Using Technology in Worship Using Technology in Worship

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Using Technology in Worship Using Technology in Worship

Technology – a means, not an endAt the heart of the Christian Gospel is the God who longs tocommunicate with the created order. The incarnation of Christillustrates the lengths to which the God of love was willing to go toenable that. The Gospel writers present Jesus as an expert incommunication who used signs, symbols and words most effectivelyto deliver the message about God’s Kingdom. At Pentecost thepower of the Holy Spirit enabled the Church to communicate byspeaking in languages that people understood.Speaking in languages that can be understood is still our task today.The Church in British society has been slow to realise that the waywe communicate the Gospel needs to change because thoseunfamiliar with church culture often find our methods unintelligible.Perhaps this is because our ways have changed very little, whilstthings around us have moved on at a phenomenal rate.We now find ourselves in a situation where the influence of Christianityupon society is drastically reduced, even compared with just a fewgenerations ago. Many inside the Church lament this, but what isneeded, as a response from the Church, is not lament, rather anappreciation of how this has happened. In part the answer lies incommunication. At one time the Church had a huge captive audience.Now our ‘audience’ has many other options and has found themmore attractive. But perhaps people are no less open to the ideas ofothers; in fact modern media advertising would suggest that with theright tools they can be influenced in very dramatic ways indeed.Means of revolution?Using ICT in the life of the Church and in worship is not aboutimpressing people that we are ‘up to date’. Rather, it’s about usingtools in the everyday communication field and making the most ofthem.It is crucial to remember that the technology is only the deliveryvehicle for what we want to communicate and express – it’s themeans, not an end. The end is the Gospel, which by God’s Spirit hasbeen communicated through generations. Through thosePage 3 ❘


generations there have at times been revolutionary changes to theway the Gospel has been expressed. In the Middle Ages, embracingthe new technology of the printing press helped transform theChurch theologically by bringing the Bible to all. Many believe thatInformation & Communication Technology is part of a similarrevolution today.In using resources in worship, be they printed or presented usingmore recent technology, we are dependent on those who createsuch material. There is a wealth of images, sounds and words thatcan be used but these only exist because people have set aside timeto create them. Some depend on income from the sale of theseresources. It is important, therefore, that we recognise and respectthe requirements of copyright legislation and do not use workwithout permission which may include payment of a fee.What can be done?Using a video projectorModern technology brings many opportunities to worship thatwould have been inconceivable not so long ago. This guide does notcover all the possibilities, but rather has a bias towards those thatcan bring a dramatic visual aspect into worship. The use of a videoprojector, also known as a data, lcd or multimedia projector(generally speaking, the terms mean the same thing) may at firstappear to be an expensive slide or OHP projector, but this newdevice has some distinct advantages. Modern video projectors areusually much brighter than slide projectors/OHPs so can usually beseen without the need for a blackout.Moreover, all manner of visuals can be created on computer withrelative ease and delivered to the screen in a professional andsmooth manner. Slides created for OHP using a computer printer areexpensive and time-consuming to produce and cannot be adaptedor changed. Using a PC (personal computer) brings a new form ofcreativity to a much wider audience/congregation (I use the term PCin a generic sense, not to the exclusion of other kinds of computer,eg. Macintosh).Page 4 ❘


A number of ideas for using this technology are presented below.However, be aware that many of these ideas will require permissionfrom the copyright holder unless a resource has been purchased witha specific statement giving a right to be used in public worship.Ownership of a copy for personal use does not automatically givesuch permission. Further guidance is given in the later Copyrightissues section.PicturesThe old adage is ‘a picture paints a thousandwords’. We live in a society bombarded withimages. Many involved in worship are beginning toaccept that using words alone as a communicationmedium alienates our message from an increasingmajority. So why not try some of these:llllllUse inspirational images before the service toprepare hearts and minds for worshipProject a picture that links with the hymn/songbeing sungFind images that relate to a Bible readingBring sermon illustrations to life with picturesUse images from art to stimulate thinkingUse contemporary news images in prayers ofintercession.© Jyoti SahiVideoMany of the suggestions above can be even more powerful andstimulating when done with video clips instead of static images.Potentially, there are many video resources available from which clipscan be played:lllllUse videos of natural beauty – they’re produced for many areas,eg. the Lake DistrictUse clips from the news in prayers of intercessionTake a video camera onto your local streets to inspire prayers foryour communityBring greetings from housebound members to your congregationand send them back a videoUse clips from contemporary films in presenting your messagePage 5 ❘


