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Ditch Projection Screens & Bring Back Hymnals

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  • davidecasteel
    commented on 's reply
    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.

  • davidecasteel
    commented on 's reply
    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).

  • AD43
    replied
    I remember as a young child at a corrugated iron church in the Uk being practically unable to see the screen! Hymnals look better, are easier to see and follow, but also have not left many old village churches and also cathedrals. (all my knowledge is from experience in England).

    Leave a comment:


  • Ben Madison
    replied
    Hmm. My main congeagation where I go does have hymnals and nothing else. I can't say about others since my religion has no central office or governing body (not earthy). I have though have seen the ones I have been slowly integrating technology into parts of worship some that I have been only has projectors to make presentations during the sermon. Although I wish I could see move video sermons or live streams of other ongregations within my religion.

    Leave a comment:


  • regeron
    replied
    The church where I work does not use screens. The pastor tried it once but he has no understanding of proportions in a room, so the print was too tiny for anyone to read. It failed and has never come back.

    I find it interesting that most screen-projections of a text don't include punctuation.

    I attended another church recently while I was on holidays. They used a screen and also had a bulletin with hymnal numbers printed in it. Because of some evolving eye issues, I couldn't read the screens at all so could only participate by using the hymnal. If I hadn't been given that option, I would have been left out of worship. In that same service, the laptop operator was having problems of some sort - even with my limited vision, I could tell that the screens were hopping forwards and backwards too fast and although I kept singing from the hymnal, the rest of the congregation was silent for the most part.
    SOLUTIONS - get a reliable system and operator; use font styles, sizes and colors that can be read well against an appropriate background color.

    As a general observation, whenever I've attended any kind or meeting or gathering, religious or otherwise, where there are technical glitches, they always seem to be related to the most modern piece of technology in use for that event. Eg, In my church, it's always the newest microphone that screws up.

    BENEFITS of the hymnal - As a child, I learned to look up things. Finding #342 meant I had to know my numbers. It gave me satisfaction and helped me to practice a skill. As an adult, while I'm flipping through the pages to find #342, I come across other hymns that are either old favorites that I'm happy to see again, or unfamiliar ones that make me wonder whether we should learn them. That doesn't happen with a screen. There's a parallel to looking up word definitions. If I google the definition of a word, that's all I get. If I look in a dictionary, I see all kinds of other words on my way to finding the one I'm searching for. I'm not sure, would it be called "passive" or "accidental learning"?

    It is true that singing from the screen raises people's heads and brings their chins off of their chests and can result in better singing.... unless the screen is too high, in which case there is added strain. It can be somewhat humorous to watch people with bifocals trying to figure out how to hold their heads to read a screen.

    I personally appreciate beauty in worship and find that a screen and projector do not contribute any beauty to the experience, no matter what pretty pictures might be projected, and especially in a more traditional building. In many modern buildings, there is already very little beauty, so the technology isn't as distracting.

    Because the original post was about screens and not what we project on them (traditional hymns vs anything else) I'll limit my thoughts to what is here.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bucky
    replied
    One other contributing factor:
    Many newer songs include more dotted notes, rests on the downbeat, syncopations, etc. that are hard for the congregation to follow when there is no written music.
    Again, this applies even more to those who are visiting and to music that has just been introduced to the congregation.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dewey643
    replied
    Originally posted by davidecasteel View Post
    We would not be able to do a "hymn sing" before our services. We have 3 services, at 0845, 0945, and 1100 in our Sanctuary, with only 15 minutes (if that) between. The Prelude is limited to just a few minutes, too. During our services there are only 2 hymns, typically with just a couple of verses. The Pastor takes up fully half the service--5 minutes at the beginning for announcements and another 25 for the Sermon. The Choir does sing 1 or 2 anthems, but much of the liturgy is omitted. (We sing the Doxology maybe once a month and the Gloria Patri maybe twice a year. John Wesley would be mortified.) We have 2 screens, on either side of the Chancel, and it does display announcements, prayer requests, hymn lyrics, and an occasional video in support of the Sermon. Hymnals are provided under the pews (an extremely awkward location, IMHO). Our lovely Klais organ does play the Hymns and (usually) the Prelude and Postlude. Sometimes those slots are filled by special musical groups (visiting musicians, handbells, local folks). Our childrens' choirs sing in worship at least once a quarter.

    As a "Liturgical Methodist" our services do not satisfy me very well, but I keep a stiff upper lip. Most of the anthems sung by the Choir are modern (composed after 2000), but at least they are solid, well-composed music with a message. The Choir Director does throw in an "Oldie" once in a while (just to keep me from defaulting to the Anglicans, I think)--yesterday morning we sang Handel's "This Is the Day the Lord Has Made", for example. (It went well and the congregation loved it.)

    David
    I like the liturgy of the Methodist church,...the way our service is formatted at Epworth UMC satisfies me. We don't have a choir,though. A couple praise songs,and the rest is hymnal. A "Call To Worship" responsive reading,and at the close of service a benediction responsive reading. We do the Doxology every service. We only have piano,though now,...no organ(as you may know,...if you have read my other earlier posts or responses to posts,...the organ that USED to be at our church now sits in my living room)

    Leave a comment:


  • davidecasteel
    replied
    We would not be able to do a "hymn sing" before our services. We have 3 services, at 0845, 0945, and 1100 in our Sanctuary, with only 15 minutes (if that) between. The Prelude is limited to just a few minutes, too. During our services there are only 2 hymns, typically with just a couple of verses. The Pastor takes up fully half the service--5 minutes at the beginning for announcements and another 25 for the Sermon. The Choir does sing 1 or 2 anthems, but much of the liturgy is omitted. (We sing the Doxology maybe once a month and the Gloria Patri maybe twice a year. John Wesley would be mortified.) We have 2 screens, on either side of the Chancel, and it does display announcements, prayer requests, hymn lyrics, and an occasional video in support of the Sermon. Hymnals are provided under the pews (an extremely awkward location, IMHO). Our lovely Klais organ does play the Hymns and (usually) the Prelude and Postlude. Sometimes those slots are filled by special musical groups (visiting musicians, handbells, local folks). Our childrens' choirs sing in worship at least once a quarter.

    As a "Liturgical Methodist" our services do not satisfy me very well, but I keep a stiff upper lip. Most of the anthems sung by the Choir are modern (composed after 2000), but at least they are solid, well-composed music with a message. The Choir Director does throw in an "Oldie" once in a while (just to keep me from defaulting to the Anglicans, I think)--yesterday morning we sang Handel's "This Is the Day the Lord Has Made", for example. (It went well and the congregation loved it.)

    David

    Leave a comment:


  • Piperdane
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • cearley
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • myorgan
    commented on 's reply
    Great idea with the hymn sing, Bucky!

    Michael

  • lcid
    commented on 's reply
    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.

  • Bucky
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • myorgan
    commented on 's reply
    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

  • jbird604
    commented on 's reply
    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!
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