Worship in times of COVID

Welcome to Wondercafe2!

A community where we discuss, share, and have some fun together. Join today and become a part of it!

paradox3

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,087
Reaction score
4,174
Enjoyed our Zoom service today. We had one of my favorite hymns, Called by Earth and Sky.

Sitting in my kitchen, I almost choked up on the last two lines of the second verse:

"Breath of the Spirit, blown through this place,
Our gathering and our grace."
 

Ritafee

ONANOFFANONAGIN
Messages
6,244
Reaction score
1,640
Since the start of the pandemic, this newspaper has reported on ways different religions are responding.

One group that has not been featured is Indigenous people.

This isn’t because nobody wants to. It’s just it’s not easy to do.

For one thing, there are no Indigenous spirituality offices you can call for official comment.

And even if you could, there are thousands of Indigenous nations, which makes any generalization impossible.

For another, there is no sense of a division between spirituality and the rest of life for Indigenous Peoples. Even asking the question seems foreign to how they live.
 

GeoFee

I am who I am becoming...
Messages
4,002
Reaction score
2,706
At the Big Red Church we are doing what we can to reach our community members with support and encouragement. Here is our short Sunday service:

 

Mrs.Anteater

Just keep going....
Messages
4,088
Reaction score
2,047
We had a very deep zoom worship meeting today. It seems, we are getting the hang of how to best use zoom. One person shared a poem that I like to share with you here.
 

Carolla

wondering & wandering
Messages
7,536
Reaction score
5,076
I listened to the UK Blessing music video today & this came up as a related video - as they do. I found there is lots to reflect upon in this conversation -


And this is the video of the blessing, in case you haven't yet heard it -

 

Carolla

wondering & wandering
Messages
7,536
Reaction score
5,076
We had a very deep zoom worship meeting today. It seems, we are getting the hang of how to best use zoom. One person shared a poem that I like to share with you here.
Thanks for this Bette - beautiful.
 

Mendalla

Eastern Lowland Gorilla
Messages
30,226
Reaction score
14,464
I liked it a great deal but is there a typo in the last line? shouldn't it be "a world worthy of rescue"?
Actually, the poem is posted in many places online and all say "worth". So either they all copied the same incorrect source or Postlewaite really wrote it that way. Maybe it's her typo and it stuck. She's actually a Methodist minister who writes on addiction, not a poet, by trade so not even sure where it originated. Of course, none of the various posts of it give more than the author's name.
 

BetteTheRed

Resident Heretic
Messages
16,424
Reaction score
7,968
Actually, the poem is posted in many places online and all say "worth". So either they all copied the same incorrect source or Postlewaite really wrote it that way. Maybe it's her typo and it stuck. She's actually a Methodist minister who writes on addiction, not a poet, by trade so not even sure where it originated. Of course, none of the various posts of it give more than the author's name.
Thanks for looking into this. Poetically it works fine with worth. In that if it stops and makes us think about a single phrase, it has succeeded in a thinking purpose. Grammatically, worthy is, of course, better, but it's a neat poem with a neat idea. My purpose never dropped in my lap. A retired doctor friend of mine from our congregation thinks that my gift is in engaging with grocery store customers, so there you go. I discovered a non-talent this week. Recording myself reading scripture, lol.
 

Pinga

Room for All
Messages
9,933
Reaction score
5,359
Warning: Long post

RANT & WARNING: I hate Zoom, and anything built on it. It has so many under-the-covers security issues which no amount of tinkering by patches can fix. They did not built security in design, and there is a reason that they are free and cute. There are better solutions out there. I am disappointed in United Church of canada for not alerting folks to alernatives. END OF RANT.

Background. I had been aware since February and discussing with family in California the importance of preparation, increasingly so as March kicked in and news shifted. I had a discussion with my minister on Tuesday, March 10 at my home, that I was concerned that we shook hands the week before, and I recommended changes to service. We were on very different pages re the risk and the response. He left for the states on Thursday, and was unable for dialogue until the following Tuesday. Our past chair and chair of worship were also in the states and unavailable. On that same Thursday that he became unavailable, the government gave guidelines, and I, as chair, was making emergency decisions regarding church on Sunday, March 15th without past chair, chair of worship, or minister. Life was interesting.

logistical information
  • Church has used constant contact and has decent email list (thank goodness)
  • Church has been using youtube for recaps of the message each week prior to Covid.
  • Church would be considered small, and a "heart" church
  • Church has not used any online communication tools for meeting prior to covid-19
  • Church does not have a choir. Band, few singers and upbeat music.
  • I have a paid GoToMeeting account for my business as it is a secure and robust solution. It has 1800 capability for callers