llGet your youth group to ‘make a movie’ as an alternative topresenting a sketchLook out for specially made video clips for worship which arebecoming increasingly available, eg. www.worshipfilms.comUsing other people’s pictures and video does raise copyright issues –refer to the section later in this booklet.Song wordsFor many, using a projector for viewing song/hymnwords is the easiest way of introducing fresh songswithout the need for additional sheets of paper andthe never-ending stream of new worship songbooks.Whilst for some those Mission Praise books bought‘only a few years ago’ are seen as up to date, forothers there is a desire to introduce new songs andhymns on a regular basis rather than assume anagreed ‘canon’ of worship songs. Other advantagesgained from using the screen include:llllencouraging the congregation to look up instead of downfreeing up people’s hands for worshipsaving the uninitiated from figuring out which songbook is being usedenabling church lighting to remain dimmed and words to be seen(eg. candlelit carol service)However, it must be acknowledged that there are some difficulties in‘singing from the screen’. First, some people will be prevented fromreading from the screen because of poor eyesight. Provision in theform of sheets (preferably large print) should always be available fora minority of the congregation.Secondly, presenting songwords in this way can actually change theway we think as we sing - an important dimension to worship.Because a projector will tend to show only a few lines at a time, it’sharder to reflect on what you’ve been singing, or anticipate thewords that are to come (neither are visible). Often, without evenrealising it, when singing from a book, our eyes are scanning whatwe’ve sung or are about to sing and this helps in our expression andcomprehension of the overall song/hymn.Page 6 ❘


Thirdly, relying totally on the screen for the rest of the congregationis risky – it is all too easy for even an experienced computer operatorto get ‘lost’ in a song. Many modern songs don’t have a simpleverse 1, verse 2 structure. Some hymns have variant versions or theverses are in different orders in different books. It’s very importantthat the PC operator prepares carefully and ideally practises thesongs with the musician(s) to gain familiarity.Because of these difficulties my experience has shown that it’s betterto make available hand-held copies for all who want them. If theonly reason you’re thinking of getting a projector is because youthink projecting song words will get round all the practical issues ofprinting sheets for new songs, think again. Overall though, many areconvinced that the advantages greatly outweigh the accompanyingdisadvantages. In either case, you will need to ensure that you, oryour church, have copyright clearance to produce copies of, ordisplay, these words.Liturgies and other wordsUsing the screen to project words for prayers, meditations,communion liturgies etc. has all the advantages of singing from thescreen, but fewer of the complications. Although you should stillensure printed copies for those who will struggle to see the screen, itisn’t too difficult to run through the words without getting lost. Thisenables creative and new forms of words to be used in worshipwithout producing sheets for all. Helpful pictures or graphics can beused as well. Here are some suggestions:lllllUse words on screen to present special or lastminute notices at the beginning of the serviceMake the service more user-friendly to visitors byexplaining what’s going to happen in the servicePut your scripture readings up on screenProject prayers and responses for communion,releasing people from burying their heads in books.Have points of the sermon come up on the screen– three of them of course!Page 7 ❘


