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Taking worship online: Downing Place United Reformed Church broadcasts on Youtube

Broadcasting acts of worship online has led to changes at a new church being built in Cambridge.

Downing Place United Reformed Church was due to be hosting its topping out ceremony this month, but the work on site for the £3.3million project has been put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With church buildings shut for public worship, private prayer and all other meetings except vital community services, Downing Place URC has been live streaming acts of worship on YouTube, including daily services during Holy Week.

It means that Downing Place URC, which was formed in June 2018 from the union of Emmanuel and St Columba’s United Reformed Churches, has worked with Archangel Architects to make changes for the redeveloped St Columba’s site.

Working with audio visual specialist Thomas Krippner, of Absolute AV, the architects have been able to respond to the changing needs of Downing Place URC.

A camera and recording equipment has been put in the main worship space, connected to the PA system, and a fixed camera with five preset zoom positions will provide variety for the viewer.

It offers the church the opportunity to be more inclusive and reach new audiences beyond current circumstances.

“We have had a great reaction to the services provided online and we are excited about how the tech we’re putting into Downing Place URC will enable people to be at church, who otherwise couldn’t be in the future," said John Bradbury, minister at Downing Place URC.

Nigel Walter, the founder and director of Archangel Architects, said: “During these extraordinary times, churches are finding new ways to reach their congregations and reconsider the purpose that their buildings serve.

“We look forward to working with more churches to help them find ways to make their buildings more welcoming; facilities for filming and recording may well form part of this opening up of church to different generations in new ways.”

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