Home >> Blog


Audio-Visual upgrade updates

It brings me a tremendous amount of joy to finally be moving forward on our project to upgrade the parish's audiovisual worship systems!  We started this journey almost a year ago and talked to a LOT of people.  Some of viewed other church worship presentations on-line.  Some of us visited other churches with equipment similar to what we were considering.  Then we met and hashed out what we were looking for, and what company would best suit our needs.

After months of work, we finally agreed on a bid from a company in Kansas City that specializes in such work specifically for churches, Stark Raving Solutions (SRS).  We presented it to the Vestry, who made the decision to move forward.

We had sincerely hoped to debut the upgrades for our Christmas services.  However, the necessary electrical infrastructure was not there for SRS to work that quick.  We need new circuits to handle the LED screen, the LED TV on the back wall, and the power control for the LED screen.  We have contracted to have that work done, and it will hopefully done either right after Christmas, or right after the New Year.  Based on that, we hope to have all the new equipment installed by SRS by the end of January. 

We have just procured the TV for back by the AV booth, along with the computers, monitors and mounts to control everything.

What does all this entail:

  1. Removing the existing 16-channel analog audio mixer and replacing it with a 48-channel digital mixing desk.
  2. Removing the old SD analog camera from above the AV area.
  3. Removing our current digital HD camera from the back of the nave.  It is going to be relocated elsewhere in the building.
  4. Removing the existing joystick controller.
  5. Removing the last old LCD monitor from the AV area.
  6. Removing the laptop from the AV area (it can be used elsewhere in the building).
  7. Retiring two of the old wireless bodypack mics used by clergy, and their old mic cables.
  8. Retiring the podium mic.
  9. Putting a new podium mic in place.
  10. Putting in new mics/stands for the choir to reduce cable clutter.
  11. Adding a new microphone for the organ.
  12. Adding two new wireless bodypack mics and new cables for the clergy.
  13. Adding three new HD PTZ cameras in the nave, along with all the switching equipment necessary to move them and switch between them.
  14. Mounting a 75" LED TV above the main doors into the Nave for the clergy to be able to see what is being presented to the congregation.
  15. Installation of a 6.75' x 12' LED screen on the back wall of the Nave centered between the organ and the Christus Rex.
  16. Installation of computer equipment to control the screen and live-streaming.

All this will not only enhance worship for all in the building, but will also provide a much improved experience for those wathching online!

We don't know exactly when this will all be taking place, so watch here and the ATT for updates!

New camera for online streaming

The pandemic has certainly changed the way we are worshiping.  For several weeks, we were only doing online worship with Zoom.  Towards the end of June, we began a limited amount of in-house services, but with continued presence via Zoom.  Like it or not, online worship availability is here to stay.

Many of us have looked for a way to provide this experience for at least the last several years.  There were always barriers - infrastructure, our network availability within the building, what platform to use, cost, and whether people would even bother using it.

The last factor went away quickly when, suddenly, we as a faith community were forced online.  Many people had their eyes opened up to this new way of reaching out.  For the first time, in a LONG time, many of our parish members who for whatever reason could not step foot in the building could suddenly participate again.  The dam burst open and we, as the Vestry, began to figure out how we could better facilitate the online experience.

My thanks to Jim Edwards, who partnered with me in working this process through.  We knew the obstacles and endeavored to eliminate them.

  1. Infrastructure.  We have recorded services for many years with our current cameras and sound system.  However, what may have been great quality 10 years ago is certainly not today.  Plus, we just could not find a viable, affordable way of getting that audiovisual (AV) feed into the existing computer.  We decided to shop around for a better quality camera, and find a way to use our existing audio system to work with it.  More on the camera in a bit.  Jim got the laptop we now use, and we figured a way to get the signal to it.  Things were looking up.
  2. Our current network configuration allowed a robust connection to allow the AV feed to go out.  That turned out to be a non-problem.
  3. We decided to continue to use Zoom as our broadcast platform.  The parish is familiar with it, and it allows a larger number of users to login and view the services, as well as chat before and after.
  4. Polls of the parish showed us that members of our parish wanted to continue having online viewing as an option.
  5. The last piece of the puzzle fell into place once we figured out how to pipe the in-house audio feed into the Zoom platform.  

The new camera was put in place on August 1st.  After some discussion it was then moved a few feet to the west.  We started running Zoom tests using that camera about two weeks later.


Once we were happy with placement, all the cords were routed into a cable raceway and everything closed up to make the entire thing look neater.  



We have been using this new arrangement for the last six weeks and it works quite well.  Last month we switched Zoom to allow this new camera to broadcast at its full High Definition capability.  It's pretty easy to see from below when that change was made from standard to high definition.








