When we put together worship services at Salem, we use a subscription service called Sundays and Seasons. This service has been around for many years and is used by most all ELCA churches, and goes along with the liturgies and hymns in our red hymnal Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW). What it provides is the text for our scripture lessons, prayers, and thematic materials for each Sunday of the church year. It used to be that all of this was in the form of a book, but now it is primarily an online service.
When we worship in the sanctuary, we use bulletins and hymnals. Through Sundays and Seasons we technically have the copyright permissions to re-print the materials that we use in our bulletins. Now that we have gone to online services, following the rules for copyrights gets a little more tricky. Fortunately, there are additional third-party subscriptions that we also have for copyright permissions through two companies which are called CCLI and One License. These allow us to project hymns (legally) for our online worship services.
The subscription for Sundays and Seasons as well as for CCLI and One License add up to $750- $1000 per year, so that's one thing that your offering goes toward, and for that I thank you. This past week I decided to upgrade our Sundays and Seasons account to include printed melodies for the hymns. With this upgrade we received access to the hymn lyrics (so we don't have to re-type them or pirate them off the internet) AND also the lyrics and melody line, which is basically a 'hymnal view'. This greatly simplifies inserting hymns into PowerPoint and provides you with the notes to sing along! The same applies to the liturgies (Kyrie and Canticle of Praise).
This week's Wednesday night service already included the lyrics and melody lines, but this Sunday you will see the Kyrie, Canticle of Praise, as well as two of the three hymns with the notes! Another reason this upgrade was necessary is that WHEN we DO return to the sanctuary for worship, the use of hymnals and printed materials in general will likely be discouraged by the health department. Yes, I know, that's hard to believe, but I'm already hearing that quite a bit in synod pastor discussions. HOWEVER, we at Salem will be prepared for this because we do have a large TV ready to go.
One thing to keep in mind is that when we go back to the sanctuary for worship, we will need to look into a set up for live streaming services from in there. The set up I'm currently using is done completely from my laptop in my office, and includes a mess of cords that I would not be able to move back and forth each Sunday, let alone operate while conducting a service. I knew that sooner or later technology would take on a more significant role in worship, I just never would have guessed that it would be the result of a pandemic.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - THANK YOU for your flexibility and willingness to adapt so that we can continue to worship together online. A lot of time and effort goes into making it what it is with the resources we have available. Together we have had to invent the experience of an 'online' worship service, and by the grace of God, it has worked.