New Castle Presbytery creates online forum for exchange of tech knowledge across the PC(USA)
August 14, 2021
New Castle Presbytery has created NCPtechtalk, a new Google Group to collaborate on issues of a technical nature during this time of virtual church and beyond. The presbytery consists of 49 Presbyterian communities in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, some fairly new and others well into their fourth century.
The NCPtechtalk Google Group, introduced by the presbytery’s Ignite Team during its January meeting, aims to assist congregations in moving more fully into hybrid worship and ministry experiences — not only within the presbytery, but across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
“So many of our churches are out there on their own, struggling to learn how to gather and worship meaningfully online. Most don’t have tech staff or large budgets. It’s pastors with iPhones, and they are worn out,” said the Rev. Dr. Tracy Keenan, missional presbyter of New Castle Presbytery, a Matthew 25 presbytery in the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic, a Matthew 25 synod.
“This is our effort to connect churches with other churches — to ask what’s working? What’s not?” Keenan said. “How can we help one another solve issues and make gatherings accessible, and to learn how we can deploy our resources most effectively?”
The Ignite Team of New Castle Presbytery believes that the Holy Spirit is already at work in communities and that as each community partners with others beyond church walls to share in the work Jesus has called us to — addressing issues of hunger, homelessness, injustice, racism and more — we will learn and be changed, because when we encounter the living God, we cannot remain the same.
Keenan added, “Even when this COVID virus is contained and we are able to gather fully and safely in person, online accessibility will continue to be a way of connecting church to the world. Some will still need to continue to practice safe distancing, some want to give church a test run, and some can worship and serve if they don’t have to travel a distance. I hope quality hybrid church continues to be a goal of our forward-thinking faith communities.”
“NCPtechtalk has expanded to include PC(USA) congregations and worshiping communities elsewhere who, on account of the pandemic, are striving to become more adept with online communications,” said the Rev. Dr. Tom Davis, a commissioned interfaith peacemaker and founder of the nonprofit Interfaith Veterans’ Workgroup in New Castle Presbytery. “We also suppose that there are savvy folk elsewhere who can share useful tools and techniques with us.”
Instead of “building the plane while flying it,” NCPtechtalk members are proactively addressing a host of topics, including:
- Upgrading the technical quality of virtual worship
- Elements of an effective social media strategy
- Using photography and videography as tools for social change
- Facebook vs. YouTube vs Vimeo
- Software and hardware needs
- Online video worship trainings
- Digital Workshop
“I have just joined the group and am starting to see what information it offers,” said David Teager, a ruling elder at First & Central Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware. “Our church, as with so many others, is struggling to manage the potential of social media, especially during this pandemic. We are in an interim pastoral situation, and I am taking a more active role in promoting what our church offers.”
Tammy Warren, Recently Retired Communications Associate, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Today’s Focus: New Castle Presbytery
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Lord, let us never forget the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Amen.
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