How can you stream your services?

With the country stuck at home for the foreseeable future, it’s now more important than ever for the church to get its message of hope to the people. But with services closed and social distancing encouraged, it can be hard to think what can be done. Enter the age of technology. Live-streaming prayers, reflections and offices from people's homes or vicarages needn’t be daunting, with user friendly technology more accessible than ever, you can easily get your services to the congregations at home.

The best live-streaming service to use is Facebook. Although YouTube does have a live-streaming service, it requires you to have over 1,000 subscribers to use it, so unless you already have a large following, stick to Facebook.

Please note: following current House of Bishops' guidance, please do not enter your church building to live-stream prayers or services. This advice still applies without exception even if you live within close walking distance of your church. Please live-stream your prayers, services or reflections from a room in your house, in which you are of course free to make whatever arrangements you wish with furnishings etc.

You will need the following things:

Remember to think about what you can see in the camera– where are you standing? What’s behind you? Can you be seen clearly on the camera?

Make sure you’re not in front of a window, as this gives a silhouette and halo effect and this means you can’t really be seen on the camera. Whilst you’re on camera, be aware of your surroundings – if you’ve seen the viral video of the priest setting himself on fire on the candles he’s put front and centre in his live stream, take note!!

Another pro of live-streaming is that it is saved on your Facebook as a video, which is a good way of ensuring that people don’t miss out on your service even if they weren’t there for the live event!


Doing a Live Video on Facebook

Set your phone/tablet up somewhere sturdy – you might need a phone tripod (buyable from Ebay or Amazon), but some phone/tablet cases have built in stands that you can use.

Make sure you are within the camera frame before you begin

On the device you'll be doing a live-stream from, find your page on the Facebook app.

Click the “publish” button, as if making a status

Click the “live video” button

Type in your status on the “add description” box

Click “Start Live Video” – note, this might not start straight away.

You’ll need to ensure you’re on the right orientation (we suggest landscape!) before you start, Facebook will not let you rotate your screen whilst the live video is happening!

Any alternatives?

For those who are still a bit uncertain on how to live-stream, you also have the option of pre-recording your services to put online. This means that websites like YouTube, Vimeo, and Twitter are now more available for your live-streams.

This can be easily done using your smartphone or any camera capable of video recording you have lying about, and also gives you the chance to edit your videos prior to them going out on Facebook.

A good free video editor to download, if you are wanting to edit, would be DaVinci Resolve (download link here: www.blackmagicdesign.com/uk/products/davinciresolve). Of course, editing is optional.

You could also share the live-streams from other people and churches from their pages – simply click the “share” button underneath the live video, click “share to page”, and press send as you would a regular Facebook status.


Teleconferencing for churches

Many churches have found that an easy system to use is ‘WhyPay’. One person has to register at https://whypay.net/ and they then co-ordinate the calls which are completely free for many landline or mobile phones. WhyPay is now offering their "plus" service for the next three months for the Coronavirus outbreak - just use code MON3 or ANN3 at checkout.

For those of you who haven’t used the conference call system before it’s quite simple.

  • The Co-Ordinator books a call time and will be given the Dial Number for Why Pay; followed by a Room number and a Guest PIN
  • At the agreed time callers key in the Dial Number for Why Pay
  • Music or a message will be heard if you call before the call is open
  • You will then be asked to key in the Room number, plus a the hash mark
  • You will then be asked to key in your Guest PIN, plus the hash mark
  • You’ll be able to share in conversation with everyone else on the call
  • The Co-Ordinator can inform callers of the detail of the various numbers by email or by ringing them if they do not have access to email.

Check out all the details at https://whypay.net/. Remember to check with your service provider about call charges made.


Some useful links...

The Church of England have provided a series of great webinars to talk you through your first (and, if needed, any consequent) live-stream, and they can be found here:
www.churchofengland.org/more/church-resources/digital-labs/labs-learning-webinars

The Church of England also has daily prayers which can be used during the services, which can be found here: www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer

If you’re looking for inspiration on how other people have done their services, Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop John Sentamu released two different ways of worship on their Facebook pages on Sunday 22nd March.

Watch Archbishop Justin’s stream here.

Watch Archbishop Sentamu’s stream here.

One thing to look out for is the use of licensed music. Two handy websites who offer some great and usable music for the live stream are Resoundworship (www.resoundworship.org) and Jubilate (www.jubilate.co.uk/collections)

A Church Near You has introduced a ‘live-streaming’ tag, so you can upload your future services and where to find them here: www.achurchnearyou.com/live-stream

For churches who are wishing to introduce teleconferencing, try out WhyPay https://whypay.net/

This page is also available as a downloadable guide! Click here for the PDF.