Lant’s Lines for November 2013
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4 NRSV)
In chapter 10 of his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul writes that in order to have faith in Jesus, we must first hear about him, and in order for us to hear about him, someone must proclaim the gospel. He quotes Psalm 19 to illustrate how powerful the communicated gospel message is, its “words [going] to the end of the world.” The longer I am engaged in pastoral ministry, the more convinced I am that communication—in all its varied forms—is the heart of what we do.
Over the last year we at Central Presbyterian Church have greatly increased our capacity to communicate with each other and with the broader world. Through your generosity, and with matching help from the Center for Congregations in Indianapolis, our church is nearing the completion of a one-year program for the upgrade of our information and communications technology. All the developments seemed incremental as we were implementing the changes, but as I look back on the process, I am amazed at how far we have come.
We have added a second and faster Internet connection at the church so that if one connection fails we will still be able to operate. The system switches automatically when the need arises. We have doubled our in-house Wi-Fi nodes so that there is a secure network for use of staff and a public connection (with an easy password—“cpcjohn316”) for church members and visitors. We have replaced all the televisions and old VCRs with new flat-screen monitors and Blue-Ray players. We have a new projector and screen, and the audio from projected media will now play wirelessly through the overhead loudspeakers in the Fellowship Hall. All staff computers and printers have been replaced with current, standardized models. Our church financial system, congregational database, e-mail, electronic calendars, and most documents now reside in “the cloud”; all are being continuously backed up. The soundboard (mixer), which is the heart of the sanctuary sound system, has been replaced and can now be controlled remotely from a laptop in the sanctuary. We added a T-coil broadcast loop, which is the best hearing assist system currently available, to our sanctuary. Our church website has been completely redesigned and now can be kept up to date by the persons who have the most knowledge of each webpage, rather than everything having to go through a central web administrator. The website has many more photographs and is self-optimizing for viewing on smart phones and tablets. New postings on the website will automatically be pushed to our links in Facebook and Twitter.
In this final month of implementation, we plan to begin capturing sermons in digital audio podcasts, which will be available on the website. In addition, my sermons will be transcribed automatically into text and will be “streamed’ simultaneously during worship through our website. Our church library catalog also will be available on the website.
Compared with www.healthcare.gov, I think we are doing pretty well! Thanks for your support and for your patience with the progress.