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Ditch Projection Screens & Bring Back Hymnals

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  • Ditch Projection Screens & Bring Back Hymnals

    What are your thoughts?
    Christians need to understand that relying on screens and other technology is not leading to better worship, it’s ruining it.
    -Admin

    Allen 965
    Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
    Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
    Hauptwerk 4.2

  • #2
    Quite compelling. I agree on many points, even though my own church is now using screens. At least we haven't actually removed the hymnals from the pews, and some people tell me that they do in fact used them. But we are truly robbing ourselves and future generations of a valuable piece of our heritage when we make hymnals redundant. For all the reasons given in the article, and probably others that we could think of.

    When I was a kid, it didn't take my parents 30 seconds to explain to me how to read the stanzas line by line, and for the life of me I can't understand why today's worship leaders think that forcing people to have to read the interleaved lines off a printed page is going to somehow discourage them from singing. It obviously has the opposite effect, per the article, as an important visual cue is now lost -- the notes on the staff. If I as a first grader not only had no problem reading the lines of text, but figured out right away how to associate the words with the notes, how can anyone think this is a problem?

    But I have zero hope that the current trend will reverse itself. It would take a massive movement, far bigger than any rebellion we have seen in the "worship wars," to convince a meaningful number of churches to return to the use of the hymnal. I fear it is simply a lost cause, and not coming back any more than photo albums on the family bookshelf, which have been totally displaced by "albums" on the computer.

    If I could see into the future of the church, 20 or 30 years down the road, I think I'd see the separation between the fully traditional worship venues -- such as the great cathedrals, where the printed page will always be the medium of music and the services will continue to be conducted much as they have been for centuries -- and the non-traditional venues -- the totally modern "praise and worship centers" where everything will be on the screens. No hymnals, no Bibles, no bulletins, no missals, no study guides, not a scrap of paper. "Worshipers" may "log in" on their digital devices when they enter, and simply watch the happenings on their personal screens if they wish, listening via ear buds to the broadcast audio mix, having zero interaction with anyone else in the room. Yes, it's coming to that, and sooner than you think.
    John
    ----------
    *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

    Comment


    • #3
      Oddly enough, one Sunday we didn't have the projector and only had hymnals. I noticed everyone sang to their book and the overall strength of sound diminished. That said, however, I detest having everything projected. I thought I had the pastor convinced to at least put the hymn numbers on the screen or in the bulletin so people would have a choice, but in the last few weeks he's left them out. In fact, I thought I had him convinced to put musical phrases on separate lines, but no...he's just writing the lyrics as a run-on paragraph!

      I disagree with the article, however, in saying the battle between the sides has been "won." Give it time–the pendulum will swing yet again. If not back, then to something else. In our church, we used a blend of hymns, 60s/70s (Maranatha) choruses, 90s choruses, and millennial music. For the most part, everyone seems to be satisfied with the mix. We've chosen to concentrate on the strength of the text, no matter the genre. As a result, we've weeded out some hymns of questionable value theologically. It seems "clappy, happy" exists in every genre (no names mentioned–John)!

      Michael
      Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
      • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
      • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
      • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

      Comment


      • Hamman
        Hamman commented
        Editing a comment
        Your right Michael! They'll have to revert back to the acoustic piano and the strength of their own voices when that EMP goes off....in so many ways I can't wait!

    • #4
      MY primary problem is not screens versus hymnals. But the assumption we are all musically illiterate. As mentioned in the article, there is no musically notation. If I don't know the tune, I can read the music and sing it. And not guess where the tune is going next. Technically I can't see a reason why it isn't up there. And I'm afraid it isn't up there, because the praise band takes too many liberties with the music. I was at one service and they were doing an updated version of an old standard hymn. They destroyed the meter, things like a whole note might be held only 3/4 value.
      We have a restored movie palace including the theater organ. And some times when they run old movies it includes a sing along. With all the modern technology, I'm sure they could add the bouncing ball. Then one might know what is being sung, when.
      Fortunately the church I attend has two separate services. At the traditional one the screen runs announcements before the service starts. Once it begins the screen is retracted and swung out of the way. No problem. And on occasion it comes out for a video, like what the youth group did on spring break.
      What works well is new lyrics, written to old tunes. And yes these are on printed inserts to the printed bulletin. And what I love about the screen is on rare occasions it becomes part of the experience. We have been blessed with gifted organists. Last Good Friday, the senior accompanied the Passion portion of the silent movie "King of Kings" as a major part of the Service. So screens have valid uses but it seems many places they are so misused they are wasted.

