Web Allows Church, Family to Participate in Ordination Service

Post a Comment » Written on July 10th, 2009     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (July 10, 2009) – Elizabeth Jensen does not need to wonder whether the church she serves – Venice Isles Covenant Church in Venice, Florida – loves her.

Many of her congregation stayed up until midnight on June 27 watching a live Internet-based broadcast of her being ordained thousands of miles away in Portland, Oregon. The Saturday evening worship service officially brought to a close the 124th Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

The service also did not begin until 10 p.m. (EDT).

“I am really overwhelmed by how many of my congregation stayed up to watch the entire service,” said Jensen.

BroadcastThanks to the webcast, Jensen’s family across the country was able to take part as well. “My husband and aunt were not able to be in Portland but had to stay in Florida – they watched it live,” Jensen said. “My brother and niece and their spouses in Minnesota watched it all happen, too.”

Jensen added, “I had hoped some would be able to be with me in Spirit. Many more than I expected were.”

She is just one of the ordinands as well as family and friends who have expressed gratitude that they all were able to participate in the service together via the Internet. They also could participate using a service bulletin that was posted online.

The Department of Communication has been doing live broadcasting of Annual Meeting services since the first one in 1999 in Green Lake, Wisconsin, under the direction of then-webmaster Joel Pearson. “This year’s broadcast – the tenth anniversary of live webcasting by the Covenant – was by far the largest audience yet,” says Executive Minister Don Meyer.

There were approximately 1,300 people attending the worship service in Portland. Based on the number of Internet connections recorded during the service – and recognizing that a number of churches reported plans to hold dinners and other gatherings to watch a live feed together – the “virtual” audience easily could have numbered in the hundreds, Meyer notes.

Ron and Ingrid Newlin of Saukville, Wisconsin, wrote that they had been disappointed they were unable to attend the service to watch their son-in-law Benj Ecker be ordained. “This was the next best thing to being there,” they wrote. “We not only saw Benj, but his dad, Ted, standing in his aisle – so we knew where the family was sitting!”

Flor Retamal, who lives in Chicago, said she felt a part of the service. “It was a blessing to be able to share the moment when my friend and sister in Christ, Yacid Cardenas, was ordained,” she says.

Meyer says he looks forward to the audience continuing to build. He also expressed appreciation for Joshua Havens, director of the Covenant Media Center, and the technical support staff who were responsible for broadcasting the service and making sure it came off without a hitch. The accompanying photo shows Havens at work during one of the service broadcasts.

Videos of all the worship services and portions of the business meetings are available online.

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