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.

Communication Rhetoric

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.

Copyright Policies

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.

Community Building Using Technology
Organizations have been thriving for years, building community virtually and through tech-supported meetings. Church can thrive too with virtual vestry meetings, ministry meetings, and community events. You can create relationships, be pastoral, care for your community, and be innovative in how you meet and share and care. On Monday, March 30, we met via Zoom and discussed the following areas: (1) How to hold a satisfying virtual meeting. (2) Tools for best engaging your community. (3) How other organizations are innovating virtually. (4) Best practices for trauma-sensitive care in a virtual world with tech solutions (5) How to use the old-fashioned phone call in new ways. (6) Activating your church to minister to tech beginners. (7) How to address the different needs of your community. This Zoom meeting was facilitated by Michelle Auerbach, an organizational consultant who has worked with large global companies, nonprofits, and faith-based change makers using storytelling, innovation strategies, and every possible tech solution for supporting community, change, and leadership. Watch the video conference, Powerpoint, Handout 1, Handout 2

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.

Building Signage

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,