Less is moreBecause in some ways the technology is relatively simple, there is atemptation to overdo it all. Already people in the business world arebecoming bored or distracted by some of the fancy transitions andanimations offered by presentation programs like PowerPoint. Songwords don’t need a picture behind them in every situation, andvideo clips don’t always need to incorporate every fancy effect thatthe software will allow. ‘Over the top’ just distracts and pullsattention away from the real message. We sometimes see this inposters designed by people who have just discovered they have 40fonts on their computer! Technology is working best as a tool whenit is virtually transparent and unnoticed. Just because you’ve investedin a video projector for your church doesn’t mean it has to feature inevery aspect of every service. If the medium (in this case thetechnology) becomes intrusive, it will be obscuring the messagerather than assisting or enhancing it.PracticalitiesCreating image slidesA simple way to show images on a projector isto connect it to a PC and use presentationsoftware such as Microsoft PowerPoint. Thisprogram (and others like it), works in a similarway to word processing programs but insteadof the result being printed pieces of paper, theresult is a ‘slide’ composed of the PC’s screen.So, slides are made up – text is typed in, andpictures are inserted, etc. as with a wordprocessed document. Several slides are created and then can be runthrough automatically or at the operator’s command. When runningthe slide show, all that appears on the screen are the slides themselves.No part of the Windows program is visible.Presentations can become quite sophisticated by inserting sounds ormusic into the slide, making text appear one line at a time and evenadding video clips into the slide.Page 8 ❘


More resources for producing such presentations are being madeavailable all the time, such as:llllllCD-ROM disks with thousands of good quality images which areoften royalty freePictures which can be scanned onto your computer (see sectionon Scanning)Using a digital camera and taking your own pictures, or scanningin your own photosUsing images available via the internetUsing online (internet) worship resources which often nowinclude downloadable images, eg. the worship material magazineRoots has an online website for subscribers; the Week of Prayer forChristian Unity has free images connected with its theme eachyearUsing ready-made PowerPoint presentations – becoming moreavailable either on CD-ROM or downloadable online.Using video clipsThe most basic use of video involves using an excerpt from a videotape. A VCR or camcorder can be plugged into the video projector.Remember to cue the tape up and know when it needs to stop.Sound can be played back through the projector’s speakers, butthese are often very small and tinny. A better solution is to send theaudio into the church sound system.One difficulty of using a VCR for video clips is that even the mostcarefully cued-up tape can move its position slightly when it isejected and re-inserted into the VCR. I have heard of a number ofincidents where a tape has ended up showing something‘undesirable’ when miscued or allowed to roll on past the desiredpoint! Putting video clips onto computer and playing them from thePC to the projector means that you won’t have to worry about usinga VCR or cueing up the tape, etc. However, transferring video fromtapes onto computer requires a reasonable degree of computer skillas well as (usually) extra computer hardware to get video onto thePC in the first place. The subject is really beyond the scope of thisguide, but nevertheless should be considered by those who plan todo this frequently.Page 9 ❘


Video resources for worship are becoming more readily available. Takea look at groups like One Small Barking Dog (www.osbd.org) orReaching the Unchurched Network (www.run.org.uk) for examples of‘off the peg’ video resources. When these resources are provided inDVD or CD-ROM format, as they increasingly are, they can be easilyplayed and cued from a PC using a program like Microsoft’s WindowsMedia Player. They can also be played from a stand-alone DVD player.Some of the most effective video work involves using locallyproduced footage. Although in the past this has been technicallydifficult, as technology advances it becomes possible for morepeople to experiment. It should be pointed out that even with theadvances in technology, well produced video for worship will takeconsiderable time to create.See the Copyright issues section with regardto sourcing pictures and video.Projecting song wordsIf you plan to sing from a screen frequently,special song-projection software is highlyrecommended. There are several differentpackages available such as Words of Worship(www.wordsofworship.com), Easy Worship(www.easyworship.com) and SongPro(www.creationsoftware.com). These packages usually include gooddatabases of popular songs, which can be quickly found and used ina service even when unplanned. The size of text can be changed ‘onthe fly’ and pictures or video placed behind the text. Although thereare some people who will have difficulty seeing this, it is worth notingthat for others seeing the screen can be easier than looking at paper.One issue to consider with all text on screen is the use of colour.Many people with a visual impairment have discovered that theapparently obvious black text on a white background doesn’t alwaysproduce the most visible combination. There is a debate about whatis most legible. Yellow on black, yellow on crimson and blue onyellow are often used. The RNIB website has more information aboutthis: www.lookloud.org.uk When considering placing a picture or avideo clip as a backdrop to song words do remember that this candrastically affect the legibility of the text.Page 10 ❘


