Many of our congregations have done an incredible amount of work to bring people together for virtual worship, and did so on very short notice as the virus spread across the US and world. We applaud and share gratitude for all you have done to create meaningful and connective spaces of words and music and love in this extraordinary time.
Planning to worship and gather online for a year or more calls our congregations to invest in expanding their skill base and fluency with online worship, religious education, and meetings. If you’ve been relying on one or two people who know how to manage the technology, it’s time to expand that base for the long haul. If you don’t have quite the right equipment or computers for your staff and worship leaders, it’s time to invest. If some of your lay leaders and members don’t have webcams or smartphone technology, perhaps you can give or lend them the equipment they need to lead the congregation during this time. If your people need training in how to connect online, it’s a good time to schedule some training sessions.
Now that it’s not just an emergency stop-gap way of doing things, congregational leaders are called to ask one another:
How can we expand our level of inclusion and engagement in virtual congregational life?
What additional equipment or training or assistance do our staff and volunteers need for continuing online-only worship?
What do we need to invest in, with technology, equipment, or people-power, to keep this going until it is safe for everyone to return to in-person worship/programs?
How can we imagine broader and more inclusive ministries, worship, and programming in a post-COVID-19 world given what we’ve been learning and implementing?
We invite you to think creatively in partnership with other congregations about how to minister to the needs of your communities—we know that many meaningful cross-congregational collaborations, forged in the time of COVID-19, are already underway. It is a time for joining together in mutual support. That is how we will make it through.