We hope everybody is continuing to enjoy their online experience.

--Bryan Irvine, Junior Warden

Shaking off the COVID Delays

To all - I would like to deliver a huge apology.  Ever since the coronavirus lockdown started, I have been slipping a bit in my webmaster functions.  I could come up with excuses:

  • Lockdown depression
  • Web site overload
  • Other church projects
  • Work overload at my job
  • Vacation
  • Laziness

None of these are really a good excuse.  But some explanation of some of the above:  I was never really depressed during the lockdown.  I was disappointed in how my fellow citizens reacted (I can't count how many masks I have not seen being worn, or worn incorrectly).  But I digress.

One of my fellow stewards for our union local at the VA was taken out of action in mid-June, thrusting all the work on me and the safety officer.  That, coupled with brining on line our new Local Union web site, our new self-managed email syste, and our new non-government phone system tied up my time for a few weeks.  My time is still largely tied up during the day and early evenings as our VA is refusing to grant our officers any official time, pushing the entire load onto two of us since mid-June.  So now I'm running two web sites, taking on a huge union case- and work-load, and dealing with some malaise due to canceled diocesan youth events.  That malaise fed into my laziness.  Finally, I went out of a town for a week on a much needed vacation in the Smoky Mountains National Park.

I've shaken all that off now.  This afternoon (6 September) the following has been updated on our site:

  • The Care Core Ministry page has been updated with the correct lead.
  • The Staff page has been corrected with our new Director of Youth Ministries who is coming on board.
  • The ATT page has been cleaned out, and the page now shows the publications since the office started publishing them again in mid-July
  • Vestry minutes for June and July are published, and that page is up-to-date
  • Sermons are now available - they are taken off the Zoom feed from the new Video Camera

I plan on updating the core web software tonight, so the site may be offline for a bit while I do so.  Over the next week I'll begin rebuilding all the news feed articles.

I appreciate the trust that has been shown in me as the site administrator.  I hope to live up to that trust!

Bryan Irvine
Website Administrator.

It's Beginning to look a lot like....STEWARDSHIP!

Stewardship, stewardship, stewardship - it’s that time of year again! Do you ever think, “Can’t we skip it this year?”

Maybe we could be one of those churches that require that 10% tithe up-front like a contract. Maybe we could be one of those churches that have audiences every week of 600 and more. Would it surprise you to know these Mega-churches like Lakewood in Houston have very sophisticated stewardship programs? These places plan it, preach it, teach it and study it!

I’m not suggesting that St. David’s be more like one of those places but I am convinced that stewardship is a way of life. All things come from God and we must take care of those gifts of life every day, and not just the last quarter of the year we designate as a time for the stewardship campaign.

We do that through our service to the various agencies we support and the ministries here in the church. We do that through our Eucharist and the healing we provide each other. Sooo let's hear that “S” word one more time!



This month's blog was from Steve Crowl
Steve chairs the Inreach Committee



You can watch Steve's Stewardship kick-off reflection by clicking HERE.

Reading the Bible

Do we read the Bible?

I’ve heard it time and time again – that we as Episcopals do not read the bible.  That we are not a “bible-based” church or religion.  It has me wondering – what exactly does that mean?  Is it true that we do not “read the bible?”  Far from the truth!

Think about it – what do we hear at every service?  The Eucharist contains three readings – usually from the Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalter – and a Gospel reading.  These cycle over a three year period, so if you do nothing else in bible study except attend the Eucharist every week, in a three year period you will hear most of the bible.  Not bad for a church that is “not” bible-based, eh?  How many people pick up, read, and study what the bible tells us?

Reading the entire bible (and for Episcopalians, that includes the Apocrypha) is a daunting task.  It is full of history, wisdom, war, bloodshed, rituals that now seem out of place, good advice, and examples of how to live life.  But how do you start?



There are many schools of thought on how to read the bible.  You could try picking it up, starting at page 1 and reading it completely through.  Many try and fail, getting hung up in the early history books of the Pentateuch (first five books of the old testament).  You could stick to the Revised Common Lectionary, which will have you jumping all over the place from week to week.  You could look for a program that helps.  Many exist online; some are free and some are not.  You could join a formal program such as Education for Ministry, which during its first two years sees the old and new testament read.

Reading is one thing – comprehending is another.  Reading the bible might be better classed as “studying” the bible.  Read the scripture.  Study it.  Find out how it may apply in our times, and integrate that into your life.

