First Reformed Church in Holland has been doing live on-line streaming of the Sunday morning service for many years. Now, with the “Stay at Home” order, we do a mixture of live and pre-recorded elements. The organ music, sermon, and congregational prayer are all live. To do this we use only about 6-7 people in our sanctuary on a Sunday morning. These include: the organist (for prelude, hymns, anthems, and postlude), a pianist (playing voice parts for choral anthems and occasionally one of the prelude pieces), a singer to sing the hymns, two ministers (one preaches and the other is a liturgist, and 1-2 audio/video people. Each of these people are never closer than 6 feet from one another - usually more like 20 feet apart.
The adult choir receives PDF’s of the choir music each week so that they may sing or hum along in the safety of their own homes. We always send out less PDF’s than copies the church owns. Choir members delete these PDF’s after the one time use.
Pre-recorded portions of the service generally include: the Introit (usually submitted by kids singing or playing an instrument), certain announcements, greetings from members of the congregation, the Scripture Lesson(s) read by consistory members or other people from our congregation, and the Prayer of Illumination.
Slides are prepared with words and music of the hymns, the scripture lesson, words of the choral anthems, and ways to donate to the ministry of our church. The congregation is encouraged to send in pictures of their families worshiping from home which are shown at various times during the service as well.
A bulletin is e-mailed to members in order for them to follow the order of the service. Also, a letter from the pastors is e-mailed once or twice a week to keep the congregation informed about weekly activities they can be involved in from home. Several Sunday School classes for young children and our youth groups are held using the Zoom ap.
Many in our congregation report that hearing the organ and seeing the sanctuary makes it feel more like being there. Our children’s minister even made 8X10 copies of the pictures of each family in our church directory and taped them to the pews throughout the sanctuary.
Information on how to access these services may be found at: https://www.frcholland.org/
There are three ways to connect: Omnia, Facebook, and Vimeo. Sound quality is not always the best, but it’s the best we can do for now.
A typical service goes something like the following:
- Organ Prelude (about 7 minutes - live)
- Greeting/Announcements (usually live by a minister with pre-recorded elements)
- Introit (pre-recorded by various members of the congregation - most often kids)
- Call to Worship (usually live)
- Hymn of Praise (the singer sings the verses live while slides of the words and music are projected)
- Invocation and Salutation (usually live)
- Choral Anthem (live - accompaniment played by organ, voice parts played on piano, or vise versa - words are projected - choir members have the music at home and join in if they wish)
- Congregational Prayer (often a mixture of live and pre-recorded)
- Prayer for Illumination (pre-recorded by a staff member or a member of the congregation)
- Scripture (often pre-recorded by members of the congregation - words projected)
- Sermon (live)
- Prayer of Blessing (live)
Submitted May 1 by Rick Van Oss