Last month, the Vestry agreed to sign a three-year contract with LocalLive, to live-stream our 10:00 worship services beginning in September. This is exciting news, as it will allow us to continue to reach the various members of our congregation who will sometimes prefer online worship, or who will need this option due to scheduling challenges, immobility and/or distance.
Keeping our doors open in this new way fits in with St. Johns’ strategic plan goal to build up our membership, which has been declining over the past decade. We know this must be done if we are to survive and thrive as a worship community.
I’d like to provide some additional background supporting this decision.
We also discovered new people were participating on Sundays from as nearby as Oakland but as far away as England, and various points in between. Some were friends or relatives of parishioners, and some came to us through online channels. We hope they will stay with us, either online or in person in September. We need to provide an online option for these folks.
I’ve heard that some in the congregation are wondering why we can’t continue with zoom services. This is mainly a staffing issue. The zoom services are very labor intensive to produce. When you think about it , they are unique, “mini- productions” produced each week that involve the time of many – clergy, staff, lay volunteers, music personnel, and Jon Owens, who has been assembling the elements and running zoom on Sundays. Once we start with two in-person services on Sunday this fall, it won’t be sustainable to continue with zoom church.
I hope everyone will be open-minded about introducing the live-streaming option. In the view of the Vestry, there seems to be no strong downside to giving this modality a try. I’m sure that many of you would agree that if we are to grow and remain relevant, we need to be open about trying new things – particularly those that we know are working at other institutions.
Please feel free to reach out to Ruben or me with any questions about this initiative. We are here for you, and always happy to discuss what’s on your mind. These are exciting times at St. John’s as we begin to move out of the pandemic and into a new world of growth and discovery. We welcome good conversation along the way.
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