Every January the youth across our Diocese attend Miqra, an event where starting Friday and ending Monday, the entire bible is read, from the beginning of Genesis through the end of Revelations.  It gives our youth an idea of the complexity of the scripture.  Bishop Wolfe once gave a workshop when he noted just how daunting a task it may seem to read the entire bible.  He also broke it down though, by finding the shortest Gospel (Mark) and asking if the kids thought they could read that.  From there, you just add on.  It was a wonderful way to introduce reading scripture.

Regardless of how you do it, reading and studying the bible is a wonderful thing.  Study tools are out there to help if you feel you need them.  Groups exist that you can participate in if necessary.  But please, READ!  I’ll bet you'll be glad when you do!


Junior Warden....again?

I'm baaaccckkk.....

There was recently a change in Vestry lineup with a resignation, leaving the Junior Warden role vacant.  Given how close we are to the next annual meeting, it was decided not to replace the empty Vestry seat until the 2019 Annual Meeting, when a nominee can be elected to fill the rest of that term (2 year term, ending in the 2021 Annual Meeting). 

I thought the easiest way to get an experienced person into that position during the interim was to volunteer to fill in.  I have experience with the role, having served in that capacity in 2015 and 2016.  The Vestry agreed and effective as of the September Vestry meeting, I was appointed your Junior Warden.  This appointment is only temporary and will end with the Annual Meeting in 2019.

I am very open to any needs you see we may have in building maintenance and upgrades.  Some things are very obvious and I'm trying to hit the ground running:

  1. The water wall is allowing water to drip down the "dry side" of the wall.
  2. The lights in the tower have all stopped working.
  3. Numerous lights in the building, beyond reach of a ladder, need replacing.
  4. The parking lot is in need of repair and will only get worse the longer we wait.

These are some of the major issues, and in these cases we are already moving on ways to mitigate them:

  1.  H20Walls is being contacted regarding the water wall.
  2. I'm trying to find the power source for the tower lights.  It is not really credible to believe all the bulbs failed at the same time.
  3. We are contacting an electrician to deal with bulb and ballast replacements.  This is a yearly service.
  4. To do the parking lot correctly, we are having an engineer look at the design and water movement of the lot to determine the best solution.  Repairs may not happen this year as winter is rapidly approaching!

If you notice something you think needs attention, it is generally not the best idea to just pull me over and show or tell me.  I have so much going on it may very well just shoot in one ear and out the other.  It's best to write it out for me - and for that, email or web site notices are the best.

There is a way to report building and grounds concerns from out web site by clicking on the "Maintenance requests" link located in the Links box on every page.  Those notices are sent directly to me and I can track them that way.  You can also email me by clicking bryan [dot] irvine [at] stdavidschurch [dot] com (HERE).


I appreciate all the trust that is being given me in this service.  I look forward to serving all of you over the next four months!

Bryan Irvine
Acting Jr. Warden


Camp Reflections

Sorry about the delay for this month's Blog.  I had another plan for this month's blog, but that fell through and then I had to be out of town the first week of June.  Once back, I needed to process my experience so I could put it into words!

The Diocese of Kansas just concluded its annual MegaCamp, where youth from all over the diocese (and some from the Diocese of Western Kansas as well) came together at Camp Wood YMCA for a week of fun, learning, and worship.  The kids aged from 3rd grade through those who just graduated High School.  I have had the privilege of being chosen as a volunteer for this endeavor now for that last four years and look forward to it again next year.

If you’ve never been involved in camp, well, it’s quite the undertaking.  Adult staff notices can start as early as January, and are a diverse group from those who might be just finishing their first year of college to some of us in our 50s and 60s.  Jobs can range from nursing staff, programming staff, cabin counselors, to some administrative positions.  We all come together, with almost 200 kids, to this camp outside the tiny little (almost ghost) town of Elmdale, KS.  Camp Wood has hosted the diocese now for decades.  Recently they have made serious upgrades, including adding a better water distribution system, replacing cabins with larger more modern ones (though still plenty rustic), and new bathhouses.  The old Hutch Hall on the property has been upgraded through a capital campaign as well, without losing any of its historic charm.

The staff undergoes several hours of training at camp prior to the arrival of the campers, and then the serious work begins.  The youth have daily programming in Christian education, daily worship sessions, and yes, the chance to participate in activities put forth by both the YMCA staff as well as E-Staff (the adults from the diocese).  As the kids get older, the programming and worship get more “intense” (for lack of a better word).  Wednesday night worship traditionally involves a MegaEucharist at Hi-Y, the hill overlooking the camp, as well as s’mores served around a campfire.  All three groups have a talent show, where they get to be a silly or serious as they want.  It’s a great time all the way around.