PowerPoint is sometimes used for songs but this involves creatingslides for every song individually and is a time-consuming business.The end result is a collection of presentations that cannot bechanged or altered (eg. the font size) without a lot more time andeffort. For regular song/hymn projection consider the use of softwaredesigned for the purpose. Many of these packages now include alarge selection of songs and hymns. Text for songs is sometimesincluded with the music book on CD or floppy disk. Very rarely is itnecessary to type in songs manually, often the text can be found bydoing an internet search. Other sources of song text includesong/hymn database software such as HymnQuest(www.stainer.co.uk/hymnquest - containing the text of literallyhundreds of hymnbooks) or Visual Liturgy (www.vislit.com -containing all the text found in Hymns & Psalms and other hymnbooks).Copyright issuesThis matter is often considered a minefield and not without goodcause. Many people consider that the ‘non-commercial’ aspect ofworship means that they don’t have to worry about copyright issues.However, this is not the case.There are a few simple principles that can give guidance. Unlessotherwise stated, all copyrighted material can be assumed asunavailable for use without the express permission of the copyrightholder. Sometimes, however, there are special ‘conditions of use’granted for copyrighted material. Examples of such copyrightconditions which are relevant here would be use of a collection ofgraphics that come as ‘clipart’ or similar images ‘bundled’ with otherpieces of software (eg. greetings card software). Often the copyrightconditions on such collections will allow considerable freedom of useas long as not for commercial purposes. According to the conditionssuch images could be used as part of a PowerPoint presentation. Forsoftware of this kind the answers to some copyright questions canoften be found in the small print of the packaging or in the software‘help’ file.For images found on the internet there are often copyrightrestrictions to be observed but there are also some images withoutcopyright restrictions for certain types of non-commercial use.Page 11 ❘


Examples include websites whose purpose is to provide visualresources for worship. eg. Roots (www.rootsontheweb.com), CTBIresource pages (www.ctbi.org.uk).In the case of using video clips from sources like commercial films orTV news, copyright restrictions also apply. A recent help to usingsuch clips legally has been made by Christian Copyright Licensing(CCL). They allow churches to photocopy music words/score and alarge range of music by paying the appropriate fee. They havestarted to compile a list of film producers who will allow use of clipsin a church context according to certain conditions. Most recentlyDisney movies have been added to this list. For churches to takeadvantage of this, an additional ‘video licence’ is purchased withCCL. Projecting song words is also covered by CCL licensing. Somesong projection software will automatically place the church’s CCLnumber at the end of each song as well as provide a print-out ofCCL of songs used. CCLI can be found at www.ccli.co.ukResources like The Methodist Worship Book for Visual Liturgy include alicence to reproduce the words of prayers and readings from boththe Methodist Worship Book and also from some of the Companions tothe Lectionary series. This includes the material in the Worship Bookwhich is not copyright to the Methodist Church. For example eventhe modern form of the Lord’s Prayer is technically copyright (andwe as a Church do not own this form of words).Copyright in the written word and music lasts for 70 years followingthe death of their creator. So you would be free to reproduce thewords to a hymn for example if this were the case. However be sureto use the original words since any updating of them in the interimmay have created a new copyright for the person who updatedthem. You should also avoid simply photocopying them from a newhymn book or song collection because the publisher will also have acopyright on the typographical arrangement.Finally, don’t forget that contacting the copyright holders and askingfor permission to use their material is always an option. You mightbe pleasantly surprised at the response to your request. Sometimeseven when dealing with large corporations (such as the BBC) theresponse can be positive and not necessarily cost prohibitive. Such aroute though does require forward planning and a long lead time.Page 12 ❘


