Services (and Music)

Learning about Church at Burning Man

Several members of the Church Alive community participated in this year’s Burning Man event in Nevada over Labor Day. Anna Lisa Kronman writes up a beautiful post about her experience of learning about a deeper meaning of “church”. She writes:

Burning Man Foot WashingA unique element of Burning Man is its gift-based, rather than consumer-based economy….
Everyone that comes is expected to give something.  Also part of this culture: extraordinary creativity, art, loud music, a markedly friendly and open/permissive atmosphere, and whimsical clothing (or sometimes none.)

A group of people who love Christian Science felt there was a good reason to be a presence in this city.  We came to wash feet.

We hadn’t specifically set out to “do church” there at Burning Man.  We had planned to lovingly embrace that city of lively seekers by actively seeing their spiritual worthiness as we washed dust from their feet.  What a surprise that in doing so, we discovered we were in the middle of church!

Read her whole post here:

The Pope’s Challenge: Love over Ideology

By Jason Marsh

I was struck by this video from the Pope, which touches on a theme dear to my heart: focusing on ideology over Love.

It got me thinking about our churches and our services.

What ideology may be pushing people away from our churches? Here’s a few ideas:

– King James Version (old English) solely read from the desk

– Formalism of our Sunday service

– Musical instruments and solos limited to one style of music

– Inflexible membership policies

– Judgementalism around personal health care decisions

Some wouldn’t want to change our stands on these issues, but I think that each of these push people away from our churches. One argument is that we would prefer to push some people away: the purity of the movement is at stake. But really? Isn’t Love in Christian Science more important than the “grave-clothes of the letter?” Do we have the attitude to “…commemorate the word and works of our Master?”

Phone conference systems for services and meetings

by Jason Marsh, Jon Mattson, and Grace Burke

In response to several inquiries, I thought it would be good to post what Auburn church uses for our phone conferencing system.

You can get a good Polycom speakerphone that is usually used by corporate conference rooms for about $150-$200, but it may only pick up voices from about 10 feet away.  We have a Polycom 2EX with satellite wired microphones that we pass around.  This Polycom is closer to $400.  Voice quality is excellent, but it doesn’t pick up music very well, but music over the phone always sound poor anyway.  You can also get wireless satellite mics.  A good source is Polycom

This system works well for the size of our congregation, but wouldn’t work in a large church building unless everyone sits close together (which has other benefits!). Larger rooms will need to feed the audio from the microphone system into the phone line. We tried to set this up and found that for our size of space, it wasn’t necessary and was fairly difficult.

We keep the base station near the first reader. The two satellite microphones are wired directly into the base station, and works in our auditorium which has only about 4 rows of chairs.

We use a paid conference calling system, so that no one has to incur long distance charges, but there are a variety of free conference calling companies where there is no charges to the church. I would Google “free conference calling” or the name of the paid service we use is PGI – ReadyConference Plus (it comes out to about $3 per hour per caller).

Hope that helps!

Feel free to comment below with further questions.

Summit Video: NorCal Church Alive Summit Welcome (Fri PM)

Summit kick-off focused on fellowship and music, member to member sharing, and an inspiring look at church today.

The Northern California Church Alive Summit begins Friday evening with a gathering around a metaphorical campfire.
Program includes contemporary arrangements of hymns, video of some of the best thinking about today’s church from other Christians, an inspirational talk by George Strong, entitled “Church on Fire”, and participant sharing from discussions on Church and Christianity.

Please also see this video clip that was shown Friday evening at the Summit but was not included in this video:

“The Campfire Story” by Rend Collective Experiment

Produced as a part of the Northern California Church Alive Summit, held in Sacramento May 3-5, 2013. This is an activity for members and friends of the Christian Science church community.