      Comment


      • #5
        I gave the congregation only the lyrics to a hymn that is not in our hymnal but the tune is. We sing the tune to the traditional words all the time. The lyrics were printed on a sheet of paper. They could not sing the new words to the old song. One lady, who has no musical training, stated that "there is no notes to tell if it (the tune) goes up or down". Even though they know the tune well they could not sing it. I will not do that again.
        This shows that even the musically uneducated read the music notes too. I have never been to a church where all is projected as I am usually behind the piano or organ at my own. My sister's in-laws go to a Bapt. church where the whole service is projected. It starts with a 60 min. "Concert" by the Praise band and all are required to stand during the performance. This part there is no projection. There are a couple of congregational songs included where the words are projected. No one knows the tunes but they "sing" the words anyways making a loud cacophony or rather a "noise unto the Lord". These congregationals are led by a "song leader" and the singers in the band. So, 4 song leaders are leading during which the Offering plates are sent around. The pastor then speaks to close to an hour, repeating himself numerous times. When he is finished, he exits the church. The "band" sings another after which the Announcements are then televised by the "News Team". Then and only then is the church allowed to leave the building. The whole service takes close to 2.5 hours every Sunday.

        She, her husband nor his parents get anything out of the Service. His parents have attended this church for 60+ years and they are "not going to be run off".

        Comment


        • jbird604
          jbird604 commented
          Editing a comment
          I feel their pain. Twice we eventually had to leave a beloved church where we had served and worshiped for a long time. The hardest was a church where we had helped build it from a handful of people to a congregation of over 200, and had helped build and furnish a beautiful new sanctuary complete with a lovely grand piano and an Allen organ and a nice choir of 30 voices.

          But in both the churches a pastor got himself installed in the pulpit and proceeded to "steal" the church. In both cases he did it by seeming to be "normal" at first, working hard to bring in "new people" who happened to be in agreement with his hyper-reactionary preaching and evangelistic style. Before we knew what happened, he had "packed" the church with a majority of people who thought he was next to God himself, and when he began making drastic changes to the way we had always worshiped, the ways we were raised to believe church should be conducted, we "old-timers" were out-voted and couldn't do anything to stop the train wreck.

          In both cases, it eventually came down to being able to go to church and worship, or just "holding on" because we "loved this church." Sometimes you just have to walk away when a church that you once loved turns into something unlovely. No need to let your own spiritual life be destroyed when there is little or no hope of saving the congregation or holding back the "changes" that a new pastor intends to impose.

          Life is too short to sit in the pews and have the spirit just sucked right out of you. You may become bitter and angry, and that is not a good place to be in.

          There are churches where real music is still used, where serious worship is still happening, where unreasonable demands are not being made. I mean really, a 2.5 hour service, and standing up for a solid hour while a silly "band" "leads worship" from the stage by hollering songs that nobody knows into loud microphones? I just wouldn't put up with it for another day. I'd be trying other churches every Sunday, and paying close attention not only to the ways they worship, but also how serious they are about maintaining a genuine traditional service and good music.

        • lcid
          lcid commented
          Editing a comment
          John, I totally agree with your post and feelings. I too had to leave a church after serving as organist for almost twenty years and that had grown in attendance and physical structure. However, the leadership had changed drastically and the damage it was doing to my family was irreparable. I should have left even sooner. Yes, there are times when we just have to walk away from a place we once loved and respected.