EquipmentProjectorsVideo projectors are a substantial investment and a very powerfuland useful tool. Because of their price they are often (rightly)considered too expensive for smaller individual churches but thereare other ways of obtaining one for use. Resources like this aresometimes bought by a group of churches (eg. a Methodist circuit)and I have experienced such sharing to work very well. Foroccasional or special events projectors can be hired from localorganisations or borrowed, perhaps from a workplace that doesn’thave weekend use. Arrangements like this can be a good way ofintroducing a projector to a congregation – the advantages over anOHP are appreciated quite quickly, even by the most techno-phobic!Modern projectors are getting smaller and brighter all the time aswell as coming down in price. Visibility in daylight conditions is ofcourse a key consideration and although many projectors will workreasonably well even in sunny conditions, sunlight or a brightwindow shining directly onto the projection area can cause theimage to be ‘washed out’. The brightness of projectors is usuallymeasured in ANSI lumens. Projectors of 1700 lumens will copereasonably well in many situations but, where there is high ambientlight, 2500+ lumens would be much better. Brightness is one of themain factors affecting the price of a projector, with the brighterprojectors often being twice the price of others.The other dimension to a projector’s price is the resolution of theimage. The resolution refers to the number of pixels or dots thatmake up the screen. The higher the resolution the finer the overallimage will appear. Put your money towards higher lumens ratherthan a higher resolution (SVGA is usually adequate). Higherresolution projectors are for showing detailed graphics such asspreadsheets. In most worship contexts large graphics are displayed.Modern projectors can often receive input from one or morecomputers and video signals (eg. VCR or camcorder) as well ashaving small speakers for audio. The speakers that accompany manyprojectors are designed for a boardroom presentation situation. ForPage 13 ❘


all but the smallest of scenarios it’s much better to run the sound(from a VCR for example) through the church PA or sound system. Aprojector’s remote control not only allows easy switching betweenthese different inputs and the facility to ‘blank’ or ’freeze’ the screen,but can also operate as a remote control computer mouse. This meansslides can be advanced by someone not necessarily sat by thecomputer - the preacher during an illustrated sermon, for example.ScreensAlthough images can be projected onto walls, a good screen furtherenhances the brightness of the projected image. Proper video screenscontain special reflective properties which improve the visibility of theprojected image. Screens can be wall mounted and pulled down, ortripod mounted and pulled up. Perhaps the most adaptable screens(and most expensive) are the free-standing ‘fast-fold’ type which can beused with either a front or rear projection. A rear projection places theprojector behind the screen, inverts the image horizontally and uses aspecial translucent cloth on the screen. This has the advantage of theimage being less affected by lighting that falls on the screen and alsomeans the projector is out of the way. It achieves a neat uncluttered lookbut often there isn’t enough room at the front of a building to permit it.Do remember to site the screen carefully so that all can see it. Specialconsideration should be given when buildings contain pillars, etc.PCsLaptop PCs are often used with projection equipment because of theirportability. Frequently a projector will be used in more than onelocation, so a portable PC really makes sense. If the projector set up isto be a permanent installation, save money and buy a cheaperdesktop PC, but consider carefully where it will be sited. Putting it atthe back of a church (perhaps near a sound desk) will involve theadded expense of cables running from the front to the back, thoughproviding the operator with a better position from which to work.ScannersScanners have recently been included in many PC packages. However,this hasn’t necessarily made the business of converting your collectionof photos or slides into a resource for worship an easy process.Page 14 ❘


