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Behind the Tech Desk

For most of the past few years, St. John’s has consistently “punched above its weight” when it comes to providing in-person/hybrid online services. While there were certainly growing pains early on and unexpected technical glitches periodically, St. John’s continues to stand out amongst other churches in its commitment to offering hybrid and interactive services. This is facilitated through a robust, though modest, set-up of microphones, cameras and smart phones connected to a soundboard, large TV and computers on the St. John’s Tech Desk, all of which stream seamlessly into Zoom.

The Tech Desk has worked thanks to the dedication of St. John’s Tech Team, the core members of which remain Greg Los, Christopher Rutty, and Michael Taylor. Generally, Greg has managed the soundboard, Chris has operated the video, and Michael has facilitated Zoom remotely from his home in Pickering.

From the beginning, Greg took the lead in setting things up, with initial help from Alan Harnum and Alex Fuchs, and then with technical support from Michael. Greg and Michael continue to work together to troubleshoot and fine-tune the equipment and system Chris has learned a great deal from Greg and Michael, and more recently has played a larger role with set up and managing video and sound. Chris has also led in facilitating the use of St. John’s hybrid video, sound, and Zoom system for special St. John's events and for the use of external groups, most notably for regular meetings of the West Toronto Junction Historical Society during the past year.

In addition to bringing an interactive service to people that cannot attend in-person, the Tech Team, led by Michael, have facilitating the creation of videos of special services in the church, such as funerals, baptisms, celebrations of life, as well as musical performances during services, such as by Ken Whitely, plus piano, organ and rock band concerts, and special musical events in the church, such as Irish/Celtic Night, and community events, such as the Tenant's Town Hall.

Over the last few months, the St. John’s Tech Team has been bolstered by the volunteer contributions of Jack Ward and Lisa Lin. Jack is a high school student who first became familiar with the Tech Desk by assisting with the meetings of the West Toronto Junction Historical Society held at St. John’s. Lisa is an ESL student enrolled in the IELTS School of Toronto, and has not only been a Tech Desk volunteer, she’s also been volunteering in the St. John’s gardens and helping in other areas as needed.

The St. John’s community very much thanks Jack and Lisa for the dedication of their time and energy to the Tech Desk.

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