Churches should consider some kind of video platform for meetings. The most commonly used one is Zoom. A free version allows for meetings of 40 minutes or less, with up to 100 people in the meeting. Paid versions allow for longer meetings that can be recorded to be viewed later.
This video shows people who are new to Zoom how to join an online meeting.
Looking for a good way to conduct conference calls (or an all-parish call)? FreeConferenceCall.com may be your solution.
Some churches may find it helpful to live stream worship services for those who are not able to attend church. Some may need help in getting started, and others are expanding their capabilities.
Here are some resources that can help:
How to livestream your church service on Facebook Live in 4 easy steps (video).
Guidelines for Facebook Live streaming, from a former editor of The Atlantic (viewable in a Google doc).
Do you want your Facebook Live stream to be embedded on your website, so it’s easier to find? VidLive may be your answer.
You can stream Zoom meetings to Facebook Live or YouTube. This video tutorial shows you how.
You also can livestream directly to YouTube. One way is through Open Broadcaster Software.
You must be certain that music you broadcast is free from copyright restrictions, or that you have a license to use copyrighted material. Just because something is in the Hymnal 1982 does not mean it can be broadcast without a separate license.
List of hymns that are in the public domain (no copyright restrictions).
These companies offer annual broadcast licenses for parishes:
Broadcast copyright guidance from the Episcopal Church
Building community online
Gathering community via Facebook Live (video)
Resources for digital faith formation, from e-Formation
Low tech/No-tech ways to stay connected (thanks to the Diocese of North Carolina)
Record and Post
If livestreaming isn’t going to work for your audience, consider recording your service, sermon, prayers or messages and posting them on your website and social media channels. It doesn’t have to be interactive to have an impact.
Phone trees/Calling Buddies
One of the areas of greatest concerns is our neighbors who are vulnerable, either because of a physical or emotional need, or because they are in the at-risk group who are cautioned to avoid crowds right now. A good old-fashioned phone call is a great way to check in with community members who need to know they are not forgotten. Create a list of those who could use the connection and enlist the help of parishioners or church leaders to check make the calls on a regular (even daily) basis.
Errand support teams
Another concern for those who may not be advised (or are unable) to frequent public areas right now is the simple act of running errands. Consider creating “buddy teams” between parishioners who could use a hand and can lend a hand with running errands to ensure supply levels don’t become a source of stress.
Notes are notable
There’s something lovely about receiving a note in the mail, knowing someone took the time to write it, address it and put a stamp on it. Technology is wonderful, but sometimes old school can bring an even bigger smile.
The quiet connection
“One of the beautiful things about the Book of Common Prayer is that it allows us always to be together in common prayer and common worship even if we can’t be together physically. It opens up another ‘virtual’ option in which community leaders can designate specific times during which people can open their Prayer Books at home or wherever they are and know that others in their congregation are doing the very same thing and praying the very same words right along with them at that particular time.” (Kirk Royal, Good Shepherd, Raleigh) As a bonus activity, suggest keeping a journal of thoughts during these reading times to share when we are able to gather together again.