Scanning is not a straightforward matter and many people leave thescanner abandoned on the bottom shelf of the computer desk.The mystery of scanning is simplified when it is appreciated thatdifferent end results require scans at different resolutions, usuallymeasured in 'dpi' or dots per inch. For example, if you want to scan a6” x 4” print and print out the picture as an A4 poster you wouldneed to scan at a high resolution. To scan at low dpi would result in aprint-out that was pixelated (blocky or dotty). A high resolution scanresults in a large file size because of the amount of data contained. It isfor this reason that the picture would be scanned at a much lowerresolution if the picture was being placed on a webpage. Large filesizes take a long time to download across the web and slow thingsdown. Also a computer monitor has a low resolution (typically 72dpi)and will never benefit from the higher resolutions that printers need(often 300dpi or greater).This means that there is no simple way of scanning an image once towork appropriately in all circumstances. To complicate matters, thechoice of resolution is also affected by the size of the original material.For example, if you found that scanning 6” x 4” prints produced a goodimage on your screen at 100dpi (even when dragged out to full screen,as in PowerPoint use) you would find a similar scan of a 35mm slidewould, when stretched full screen, appear very grainy. A smaller imagewould need to be scanned at a higher resolution to produce similarresults. This can also be encountered when taking a small, low resolutionimage from the internet and stretching it large for a PowerPoint slide.For further help, an internet search engine will refer you to manywebsites which give much more information and insight into the issueof scanning.PeopleAll the best equipment is useless unless someone knows how to set itup and operate it competently. The good news is that as thistechnology becomes increasingly common in many walks of life thenumber of people familiar with it also increases. The downside is thatenabling this technology to serve us does need more effort. To havesong words and presentations running smoothly involves carefulpreparation with musicians and other people leading worship. IfPage 15 ❘


preachers are to use visuals and video in their sermons they will needmore preparation time. This doesn’t necessarily rule out such thingsbut the costs in terms of preparation should be considered beforecommitting your church to buy expensive equipment. Sadly thisdimension to using technology is often overlooked, yet it is probablyone of the most important aspects of its effective use.How to make all the right connections!Many people who are quite comfortable using computers start toperspire when it comes to connecting everything. This is partlybecause there are different ways of doing things according to yoursituation. To help avoid this confusion here are two of the mostcommon scenarios:The simple portable set-upThis situation involves equipment that is used in more than onelocation so everything has to be portable and easily set up. Insuch situations the projector can be connected to the laptop PCand (optionally) a VCR. The laptop will be located adjacent to theprojector and the operator will be sat beside it. Most projectorshave the means to control the mouse of the PC with a remotecontrol. This gives the preacher/speaker the ability to advancePowerPoint slides on their command. When preparing the nextitem the projector can be ‘blanked’ by pressing the mute buttonwhich cuts sound and vision.Permanent installationsIf the projector and screen are to be used frequently there areadvantages in locating the operator at the rear of the church(perhaps near a sound desk) and installing the projectorpermanently. This allows a more aesthetically pleasing set-up - forexample, projectors can be ceiling mounted, or even be hiddenby placing them behind the screen for a rear projection. For thesmoothest of presentations a vision mixing desk which allows thegradual fading of inputs and cross mixing between two differentsources gives much greater control of the set-up but requiresmore expensive equipment.It’s hardly a great advance towards the visual dimension ofworship if right at the front of the building is a conspicuousprojector and computer with its associated ‘spaghetti’ of cables!Page 16 ❘


What next?An action planThis booklet has tried to encourage users to think through thereasons for using ICT in the Church. Perhaps a set of questions fordiscussion in your situation could help – here are some examples:- what do we want to achieve with this technology?- what equipment will we need?- how much will it cost?- who will operate it?Further informationThis booklet is only a brief introduction, designed to give enoughinformation to encourage rather than daunt. As such there will bemany issues where I have only scratched the surface. One sourceof further information is a book written by Jackie Sheppard,Beyond the OHP: A Practical Guide to Using Technology in Worship(ISBN 185078454X, published by Spring Harvest).For a wider range of information, and to locate the increasingnumber of resources available, the use of an internet search engineproves invaluable.There is a growing desire for training and encouragement in thisfield and this is a very positive step. Some Methodist Districts haveappointed ICT coordinators or specialists to advise and providetraining. As these technologies become more commonplace ourability to use them also increases. We ignore them at our peril.For future information and developments in this area we hope touse the Methodist Church website: www.methodist.org.ukYou might also find it useful to see the Methodist Church’s ‘Use ofimages’ policy which is reproduced overleaf.The image on page 5 is ‘In prison and you visited me’ © Jyoti Sahi, woodcut print, 1979.Used with permission.‘PowerPoint’ ‘Windows’ ‘Microsoft’ are all registered trademarks of the Microsoft CorporationPage 17 ❘


