

 

Quote:
It also works excellently for video game night with Youth Groups.  Nothing beats MarioKart 64 on a ten foot by ten foot screen and the audio pumped through the church sound system.

 

That is a creative and highly appropriate use for a projection system. I'm partial to BF:BC2, though.  It's also good for movies like "Clash of the Titans"

DKS's picture

DKS

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RussP wrote:

OTownMike

 

Always wonder about the hymn book thing. Would you rather have a congregation signing into their books, or looking to Heaven i.e toward the screen, and belting out their songs. 

 

I vote for belting.

 

IT

 

 

Russ

 

Over time, people hold a hymn book but remember the words, so they look up. In my observation, people who sing don't sing are the ones who sing into the hymn book. Most people  sing out and look down and up. Only those not singing look down into the hymn book. Watch their lips. They don't move. What we haven't trained is a generation of singers. That's won't be cured by projectors.

DKS's picture

DKS

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GUC wrote:

DKS wrote:

In a 40 hour week, how many hours do you use in that work? 

 

I don't approach Prezi as an extra step.  Some people sketch out their sermon on paper or in MS Word...I can lay out the ideas in Prezi, which is basically a blank canvas.  So it takes me the same time were I using paper or word processor: sometimes it comes quickly, sometimes it doesn't.

 

When it comes to powerpoint, it is used primarily for linear, repetitive stuff in the order of service, so after investing time in a reusable template, weekly variations are cut and pasted.  After three years of use, most everything is on file.

 

And you are blessed to have a large staff (I looked at your web page), a relatively new sanctuary and the creative ability to make use of that toolkit. I hear from colleagues a great deal of frustration that they spend 10-12 hours on a Powerpoint presentation and it was largely a waste of time, it blew up or couldn't be seen.

RitaTG's picture

RitaTG

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DKS ..... I can relate to many of your concerns...

To do a good job with powerpoint takes time indeed.

When I was welcomed at my former church I offered my assistance to the pastor.

I would take his sermons and prepare the powerpoint to go along with the preaching.

It worked well and yes it took a lot of time to do well.   I am quite well versed in powerpoint and other software.  For me it was a labour of love and a privilage to assist in such a way.

Distractions due to glitches ..... wrong slides ...etc ..... WOW ... that is a very important aspect.

Through the school of hard knocks I learned how to control those issues and very very rarely did we have a major oops.     Even the minor oops were kept to a minimum by working together.   (There is lots there I can share with anyone that is interested just wondermail me.)

Using such technology takes a lot of careful dialogue and work.   It is important to monitor the reaction of the audience so that an appropriate style can be developed.

Just a few more thoughts

Hugs

Rita

martha's picture

martha

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http://churchleadership.united-church.ca/events/using-new-technologies

This is a link to an Event posting on the Church Leadership Network*; I didn't see it mentioned above (although I only skimmed the text). Here's the description.  It starts on Friday, Oct. 1 but it is an ongoing "Learning Circle":

Time: October 1, 2010 at 6pm to June 30, 2011 at 7pm
Website or Map: http://www.united-in-learning…
Phone: 1-800-268-3781, ext.4148
Organized By: Stephen Fetter
 

An opportunity to learn how to use a variety of digital tools to enhance worship. No experience necessary!

Workshop lead by: Bob Fillier

Participants require: broadband Internet access, webcam, headset

Cost: $60

Learning Circles can meet either face-to-face or by telephone conference call. Contact Stephen Fetter, Continuing Education:
sfetter@united-church.ca

For those already using digital tools for worship, and want to share resources and explore new horizons, there is another advanced workshop: Making Digital Worship Even Better

Contact: Stphen Fetter, sfetter@united-church.ca

*The Church Leadership Network has over 1300 members; Join the conversation!

 

RichardBott's picture

RichardBott

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As we've discussed before, St. A-H is another congregation that uses digital projection in worship - and it works for us.

 

Like GUC, I tend to do the slides as part of my worship & reflection on scripture preparation, though we also have a team who are happy to create the 'ministry of image' when others are leading worship. At this point, it takes me between 45 minutes and an hour to put together a digital presentation that supports the worship of the congregation during our Sunday service.

