Congregation is now a church on the Web

BIG SANDY, Texas--Beginning Jan. 19 the Church of God Big Sandy began providing church sermons via its Web site in RealAudio format. The sermons aren't broadcast live but go out over the Web after only a slight delay.

"This has long been a goal of the congregation," said Dave Havir, pastor. "We are pleased that Jonathan Stahl has coordinated this effort for us."

When Mr. Stahl moved to Texas from Pennsylvania in October 1999, he started Computing Strategies, a consulting firm. He describes his job as "engineering real solutions for real problems in the area of networks, servers, security and system deployments."

He volunteers a minimum of 10 hours a week overseeing the Web site for the congregation.

Mr. Stahl said the reason for the delay in the congregation's sermons' availability is that "the current modem connection speed is too slow" for real-time delivery of sermons, but he is checking out other options.

"As each of our two sermons starts, we create a RealAudio file of it," said Mr. Stahl. "Immediately after each sermon is finished, we upload it to the Web site. This process takes about 15 minutes. The first sermon is available at approximately 2 p.m. [central time] and the second sermon at approximately 3 p.m."

Mr. Havir said the congregation is happy to offer the RealAudio format as an additional way for scattered brethren to hear sermons on the Sabbath.

"We have been offering a cassette-tape program for six years," said Mr. Havir. "We began a telephone hookup to our church service about two years ago. Next we put a library of sermons on our Web site. Now we have RealAudio on the same day."

Contact the Church of God Big Sandy at P.O. Box 690, Big Sandy, Texas 75755, U.S.A., or

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