Nestled in the peaceful, semi-rural town of Wayland, Massachusetts, Trinitarian Congregational Church (TCC) is a historic house of worship steeped in the New England evangelical tradition of renewal and revival.
Originally founded in 1828, TCC Wayland is now home to a multi-generational, multi-ethnic, family-oriented faith community with active ministries in Wayland and the surrounding MetroWest region between Boston and Worcester.
With the recent pandemic revealing new challenges over the last couple years, TCC Wayland realized they needed a way to keep it’s dynamic, multi-generational congregation connected. This was especially apparent as government mandates affecting public gatherings were put in place.
TCC Wayland Senior Pastor, Reverend Dr. Tom Petter, noted that an increasing number of members were confined to their homes — whether due to illness, disability, or their immunocompromised status — and they would need a way to safely participate in the different aspects of church life. The church leadership team also realized this extended to meetings for the board, finance committee, staff, and pastoral care.
With a mission that emphasized connecting in person, like visiting housebound members, tending to sick children, or participating in choir, TCC Wayland leadership were committed to pursuing these traditionally in-person activities however possible. The vision was to leverage technology and offer remote options for the different church groups to safely gather. This would enable TCC Wayland to live its mission and allow for members of its cherished faith community to continue uplifting and supporting one another in different ways and in challenging times.
Adam Kurihara, pastor of worship and community life, was familiar with Bose Professional installed solutions for houses of worship and was excited to discover a solution for their needs that included videoconferencing capabilities. Confident that Bose Professional would meet the TCC Wayland community’s needs, the church leadership team incorporated the Videobar VB1 all-in-one USB conferencing device to keep its congregation connected through premium audio and video performance.
“TCC Wayland’s highest priority is to create community for those members who were unable to come to services or meetings in person,” Rev. Dr. Petter stated. With this in mind, TCC Wayland wanted all its members to be able to attend the same services, meetings, and sessions together — whether limited by work, travel, or illness.
The 4K ultra-HD camera with its Group Mode, keeps all in-room participants in view and allows remote participants to better see and understand the conversation. This flexibility provides an ideal atmosphere for a variety of situations, such as counseling sessions, board meetings, Bible studies, or even choir practice. In fact, because of this variability, the church can ensure privacy during sessions where confidentiality is essential or provide a space for inclusion, like in the case of choir rehearsal. Now members never miss a beat if they have conflicting obligations or illness that prevents them from attending in person.
The process for setting up this hybrid solution was straightforward with VB1 devices mounted on a mobile cart along with a flatscreen display. Using Bose Professional partner Barco ClickShare Conference software, church members can quickly and easily connect a laptop for sharing presentations and documents. This simple and intuitive connectivity supports the variety of TCC Wayland gatherings.
With the ability to bring the entire TCC Wayland community together, the leadership team has ensured that its mission will continue. “The hybrid setup makes it easy to have a consistent experience,” said Kouris. “Now we no longer get the question of, ‘How do we set up this meeting?’” All agree the Bose Professional hybrid approach really shines in smaller settings, working perfectly for gatherings of up to 10 people.
“I share with my pastor friends that you’re removing the headache of who’s going to miss the board or deacon meeting, and how to schedule important meetings so the majority of people can attend,” stated Rev. Dr. Petter. “Now you simply have a higher attendance for your gatherings — whether for operational meetings or Bible study.”
The church has discovered that videoconferencing technology enables fellowship across a distance and that it has made the TCC Wayland community stronger. Whether joining services from across the state or from another country, members value the opportunity to feel a sense of togetherness, and they notice when someone is missing or not in attendance.