Serving up the good word on CD
Appeal Staff Writer
What started out as an upgrade to the St. Paul’s Lutheran Family Church sound system, has turned into the deliverance of Sunday morning sermons on CD by the Rev. Stan Pesis.
From the parish hall to an MP3 player in Iraq, the sermons of St. Paul’s Lutheran Family are reaching out to the homebound, “snowbirds,” former parish members who have moved out of state, even the pastor’s son, Ben, who is serving with the Nevada National Guard in Iraq.
“I’ve gone to places I’d never imagined I’d be,” Pesis said. “Ben has shared these CDs with some of the soldiers over there.”
Behind the scenes it was parishioner Glenn Laursen and secretary Nellie Revelle whose work brought the CD to fruition. Revelle said she has not heard of any other church doing this.
“This has been a progression. An add-on of things as we went along,” said Laursen. “Now, everything can be recorded.”
The CD features the 10:30 a.m. service. It includes hymns, prayer, lessons from the Bible, the church choir, pastor’s sermon and a blessing. One CD can record up to 79 minutes, before a second CD is needed. A picture of the church is put on each CD.
“We sometimes have to be creative in our editing,” Revelle said. “But pastor has been pretty good about keeping his sermon less than that.”
Revelle and fellow parishioner Vickie Hamilton are Eucharist ministers. They are able to deliver the CDs to the homebound and offer communion at the same time.
“It’s an extension of the full service,” Revelle said, who credits Laursen’s computer knowledge in reaching the finished product.
“He researched everything,” she said. “We have come a long way and improved what we’ve done, thanks to Glenn. We have high-fived each other a few times when we get the good comments.”
Laursen worked for IBM for 30 years. He wrote the program to fit CD format, which can be translated to MP3 format.
“My intention was to make this as simple as possible for Nellie, because she’s the one coming in on Monday morning to download the sermon,” Laursen said.
“As we progressed, I thought, ‘we can do this, or this, or this.’ We’re not a recording studio, but this is a complete package.”
After Revelle has downloaded and burned the CDs, parishioner Nita Menveg puts the packages together for mailing.
“We mail 20-30 CDs a week,” Revelle said. “Nita is my angel. She puts it all together for me.”
“It’s a gift to people who are incapacitated and there is no charge,” Laursen added. “It’s a good feeling to reach out and touch somebody.”
Rev. Pesis said the CD is not just his sermon, but the full body of the church.
“It has voices of the congregation, hymns sung during communion. Everything that happens during the service gets recorded,” he said. “And it’s being shared half-way around the world.
“All of that presence is given to Ben. I think that has a real impact on my sense of connection (with him) being maintained.
“I hope other people get the opportunity to feel this. That this is home, this is Nevada.”
• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1223.