    Here is a bit of a rundown on the timeline.
March 14th: Response team formed, with M&P for Health & Safety, Chair and SC&O & youth leader (staff)​
March 15th: Advised anyone over 70 or with health challenges to stay home. Did not have bulletin. Used yardsticks to show distancing. Very direct to people who didn't practice distancing. One singer at front. Minimal band. (Met people outside and advised them of rules). No coffee.​
March 16th Started daily response team meetings using GoToMeeting.​
Sometime that week: Minister and chair of worship had to self-isolate for two weeks, due to US travel, so unavailable for in person. transitioned to Minister, Worship chair and myself as response team. M&p chose to opt out​
March 22nd: Pre-recorded sermon, posted on YouTube and shared in eworship​
March 23rd: determined way to do etransfer and changed standard signatures in our eNews, eWorship to include how to support church​
March 25th: First board meeting online via GoToMeeting. Response team offically took over communications via constant contact in part due to office staff access and in part due to the importance of immediate / non-standard communications.​
March 28th: Use of online increases to include sunday bible study, small group gatherings and some council teams. (using my account still)​
March 29: Pre-recorded sermon, plus coffee-time offered via GoToMeetings​
April 2 Started offering GoToMeetings for youth. Using my account still​
Palm Sunday: April 5th Prerecorded message​
April 7th; Started providing our eWorship communications to a sister church, for the ability to join Easter service and get message along with future services. (they are without minister at this time.​
Good Friday, April 10th: Pre-recorded message, readings and singing using GoToMeeting. Edited and placed on the youtube channel​
Easter Sunday: April 12th: live Service offered through GoToMeeting, including soloists and communion.​
April 14th - Response team transitioned to two meetings / week: Tuesday and either Thurs or Fri​
April 14th - Agreed to move forward with offering live online services each Sunday including ability to call-in with 1800 for those socially isolated without internet, as is so important for people to be connected with their community​
April 14th - Youtube now back to its primary purpose of the re-cap, and that is included in weekly eworships for anyone who had issue joining, but has internet, but..watches are up significantly​
April 15th (or thereabouts): Not-for-Profit licenses acquired for free for 90 days from LogMeIn for GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar.​
April 18th: Started printing and doing delivery of order of service, enews, eworship and call-in information for those without internet. Dropped voices united to homes of those without internet​
April 19th - GoToMeeting used for church service. Have individuals attending who never attended the service in person prior, but are known to the community. Numbers are good.​
Apr 22: started online bible study on Wed, in addition to sunday bible study​
Noted: getting donations through PayPal from constant contact eworship communication and etransfers​
April 24th (or thereabouts): got the 1800 feature added to church goto license, so transitioned fully to church account's gotomeeting and gotowebinar (you could hear me shouting hallelujah. The load of starting the meeting due to my protection of my account was beginning to wear me thin)​
April 26th - GoToMeeting used for church service (still on my account due to timings for communication via email and print)​
Sat: May 2: Started to include a sister church in our communications for youth​
Sun, May 3: Used GoToMeeting for service, bible study & coffee time using church account, with multiple organizers, and admin able to set them up. Woot! As part of this transitioned eworship and e-blast to administrative staff including training in meeting setup. New formats and lists​
Sun May 10: First trial of GoToWebinar. Love it, with some gotchas. Continue to use GoToMeeting for all bible studies, social times, and meetings.​
Tues, May 12: Initiated discussions to provide tablets to those who do not have access to internet and are socially isolated.​
Sun may 17th: using GoToWebinar again​
Other notes:​
  • We support Narcotics Anonymous through their meeting at the church 3 nights per week. We worked with them to allow them to continue to meet in the building until March 21st, when they decided to no longer meet. This was important, and why Social Concerns and Outreach were engaged with response team.
  • We also have people that we regularly support through food, so kept our pantry open when the church was closed until we could determine other approaches.
  • Crafts are being delivered (or picked up) for kids.
Where we are now
  • Multiple licenses for GoToMeeting, allowing for organizers to setup and run their own meetings, as well as share leadership. Used by council members and staff, as well as our sister church
  • Constant contact has 3 sends: eNews, eBlast & eWorship
  • Gatherings for bible study, coffee time, plus council and committee meetings
  • Multiple licenses for GoToWebinar which allow for music sharing and a much better overall performance. Note: GoToMeeting is excellent but when you have 30 people sending video down a pipe, and trying to chat, well, as people have indicated re zoom, something has to give. GoToWebinar has better mic control and video control, plus video sharing is done from the primary servers/uploaded, so no issue with network at the hosts site)
  • Looking at getting more people online by dropping off simple tablets with internet paid for by the church

info for techs
  • GoTo* is related to Citrix, you can still see it in some of their scripts. It is an app built for performance and security.
 