        • davidecasteel
          davidecasteel commented
          Editing a comment
          Amen, John! Our Senior Pastor occupies fully 1/2 of the service--5 minutes of Announcements at the beginning and a 25-minute Sermon. The Choir does sing "good" music, but most of it has been composed since 2000. Most of the traditional liturgy has been discarded--we get the Doxology maybe once or twice a quarter, and the Gloria Patri is seldom sung at all (or even recited). I've been with that church now for 39 years and have many friends there, so am loath to leave it. I was part of the team to choose the pipe organ builder and love our instrument. The Organists do play wonderful music, too. (We have one primary and a couple of secondary ones.)

          The weird thing is: there is a Baptist Church in Dallas that has a much more "traditional" servicce than my church does, and they sing a lot of the Old Masters' music, too. Wilshire Baptist advertises itself as "a different Baptist church", and they are--they are not part of any of the recognized Baptist conferences. I would probably be fairly comfortable there.

          And there are some other denomination churches in the area that offer more liturgical services. I've not been sufficiently motivated (yet) to break ranks and go there (Presbyterian and Anglican).

      • #6
        Jbird, AMEN!

        Comment


        • #7
          Being able to worship and feeling like you have been to church is very important. Scripture is preached. Music needs to lead to a worshipful experience. We attend a Baptist church that runs between 700-800 attendance between two morning services. Both services are the same and last one hour with a little over half in music. I am the FOH sound and lights guy. My wife runs the video computer. Everything - announcements, words to music, live camera, scripture and message points are on the screens. There are hymnals in the pews for those who wish to use them.

          Several years ago praise band music started at our church. That band has grown into a really nice orchestra. We have a choir. Our music is blended with both traditional and up-beat music. But most all of our music is choral and nicely orchestrated. This coming Sunday our congregational music will be a Crown Him King medley with Crown Him With Many Crowns, He Is Exalted and I Exalt Thee. This will be a nice worshipful service. We also have our choir and orchestra in the Sunday evening service.

          We have tried or been a part of many churches. Some non-denominational, other major denominations and our current Baptist. There are some that I would not step inside again. One in particular looked like a church on the outside but felt mostly like a rock concert. Unfortunately it is a waste of time to attend some churches now. A 2.5 hour service would be tough. Standing for an hour would be tough. Some of us older people really need to sit in a comfortable seat now and then. Most important to me is feeling like I have been to church and had a worshipful experience when the service is over.
          Stan
          ---------
          Allen ADC-6300A DK

          Comment


          • myorgan
            myorgan commented
            Editing a comment
            There are some that I would not step inside again. One in particular looked like a church on the outside but felt mostly like a rock concert. Unfortunately it is a waste of time to attend some churches now.
            I couldn't agree with you more! Thank you for bringing out the bottom line–it's about the worshiping God and the worship experience for the individual. As musicians, our job is to contribute to both in the most effective way possible.

            BTW, do you play your ADC-6300DK for the service? I also knew a Lorraine with your same last name, and she sang quite well. I believe she moved to TX (I know–big state).

            Welcome to the Forum!

            Michael

        • #8
          Whew, here comes the organ part. I'm a huge fan of the organ and love reading the forum posts. The 6300 is in our home and is my third Allen. I've had no lessons in music of any sort but I play it for about an hour each day.

          The organ at church, a old Rodgers 990, was in pretty bad shape. There was not an organist and the estimate cost to repair was much more than it was worth. Church leadership made a decision to move it out. That was about two years ago. I found a person that would take it and bring it back to good shape.

          The instrument I play at church is a digital mixer that brings together a top quality professional audio system. Our orchestra consists of about 20 musicians added to a 40-60 voice choir. I love to mix and strive to present our music in the most clear, clean and effective way possible.

          I have never heard of a Lorraine but then "Texas is a Big state."

          Thanks. As said I love reading the forum.

