Join with us is the title of our new page on Facebook dedicated to live-streaming our services to the wide world. Usually the numbers watching are in the hundreds, while a smaller group of regulars send in comments, and now even greet each other as they come on line. Throughout the spring and summer we just pointed the camera at the Community in church. However, for a little more effort there are excellent resources for doing better than that. It has been an enjoyable challenge to arrive at a point where we can use a number of cameras to give different views and close-ups, for instance.
Help and advice have been there, but only of limited use, as we are so unusual. Experts on streaming are used to advising parish churches on broadcasting, say, one service a week, with days to prepare it, and taking an hour or so to get it up and off the ground on the Sunday morning. We broadcast four services a day, seven days a week, and need to be able to walk into church and click it on straight away without any preparation. A long period of experiment has led us eventually to light on the best way of doing it for our circumstances – watchers will know it has been a bumpy ride at times. We are now using an “app” called Cinamaker, which enables a brother to sit in his stall and control all the cameras while singing away at the same time. With an iPad he can switch between cameras, zoom in, control the sound and lighting, and the focus. We try and iron out the glitches, but human frailty has a way of finding its way in. The Internet might have a hiccup, or a brother forget to switch on the sound system, or another forget to have checked whether a camera’s charge has got too low, and for these we can only ask your patience. In the coming period we hope to be training individual brothers to operate the system. It’s pretty simple to use, but we may have to depend a little longer on the long-suffering good nature of the people tuned in to us!
Monastic worship by its nature is very simple and lacking in frills, but there is an opportunity to help people who aren’t monks and nuns to engage with it more, and so we hope to be able in due course to make imaginative use of our art works during, say, the Psalms, or even show other appropriate pictures connected with the theme being sung or read about.
In connection with all this we are launching a small appeal to cover costs. There has been equipment to buy, and a small annual subscription to Cinamaker, which viewers might like to help us with. Our aim is to raise enough to cover the cost of those things, with a proposal that any donations over that amount would go towards the commissioning of two art works which we have been waiting for some time to put in place. One is a diptych of two paintings about St James by Nicholas Mynheer, for the St James’s Chapel, and the other a column for the holy water stoup in church. The estimated cost of the artworks is yet to be finalised, and more information will appear in due course.
Why should a religious community commission art works? If the church was just for ourselves, we would never do it. But our church at Mirfield is very public, a place of mission and training. With it we have an opportunity to inspire people in a world a lot more artistic than it used to be. One cannot overestimate the power of place and the deep potential effect of artistic experience, and in our times these need to play their part in drawing people to Christ and in helping one another grow in Christ. And, as I have already said, we hope that art will play an important place in our streaming as we go along.
If you would like to make a contribution, you can donate online at https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/15217 If you can’t do that, you can send a cheque to The Community of the Resurrection, with an accompanying letter saying it is for the live streaming/ art project.
Thank you to all.