 

I find it useful for bringing the world into the worship space: video minutes for mission, backdrops during the reflection on scripture time are a couple of examples.

 

We do use the digital projector for all of our service:

responsive & unison prayers are printed there,

hymns are printed there, especially those which we don't have in the hymnbooks - though we have 10 copies of the score at the entrance, for people who would like music,

images are used as a visual addition to the spoken word.

 

Some ministers, some congregations, and some spaces, will never find digital projection a useful support to their ministry. Others will. The phrase, "Your milage may vary," comes to mind. From my perspective, if it is seen as a ministry similar to that of the ministry of music, then it is often quite workable. As a storyteller, what I work towards is that the slides tell a story on their own, the voices tell a story on their own - together the story is even more full and rich.

 

I use digital projection in worship because it enhances the ability to worship of the people with whom I serve. If it stopped doing that, I'd stop using it.

 

As DKS has pointed out, there are some spaces that are not conducive to digital projection. I agree. There are a number of churches with whom I've consulted that, after walking through their space, I've suggested that adding digital projection support cannot be done with the current technology, without making it look like a kludge, and taking away from worship. In congregations that hold asthetics as a high value for worship, breaking the lines of the space would do damage to that worship.

 

This is also another one of those areas that if the lead worship leader is not supportive, it just isn't going to work. At all.

 

Chris's peace - r

RichardBott's picture

RichardBott

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 Oh, right - I don't work in a multi-staff ministry, though we do have a part-time church administrator. Our building was built in the late-1950s. A-frame worship space.

 

Christ's peace - r

spiritbear's picture

spiritbear

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Once again, I've discussed my experience on an older thread, so this is for those reading for the first time.

 

I've been using digital projection for almost six years. Our sanctuary dates from the early 60's so aesthetics aren't an issue. We started with a smaller screen, but within a year were able to move to a larger one (10 x 8 I think) which improved the visibility considerably. We have a 2000 lumen projector, but we often have problems with high ambient light, so we are considering upgrading to a 4000 lumen projector (the likes of which weren't even available when we originally purchased ours) for better clarity on sunny days. No problem on cloudy days, though.  We have a single screen at the front and are currently discussing replacing this with two smaller screens on each side of the sanctuary. I don't know how I feel about this as they would place the screens closer to the congregation but that means the front rows would have to crane their necks higher to see. I'll let you know what we decide.

 

I'm a volunteer, and I put the slides together for the hymns and prayers each week as well as advancing the slides (no small feat when you're playing a musical instrument at the same time).  An absolute requirement here is a remote slide advancer (possibly two if the minister wants to show slides during her/his sermon and needs control then). They should cost about $50.  Back to slides - it still takes me about 2 hours to put together the slides for the week (I get to take one of the church laptops home each week to work on this. It helps that every worship service from the last 6 years is on that laptop - and yes, most of these are backed up). Every hymn slide is illustrated with a photo taken from the congregation (for the reasons Gecko has already mentioned.  I get a lot of comments about what this adds to the meaning of the hymns).  Although I can draw slides from previous services (I maintain a separate file with every hymn sung, so I can search for the hymn and when it was used and then use the "reuse slide" feature in ppt to pull in the slides), our minister still manages to find some little-sung hymn from Voices United which we haven't done in the last six years. So these need some time to illustrate.  I also try to change some of the photos on a reused hymn so that they stay fresh (and people in the photos die, move away, etc, so I try to be considerate of emotions that may arise in those cases). I do make sure that my photos are compressed though.  Most digital cameras have a resolution far beyond what projectors can handle and this means bigger (more bloated) files and longer times to advance between slides.

 

As for the slides, every verse is numbered (eg 1/4 is first verse of 4).  I only use fade in/fade out on the first slide. Otherwise it takes too long between verses.  For our sanctuary, black lettering on a white background works best; you may find differently.  Just like Gecko, hymnals (VU) are available in every pew, but few are used.  With more songs now coming from More Voices, we have purchased 10 which can be picked up prior to the service, but few do. It's easy to tell how many are using hymnals - listen for the "slam test". At the end of each hymn, the sound of hymnals being slammed back into the pew holder is now practically non-existant.  Our biggest supporters are the elderly for reasons mentioned above - hymnals are too heavy, print too small, pages to hard to turn to quickly. A member who recently moved away visited us last Sunday and said the thing she missed most in her new church was the projector!