Last edited:

Mendalla

Eastern Lowland Gorilla
Messages
30,226
Reaction score
14,464
Yeah, I know Goto very well. Though we've never used it at work, I have been to many meetings and webinars using it. It wasn't originally Citrix. I vaguely remember when it was just GoToMeeting and then Citrix bought it. GoToWebinar came after the takeover.

I am more sanguine on Zoom. I would never recommend it for the same reasons as you but it is damnably easy to use. My wife hates learning new tech and she had is sussed in a weekend (with some help from your truly). So I get why people are flocking to it even if I wouldn't use it myself.

Google Meet is another one I might look at if I we weren't committed to Teams at work. My son's employer uses it and he quite likes it.
 

Pinga

Room for All
Messages
9,933
Reaction score
5,359
I will put up a separate post as groundwork for RFP or RFQ for online meetings.
For this thread, wanted to let you know experience and why we went to each

Recorded services.
Clear message -not engaging

Pluses re goto meeting for participants
A) relatively easy join
B) easy to share camera and mic
C) easy for organizer and presenters to share screen
D) handles poor network speed
E) can have phone call participants
F) can offer 1800 call in
G) negative: mic control subject to issues if people leave and come back, so may be unmuted when you want them muted
H) just like zoom, congregational singing is ugly


Why gotowebinar
A) can share YouTube videos with sound, and speak over if choose. We share some people's cams, have them muted but singing along with YouTube video to encourage people to sing. Also asking them to stand.
B) branding at entry and in invitation allows us to make it feel like home
C) registration including reminder emails to everyone signed up, which can be branded as well.
D) excellent mic control so we have no unexpected voices
E) videos are uploaded, so performance of organizers network is not relative to attendees experience
F) information re participation, attentiveness etc helps to tell you how you are doing
G) using one registration link removes administrative overhead. We can issue tablets to people and have them get simple connection which is secure
H) feedback is quality of video is highly improved. (I'm not a good judge as I have poor internet)
I) serious issue: phone in participants cannot hear sound from uploaded videos. Working on solution. They can hear anything through mics

Last Sunday we had 40 unique household participating online plus 8 phone-in
 

BetteTheRed

Resident Heretic
Messages
16,424
Reaction score
7,968
I am hating Zoom, and I know nothing about security risks.

We aren't Zooming Sunday services, but we are thinking about the technology to Livestream from the sanctuary. (We've been doing an edited Vimeo service available Sunday a.m.)

Communion is very difficult.
 

Mrs.Anteater

Just keep going....
Messages
4,088
Reaction score
2,047
I am wondering what ministers are doing during social distancing times other than trying to do a zoom worship- are you contacting your congregational members by phone, holding bible studies by zoom- do you find you are doing more - or less? Do you get a feeling how your congregation is coping? Are you made aware of people needing a call- or needing groceries- and do you have a system set up to look after each other?
( putting this under worship- as I would consider that part of it)
 

Mendalla

Eastern Lowland Gorilla
Messages
30,226
Reaction score
14,464
I am hating Zoom, and I know nothing about security risks.

We aren't Zooming Sunday services, but we are thinking about the technology to Livestream from the sanctuary. (We've been doing an edited Vimeo service available Sunday a.m.)

Communion is very difficult.
For a service, I think a livestream or pre-recorded service on one of the video sites (Youtube, Vimeo, etc.) makes more sense. Were I a worship leader, I would be tempted to schedule a social Zoom some time on Sunday morning, then direct people to the stream for the actual service.
 

Pinga

Room for All
Messages
9,933
Reaction score
5,359
I am wondering what ministers are doing during social distancing times other than trying to do a zoom worship- are you contacting your congregational members by phone, holding bible studies by zoom- do you find you are doing more - or less? Do you get a feeling how your congregation is coping? Are you made aware of people needing a call- or needing groceries- and do you have a system set up to look after each other?
( putting this under worship- as I would consider that part of it)
Hmm, you asked ministers which is good if you are wondering how they are doing.

Then you listed a while bunch of items which are the role of council and congregation.

I'm curious if you were implying that all those items were the role of the minister?
 
Top