It is a delight to work not just with other adults from all over the diocese, but also with the youth.  I have been privileged during the previous three years to be a cabin counselor and group leader in the Jr. High camp; this year I provided administrative support to the Elementary Camp Director, led an elementary group, and provided mail delivery to all three age groups.  The stage was filled with mail and goodies from families that had to be sorted and delivered on specific days – and more mail kept coming in through regular USPS routes as well!  It was such a great joy Friday to see the back half of the staff room, which had been filled with packages, empty as the last mail went out!

Youth Ministry is so vitally important.  I have said many times that the youth ARE the church.  They are our future and the future of Christianity.  St. David’s saw 6 of our youth go to camp, as well as 4 of our adults – Sydney even came back from the east coast, once again, to help out!  Bishop Wolfe, our previous bishop, had a policy that every kid who wanted to go to camp should get the opportunity and I sincerely hope our next bishop carries on with this.  Youth Ministry, both at St. David’s and the diocese, is always looking for help.  This can be financial, or you can volunteer to work a youth event.  I think you will be surprised at the enjoyment and energy you will find in such work!

We are also well represented in the Diocesan Youth Commission, the group that provides guidance and advice to the Diocesan Youth Missioner.  John Cordova was elected to that group last year, and this year Gillian Typer was also elected to serve in that group!

This month's blog was from Bryan Irvine
Site Administrator

Education for Ministry (EfM)

As we approach the beginning of another year of EfM, I have given a great deal of consideration to what parishioners might want to know in order to consider enrolling in EfM for the 2018-2019 year.  As a result of this consideration, I have decided to start with telling you what EfM is NOT.

  • EfM is NOT only Bible study.  EfM students study the Bible but also learn how to understand the Bible within its historical context and literary setting.
  • EfM is NOT personal therapy or problem solving.  EfM groups do develop a close community in order to delve deeply into matters of faith and theology.
  • EfM is NOT a closed community.  The content of EfM materials and the processes we use for reflection are not secrets.
  • EfM is NOT an academic program leading to a degree or an ordination program.

Now that you know some of the things that EfM is not, it is important to learn what EfM is. Lay persons face the difficult and often subtle task of interpreting the richness of the church's faith in a complex and confusing world. They need a theological education which supports their faith and also teaches them to express that faith in day-to-day events. As the emphasis on lay ministry has grown, EfM has come to play an important role by providing a program that develops an informed and knowledgeable laity.

EfM is a four year program. The seminar group is the nucleus of the Education for Ministry program. A group consists of six to twelve participants and  trained mentor or co-mentors who meet weekly over the course of a nine-month academic year. Our meetings at St. David’s are 2½ hours.  Participants are given weekly assignments to study with the help of resource guides. (Year one participants study the Old Testament. Year Two participants study the New Testament. Year Three participants study church history. Year Four participants study theology). EfM students spend between two and four hours in study and preparation each week. In the seminars members have an opportunity to share their insights and discoveries as well as to discuss questions which the study materials raise for them.Through discussion and guided reflection, the seminars furnish an opportunity to deepen understanding of the reading materials.

More important is the development of skills in theological reflection. The goal is to learn to think theologically. By examining their own beliefs and their relationship to our culture and the tradition of our Christian faith, participants can learn what it means to be effective ministers in the world. In coming to terms with the notion that everything we do has potential for manifesting the love of Christ, we discover that our ministry is at hand wherever we turn.

The seminar is supported by a life of prayer and regular worship. EfM groups are encouraged to develop a pattern of worship appropriate to their situations. Liturgical materials are furnished with the course materials. Tuition is $375 and scholarships are available.  If interested, please speak with the co-mentors, Lynda Crowl/Earl Olson, or the Rector!

This month's blog was written by Lynda Crowl
Lynda is our Sr. Warden and EfM Co-Mentor

Advertising and Sales

Once upon a time I worked in retail management, a very cut-throat business.  During that time, I learned two important things regarding people:  you have to get them into your store (advertising), and then give them a reason to keep coming back (sales).  Although it is sad to think we have to deal with this in religion, well, we do!  For a congregation to thrive, people need to come in the door and see a reason to stay.

We advertise a number of ways.  We have space in the church directory section of the Topeka Capital Journal.  We are in the phone book.  You can find us online at sites like yellowpages.com and Yelp.  We have a presence on Facebook (I’m not so sure about Twitter or if anybody sends out any official tweets from our parish).

Another way to draw people in is our signage.  As most should be aware, we have taken a major step forward in that arena.  We recently replaced the antique wooden sign on 17th street that catastrophically broke over the winter.  This summer we will get rid of the old faded sign at the east of the building fronting Gage Boulevard and replace it with an electronic sign that will be at the corner of 17th and Gage.  All of this is nice, but signage is only effective if somebody happens to be driving by, or is not familiar with the area and is looking for us specifically.

