Coming Adventures in Multimedia Worship

I love and greatly appreciate the spirit that animates our congregation. We are a creative community that challenges people to see the world with new perspectives. Here at UUCA, I’ve never yet heard this common objection to trying something new: “We’ve never done it like that before.”

To the end of being able to give the gift of our creativity more fully to ourselves and the larger world, I want to share with you an initiative that I’ve been working on, in consultation with our Staff and Board. I am having a state-of-the-art multimedia system installed over the next 4-6 weeks, and my hope is to feature it on March 22 when our youth will be leading us in worship.

I believe that this new multimedia system will open up all sorts of opportunities for us as a congregation. At the least, it will enable the following: a video ministry that can extend our reach into the community; better support for educational activities and events in the sanctuary and social hall; big movie events in the sanctuary; and enhanced possibilities for rental income from groups on the look out for facilities with multimedia capacities.

Our multimedia system will also open up new possibilities in worship. Together, we’ll explore how an enhanced visual component to our services might deepen the experience and make it more inclusive for people of all ages and different learning styles. We’ll start out with the Youth Service, and then, beyond this, experiment with including multimedia elements on a periodic basis. We’re going to take things slowly. In this and in all things, we’re on a journey of creative exploration. Let’s have fun and see where things go!

Be assured that changes to the “look” of our sanctuary will be minimal. The new system will include a drop-down screen (similar to the one we already have, but when it drops down, it will be much larger); a ceiling-mounted top-of-the-line projector; a camera with which to video preachers and presenters; and a video display inside the “Comfort Room” at the top of the sanctuary. The system also includes two large video display screens, to be installed in the social hall.

At this point, you might be saying to yourself: “Hey, all this sounds great. I appreciate your openness to innovation as well as your sensitivity to taking things slowly. However, how are you going to pay for it?” Great question. The short answer is this: I’m going to pay for the multimedia system by drawing from a special new fund which was discussed at last year’s December Congregational Meeting. It’s called the “Growth Initiatives Fund,” and it is designed to be used for big projects and plans which could not possibly be paid for out of our operating budget.

The money that is currently in the Growth Initiatives Fund came from former member Ed Silver (who, being a technology guy, would love how we’re using the money). Ed remembered UUCA in his will in the form of a bequest, and acts of extraordinary mindfulness and generosity like this allow us to grow in undreamed of ways.

My ultimate hope is that, through the addition of a new multimedia system, more and more people will want to join us in our mission to change lives. That’s really what it’s all about. Never change for change’s sake. But, how can we share what we have with more and more people? How can we reach and stretch to be all that we can be?

Rev. Anthony David, Senior Minister