What a summer it has been in the communications corner of Derry Church! When I last checked in with you in early April, I never dreamed that six months later I’d be working with brand-new cameras and equipment in the Sanctuary and overseeing a whole new system for bringing you live streaming worship. I am grateful to everyone who made it possible for us to obtain the new equipment, to all the talented singers and musicians who make time in their day to film segments that we include each week, to those who film and submit creative clips from their homes, and especially to the AV crew who has really stepped up to put in extra time to learn new procedures and equipment.
Our AV volunteers arrive each Sunday by 9 am, and it takes us a full hour to test, practice and rehearse all that we’ve prepared to include in the live streaming service. One person runs the audio board, one person controls the cameras, and one person is in charge of all the video content and title slides using new ProPresenter software. The crew works together to check sound levels and coordinate with the pastors and Grant to make sure everyone knows where to look and what to expect. On Sept 13 it was a good thing Pastor Stephen reminded me to drop in a picture of a painting he wanted to show during the sermon. You almost didn’t get to see that!
Our new Boxcast streaming platform makes it easy for the Sunday service to be available for a full week on Derry Church’s website. Just go to our live streaming page and scroll down until you find the video player. In the “Related Videos” section you’ll find the most recent Sunday service.
Did you know there are multiple ways you can watch Derry’s live streaming service on Sunday morning?
- Watch on the Derry Church website
- Watch on our YouTube channel (I show you how in this video)
- Watch on Facebook
- Watch on your smart TV using the free Boxcast app. I’ve made videos to show you how to add the app to Roku or an Apple TV, and a similar procedure works for Amazon’s Fire stick. And here’s how to watch by casting your smart phone to your smart TV.
Finally, I’m delighted to share with you the good news that Derry Church’s refreshed website is expected to launch in October. We were part-way through the redesign when the pandemic hit and we realized a lot of the content we planned to feature on the site suddenly didn’t make sense to include at this time. The Communications & Technology Committee went back to the drawing board and re-thought what the site should be when so much of church life is virtual. We’ve emphasized the live streaming worship and Derry’s COVID response, and carefully selected photos that make sense right now.
If you have questions or concerns about the website, live streaming, or anything else tech related, I invite you to email me or better yet, drop in for my weekly tech time sessions on Zoom from 1-2 pm on Monday afternoons. (let me know if you need the meeting ID). I realize that for many, the new emphasis on technology has been challenging. I’m here to help, so please do reach out so you can stay connected to all that’s happening in our vibrant congregation.
I have always felt that music was a particularly special avenue by which I reach and connect with God. My parents started me with violin lessons when I was five years old, and through most of high school, music was just something I did, almost without considering the impact it would have in my life ever since. Quite frankly, I don’t even remember a time where music was not a part of my life.
I do vividly remember playing my first church service. I was 13 at the time, and my teacher (also the director of music at my church growing up) asked me to play the entire service while he was out of town. The preparation in particular was nerve-wracking, but after the dust had settled, I realized the profundity of the responsibility, but also the joy of leading a congregation in the worship of God.
After that first service, I served as a substitute organist both for my church and for other churches around the southwest Ohio region. I also served as the interim organist for a Lutheran church for six months during my junior year of high school.
Throughout all these experiences, I came to realize that, although worship styles varied from church to church, all had a common ideal of praising and worshipping God in their own unique way.
As I was applying to colleges, I remember applying to several programs as a music major, as well as to a local university, where I would have been purely a STEM major. My father is a physician, and I had thought for a long time that I would end up in the medical field as well. However, as I was filling out the “desired major” on the application, I suddenly realized that, if I were to not have music-making as a significant part of my daily routine, I would miss it severely. This was a crystalizing moment for me; I realized that music was really the only career path that would lead to fulfillment.
I moved to Houston, Texas in the fall of 2014 to begin studies at Rice University. I also took a position as organ scholar at Saint Thomas’ Episcopal Church in a Houston suburb. It was there that I had one of my most poignant spiritual moments. This happened in a service of Lessons and Carols for Advent that year, the end of my first term in college. It was quite a big service for me with lots of notes to play, and I was really nervous about it. However, as I began playing a hymn in the middle of the service, “Hark, A Thrilling Voice is sounding; God is nigh, it seems to say,” I had a very visceral sense that God was in that room at that very moment. Even in the midst of a “work day” that came with a great deal of pressure, I still had a
powerful encounter with God.
Church music in 2020 looks nothing like it had in the past for any of us. However, despite the challenges of this year, moments such as the one I had in Houston are what I work to produce and experience with you each and every week at Derry Church.
We are more than halfway through 2020 and the congregation is moving into the budgeting season, which makes this the perfect time to share with you how we are doing so far this year and the projections I have for the rest of the year.
As of the end of August, we have a year to date surplus of $45,000 compared to a year to date surplus of $100,000 at the same point last year. Contributions so far this year are about $75,000 less than I projected based on our budget, while expenses are about $120,000 less than what was budgeted. Both of these variances are due in part to COVID-19. Committees are spending less due to fewer activities and intentional saving with COVID-19. Expenses are also under budget as the Associate Pastor and full time Music Director were not filled for the first half of the year. Now that the church is fully staffed, I expect that expenses will increase through the second half of the year. I believe we are on track to be around break-even for the year, but this is hard to project this year due to uncertainty around the pandemic and economic stimulus.
As Session, the Stewardship and Finance Committee, and the other Committees look toward the 2021 budget and the future, we are working to ensure that Derry Church both provides for the current needs of the church members and the community, while also maintaining financial stability. We are looking at capital projects over the next several years and are working with the committees to make sure they align with the mission and vision of the church. By planning for the future, we can make sure we are managing our resources responsibly.
I would like to thank the congregation for your continued support. Contributions and cash flow have remained stable throughout the pandemic. Because of the generosity of our congregation, we have been able to continue to support our mission partners. Thank you.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything related to Derry’s finances, please contact me at
Editor’s Note: On the first Thursday of each month, the eNews feature article highlights the mission focus for the month. In September we’re lifting up the Peace & Global Witness Offering. You can always find the current month’s mission focus in the Joys & Concerns section of the weekly eNews.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Peace & Global Witness Offering enables the church to promote the Peace of Christ by addressing systems of conflict and injustice across the world. Derry Church will share 25% of offering gifts with Stop the Violence in Harrisburg. Mid councils retain an additional 25% for ministries of peace and reconciliation. The remaining 50% is used by the Presbyterian Mission Agency to advocate for peace and justice in cultures of violence, including our own, through collaborative projects of education and Christian witness.
Stop the Violence believes that no child should have to suffer the effects of violence. To that end, Rev. R. Mim Harvey, Founder and Executive Director, started the grass-roots, faith-based organization in 1995 to provide a safe haven, as well as other additional support and comforts, to help children become healthy, well-adjusted members of the community. Stop the Violence assists vulnerable children and their families located in the south edge of Harrisburg with food, clothing, and emotional support. Rev. Harvey and her staff have been volunteering since the organization started almost 25 years ago.
Stop the Violence provides an array of services and programs including a food pantry, coat and shoe bank, shelter, counseling, a “JOY’ awareness program for youth, Back to School community awareness picnic, Chat and Chew, Thanksgiving baskets, Christmas party, B&M Bike Ministry, Easter egg hunt and baskets, and the Stop the Violence Rally. The purpose of these services and programs are to restore hope in the community and to show its members that they are loved.
Rev. Harvey’s gift is bringing people together.
Stop the Violence receives about $30,000 to run its operation. As a result, the partnership with Derry Presbyterian Church is very important to the future of the organization.