Sue George • Director of communications & technology

January brought lots of excitement in the music corner of Derry Church with the arrival of the Lee Ann Taylor Steinway. At the same time, the Communications & Technology Committee (CTC) celebrated another achievement: the installation of a Zoom Room downstairs in Room 7.

The Zoom Room makes it possible for us to host first-rate hybrid meetings, a capability we’ve never been able to handle well until now. The setup consists of two screens: one on the left allows a presenter to share a Powerpoint or use the screen as a whiteboard that can be seen in the room and by Zoom participants. It has a built-in camera and microphone that allows those on Zoom to hear the presenter and the people attending in Room 7. The screen on the right displays everyone who is joining by Zoom. They can be seen and heard by everyone in Room 7 and take an active part in the discussion.

The best use of the Zoom Room is for meetings like Session and Deacons. Both of these groups used the Zoom Room in February, giving us a chance to learn how the technology works. Every use teaches us something new and as we learn and improve, my hope is that more groups will discover and find benefits from using this technology and extending their gatherings to those who can’t attend in person. Let me know if you’d like to use the Zoom Room for your next meeting: it’s easy to learn.

Derry’s new outdoor signs are now in place across the church campus and I hope you are pleased that the signs provide a cohesive, unified look and clear directions. The staff likes being able to tell vendors and guests to “enter the building at door #1” — it’s so much easier than trying to explain how to drive around the building to the office entrance.

Recently a change was made to the large monument sign along East Derry Road: the original dimensional letters that looked great in the daytime cast shadows from the uplighting at night, making the sign hard to read. So the dimensional letters came off and were replaced by flat surface signs. This change saved us about $2,000, a happy benefit and win all around, and the sign is much easier to read at night.

In case you haven’t already heard, here are more recent changes you should be aware of:

  • The WiFi upgrade throughout the church building was completed in December and tweaked in January to fix a few glitches. We now have a faster, more secure network and a stronger firewall to protect staff computers and copiers. Visitors to Derry Church should have an easier time connecting to the “Derry Guest” network and enjoy faster speeds and better coverage through the building. A new access point was added in the Lounge.
  • New choir monitors have been placed in the Sanctuary to make it easier for those in the choir to hear anyone speaking from the pulpit or the other microphones.
  • Along with the choir monitors, four new condenser microphones and a new pulpit mic have been installed thanks to the generosity of Derry members who gifted this equipment to the church. It’s great to have better quality mics for the choir and our musicians. The new pulpit mic has been more temperamental than we expected, so we’ve added an extension to bring the mic closer to those speaking from the pulpit.