Lights… camera… worship!

One of the good things to come out of the pandemic has been our online worship. The ability to join our worship at St Mary’s from anywhere has been appreciated by many in our community and beyond. Online worshippers include many who – even in normal circumstances – would otherwise be unable to join us in the church in person.

Over the past year, we have learned much, bought some simple equipment and done our best. We have shared our usual Sunday services, letting people from around the world join and discover worship at St Mary’s. We have also been able to share baptisms, weddings and funerals, allowing people to connect and feel part of these important life events even in a time of restriction.

As it has become clear that even when normality returns this online presence will continue, the PCC has agreed to invest around £6,000 in installing a new system of cameras in the church. This may seem costly, but it is a long-term investment that will ensure our services – both regular and occasional – are streamed and recorded in high quality and with the minimum of disruption to the service itself.

Supporting the project

We would be delighted if you were able, perhaps in thanksgiving for what we have been able to do over the last year, to contribute towards the cost of this project. To do so, you can either send a cheque, made payable to St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk, to:

Cameras Project
The Parish Office
390 Selby Road
Leeds LS15 0AA
United Kingdom

Alternatively you can donate by bank transfer directly to our account:

Account name: St Mary’s Church, Whitkirk
Sort code: 05-00-50
Account number: 11893281
Reference: “CAM” followed by your first initial and last name, for example, “CAM J SMITH”

If you pay tax and are able to Gift Aid your donation please include your full name and address when sending your gift, or complete our online Gift Aid form.

You can also donate online if you prefer, but we get the most benefit if you donate directly to us by cheque or bank transfer.

What’s planned?

To make sure that we can continue to stream and record our services as we return to the church building, we will be adding three cameras (plus the necessary wiring) to the building. These will cover the sanctuary – including the altar and lectern plus a ‘backward facing’ angle to capture events such as wedding vows and confirmations – as well as the font for baptisms. The main camera will also be able to remotely change its angle and zoom, letting us get close-ups of things like sermons, as well as point towards almost any position along the nave.

All the cameras and wiring will be fitted as discreetly as possible. We don’t think they will detract from worship, and will quickly become as much a part of the building as the lights. By fitting these cameras we can remove the temporary arrangements we have used during the lockdown period, returning reserved pews to usage and getting rid of unsightly tripods, cameras and wiring.

As well as the cameras we are also investing in new video mixing and streaming equipment, which will improve the quality and consistency of service streaming and recording. It will also make it easier for more people to be involved in the process, reducing the workload of those who have been doing it through the pandemic.