Mid-Week Update: March 25, 2020

Contemporary Service bulletin to print (for March 29)

Traditional Service bulletin to print (for March 29)

Sunday School experience (not live)

A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Connecting in all kinds of ways

Last week, one of our Elders wrote me a note responding to all the shifts we were making to take church activities and meetings online through the Zoom videoconferencing platform

“It’s kind of amazing and I think everyone is connecting on a deeper level. I was worried about the spirit of people being diminished solely on the online platform and have been proven wrong in worship, work, and friendship. Hoping it doesn’t need to continue but not sad about some of the opportunities and connections it has brought forward.”

That’s been the experience of many of us, I think, over the past week. Some of us have been using such technology for a while; others are completely new to it. Yet it has been amazing how Zoom has allowed us to come closer together as a congregation, even in some ways that we weren’t when we had the option of gathering in person. And it has been a true blessing to be able to connect “face-to-face,” even remotely, during this time.

One of the most helpful parts about Zoom, though, is that if you simply don’t have the hardware or the internet connection to be able to join by video, you can still call into the Zoom meeting using any telephone and participate by voice-only. While not ideal, it ensures that those who, for whatever reason, can’t join by video-conference can still connect in the life of the church.

I say this because this week, we’re going to be using Zoom in two new and very important ways, and if you are not online with us, you can still participate by phone. We will continue to livestream both worship services via Facebook Live, but this week we are also going to attempt an audio “simulcast” using Zoom for the Traditional worship service at 11 a.m. You should be able to call 929-205-6099 at 11 a.m. and hear the entire worship service on your phone. I say “should” because we haven’t done this before, so we ask for your patience if it doesn’t go smoothly the first time, but we think it will work. (See calling instructions in the yellow box, below.)

Second, you can call that same number (or simply stay on the line) just after noon and participate in the special Congregational Meeting that will take place via Zoom this Sunday, after the Traditional worship service concludes.

The Session called this meeting to elect the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee to search for our new Associate Pastor, and to act on recommended changes to the bylaws of the Congregation and Corporation. In all transparency, we may need to postpone action on the latter until we can meet in person if the conversation gets too detailed, but we are going to see what we can accomplish.

If you have an internet connection and adequate equipment, we strongly urge you to participate by video rather than audio (see instructions in blue box, below, to join us online); this will allow for a more authentic experience of a congregational meeting. I also need to point out that there is a limit of 100 participants in terms of the technology, but we need at least 52 people for a quorum, so please plan to participate one way or another. So: I hope to see and/or hear you at the meeting on Sunday!

Grace and Peace,

PS – We are also rolling out a new option for a children’s Sunday School experience. The Sunday School teachers have pre-recorded several short videos of greeting, music, stories and lessons that you can view. There are also printable activity sheets – visit this page on our website. Since they are videos (not live), you can do them when convenient or on Sunday morning.

NOTE: The boxes below are images so the links are not ‘live’ – you will have to type into your browser.