 

I leave it up to our minister if she would like to include any slides into her sermon. Usually she doesn't, which is OK with me because the visual aspect has already been dealt with elsewhere in worship.  I have been getting more requests to project prayers lately, which I haven't been doing until now. Although these are printed in the bulletin (and easy to cut-and-paste to a slide why our secretary emails me the bulletin each Friday), it seems that members often loose their place (especially with a multi-page bulletin),  or simply can't juggle hymnal and bulletin fast enough if the service moves from hymn to prayer to doxology to benediction, or whatever. I don't illustrate prayers though.  I prefer they stand on their own.  I also don't project the lectionary reading - that would take too much time to type, covers way too many slides at a reasonable font size, and I can't always guarantee which translation the reader is using.  My emphasis is on consistency - what can be reasonably accomplished in a reasonable time every week.

RussP's picture

RussP

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RichardBott

 

Or the only place to install the projector is 55 feet from the screen and the lens is as much as the projector.

 

IT

 

 

Russ

Birthstone's picture

Birthstone

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I use projection for my services a few times a year, and according to the feedback, they are well received. 

 

I disagree one needs to be an 'expert' in the programs, but must be talented in sensing how people will feel as the screens change.  I simply use powerpoint, and I start my worship planning with it on my laptop.  Screen 1 - welcome to AAA United Church, Date, with a seasonal picture. Screen 2 - Happenings & Dates; Screen 3 - Opening Music;  I usually use it start to finish, because then there is no upheaval turning it on or off, or waiting & wondering what's next.  I have a couple of times only used it for one or 2 elements, but that was when the service needed to be straightforward, no videos or whatever.

 

I use blank screens for all prayers unless they are responsive, because I, and others seem more comfortable praying with our heads down and more privately.  There is too much distraction for praying to a screen.  No pictures are needed, or you're simply giving people something to think about while they should be focused on prayer. 

 

I use blank screens between transitions (ie - the end of a hymn, and start of the readings - it just provides a moment of rest, where the screen doesn't disappear, or go 'off' to its brand logo; or switch to something before people are ready for it.

I use simple background, and focus on contrast, not boring black & white, but very pale or very dark background.  I use no screen transitions because they are tacky and irritating.  I keep font & size standard for titles, or subtitles.  I keep to a few specific templates which reduces my work time and simplifies the flashiness of the projector.  To me, the projector is like a bulletin - it can convey more of a theme, but it is a communicator, not an entertainment.

 

Sermons are not lectures.  You might need a visual -I used the Wondercafe ad "Probably is a God, Probably isnt" - just long enough to talk about it, and then I went back to blank screen, for the rest of the sermon.  My latest service included a 4min video clip in the middle of the sermon and there were blank screens around it.  Too many screens leave people wondering what's next, or leave you speaking point by point which just kills a connected, flowing, lyrical, uplifting sermon.

 

When I use an image, it is usually a full screen image, or a single one neatly set into a template with the name of the song being sung or poem read.  Or it is a montage of event pictures for people to enjoy; or mixed with a couple of good quotes to play during the offering while people are fidgety and waiting.  PIcture montages are useless by themselves, or without music or narration. 

 

Music - I find many people like the improved sound of people singing up & out rather than down at their hymnbooks.  It also improves the effect of the newer songs that are enthusiastic, or include children at the front.

I'd be happy to share an example with anyone. 

Birthstone's picture

Birthstone

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btw - we have a long, narrow sanctuary, so I keep the words from trailing to the bottom of the screen or folks at the back can't see the bottom.  Our Choir is off to the side facing the congregation, so they have a separate screen & projector for them.

 

We have curtains/blinds on windows near the front.  I close as many as I need, and turn the front lights off, but turn on all the lights in the rest of the room - works well.

I have done this is a sanctuary that had a big huge skylight - a pain for projection, but we stuck to pretty basic backgrounds for stark contrast, and used the brightness/contrast boosters on photos.  And we prayed for cloudy days ;)

 

Lawrence Park Community (United) Church uses digital TV screens instead of a screen.  THey have a few of them on either side of their bright sanctuary and there is no concern over seeing the screen.  A very interesting and effective alternative to projection.

