Perhaps you’ve heard the touching stories on NPR, with a husband and wife, a father and daughter, or two friends remembering important moments in the lives, that we get to listen in on for a few minutes every Friday morning on a program called StoryCorps. Since 2003, StoryCorps has archived over 50,000 recordings of one-on-one interviews. Initially, these recordings were made by audio professionals, with state-of-the-art equipment. The recordings are archived in perpetuity at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Recently, StoryCorps created an app (application) for smartphones and tablets that allows you to be the person who makes the recording. You can then submit your recording to the StoryCorps website to be archived.
Here at First Church, Kath Hillery and Nancy Fisk, and others, are spearheading an effort to capture many of the voices at First Church. The project is dubbed “Who We Are,” and it aims to contribute First Church voices to StoryCorps, to give others a sense of what it means to be a First Church member. The StoryCorps app will be used to record interviews between First Church members about how they came to First Church, and about the activities and issues that keep them here as members. The “Who We Are” program will facilitate interviews between church members and assist in saving the interview on the StoryCorps site. Special church-related questions geared toward explaining your relationship to the church have been compiled. Excerpts of the recordings can be used to share with newcomers to First Church to better understand what it means to belong to this community.
The app allows you to select questions for the interview, and then automatically records the interview straight to your smartphone or tablet. At the end of the interview, the participants take a photograph to commemorate their sharing experience. The interviews can be posted to the StoryCorps website by touching one additional button.
We invite everyone in the church community to participate. If you’re ready to tackle this on your own, you can find the suggested question list on the First Church website [add link]. You and your partner should select 5 to 7 questions for each interview (see column to left). It’s a good idea to do a practice interview before you start recording. When you’re done, the app will invite you to take a picture of the pair of you and upload the interview. When the app prompts for keywords, use the words “church,” “First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego,” “Unitarian Universalist,” “First UU Church of San Diego,“ and “San Diego.” Using these keywords makes it easy for everyone to find our special collection of interviews.
If you need more guidance, or want to participate but don’t have the equipment or a partner, look for the “Who We Are” patio table after services to sign up for a time to learn how to use the app. If you like, you can also make an appointment at the table to do the interview at church, with the space and equipment provided for you at church.
You can listen to an interview with Nancy Fisk by going to the StoryCorps app website at www.StoryCorps.me and click on Browse, and then search for the keyword “First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego” by typing in the box with the magnifying glass.
We hope this will become a growing program, as more and more people become adept at the app. There are so many stories here at First Church. We hope you’ll be inspired to provide yours, help others tell theirs and listen to the stories of other First Church members.