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High Street Methodist goes high tech for home worshippers

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

High Street Methodist Church in Maidenhead is upping its game with technology that will improve the Sunday service for those tuning in from home.

Many churches have been streaming services from ministers’ homes. The Methodist church was one of these, but for the past several weeks it has been streaming live services directly from the church simultaneously on YouTube and on Zoom.

The church has welcomed a limited physical congregation back in the church for its regular Sunday morning 10.30am services, with live music and a small group of singers.

By reusing second-hand equipment sourced from friends and members, the church has been able to improve the quality of its service for those streaming from home.

Streaming on YouTube allows for much better audio and video quality, said Roger Neal, who is the broadcast engineer for the church. He worked at the BBC for 30 years as a senior engineer on television outside broadcasts.

“Zoom is absolute rubbish for music, which is a really important part of it for most of us,” Roger said. “People are watching on phones and laptops, so the sound and video quality is very poor.”

By streaming on YouTube, church services can be watched on a Smart TV with high video and audio quality. Using YouTube instead of Zoom, no invite code is required to watch the service virtually.

Future plans include making it possible for housebound members to contribute online to both the live service in the church and to High Street Methodist’s YouTube channel.

The church is also on the hunt for funding to upgrade to more modern remote cameras.

The hope is also to reduce the size of the operation team as it currently takes four people to broadcast.

“I think a lot of people will start worshipping from home, especially those who are not well or are living in a care home.

“This service will be very good for them,” said Roger.

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