Saul_now_Paul's picture

Saul_now_Paul

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Where I attend, there is a huge projection screen at the front, plus a big screen tv on each side as well as a projection on the back wall so the people on the stage can see as well.

 

When you arrive, there are announcements being run on the screen.  Introductions to staff, upcoming events, cell phone and perfume warnings, that kind of thing.  There is usually a theme background slide that stays up through the whole service.

 

During the service, lyrics, scripture come up at the appropriate times, returning to the theme background when nothing else is needed.  It is not distracting. Baptisms are viewed on the big screen.

 

We don't have hymn books and usually sing contemporary songs.  We have about 1800 people/weekend, and have many very talented musicians, and they can all see what verse they are singing projected on the back wall, as well the pastor will know if the right slide is up during his talk.

 

I am trying to recall a service I have been to without projection.

Birthstone's picture

Birthstone

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Saul_now_Paul wrote:

 

During the service, lyrics, scripture come up at the appropriate times, returning to the theme background when nothing else is needed.  It is not distracting.

you described that really well - I mentioned a blank screen - not entirely blank, but it remains the theme background.

 

gecko46's picture

gecko46

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Really glad GordW started this thread.  I have learned a great deal and some ideas to incorporate into my presentations, plus some changes that might make projections more effective.  Like most of you, I am a volunteer, mostly self-taught on powerpoint, and a work in progress.

 

Great that people are willing to share, but that's the way it should be as we discuss meaningful ministry/worship in a changing world. 

 

At a worship committee meeting in June, we discussed an article in the April 2010 Observer entitled "Hard-Wired for Worship".  Worth a read if you haven't already.

 

gecko46's picture

gecko46

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Double post

 

carolla's picture

carolla

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Hi gecko - we just did a brief historical slide show for Doors Open - had it looping throughout the day & showed it also at our Homecoming Dinner last week.  The person who did it used Photo Story for Windows - I think its a free download - allows narration & music to be added quite easily (or so he says!)  Can also pan & fade - stuff like that to make it more 'movie-like' .

Panentheism's picture

Panentheism

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There is a new bobok out by Carr on wht the internet is to doing to our brains.  His arguement ins there is a numbing effect which inlfuences and makes imgination and large  scale thinking less.  We search for novelty and quick experience and that has a negative effect on thinking, powrty etc.  We will have less richly furnished brains.

 

What has this to do with power point et al- Are we actually enabling th is with words flasinging on the screens?  We glance and ponce and no longer reflect, to  pursing one thought.  One advantage of listening is we can go off on our own journey where as technology keeps us focused in short bursts of images without a overarching story.  By buying into such technologies we continue its highjacking of every corner of our lives.  Worship no longer is sacred space but one enternment moment after another - where is contempaltion etc that gets us intouch with the divine?

 

Yes we have a harder job because of how technology has changed our brain but do we want to offer a resistence or another commodification?  Carr argues that the intellectual climate if the internet is already  reshaping the world - is this the direction we want to go?

Mendalla's picture

Mendalla

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My UU fellowship has a projector and retractable screen, but use in worship has been sparse so far. The odd video or other presentation, lyrics to new hymns once or twice. It's used mostly for congregational meetings, adult RE events, by renters (we just had a week-long training course run in our main hall) and the like. That may change as the new minister gets settled in. Our hall can handle it well enough with no major aesthetic damage, given that it's commercial space built in the 80s rather than a purpose-built church.

 

To be quite honest, I've never been to a service that used a projector.  My days in my family's UCC predated modern presentation technology, the two UCCs that I've attended here in London are both older sanctuaries that don't have screens (and wouldn't be conducive to them), and neither of the UU churches I've been involved with have used the technology in worship.

 

From the standpoint of doing a service, I can't see myself using a presentation for a sermon, esp. the way that I prepare and preach, but for a "Time for All Ages" (aka Children's Story), Minute for Mission, or other similar element that lends itself more to the technology, perhaps. I do like the idea of projecting lyrics if the copyright licensing is in place to do it, but I'm not sure if it's a complete replacement for hymnbooks. Need to see it in action first, I guess.

