One week after Rotating Safe Car Park (RSCP) rotated from Prince of Peace to another location, that church shut down, as did POP shortly after. The parks, libraries, community centers, coffee shops, where the guests often go during the day, also closed. They had no bathrooms available to them. The March RSCP Lead asked the host location to keep the campus open all day, so the guests could isolate safely for themselves and the community. This was granted. The guests also had no showers as their gyms were closed. West Valley Community Services helped negotiate with a local entity to open their showers to the guests. This was granted.
Soon after, the City of Saratoga reached out to offer assistance in getting PPE supplies. But even the city had to scrounge for disinfecting wipes, sanitizer and gloves. (The cleaning supplies picture is our cache from the city.) But face masks were not available. Since the surgical/PPE masks were not needed for the safe park’s purposes, soon, there were POP members willing to include masks for our guests and volunteers in addition to what they were donating to hospitals and members of our congregation. Many masks went to church volunteers and guests, and more are being made for the next group who will be operating the RSCP in May. And our June host is hoping for a good supply of our masks as well. A big thanks to Janet C., Barbara E. and Maria J’s neighbor for supplying masks, and an additional thank you to Andrea P. who will be joining the effort.
by Karen Hauschildt
If you watched the Prince of Peace Easter worship service last week, you heard the Prince of Peace Band and Choir leading the hymns. This was not recorded last year, but put together in a few days by many volunteers. It sounded amazing!
A virtual choir or virtual band starts the same way any worship music plan begins, with selecting music appropriate for the season and specific message of the day. Music Director Barbara Day Turner starts weeks, or months in advance, working with the Pastors to choose music that enhance the service.
The difference between a live choir and a virtual choir is that you don't have a director standing in front of you counting the beats to keep you on track. You have to use other tools to keep the choir singing together and in the right places. To make that happen, pianist Michael Touchi records the piano music early in the week before the service as a rhythmic foundation for the piece. That music is sent to Marc F. who records a couple of guide voices with the piano track. The music and voice over serves as a reference track to help each individual record their part. Each contributor then listens to the the reference track while recording their own voice.
Barbara Day Turner wanted this to be accessible to everyone. "We didn't want special equipment or barriers to prohibit anyone from participating" according to Marc, who spearheaded the virtual choir project. All you need to participate is a way to listen to the reference track while recording your voice digitally. This can be accomplished with a computer and a cell phone, or two cell phones, or two computers, and the included microphone or some simple earbuds. We were impressed with the number of people willing to participate. "It takes hutzpah to record and listen to yourself sing. It is not a comfortable thing to do. They bent over back wards to make it work."
The Band goes through a similar process for their pieces. Mike H. assists Steve C. with the Band music tracks.
After recording, the individual files are sent to Marc, who matches them up to the music, equalizes volume, and compresses them into one file. It's a big job, taking 20 hours over a few days to make it sound right. Marc feels that the results are worth the work. We agree!
Thank You Virtual Choir Members!
Listen again the Easter Hymns using these links:
5:22 Hymn: Alleluia, Alleluia, Give Thanks to the Risen Lord (Band)
28:16 Hymn: Day of Arising (Choir)
38:17 Hymn: Jesus Christ is Risen Today
While it is tempting to think that physical distancing is pulling us apart, in some ways it is bringing us together.
Typical Sunday attendance has been hovering around 125-130 for both services over the last few years. The average monthly high is 140. Now there are 129 "subscribers" to the Prince of Peace YouTube channel. Last week's Palm Sunday YouTube broadcast of worship was viewed 282 times. 60% of viewers do not subscribe to the channel. These counts do not include multiple people watching from one YouTube account.
Over the last two weeks, the office has received text messages and emails from former members and friends that have moved away, but still feel close to Prince of Peace. Now they are able to actively worship with us again. We have really enjoyed hearing from those near and far that feel close even during difficult times. Most are advocating for continuing the live stream services into the future. It is nice to know the efforts are reaching people and bringing comfort under any circumstances.
It isn't just Prince of Peace that is finding more connection in these times. KQED Forum focused on COVID-19 effect on houses of faith during holy holiday weeks. Audience comments included those that had not been in a house of worship for years by choice, but appreciated the opportunity to worship on their own schedule.
Prince of Peace is seeing this as well. While the majority of worship views happen during the live stream, the viewing numbers continue to grow throughout the day and following weeks. Streaming worship is reaching people in unexpected and wonderful ways.
If you would like to here KQED story, click the link below.
KQED Radio feature (51 minute program)
by Anne Hess
Palm Sunday is normally spent waving palms together. If you don't have any at home, or your neighbors are not appreciative of your tree trimming skills, you can stop by Prince of Peace during an essential trip. Pastors have placed palm branches for pick-up outside the Sanctuary with copies of "Word in Season" quarterly prayer and devotional booklets. There are a few large print and many small print in the bags.