View from the Back

If it is the start of November, it must be Diocesan Convention time.

After being in full view, upfront to one side of the dais during the business session of the 2015 convention, I decided that something had to be done so I could be more low-key. They’d be no swish AV booth at this convention either. I fixed it by investing in some video splitters, a video switch, and three 50′ cables to let me run the AV from the anonymity of the back of the room.

On November 1, I finally got a few minutes spare to test the AV setup I’d put together. As that left one day before I headed off for Convention it was just as well that it all worked.

As might be surmised, this year’s run-up to the diocesan convention has been more manic than usual.

At June’s Special Convention the churches voted to ‘defund’ printing the diocesan magazine and the postage necessary to send it out. It was not considered necessary to consult with a communications expert in advance, and it is going to take several years on a low budget to gain back the readership we had. Without the postage budget, I have not been able to send even a simple postcard to the 5,000 families receiving the magazine to tell them it’s been discontinued. I was told I could publish the existing magazine online. That would involve publishing a pdf copy. The decision did not take into consideration that you cannot easily read a pdf on a mobile device. Unfortunately 48% of our online readers use a mobile device.

The only practical option was to design a new website that was easy to read on a mobile device, locally printable, and maintained an obvious stylistic link to the original magazine.

I wanted to be able to publish the first ‘New Spirit‘ magazine before Convention took place. With only twenty hours a week to do the work, and day-to-day tasks competing for my time; designing and building the website wasn’t happening. In the end, I had to ‘donate’ two-three weeks’ work to get it finished. It was completed four days before Convention. See the first issue of the New Spirit here.

And that is why the run-up to Convention was so busy and fraught. I had next to no time to spend on the preparations. Signs and posters were designed three days before and printing finished the day before I left. Not surprisingly there were some errors in the artwork …

My ‘Duct-tape and Baling wire’ AV system worked well, though I forgot to bring along the second monitor for the AV desk – spotting a mouse cursor 60′ plus away is a big challenge. Especially if you are like me and everything beyond around 15′ is a complete blur.

Gary chatting with Larry. Image Credit: Gary Zumwalt

I found this picture on my camera. I suspect Gary Zumwalt took it. No surprises there – it’s not the first time he’s sneaked in a picture of me. And on my left is the long-suffering Eric, who volunteered to help with the AV and did a great job running the Mevo live video broadcast. He also put together the excellent slideshow we ran between sessions (and put up with Gary Z. and I discussing who took which picture).

Copyright © 2017 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.