On Sunday 5 February 2017, the morning communion service included the dedication to the glory of God of a new audiovisual system, featuring screens and speakers. The Technology Team, and its convener, Pauline Weir, were thanked for their vision, and for bringing their plans to fruition.
In his introductory remarks, the Minister explained that existing books of common order do not deal with the dedication of audiovisual screens. In the absence of model prayers, he had sought inspiration from prayers to dedicate a church bell. He noted that when medieval clergy would dedicate church bells, it was their custom not only to bless them, but to give them a name, and baptize them with water, such as in the case of the Colum Cille bell in the tower of the Abbey Church, Iona. For obvious reasons, he had to abandon the idea as baptism with water could not form part of the dedication of electronic screens!
Before the service, the screen showed an automated cycle of general intimations. During the service, the PowerPoint presentation included the words of hymns, scripture lessons, and liturgical items. In the evening, the potential of the system was explored when the sermon was introduced with a video-clip. (This post has been updated with a recent picture, showing the sanctuary with the screens being tested, taken with a camera that is part of the system. As usual, click on the photo for a larger image.)
The prayer to dedicate the screens was as follows:
Almighty God, we praise you that when your Word became flesh, you revealed through the Gospel your true nature in the person of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
We thank you that you have made us in your own image, with communication a hallmark of our humanity. We praise you that when you created matter, you furnished the elements with the ability to carry the most complex signals of modern communication systems.
We are grateful for the advent of writing, printing, broadcasting, computers, and all the technology enhancing sound and vision within this sanctuary. We give thanks for the craftsmanship and architectural gifts that went into the fashioning of this church, and for all that members and office-bearers have done to make our services here as orderly and welcoming as possible. May the screens and speakers we have installed be a blessing to all who worship here, and equip us for more effective service to the glory of your Name.
We give thanks for those who have installed the system, for those who prepare audio-visual presentations, and the operators. May we all find the new resources helpful to our engagement in the mysteries of worship, grant us a deeper vision of the universe in which we dwell, and enable us to hear more clearly your Word for our day and generation.
All this we ask in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.