Use of images1 The choice of images to illustrate text requires great care. The MethodistChurch works with many wide-ranging and varied groups of individuals andit is essential that illustrations are appropriate to the text and yet do notimply characteristics which are inaccurate or demeaning.2 General guidance:2.1 Use accurate images and text - avoid lazy or negative stereotyping,contradictory messages and clichés.2.2 Use images in context, and match accurately with text.2.2.1 Consider the joint impact of image and text.2.2.2 Do not mislead readers by using an outdated photograph whenwriting about a current situation, without explaining thedistinction.2.2.3 Take care not to use a photograph from one country or cultureto illustrate a point about another.2.3 Text and images selected solely for shock value can trivialise, distort ormisrepresent. To prompt concern, interest and action, present factsand photographs accurately.2.4 When seeking to use images that are representative, try to beimaginative; for example, a collage of every conceivable type of personmay not be the only way of doing it.2.5 Try to ensure that wherever possible images are truly representative ofthe message you are trying to convey. If an individual is overtlyportrayed as a Methodist, then the image should be of a Methodist.3 Achieving a balance:3.1 Try to achieve a balance of images which accurately convey the spiritand diversity of the Church’s work in Britain and overseas.3.2 Try to include elements of self-help, training and long-termdevelopment aspects of the Church’s work. When that is impossible -say in an emergency - then use judgement to portray human crisesaccurately, in context and without presenting people as helplessrecipients of handouts. This does not mean limiting the choice to blandantiseptic images. They are equally untrue.3.3 The people with whom the Church works both in this country andoverseas are active partners and not just passive recipients. By clearlyshowing this side of the story, text and pictures are strengthened, notweakened.4 Disability:4.1 Disability takes many forms. Disabled people are an integral part of thecommunity and should be seen that way.Page 18 ❘


4.2 A person in a wheelchair is an over-used depiction of disability whichreinforces rather than broadens society’s common view of disability.Avoid using that image unless it is particularly appropriate to thesituation.5 Gender, ethnicity and age:5.1 Make sure that the images you use to illustrate text maintain a balanceof gender, ethnicity and age appropriate to the text, eg. do not useimages of one ethnic group to illustrate text relating to another.6 Language:6.1 Consider carefully the language you use to describe the people withwhom the Methodist Church works, not only in terms of factualaccuracy but also in tone. Do not use patronisingly feeble, sentimentalor demeaning words or phrases.7 Identity:7.1 Try to communicate the views and experience of the people featured.7.2 If people wish to remain anonymous, this should be respected.7.3 Do not use images of people (close up) where you do not know theirname and/or their specific context. This means that those who takephotos must ensure they know the names of those they arephotographing, ask permission to use the image and explain what sortof uses it might be put to. Where practicable, obtain written consent.There is an example of a consent form used by the ConnexionalTeam at www.methodist.org.uk/downloads/photoconsent.docYou will need to make changes to the form before it can be used locally.8 Use of images in design:8.1 Be aware that the way a photograph is treated in the productionprocess may caricature or diminish the subject and cause offence.8.2 Do not crop or edit images in a way that misrepresents the truth.9 Safeguarding:9.1 When using photographs of children and young people, it is preferableto use group pictures.9.2 When a photograph of an individual child or young person is used,surnames or other personal details should not be used in any captionor associated text.9.3 Obtain written and specific consent from parents or carers before usinga photograph.10 Finally, consider showing a draft to someone who is not directly involved inthe project but has experience of the subject being covered.Page 19 ❘


Written by Mark Pengelly with the support of Creative Arts in MethodismDesign and production by the Methodist Church Communication OfficeHC109© 2004 Trustees for Methodist Church PurposesAuthor Mark Pengelly

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