By April 2020, Brown Memorial Baptist Church had already lost several parishioners to COVID-19 and decided to move all of its activities online. It would be nearly seven months before anyone other than staff members would enter the church, which often hosted 450 to 600 worshippers on a Sunday.
That included one of the most well-attended services of the year – Easter. The church’s virtual services, Bible study and youth-focused courses helped fill the gap, but everyone knew that the socially active community needed to get back to in-person as soon as possible.
When the senior staff at Brown Memorial, which is located in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn, New York, did start to consider re-opening, they knew the process of seating worshippers in the pews would be very different from pre-COVID times.
They also knew that with a large portion many of its 450 to 600 congregants being elderly or having underlying health conditions, safety had to before the first, second and third priorities. They would limit attendees at the services and keep many study and prayer groups virtual. A new system would be established for every person entering the church building, one designed to maintain hygiene and distance. Masks, of course, would be a must.
What the leadership initially developed was a plan involving three or four people in the church entranceway to take the temperature of every parishioner coming to services (other church activities would return later). The staffers would also sanitize everybody’s hands and have them sign into the church’s roll for attendance. This process was intentionally slow and laborious, taking about 45 minutes to get everyone into the nave for the service. Everyone knew they needed a better system.
As the church prepared to start returning to in-person services, a member of the ministerial staff, Rev. Roland H. Robinson, contacted his long-time friend Eddie Cooper of MetroClick/faytech NA, which merges hardware manufacturing capabilities and an in-house software development team to create innovative digital communications functionality, customization and versatility.
MetroClick/faytech produces customized projects and a wide range of industrial and commercial displays, as well as kiosks, for clients throughout the world.
When Robinson explained the challenges at Brown Memorial, Cooper suggested the company’s Sanitization Station solution, which features a personal temperature scanner, a sanitizer dispenser, a lab-validated antibacterial/antiviral touchscreen and a built-in camera and media player. With a few of these kiosks deployed in the entryway, Cooper thought, the church could easily cut the time required to move the congregants into the church by more than 75 percent.
Robinson was very intrigued with the technology Cooper described and wondered if the kiosks could address another challenge that he and his colleagues were facing– the collection process.
Like almost every church in the country, Brown Memorial traditionally gathered weekly donations using a series of baskets passed down the pews. This clearly isn’t hygienic and would need to be changed. Could the kiosks Cooper described also be used to process credit cards for contributions?
The kiosks could not only include a credit card reader so congregants would be able to charge their offerings, Cooper confirmed with Robinson, but also provide real-time, customizable content. They can be used as a messaging center, for surveying worshippers and even for advertising the church’s many community partners.
The first kiosk was installed at Brown Memorial Baptist Church in February 2021, and the feedback has been very positive. The senior pastor, Rev. Clinton M. Miller, also endorses the program, noting the critical importance of keeping his congregants safe during the pandemic and then using the technology to both support the church’s outreach and good works and promote spiritual messaging.
For his part, Robinson draws on a few parables from the Bible to show the benefits of the technology for the church and its congregants.
First, from Jeremiah 30:17a; “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord.”
Also from Jeremiah, this time 33:6; “Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.”
And last, 3 John 1:2; “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
The MetroClick/faytech kiosks at Brown Memorial Baptist Church are now delivering the benefits promised to the leadership by first and foremost increasing the safety of everyone visiting and working at the building.
They are being programmed to interact with congregants and provide useful and frequently updated information about scheduled activities, prayer opportunities and charity campaigns.
And the kiosks are making it easier for worshippers to both enter the church and show their financial support for Brown Memorial’s ongoing spiritual efforts.
MetroClick is an interactive digital solutions provider with an in-house software development team that delivers the highest levels of functionality, customization and versatility. The company helps organizations bolster their digital engagement with customers through innovative touch display technology, www.metroclick.com.