Almost all of us are connected to the world through WiFi and the Internet, whether it is our phones or our tablets or our television viewing. And the last thing any of us ever want to see is that spinning wheel with the word “buffering” beneath it. We just don’t have the patience to wait, because we need things to work magically and clearly for us all the time.

I am including this in our newsletter because as Pastor of St. Paul’s I am thankful and thrilled with the hard work that Gary Rutter has put in to make our worship experience as good as it can be. Actually, I am adding a name to be thankful that only Gary and I know. There is someone who has been worshiping almost every week with our St. Paul’s family online long before the suspension of in-church worship, Mr. Tim Longnecker. Tim’s business is internet services and computer connectivity. He provides the internet and tech services for 5 municipalities in New Jersey in addition to private businesses and nonprofits. Tim and Gary have worked together to make our outgoing signal the very best possible, which has been evident since the end of July for our Facebook streaming of worship and Communion.

But that brings me to the reality of the INTERNET world. If you were watching the DNC a few weeks ago you might have noticed on Wednesday night that everything stopped. Now, they have the best equipment and tech people in the world but still the stream just stopped mid-speakers until it started up again. If Comcast has a “blip” in their signal it will impact our output, or if our tablets have a momentary glitch it will be seen by everyone watching. However, we monitor the outgoing signal during every worship service, and I can tell you the signal has been almost 100% strong and clear.

However, if you have a home system like the Delaneys do in Smithville, any incoming signal that experiences a momentary hesitation (and, that happens a lot) will result in our home WiFi putting us through the “buffering” experience. “Buffering” is not due to the output from the church nor any other source. Buffering occurs when your tablet/phone/computer or home system is not syncing with your internet provider, and buffering can take up to several minutes to bring the already strong signal back into focus on your device. So when you see “buffering” on your device, please remember that the provider of “content” like our worship services is not the cause because our output is clean and strong.

The streaming of worship, Sunday School, Bible Study and other church programs is a reality for the future. Gary is working with Tim (He loves our church by the way, which is obvious because he worships with us on Sundays and Wednesdays.) to develop a solid tech plan for the church’s future. I am excited about the possibilities, which in a way are reflected in the excellent camera work Gary has been providing!

So when you see that buffering wheel, please remember that the church’s output of worship, Communion, Sunday School, or Bible Studies is not the cause.

© 2017- St. Paul's United Methodist Church, West Deptford, NJ