Web conferencing tools have been around for a while, and I suspect many in the congregation have had some experience with them. Zoom is most highly recommended by the UUA and so that’s the one we’re going with in our attempt to stay connected during the extraordinary period that lies ahead. To meet in this electronic medium rather than face to face will be a vastly different experience than that to which we’re accustomed. As intuitive as the Zoom interface may be, we’ll face a considerable learning curve in our effort to master it. I suggest we approach it in a spirit of creativity and adventure.
For our the first online session we’re striving to organize on Sunday, March 22, Pam Collins, Laurie Singer, John Fisher and I will use Zoom’s meetings function to host a discussion we’re calling: “Perspectives on a Pandemic: Staying Connected in a Coronavirus World.” We’ll share instructions for joining the conference next week when we’re sure we have Zoom configured as we wish and we’ve had some time to familiarize ourselves with its various bells and whistles.
In this program, we’ll explore our ability to conduct a productive online meeting by focusing on the subject that is foremost in all of our minds: What steps can we take to sustain our faith community at a time when “social distancing” and “flattening the curve” are not only our civic obligations but, potentially for some, a matter of life or death?
We have no expectation that everything in this first will go smoothly. Especially if you are new to web conferencing, you may encounter problems accessing the presentation or getting the audio to work. You may find confusing the option for submitting questions, or chatting, or raising your hand. This is all to be expected and so let’s take it all in stride and good cheer as we collectively strive to create a new sacred space online.
Join the Worship, Communications and Membership Teams in for an open house and practice session in Zoom this Sunday, March 15, at 10 a.m. Click here. (If you experience difficulty, please drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 518-487-0165 and I’ll work with you in figuring it out. If all else fails, you should be able to dial in for audio at 1-646-876-9923.)