Area United Methodist Churches Receive Grants to Help Establish Online Worship During COVID-19

Alone Stands the Cross

MethodistNashville, TN – Clarksville’s Madison Street United Methodist Church (UMC) and McMinnville’s Christ UMC each received a $5,000 grant from the Golden Cross Foundation, a ministry of the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church. The grants were used to help fund equipment needed to help each church live stream worship services during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

“When Tennessee Conference Bishop William McAlilly requested that churches suspend in-person worship last March due to COVID-19,” said Christ UMC member John Worley.

Clarksville’s Madison Street United Methodist Church gets grant for equipment to live stream worship services.
Clarksville’s Madison Street United Methodist Church gets grant for equipment to live stream worship services.

“We did not know how to live stream service. After watching a few online tutorials, we started with a laptop, cheap webcam, and audio interface plugged into a 12-channel mixer,” Worley stated.

Worley continued, “It worked, kind of. But the quality was, at best, subpar. Members complained they could not hear it very well; many people with hearing issues could not hear it all.”

Staff and worship committee members at Madison Street UMC faced their own live streaming issues after suspending in-person worship.

“Our sanctuary was too large to record worship using our limited equipment,” said Aleeta Christian, a member of Serendipity, Madison Street’s older adult ministry program, “and internet access for live streaming was spotty at best.

“Consequently, each service was recorded in segments. It took at least two full days to record, produce, and post on YouTube.”

Last summer, members from both churches requested and received Golden Cross Foundation grants. The funds were put to good use immediately.

Christ UMC members converted the church’s Cry Room — a space for people to take babies and small children for privacy or to reduce the disturbance of others during worship — into a sound booth. Grant money was used to help purchase a 32-channel mixer and computer, thus enabling the church to live stream and post worship services that all could hear.

Madison Street UMC applied their grant money toward purchasing and installing live streaming equipment such as cameras as well as hardware boosting their internet signal. While a few issues have delayed their ability to live stream, members look forward to live streaming and posting worship services soon.

Since upgrading, Christ UMC has seen an increase in participation — by members and nonmembers alike.

“Through streaming services, weekly studies, and daily reading videos, Christ UMC is maintaining lines of communication with members,” said Worley. “We are also reaching non-members in our community, other states, and even around the world. As an outreach tool, it has been a blessing in a time when many people are simply struggling to stay afloat.”

 


 

Christian echoed the impact she hopes the grant will make for Madison Street UMC. “We look forward to people outside of our geographical area joining us for worship after being invited church members. This could include older adults who might be a part of smaller churches unable to offer online worship.”

Post-COVID, members from both churches plan on continuing live streaming services and programs.

“Now that we have the necessary equipment,” said Worley, “we hope to bring Jesus to as many people as we can through Sunday services, special events, small praise concerts, and small-group Bible studies.

“Some of our daily Bible reading videos have had nearly 1,000 views online. For a small church, in a small town, this congregation is truly making an impact on the world thanks to the Golden Cross Foundation Grant and the equipment needed to accomplish that impact for Christ.”

About the Golden Cross Foundation

Golden Cross FoundationThe Golden Cross Foundation is a ministry of the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church. It provides funding assistance for new and ongoing ministries and services with older adults in the Tennessee Conference. Staff also provide expertise and strategic planning to the conference for expanding innovative and effective ministries with older adults through ENCORE Ministry.

For more information, visit www.goldencrossfoundation.org or contact Kent McNish, executive director of The Golden Cross Foundation at kmcnish@goldencrossfoundation.org or 615.479.6175.