For the past few years I have volunteered on the technical team at my local church St Michael le Belfrey.
For the church to function well it requires volunteers in all sorts of roles, people to welcome visitors, people to pray, people to play music, people to look after children and many other roles.
My natural ability lies more with technology than with people so when I decided that I wanted to get more involved it was the technical team that I volunteered for. The technical team is split into two main parts, the PA team which concerns itself with ensuring everyone can hear everything OK and the Projection team which concerns itself with everything that gets projected. I have no knowledge about what sounds good and what doesn’t so it was the projection team that I joined and have been involved with.
The church has three projectors, one big one and two slightly smaller ones for the side aisles, and a PC located at the back of church which is what the projectionist uses to control what gets projected. There are many things that get projected, lyrics to songs, PowerPoint presentations and the occasional video and to make things easy one piece of software is used to control all of this EasyWorship.
EasyWorship contains a huge database of song lyrics, so you can quickly select what ever is being sung and project the lyrics on screen. It also allows the addition of PowerPoint files, image or video files and even a web page and they can be projected. EasyWorship allows different things to be queued up in order and that order can be saved as a schedule.
The projectionist’s job is to follow along with the order of service and project things onto screen at the right time. Simple! No not really. The worship leader will skip songs, play songs in a different order, add new songs, videos will fail to play, easy worship will freeze up or crash or the liturgy that the vicar wants isn’t in the EasyWorship database.
You need to be on your toes as a projectionist but over the years I have become a good projectionist and have really enjoyed my time doing this. You can see me having a laugh with the Head of Music and Worship on the right.
More recently I have taken on a bigger role for the projection team. I have been coordinating the rota for the volunteers on the projection team. This has given me new challenges, but it has been great to work closely with the Technical Manager and more recently the Head of Music and Worship and get to know the whole team better. The biggest problem that the team has is insufficient volunteers, it had this problem when I joined the team and it has this problem today. If you are reading this consider if this is something you could get involved with? The team has some really hard working people who do an excellent job each week, just wish we had a few more to ease everyone’s work load.
I am taking a break from the projection team as my wife is due to give birth to my first child in the next few days. I have had a great time, I have worked with some great people and for the most part I will miss volunteering. There are of course things that have not been great, volunteers that have left the team, changes at the church, and many early mornings when I would rather still be in bed but I am glad that I have been involved.
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