Enriching Online Worship

A wooden pew is lit with sunlight, with a strip of stained glass patterning

Many Unitarian Universalist congregations and communities are choosing to livestream their worship services during the pandemic so that members can connect to their faith community at a familiar time.

Creating online worship—whether it's live or recorded—involves a series of learning curves, which means nothing will be perfect, and mistakes will be made. (Forgive yourself!) How do we create online worship that's engaging, sensory-rich, and deeply meaningful?

This webinar was recorded on March 25, 2020.

Enriching Online Worship webinar

Dr. Marcia McFee and Rev. Erika Hewitt discuss how to bring the fullness of our congregational relationships alive in online worship services. The webinar chat is available here, and the webinar transcript is available here.

Webinar Milestones

Here are a some of the benchmarks in this 95-minute conversation:

  • 00:30 Dr. Marcia McFee invites participants to populate a word cloud via Mentimeter.
  • 14:15 Rev. Erika Hewitt invites participants to light a chalice, perhaps using the WorshipWeb app's chalice function.
  • 18:05 Erika introduces Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh (tech host) and Dr. Marcia McFee
  • 24:30 Marcia explains why she believes that even recorded worship services should "air" at their usual time
  • 25:30 Erika offers a non-religious testimony of why our people might value imperfect, low-tech worship with their own religious communities rather than leave to find more polished, high-tech worship somewhere else.
  • 30:00 Marcia describes why "B roll" video of our worship sites can be meaningful
  • 36:00 Marcia shows & discusses examples from online worship services she's attended
  • 46:20 Marcia addresses concerns about privacy for pastoral concerns during online worship
  • 50:00 Erika highlights a source for Covid-related worship material that's now been moved to WorshipLab.
  • 1:03:00 Marcia talks about mirror neurons, and how powerfully they can function during online worship experiences.
  • 1:06:30 Marcia offers some preaching/reading tips, and then explains why it's important to tell a story instead of writing and reading a story.
  • 1:14:00 Marcia describes one way to make symbols and stories more interactive.
  • 1:25:00 Erika and Marcia talk about music in online worship, and maintaining its quality for online participants
  • 1:30:00 Marcia talks about pastors and worship leaders bringing their vulnerability to worship, and then explains what she means by "metaphoraging."
  • 1:33:00 Erika asks participants to join in a closing reading.

About the Author

Erika Hewitt

Rev. Erika Hewitt (she/her) serves as the Minister of Worship Arts for the Unitarian Universalist Association. She also spends time on the road as a guest preacher, worship consultant, and wedding officiant....

For more information contact .

Marcia McFee

Dr. Marcia McFee of Worship Design Studio

A word cloud with prominent words like "grace," "love," "peace," and "patience."

The word cloud of blessing, generated spontaneously by webinar participants, via Mentimeter.

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