          Stan
          Stan
          ---------
          Allen ADC-6300A DK

          Comment


          • #9
            We have one screen up in a corner of our sanctuary at Epworth UMC here in Bluffton,IN. The Rodgers organ that was once in our church now sits in my living room. We still have the hymnals,and we USE them. We do not have a "band",though,...which I'm glad,...it's not who we are at Epworth UMC,and a "band" is not in our future,....though I WOULD like to see another organ in our future,...preferrably a Rodgers. We use the screen for a praise song or two,...and the rest is hymnal. We also put the words to the hymns on the screen for those who may have problems holding a hymnal,and I'm okay with that. I do wish we had an organ again,though,...I miss hearing an organ. I had best get practicing again,...never know when I may be called upon to play! LOL!!!! Oh yes,....we STILL use PAPER bulletins as well as put some info on the screen,too. So yes,...we use both hymnals and projection screen,...and traditional bulletins.
            Last edited by Dewey643; 07-22-2019, 07:13 PM. Reason: Correct spelling
            Late 1980's Rodgers Essex 640

            Comment


            • #10
              I agree. churches need to become a bit less modern. Something about the screen in church that makes me not feel comfortable. Also churches need to preach that if you don't ask jesus to come into your heart and forgive you of your sins then your not a christian and your going to hell.

              Comment


              • #11
                It is true that having just the lyrics on the screen and not the musical score removes vital cues that we music readers need in order to sing an unfamiliar hymn (and many non-readers also apparently benefit from the notes, even if they don't "read" them, as stated in a post above). But when we were in England recently and attended numerous worship services in various cathedrals, I was frequently frustrated by the way the hymns were printed, both in the hymnals and in the service sheets. In many cases, the musical score is printed without words at the top of the page, and the lyrics are printed out "poem-style" at the bottom of the page or even on the next page. So it's very difficult to add the words to an unfamiliar hymn tune -- you just can't keep one eye on the staff and another eye on the poetry!

                It should be done the way it's done in all the Baptist hymnals I've used in my life, and many other hymnals -- which is of course with the lyrics written in stanza/verse style WITHIN the musical notation, between the treble and bass staves. I cannot see any advantage at all in formatting it the way I saw it in the English hymnals and in the otherwise wonderful service sheets. It's little better than putting it up on the screen!
                John
                ----------
                *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

                https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

                Comment


                • #12
                  While it is easier if you are singing parts to have the text between the musical staffs, the rationale for not doing so is to help people appreciate the hymns as poetry.
                  Bill

                  My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

                  Comment


                  • jbird604
                    jbird604 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yes, that's true. When the stanzas are printed in "poetry" format it makes it much easier to appreciate the flow of the texts. But still, it makes it so hard for a guy like me to sing when I visit a church where so many of the hymns are sung to tunes that I don't know. I could sing up a storm if the words were printed directly under the notes, but it just does me little good to have the tune notated up at the top and the words in a different place. If singing is the goal, their format fails for me!

                  • myorgan
                    myorgan commented
                    Editing a comment
                    That drove me batty also when we were in Germany about 5 years ago. My eye cannot move that fast–especially in a foreign language!

                    Michael

                • #13
                  I agree with this, from among the posts above:It becomes difficult to teach new songs on a worship screen, primarily because there are no notes. Screens only work when worshipers already know the melodies. Worship “playlists” at contemporary services are often meager because the same songs tend to be sung over and over.
                  If you’re not already familiar with the tune, you cannot sing from a screen. There are no instructions on how many pitches you must devote to each syllable. In cases like these, most just end up keeping their mouths shut. This also limits the complexity of the songs’ music and words, because it’s easier to learn simpler songs when new ones are introduced without sheet music.

                  And I agree with this:While singing in a modern service, it’s hard not to start thinking about things other than the music. Will the slide change at the right time? Will the correct slide come up next? ‘Oh, look, there’s a typo!’

                  To partially offset the disadvantages of the stark, words-only screen in the sanctuary, it would indeed be easy to show both the words and the music on the screen, with or without the movie-palace bouncing ball.

