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FALL 2021
  The Rev. Steve Filyk.
By the Rev. Steve Filyk, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Kamloops, B.C., as appeared on the Presbyterian College website at
In the Spring of 2020, it quickly be- cameapparentthatthepandemicwas here to stay. And in those early days, with worship services shut down, I wondered how I could provide ongo- ing suppor t to my congregation. At first, I began to share video devotion- als like others were doing, but in the end I decided to try something new. I decided to ask others to record brief videos in which they talked about how God has been with them through dif-
ficult times. It was conceived as a way for members of the church commu- nity to pastor each other.
The first videos had compelling stories but varied in technical quality, depending on the resources people had at hand. I began to wonder: Could we somehow do this better? Could an even broader array of people (not just young people with smartphones) share something of their story with God? Could this be done with greater technological flourish?
This pondering led to a proposal that was pitched to our church, our presbytery and others: to produce 24 spiritual biographies. We used grant money to purchase computers, software and cameras. We ended up contracting an advertising consultant to “market” these biographies on- line—in the process he also became our videographer. The results can be seen at pages/spiritual-biographies.
This process brought to light a number of pastoral lessons. Many people found it daunting to share their stories in front of a camera. Most were more comfortable talking about “the faith” than about their per- sonal experience of it. But spending a little time reflecting on their life with God, and figuring out how to com-
municate this, was a valuable exer- cise for many. Of course, the viewers found these spiritual biographies en- couraging. We all seem interested in faith as it is lived out in people’s lives.
There were also many practical lessons. The biographies that were structured as an interview rather than a monologue tended to be more approachable. The unscripted back and forth helped the interviewee re- lax and made room for spontaneity. It allowed their unique personalities to shine through. Some of these in- terviews also provided hilarious out- takes!
There were a number of technical lessons, as well. We learned that it is efficient to record the biographies in batches (scheduling four or five in a row), because the setup for cameras, sound and lighting takes consider- able time. Multiple cameras, allowing for different angles and variations, made the videos more interesting, but more sophisticated software was needed to manage different video feeds.
We learned a lot while producing these spiritual biographies. Some- times I wonder if I’m a pastor or a film producer! In the end, probably my biggest takeaway is how com- pelling these stories can be for non-
Christians. People in our culture tend to shut down when they feel preached at—when people are talking about “the faith.” But when friends talk about their own lived experience or encounter with God, there seems to be much greater openness. Case in point, our videographer was pitching a show to the local cable station and showed one of our biographies as an
example of his work. They liked it so much they wanted to air it along with the others.
I don’t know how many more peo- ple in St. Andrew’s will be willing to tell their stories online, but I hope there will be more—and that this will outlive the pandemic! This initia- tive has blessed our church in many, many ways.
 Ministry and Media
          How are members of national committees picked?
Why were the recordings of the online 2021 General Assembly live stream not available for viewing on the PCC website after the event?
 Answered by the Rev. Ian Ross-McDonald, General Secretary, Life and Mission Agency
The standing committees of the General As- sembly are named by the General Assembly after the commissioners discern and vote on a slate of recommendations brought forward for consideration by the Committee to Nominate Standing Committees. The presbyteries, synods, boards and committees of the PCC are asked each year to submit names for the Committee to Nominate Standing Committees to consider proposing as members of the church’s various committees.
Sometimes, the work of the Committee to Nominate Standing Committees involves finding additional potential committee mem- bers when nominees are too few or making thoughtful selections when there are more nominations than vacancies. The Committee always seeks to complete its work “with dis- cretion, fairness and balance” as it seeks to furnish committees with members who have a diversity of gifts, perspectives and experienc- es. While not all nominees can be selected to serve on the committees they were nominated for, the church is fortunate to have so many gifted individuals who are willing to serve on the church’s standing committees.
Answered by the Rev. Ian Ross-McDonald, General Secretary, Life and Mission Agency
Several factors informed the decision to not provide live stream recordings of the General Assembly on the PCC website. First, there are impor tant considerations about copyright infringement that must be taken into account whenever poetry, prayers, liturgies, images
and music are featured in recordings. Ad- ditionally, there were new privacy issues to consider this year because the majority of par ticipants of the General Assembly were meeting from their homes. Among these new privacy concerns was video footage of people captured by the recording who were unaware that they were on camera and were not commissioners.

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