Worship Options After COVID, Threshing Session, April 11, 2021 at noon (after Meeting for Worship)

On Sunday, April 11, 2021 at noon, Ministry and Counsel will hold a threshing session on worship options post-COVID that were presented at Monthly Meeting for Business in February. We welcome thoughts, questions, and concerns regarding how we should move forward. We plan to devote about an hour to the process. Below are questions we invite you to consider.

We are all agreed that we want to return to the meetinghouse as soon as possible, but we also want to put a priority on the health and safety of all who participate. During this past year, we have been joined by many people at a geographical distance who have been able to participate via Zoom. At the same time, some regular participants in Meeting have been absent because they do not feel comfortable with Zoom meetings. 

1.  In balancing between return to the meetinghouse and safety, should we lean more toward returning as soon as we can, or more toward ensuring safety?

2.  As we return to the meetinghouse, do we want to use some hybrid solution in which some are present at worship in the meetinghouse and others are present via Zoom? 

3.  Which should we be aiming at: (a) or (b)?

(a)  An eventual return to having worship in the way we have had it in years past, that is, worship in the meetinghouse without use of Zoom.

(b) A new form of worship (a hybrid solution) in which we have both (a) people present in the meetinghouse and (b) people present via Zoom. 

4.  If we opt for a hybrid solution, should we think of this mostly as a transitional or short-term solution, or should we be planning on using a hybrid solution long into the future as our normal way of doing meeting for worship? 

Some options presented at Monthly Meeting in February are outlined below, as well as a few words about a device that is currently being used in some other Meetings in New England. You may want to refer to these in the threshing session. 

True Hybrid – Option 1: Commit to long-term hybrid worship. Work out a tech solution: big screen, cameras (costs $$). Seating arrangements in meetinghouse. Staffing arrangements for tech on a regular basis. Move toward a situation that has Zoom primary AND some people in the meetinghouse. Then move toward meetinghouse primary AND with Zoom a nearly-as-good option

Temporary Hybrid – Option 2: For the next several months, Zoom remains primary, with option to come to the meetinghouse. Each person in the meetinghouse brings their own electronic device (a smart phone or a tablet). Later: drop the Zoom option.

Hybrid with Secondary Zoom – Option 3:. Like Option 1 but without a good Zoom option. Do a good-enough Zoom set-up but much less effort. Some weeks perhaps not available. Perhaps eventually drop the Zoom option. 

The Meeting OWL is a thousand-dollar device that has 360 degree visual and full audio capability that some New England meetings are using. About the size of a table lamp, it can swivel around (like an owl) to pick up the speaker. The device may project better going out from the meeting than for bringing speakers in. It is used via Zoom. Use of this device could be integrated into Option 3.