“God in My Summer”
“Wow!” That was my comment when I saw the moving digital slide presentation put together by Mill Creek Parish UMC based on a worship idea I sent out at the beginning of the summer in my eZine of worship ideas. I had suggested that congregants could be invited to submit photos for an end-of-the-summer visual liturgy. Here’s what their e-mail said:
“Thanks so much for the idea to do the summer arts/photos activity. It became a huge thing at our little church and resulted in a beautiful video that everyone loved and that has taken front and center on our website. You can check it out at our website [link below]. Click on ‘God In My Summer.’ Some have said it actually moved them to tears!!! Thanks again for such soul-full worship ideas!” Lisa Cole, Mill Creek Parish UMC
I want to thank Lisa and Mill Creek Parish for sharing their project with me and for permission to share it with you. If you are not signed up to get my “eZine” on worship, send me an e-mail and I’ll add you to the list! firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about how they put it together step by step in the continuation of this reflection…
More from Lisa: “Here is what we did (the spark of course directly taken from your idea!):”
1) Discussed idea with senior pastor and showed him your blurb from your website. He said, “Go for it.”
2) Created a simple flyer to generate “buzz” and posted it around the church, sent it through our email announcements . . . titled it “God In My Summer.” The idea was to create the photo show to present at the end of the summer, as a prayer offering of thanksgiving during worship, and it ended up being shown during the Offertory. This naturally limited the length to 5-6 minutes. Announced it in church.
3) Decided ahead of time to use “Photoshow” software, available for around $40 online. VERY EASY TO USE, nothing like Adobe Photoshop which practically takes a college degree in image editing!
4) Had everyone email their digital photos to the church secretary, who forwarded them to me (that way if I lost them I knew she had the originals!!!)
5) Got up and reminded folks during announcements at worship during the summer. Had a “due date” of August 30. Lots came in at the very last minute.
6) Those “untechie” people who couldn’t deal with digital format went to Kinko’s with their hard copies and had them scanned onto a CD which they put in my box at the church. Worked well.
7) We tried to limit what we got to the VERY BEST 3-4 photos per family. That’s tough discipline there! Any “extras” we took anyway (lots of them were still AWESOME and didn’t even make it into the show) and archived them for use later as future worship backgrounds.
8) Separated the photo show into segments (missions, family and friends, etc. sprinkled with lots of scenic shots and close-ups of nature stuff). Found good music to go along with it and made mp3 files to go along with the slides. Had some humor as well as emotion . . . . strived for a balance but keeping God in it.
9) Made up verbal phrases of thanksgiving and also tried to work in attribution to the family who submitted the photo, where possible and not too distracting.
10) Showed it to the pastor for input and approval. He liked it!
11) Saved/exported it as an mpeg file and showed it through MediaShout (our projection software) two Sundays ago, when everyone was back into school and back to church.
12) We asked everyone who submitted photos to sign a photo release form, because we wanted to be able to use the images for worship backgrounds and other purposes, so I passed the release forms around AFTER we showed the photo show, and everyone signed them.
12) For the website, we changed the final text on the last slide to make it a “teaser” to get visitors to come check out our church family and see how we live our faith every day.
13) Exported it as html, put it on a flash drive, and gave it to our webmaster to post on our homepage.