Digital Evangelism Fundraiser, Attendance at Worship Update, and more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, August 2, 2020 – Available in full online here.Haga clic aquí para ver el mensaje de esta semana en español de nuestro misionero latino, Luis Valencia.
From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP
Over the past several months, we have learned how meaningful online worship can be when we must be physically separated.
We have even seen a handful of people join our church during this pandemic because of our digital presence. Early in the pandemic, we built capabilities for streaming from the rector's home on a simple system, but since we returned to church, the church system has been very unstable and using the simple at-home system as a back up has resulted in sound which is hard to understand given our large worship space.
With assistance from a new A/V company, Integrity AV, we have identified what needs to happen to enable high-quality and stable streaming at the church. Whereas other vendors had suggested a price range of between $10,000 – $15,000 to entirely rebuild the system, Integrity did an in-depth examination of the system and feels it can be reconfigured at less than a third of that cost. The details on the work are below, but the short answer is that our current system was built five years ago for sending an HDMI feed to the nursery and recording sermons and is not properly built for streaming. We need to upgrade the 7-year old computer to one with the processing power to handle a high definition (1080) video stream, reconfigure our approach to audio to get cleaner audio captures on the video, and reconfigure how we send the video and audio from the camera to the stream to bring greater stability and eliminate the issues we've had these past few weeks with the stream failing or not even connecting in the first place.
Thanks to the generosity of our parishioners, we are actually projecting a pretty strong budget surplus this year. However, COVID is far from over and we don't know what other financial implications we will see or how a possible second wave in the fall could adversely affect parish finances. For that reason, before reaching to those projected surpluses, the Vestry has decided to do this Facebook Fundraiser to offset as much of the cost as possible. Amazingly enough, through your generosity, less than six hours after it was created yesterday, the fundraiser had already raised $2,400 of the $4,500 goal! As of this morning, we are at nearly $3,000!
Donations can also be made on Realm or by check written to St. John's with Digital Evangelism Fundraiser in the memo line. If you donate on Realm or by check, please just let me know so we can update the fundraiser goal to reflect your generous gift.
No matter when we resume in-person attendance, a quality stream will be essential for keeping all of our members connected to the church, particularly those who are the most vulnerable to the Coronavirus.
As to when we might resume in-person worship, the current Coronavirus risk factor for our county has dropped to Medium, which means on a county basis we are ready to reopen. The risk factor for our region of the state has gone down from Critical but is still at Medium High, primarily because our 7-day average of cases per million people is at 38.5 and must go below 20 to return us to a Medium level of risk.
If the current rate of decline continues, that will happen sometime around August 19. That would mean the earliest we will resume in-person worship would be Sunday, August 23. If the risk factor declines at a quicker pace—because we all work together, wear our masks, and practice social distancing—we may be able to resume attendance before then. I continue to monitor the two sites linked above on a daily basis. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
PS ~ As we approach the fall Stewardship Season, I'm working on putting together a video on how SJE has impacted your life during this pandemic. If you can record a short, one-minute or so clip (in landscape mode) and email it to me, I'd love to include your story. Submissions are due by Sunday, August 16.
Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, August 2, 2020 online here.
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