KKAA as a technology project manifests real benefits by helping to reduce social isolation and improving a sense of community

Jim Buchan, Elder, Kemnay Parish Church

Video services for all

The Kemnay Kirk Anytime Anywhere project was conceived to help make church more accessible to people who could not attend for a variety of reasons. Littlewood Court is the local sheltered housing complex where a number of residents would find it difficult or impossible to get to church services some of whom are long time church attendees. This became a core focus for our project which was called Kemnay Church Anytime Anywhere (KKAA). The broad objectives were to provide a system which facilitate the live viewing of church services and also provided a catchup service where people who miss a service for any reason can view it when convenient any time.

A subgroup of our Outreach working group was formed and work started to detail our requirements. We wanted to ensure that the system did not cause any distraction to the normal operation of any service but gave any remote viewers a sense of being present. We also wanted where possible to extend a sense of community to those listening. As the project evolved, two main threads of development became evident. The Technical specification of the systems needed, the people needed to operate this and also the setup of a rota of people who would provide a presence where people gather to watch the services.

For many years the church provided a service where audio recordings of services on Audio CD where handed to people who could not attend. This was popular particularly with people who live alone and could not make it to the Sunday service. A few users still receive these recordings today.

We were able to form a proposal for the expansion of our existing church AV system through the addition of four cameras, video mixing desk and web streaming equipment. Audio feeds where taken from the existing sound desk and a video feed from the video projection computer. The cameras are remotely controlled from the Audio Visual Desk area and the video signals can be switched/mixed to send camera or projection screen video to the live stream.

Before the introduction of the new system, the duty rota included two people who operate the sound desk/sound audio recording and projection computer respectively. To cover camera control and video mixing we had to add two more people to the duty rota. We now have a total of 20 people who are trained and helping to staff a rota system to cover these duties.

At Littlewood court we have two people attending each Sunday morning from a rota of 22.  The people who attend there will sit through the service, help administer communion on Communion Sunday and also remain for a social time after the service ends.  We also have a person present there to assist with getting the video stream displayed on the large TV in the lounge area.  We also have a resident who is trained to set things up using her own iPad and Video adapter.

Since the project was started in 2016 it has now become an important part of the Sunday routine at Littlewood and, in addition we also have many regular listeners from around Scotland and abroad.  KKAA as a technology project manifests real benefits by helping to reduce social isolation and improving a sense of community.

Key Points

  • Social benefits of a technological solution
  • Meeting the needs of an elderly congregation
  • Being church in a new setting
  • Reaching a global audience