 

Mendalla

 

 

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Mendalla

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Panentheism wrote:

Yes we have a harder job because of how technology has changed our brain but do we want to offer a resistence or another commodification?  Carr argues that the intellectual climate if the internet is already  reshaping the world - is this the direction we want to go?

 

One wonders if the same questions were asked when the printing press became commonplace. That's another technology that reshaped the intellectual world in its time even if we take it for granted today. At this point, I don't think the question of whether it's the direction we want to go is worth asking anymore, George. My son's generation are already living in the post-Internet, Web 2.0 universe (although I do keep my son on a tight leash online, making sure he learns how to use the tech properly and safely but also making sure he can live without it) so turning back the clock ain't going to happen. The question to be asking is how we can balance a literacy based on print and the new digital literacy so that we get the best of both and avoid the worst.

 

Mendalla

 

Panentheism's picture

Panentheism

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David you are correct that the printing press changed reality... we became readers - young people spend 19 hours on line and 49 minutes reading-  It is the scanning that is a question= thought takes time - we need time to reflect - Carr asked if google is making us stupit... now I  think he may over state the issue but it is something we need to reflect upon _ computers are dealing with short term menory - I notice that in myself - reading actually moves into  long term memory and as does having to listen without aids.  is the church actually speeding up the process or slowing it down.... that is the issue for worship.

 

I ask these questions because I find too many think that the new technology is the saving process - all technology changes reality but let us think about... to some the new power point et al is a way of getting bums in the pew - but at what cost even if it does?

 

This is the liturgical question - so as you say we need to find a balance.

Mendalla's picture

Mendalla

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Panentheism wrote:

David you are correct that the printing press changed reality... we became readers - young people spend 19 hours on line and 49 minutes reading-  It is the scanning that is a question= thought takes time - we need time to reflect - Carr asked if google is making us stupit... now I  think he may over state the issue but it is something we need to reflect upon _ computers are dealing with short term menory - I notice that in myself - reading actually moves into  long term memory and as does having to listen without aids.  is the church actually speeding up the process or slowing it down.... that is the issue for worship.

 

I ask these questions because I find too many think that the new technology is the saving process - all technology changes reality but let us think about... to some the new power point et al is a way of getting bums in the pew - but at what cost even if it does?

 

This is the liturgical question - so as you say we need to find a balance.

 

Part of the problem, IMHO, is that the reflection on the meaning and implications of technology happens at an academic level (my wife is peripherally involved with a media studies program that does ask some of the hard questions) and doesn't filter down to the popular level. Or it happens among techno-geek cyberpunks who are ultimately sold on the idea of a post-literate society and mostly interested in bringing the rest of us on board. Society as a whole doesn't even understand what is being said in a lot of the debate and discussion. They just see cool, sometimes useful, toys and so just adopts the tech without really being part of the conversation about the tech. Kind of like theology. A lot of people just adopt whatever spiritual practice suits them and their situation but don't really get, think about, or even care about the underlying theology/principles or the implications thereof.

 

Powerpoints in churches are part of that. A bunch of people in the church know that it works well for their business presentations or classroom and decide that, hey, it will work in church, too. Sometimes, someone with some understanding of both liturgy and technology (hi, Richard) will get involved and make sure it's done right and with some thought to these issues. More often, it just becomes bandwagon jumping UNTIL such a person comes along and reigns it in.

 

As I've said before in threads on changing the order of service/liturgy: in worship, you need to understand what you are doing and WHY before you make changes. Adding tech is one of those changes.

 

Mendalla

 

Panentheism's picture

Panentheism

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I agree with your analysis David and was trying to make the point you make so well.

Jobam's picture

Jobam

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As I have said before....