Online presence helps, and we can track various statistics using those methods.  We have analytics that show us what drives people to our web site, including search results and social media campaigns.  This is useful information to help us tailor our approach, surely, but we are so far skipping the best form of advertising:  word of mouth.  Inviting people to come visit us.  I did a blog recently on evangelizing, and personal invitation is just that.  It is probably the most effective form of advertising we can do!



All this is the advertising – getting people through our doors.  Up next is sales – how do we bring them into our fold?  Retail is carefully designed to direct you through the store and maximize how much money can be extracted from a person without stopping them from coming back in the future.  That is not the sales we need to concentrate on when trying to bring people into our flock!

To keep them coming back, we need a fully engaged welcome.  Greeters at the door with a smiling face, ready to answer questions, and/or provide them with a welcome bag.  Somebody to ask them (nicely) if they would be willing to fill out the welcome card and what to do with it afterwards.  Ushers to provide them with orders of service and answer any questions regarding what happens once the service starts.  Parish members who will engage the newcomers with smiling faces and welcomes.  Depending on what service we are speaking of, walking them down to breakfast, and sitting with them and engaging them is a huge thing!  Let them know of all the ministry opportunities we present so they can consider what best fits them!

When I first came to Topeka, I found local Episcopal churches on the Internet.  I attended Grace Cathedral and felt snubbed as nobody seemed to want to speak with or recognize me.  The next weekend I came to St. David’s and was greeted no less than 3 different times.  I was hooked.  I had found my new spiritual home.

So let’s remember that advertising may get somebody to visit us – but SALES is up to us.  We need to engage to keep them coming back week after week, and that will be a key to keeping our parish thriving!

Bryan Irvine
Website Adminstrator
Building Manager



“He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands!  Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.”  And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.  And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then he went about among the villages teaching.  He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.”  - Mark 6:1-7 (NRSV)

This is an important part of the Gospel, yet something that makes many very uncomfortable.  In this passage of Mark, Jesus sends out the apostles, two by two, to carry out his work.  Looking at the passage, this makes sense, as the people in his hometown were hostile to his ministry.  This was the beginning of evangelism, a topic that may clear a room when brought up.  We seem very uncomfortable with this concept and carrying it out.

What is evangelism?  The passage in Mark shows the apostles being sent out in pairs, with the authority over unclean spirits.  In our modern telling, they healed the sick and cast out demons in the name of Christ.  A dictionary definition tells us that evangelism is the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness, or  the zealous advocacy of a cause.  Perhaps it is the second part of that definition that gives us pause – most people don’t want to be labeled as a zealot!  Basically, evangelism is simply talking to others about Jesus and spreading the good news, or speaking with others about your faith and why you believe.

Many adults seem to fear evangelism, and this seems to stem from many causes:

  • Being afraid they will look or sound stupid.
  • Being afraid they will forget what to say or will say the wrong thing.
  • Being afraid of confrontation – they will be met with hostility.
  • Being afraid to start what they perceive may be an awkward conversation.
  • Being afraid others will want to fight what is being delivered.

I hold one of the adult seats on the Diocesan Youth Commission and at our last meeting, all youth and adults on the commission underwent a workshop in evangelism.  During that training, I was discussing with one of the other adult members how quickly adults seem to shy away from the subject, which is a shame.  The youth dived right into the training, we all had a good time, and we were reminded, time and time again, that by sharing the stories of our faith with each other, we were evangelizing.  What we can do with each other in that room, we should be able to do outside that room in society – even with those we do not know.  The apostles surely did not know those in the countryside they were sent out to serve!

Some have viewed that the Anglican Communion produces nice, civilized and reasonable people who do not feel very deeply about their religion, that Anglicans seem so afraid about getting excited over the wrong things that we do not get excited over the right ones.

We should not be afraid of evangelizing!  We hear Presiding Bishop Curry talk about us being the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement, which is evangelizing in motion!  He shared his vision of a whole church freshly oriented toward the proclamation and embodiment of the good news of Jesus Christ.  A practical definition of our movement can be quickly stated:  “We seek, name and celebrate Jesus’ loving presence in the stories of all people – then invite everyone to MORE.”  This is the length of a tweet, and for good reason:  evangelism should be practiced using modes people use to communicate.
I could easily continue on this vital practice, but I need to close this.  For more practical hints on evangelizing and the Episcopal Church, you can visit the ECF Vital Practices page which contains a wealth of information on the topic. 

So let’s spread the word!

This month's blog was written by Bryan Irvine, the site adminstrator



Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.