Communications Resources for Connectedness
Webcasting or Live-Streaming
As you consider alternative ways of using technology to meet people where they are, remember that personal connections, the connections that are made from an individual to an individual, are important. How can you create communities within your community to maintain personal relationships? How can you shift meetings, worship services, or youth events from in-person gatherings to online gatherings? Could you offer morning prayer or a daily reflection virtually rather than in-person? Learn more and view resources.
It is important to acknowledge the weight of word choice during this time. The Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has recommended using the term physical distancing to better maintain the rhetoric that this is not a time to socially disconnect from our loved ones, but to adapt our communication strategies. While we are in the middle of this difficult time, it is important to maintain a calm but sensitive tone in all communications. Avoid using language or expressions that further panic and worry, while acknowledging that this is a difficult time for many. The goal is to be realistic about how hard this time is for so many, but to provide a safe and calm haven as a church.
Even during COVID19, copyright policies must be upheld by churches. If you plan to use other liturgical material in your livestream or your online worship bulletin, you need to check with the copyright holders for permission. Read more about streaming copyright licenses.
Worship Community Video Conferences
If you hold an online-only service where the online audience is the sole focus, you could utilize Zoom as a meeting space. The service bulletin could be shared on a webpage for everyone to access or simply in a group chat. The readings could be done together. The preacher could share their sermon. Questions can be asked and people can give reflections to the readings, or a list of questions could be provided to guide conversations in breakout rooms of smaller groups. Participants can make prayer requests and people can pray online together. Video conferencing can be a powerful method to engaging your worship community online in new ways. You can utilize a video conferencing platform such as Zoom, UberConference, Google Hangouts Meet, or Cisco Webex Meetings. Zoom is a widely used platform that is user-friendly and inexpensive. The Pro plan for $14.99 per month allows up to 100 participants, with the ability to upgrade that plan based on your number of participants beyond 100. Learn more about video conferencing.
Group Messaging: Group Texting & Group Calling Resources
In this time where people want to hear from their church in many ways, not just via email or via an eNewsletter, texting and calling can be a great way to send important time-sensitive information. View resources about group messaging.
Social Media and Website Updates
As news changes daily, and even hourly, it is crucial to stay up-to-date on website maintenance and social media. Keep your parishioners in the loop for any new additions for connecting. You may find it helpful to create a COVID19 page on your website and social media pages.
Social media is the ultimate community builder, so use your platforms to connect with others during this time. Ask your followers/parishioners how they are doing, their tips for getting through this hard time, and connect with others that we are all in this situation together. Learn more and view resources.
Are you creating signage at your building to indicate that you have suspended in-person gatherings until further notice? Here are some signs that churches in the diocese have put up: Christ’s Episcopal, St. Peter’s, St. Timothy’s,