                  Organs and acoustic pianos, and their church-related uses, are different enough from other musical instruments and types of music. They and their uses in churches are interesting to many people ‑‑ even to young people. Their presence in worship separates church from other musical venues and activities. That is a worthwhile and valuable distinction.

                  It is also becoming harder to find keyboardists for the organ and piano. This is in-part because few churches introduce printed music to the congregation, so the attendees who might have become interested in playing or singing is reduced, possibly to zero. Few will go so far as to take lessons, to become church (and maybe secular) musical amateurs or artists. This is a sad thing for those of us who have been musicians to one extent or another all our lives. We have enjoyed playing and others have enjoyed hearing the music we have produced. ...and I believe music is pleasing to God, himself.

                  I have been considering that we begin a once-monthly hymn sing in our sanctuary. This would take the place -- at least once a month -- of the now-defunct Sunday evening service. Only songs from the [Baptist] hymnal would be included. I am certain that mostly older people would attend, but I might be surprised if some younger people came in too.

                  Comment


                  • myorgan
                    myorgan commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Great idea with the hymn sing, Bucky!

                    Michael

                • #14
                  My pastor has voiced several times that he would like to see a "Band" form and play in the church regularly. The Congregation half-heartedly say "ok". NO one has come forward to form such a band. I believe the Church has spoken.

                  Comment


                  • #15
                    Originally posted by Bucky View Post
                    [B] . . . If you’re not already familiar with the tune, you cannot sing from a screen.
                    So true - which is why my church always uses very familiar and well known hymns during Communion distribution. Everyone, including those standing, and even those kneeling at the altar can see one of the two screens and keep on singing. And yes, we still have hymnals in the pews for those who prefer that for singing.

                    To partially offset the disadvantages of the stark, words-only screen in the sanctuary, it would indeed be easy to show both the words and the music on the screen, with or without the movie-palace bouncing ball.
                    Might require additional licensing to also project the music along with the lyrics. Our licensing only allows words to be projected, and then with some limitations as well as being required to display the copyright and licensing information.

                    For the most part we always use known hymns that everyone is familiar with. Any new hymn is introduced by a group of choir members.

                    Will the slide change at the right time? Will the correct slide come up next? ‘Oh, look, there’s a typo!
                    Fortunately for us, the worship leader programs and sets up the media and also runs the screens.

                    It is also becoming harder to find keyboardists for the organ and piano. This is in-part because few churches introduce printed music to the congregation, so the attendees who might have become interested in playing or singing is reduced, possibly to zero. Few will go so far as to take lessons, to become church (and maybe secular) musical amateurs or artists. This is a sad thing for those of us who have been musicians to one extent or another all our lives. We have enjoyed playing and others have enjoyed hearing the music we have produced. ...and I believe music is pleasing to God, himself.
                    Our local AGO chapter hosts an annual Pedal, Pipes and Pizza session. We get a good turnout of prospective young people who have a genuine interest in the organ and/or piano playing for services. In my own church I openly encourage anyone to learn about the organ in worship. I have an open console policy - the church owns the instrument, not me. All they have to do is ask and I'll provide them with a key for the roll-top.

                    I have been considering that we begin a once-monthly hymn sing in our sanctuary. This would take the place -- at least once a month -- of the now-defunct Sunday evening service. Only songs from the [Baptist] hymnal would be included. I am certain that mostly older people would attend, but I might be surprised if some younger people came in too.

                    Do it weekly - before the church service. In my former church, I would do a weekly hymn sing in lieu of an organ prelude during the Summer months, usually from late May through the 1st weekend in September. Those who came early would name their favorite hymn and then we would all sing a verse or two. I used the piano near the chancel area (the organ was in a side gallery on the 2nd level). This lasted between 10 and 15 minutes before the worship hour and was very much appreciated.

                    Comment


                    • davidecasteel
                      davidecasteel commented
                      Editing a comment
                      We have some Hymn medlies for the first Hymn from time to time--usually all well-known Hymns. They are very popular.

                      We have both screens (words only) and Hymnals.
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