Weaving the Web

More beauty and more layers of meaning are coming our way in the form of a permanent projection screen that will be installed in the Main Hall, near the ceiling above the piano. The AV Committee has been hard at work exploring all the options and issues, and has made a first-round proposal to the Board, who affirmed the plan and the availability of funds in our capital budget. We hope to have the screen in place by midsummer, and as the details are still evolving, your input about what needs to be considered is welcome. It will be designed to be visible from everywhere in the Main Hall, without blocking the branch or being blocked by the hanging quilts, and to be attractive and fit the style of our beautiful Joseph Esherick-designed sanctuary.

We already need a screen for most memorial services, to show pictures of the beloved deceased person. The temporary screen we currently use is not ideal either aesthetically or logistically – for example, when the choir needs the space on the risers – and it will be wonderful to be able to offer grieving families a simpler and more beautiful means for showing photos. Likewise, we already use a temporary screen for movies, Adult Religious Education presentations, and congregational meetings, and it’s exciting that the AV Committee is working on an improvement.

Once it’s in place, other uses become available to us. We can add visual elements to our services: colors and images to enhance our words, rituals, and music. We can project hymn lyrics, freeing our hands and making it easier to look forward and sing out. (We’ll still use hymnals as desired.) With the service guided by slides on the screen, we can cut down on the number of printed orders of service. Again, we’ll keep printing some, but many people will opt out, saving paper and reducing our impact on the environment.

Some congregations recognize dedicated volunteers with displays that are projected before the service begins, or have a visual image in place that fits the service’s theme.

A new visual component to our services will take more time on my and other worship leaders’ part. It is an additional element that requires planning and careful thought, and we want to practice it thoroughly so that it is a seamless part of the service. However, it is one that can add layers of meaning and beauty, speaking to us in the language of color, shape, art and images. I’m looking forward to developing these skills and have already begun compiling best practices and advice from colleagues who use a projector weekly

Thank you so much, AV Committee – among them, Byron Brown and Brian Weller, who presented the plan to the Board, me, and the Aesthetics Committee. Thanks, Jeb Eddy, for promoting this idea long before the new AV Committee was formed, and to the Committee on Ministry, who took the idea and suggested a task force to begin to flesh it out.

What uses do you imagine for a projection screen in our worship space? What considerations are important to you? Please keep the ideas flowing with e-mails to audio-committee@uucpa.org.

Blessings, —Amy