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Cambridge church live streaming of services is a first

St Laurence’s in Cambridge has started to stream its services live online and is believed to be the first parish church in the Diocese to do so. Sean Martin and Ronald Haynes report.

You can now watch live streaming of the sanctuary at St Laurence’s Cambridge online. This allows people unable to be physically present to participate at Mass or other activities held in the church. Housebound, sick, or parishioners in care homes can continue to be engaged in parish life, even though they are not able to travel to the church. It will also be of benefit for relatives and friends unable to travel greater distances to baptisms, weddings and funerals.

A camera has been installed by the recently formed parish “tech” group, and the camera streams live video and audio through to YouTube, and is thus accessible from anywhere with a good internet connection.

There are three views of the sanctuary: a regular view, a wider view also covering the font, and a silent meditative view. The tech group is working in conjunction with the SVP who are in touch with many in the parish likely to benefit, and can loan laptops where this is helpful.

St Laurence’s regularly has Masses and celebrations in several languages other than English, and streaming provides access to remote and scattered community members of these traditions. We are now able to publicise and stream parish talks from the pulpit, and so extend sharing and outreach more widely. We are considering the possibility of recording special events, such as weddings, or other occasions, for the benefit of family members. 

We took a DIY approach to the installation and service and therefore the project is well within the initial budget of £2000 and streaming to YouTube incurs no additional monthly cost beyond the cost of the broadband connection.

The tech group can offer advice and technical assistance to other parishes that might also be interested in starting live streaming. If you are interested please contact us by email at techgroup@saintlaurence.org.uk

Of course, meetings of the parish tech group may start with an intercessionary prayer to St Isidore of Seville who was declared by Pope John Paul II as the patron saint of the internet.

See the live stream here.

Pictured above is Canon Simon Blakesley at St Laurence, Cambridge.