We use Powerpoint 2010 for almost everything – starting before the service - announcements, bible trivia games (purchased) -  to movie clips with text overtop to show upcoming events . Yes, we are licensed for all the above. The organist and I have this down to an art now.
We use a lot of responses and we never announce the hymns – this really works well with everything up on the screen. 
Keeping it simple during the service seems to work best – we do put pictures up from time to time but mostly it is just text…google the name of the hymn for an idea of the type of images other people have used…..
Once in a while we put up the scripture readings – but not often – the sermon is rarely highlighted with powerpoint – however, we have used many youtube videos and music clips ….the congregation loves it. The problem being is the more we do the more they want…..we are an older congregation and they just love being able to “see” everything up on the screen. In our sanctuary the screen is off to the side. The singing is 100 percent better as people don’t have their heads buried in the hymn books . The organists all comment on how much easier it is to “play” for the congregation.
Responsive prayers are up on the screen and we use as many of the Moment for Mission clips as we can. We also us the Camping DVD clips.
It takes me 2 to 4 hours a week to put it all together – but I love it. Being a small congregation gives me the opportunity to try things and I get feedback quickly as to what works and what doesn’t.
For a communion service we did back in the spring the Minister had me do a “celebration” service for communion. We used the video clip “Celebrate Good Times” at the start (as the congregation came forward to receive bread and juice), moving on to “We Are Family” (once everyone had received the elements)  - I wouldn't say they were dancing in the isle but some swaying back and forth and clapping happend - we then moved into “We Are The World” for reflection. All clips hadt the words superimposed on them. The congregation loved it. They had never looked at communion as a celebration of faith. We also did it when Presbytery met at our church and the response was great.
As in other posts – I am the one who does puts it all together, thus I am there almost every Sunday. When I am away for work purposes or on holidays they don’t have the powerpoint which again gives the congregation variety.
 I was active in Presbytery – made a member at large, but I found this type of Ministry much more rewarding and allows me to be creative. Keeping it simple can be just as difficult as a full out “wow” presentation. The emphasis is on “flow” – adding to the service – not being the service. One challenge is when our Minister wonders away from the "script" which always keeps me on my toes - the congreation sees this as completey acceptable. 
Pinga's picture

Pinga

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There is some nice software that makes the process of pulling stuff together easy, including standard formats for intro, welcome, etc...and for using dual monitors, so you can adjust on the fly should the leader change direction.

 

i wouldnt' ask a minister to spend time on it, if they didnt' find it part of their normal prep or ease their prep. i also wouldn't expectan office admin to do so.

yet, if either are gifted, called or supported by someone in the congregation who is, then it is for many of us a good way to provide direction in service.

gecko46's picture

gecko46

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Don't know if someone already mentioned it but there is a presentation software program called Easy Worship.  I saw it demonstrated at a workshop.  Rather expensive, and includes possiblities for all the bells and whistles.

spiritbear's picture

spiritbear

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Jobam said "The problem being is the more we do the more they want".  I can sympathize with that. I don't put everything on the screen (eg no scripture, psalms or long responsive prayers, and sermons are only illustrated at the minister's request which is almost never).  But just the other day the music director lost his place (and his bulletin) and was hoping that he could just follow along with the screen, although I wasn't projecting that portion (a long responsive reading). So I've been wondering about that.  It wouldn't be hard to project, since it's just a cut-and-paste from the bulletin, but wouldn't screen after screen of text just get tedious? I avoid this with hymns by illustrating them with pics of the congregation (tastefully chosen, of course, to illuminate the verse), but it would be way too much work to do with lengthy text selections. Would it be worth doing the longer selections too?

Birthstone's picture

Birthstone

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My experience checking into Easy Worship, is that its easy to adapt if you're comfortable with fairly conservative, traditional church imagery, but it turned me (and my church team at the workshop we were at) OFF.  Maybe I missed some generic useful stuff, but lots of it was, to my faith perspective, icky.  And costly.

Pinga's picture

Pinga

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Birthstone, the tool wsa presented poorly to you, then.

You can put in any image which you have copyright, and any music you have copyright, and imed anything you wish, in fact, as well as set up standard screens.

 

Too bad, whomever was demoin'g didn't understnad united church of canada's varied theological perspectives.

 

 

Pinga's picture

Pinga

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Pan, if images are flashing up in a worship, then i would suggest it is done poorly.

 

A solid image sitting though is like a display of art...quite helpful in exploring or setting a tone...just as the timber of a voice does, the pace of the word or the choice in soft/hard consonants in a prayer.

 

When one gets the combination of experiences, then one doesn't "flash" a ton of pictures.

 

The only place that a ton of pictures would be used by me, is in the gathering time, if we were showing pictures of a past event, say...a luncheon, celebration, or other such gathering.

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