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Can you hear me now?

You may all remember that I wrote way back in July we were getting a new sound system and an improved connection to our screen projection system in the sanctuary. It was like months and months ago but thanks to COVID supply disruptions (sarcasm intended) what was supposed to be completed in August never fully happened. The company we are working with fixed our screen issue and we haven't had a problem with them since they installed new equipment (although the final solution is still waiting to arrive). The larger more important upgrade was to the sound system. The company we contracted with has been working night and day to get the equipment for us. They installed most of the solution this week. We have a brand new digital soundboard. They also installed hanging mics, and don't worry unless you are really looking you won't even notice them. The old system had lots of limitations and honestly the sound in the sanctuary was not where we would like it to be. This system will also vastly improve our online sound quality. The hanging mics were installed specifically for those that are watching online. We are hoping you will hear more of the congregation singing and the congregational responses. The hope is we make it sound a little more like you are in the sanctuary. We still are committed to the belief that worship is vastly superior when we are gathered together in one space. Even with an improved soundboard and mics the sound is still richer and just sounds better when you are in the sanctuary. Yet, we know that some people are not able to come to church and be in the sanctuary and the reasons are numerous. While we would love to have you present with us in person, our livestream and online worship can be a lifeline to people who want worship but cannot be in the sanctuary. We are also trying to have in place all the tools for a great online worship experience in case we ever have to close the building to in person worship in the future. While many churches are struggling just to stay open we are investing in the future of Tom's Creek. We are trying to build a church that will be around for generations to come with all the tools to reach people for the Good News of Jesus Christ. That means preparing ways to meet the future, and we are being bold in trying to meet that challenge.


THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HAVE SUPPORTED US TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN.


We have tried to be good stewards of people's monetary donations to the church and have been diligent in finding the most cost effective ways to prepare for the future. Even with working very hard to keep the costs low we have invested close to 20k to reach people during COVID and to prepare us for the future. From investing in a new website, to installing PTZ cameras in the sanctuary, to increasing our internet bandwidth, to the new sound system, and so many other investments that were needed. We did this to help continue to foster community and to assure the worship experiences we offer is good quality and reliable no matter the way people are trying to connect to us. I know many other churches who spent DOUBLE what we have and their results in many cases were lower quality than ours. Please know that your Pastor tries to make sure that every dollar that is given is utilized to the best we can or as I always say "best bang for our buck". And we still have some investments that we need to make including a new security and keyless entry system to help protect the building and to make sure people feel safe while at church. Once again thank you for your generosity as we continue to prepare our church to be around for generations to come.


All of that leads me to the fact that this Sunday will be the first Sunday we utilize this new sound system. We have people that spent time this week to be trained on this new sound system but we won't know what needs to fixed or tweaked until after we use it for worship. Just one example, we don't know how loud the new hanging mics that are supposed to pick up the sound in the sanctuary so those watching us online can hear more of what is happening in the sanctuary will be. This new sound system is much more complicated to understand how to change things during the service but once we have it mastered the sound will be much better than in the past both in the sanctuary and online. So please be patient and we hope that it we get it all worked out before it becomes long-suffering (that is sermon series joke).


The bulletin is attached for this week. Please remember that COVID is still a concern. We want to offer ways for people to be able to join us depending on their level of health and comfort with dealing with larger groups of people. For some that means joining us online. For some that means coming to church with their mask on. For some that means finding a seat that is farther away from other people and wearing their mask. For others that means coming to church without a mask on. We do ask that if you have any symptoms of COVID (or the flu even) that you decide to worship with us online from home until it passes. I have received my COVID BOOSTER shot in order to offer the most protection I can to my church family. I do encourage you to get your vaccine as long as your doctor says that your health allows it. At Tom's Creek we journey together and we are not judging people on what they have decided to do for their health and safety. We only ask that we are conscience of not unduly putting others worshipping with us at risk. We can do this and know that different people are at different places with what works for their health.


If people are not able to join us in the sanctuary for worship we continue to livestream at 8am (it will be available to view after too) services via Facebook ,(https://www.facebook.com/tomscreekumc) or YouTube(https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX6E7eCwH2ZGYspkSCF0CGw). If you join and follow our Facebook page or subscribe to our YouTube channel, they will let you know when we are live. You can always watch any videos we post later because we leave them up. Also Sunday afternoon a shortened version is available on our website and on YouTube.


We are not passing offering plates so the wooden boxes are available to put your offering in. Of course you can also give online, click the donate button on our website, or use text to give (844-406-0358), or mail in the offering to church. In addition, we will be collecting prayers in the prayer box on the table in the parlor. Also, if you have announcement that you need to be shared please write them down and give them to me before the service. This will be an ongoing practice for prayers and announcements to help ensure that they are heard and understood by all (especially those worshipping with us virtually).


Together we can continue to create a vibrant community that reached the world for Jesus. Worship is a vital part of that so please join us in any way you can for worship this Sunday.


Blessings,

PH



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