From the Pulpit to Your Living Room
Posted 8/14/12 (Tue)
Church steeples dot the skylines across North Dakota communities beckoning parishioners and visitors to enter their doors. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to take a peek and experience the music, worship and fellowship of a church you’ve only seen from the distance but never visited?
Sunne Evangelical Lutheran Church of Wilton has opened its doors to let you do just that. Sunne has teamed up with BEK Communications of Steele, N.D. to deliver their Sunday worship service to the BEKTV masses. The church service broadcast is made possible with a mounted video camera above the entrance to the sanctuary. How many newcomers or shut-ins can this broadcast reach? Potentially thousands of people can tune in to channel 26, the BEK eXtra channel, at 10:00 a.m. Sunday mornings to hear Pastor Paul Schauer’s message live, and to (virtually) partake in the worship service.
About a year ago, BEK similarly began broadcasting the Napoleon Livestock Auction on Thursdays to air on the BEK eXtra channel. Then, this year, Herreid Livestock Auction was added to the BEK eXtra channel for their Friday sale. Since May, the Sunne services were being broadcast in the “testing stages.”
“The Sunne Lutheran church service is the first church service being broadcast in BEK territory,” says Tom Steinolfson, BEK Communications Network Manager. “Pastor Paul has worked closely with BEK to bring his church service to the community.” The church program is simplistic. It is not a flashy production so it only requires one camera; there is no crew and best of all, no interruptions.
Is there a need? Sunne Lutheran and BEK feel that there is. Pastor Schauer says, “This is outreach for us. It’s a great way for people to see what we’re about and what our worship style is, in a non-threatening way.” BEK Marketing Supervisor, Jen Raab adds, “There’s always a certain number of people who can’t make it to church, whether it’s because of health issues or poor weather conditions. Now BEKTV subscribers can just turn on the TV and watch a local church service, rather than a random service from across the country.”
“A church service is a little complicated as far as audio is concerned, “Raab said. “We have to make sure the pastor and the congregation can be heard.”
The testing stages are now over and all the kinks have been worked out with the audio and camera angles. Pastor Schauer reports that the broadcast has seen “smooth sailing.”
All BEKTV subscribers, nearly 3,000 people, receive the BEK eXtra channel and can watch the Sunne Lutheran Church service. BEK’s coverage territory reaches approximately 5,500 miles from rural Bismarck to just east of Pettibone and from just north of Wilton to the South Dakota border. Sunne Evangelical Lutheran Church is located six miles east of Wilton on Highway 36. It was founded over 100 years ago by Swedish immigrants.
If you like your Sundays Sunne side up; tune in at 10. It’s a new and exciting venture for the church community. Raab says there is a possibility of BEKTV broadcasting other local church services in the future. Stay tuned.