Digital Worship and Communication Resources
There are some ways you can continue to be in community, virtually. Along with ways to hold meetings, keep in touch, and host bible studies, some resources for livestreaming worship are listed below. Not everyone will need or be able to institute online worship.
If your parish would like to host online worship, there are two free products that will help you do that: Zoom and Facebook Live. (As you continue providing online opportunities for you church, you will want to consider a paid account for Zoom. Read more about considerations here.) For either option, you will need: reliable high-speed internet and a computer with a camera, a speaker and a microphone. If you find you need more assistance getting started, please reach out to Katie Clark, Director of Communications.
In November 2020, the Diocese of Maine began offering one-time grants to assist congregations and diocesan entities in creating a robust digital experience for parishioners. Visit this page for more info and to apply.
Lots of other paid streaming services and platforms are available if your church has been considering moving in this direction already, including Dacast, ChurchStreaming.tv, SundayStreams, Church Online Platform and vMix.
Many churches are asking how to track Sunday attendance now that we have moved to or added online worship. Please read the advice for the year 2020 in this letter from Cn. Michael Barlowe:
- Letter from Canon Michael Barlowe, Executive Officer of General Convention about tracking online attendance
Please note when broadcasting online services that standard music licenses do not cover streaming.
Choose public domain hymns
Mute the feed during hymns (note this will only work with Zoom – Facebook Live does not offer a muting option)
Use original music
To support churches that continue hold their services online during the pandemic, Church Publishing is granting permission for a selection of hymns for free streaming (not archiving!) during this time. A full list of hymns can be found here.
With the basic free account, you will be able to host a meeting with up to 100 participants and for up to 40 minutes. The benefit of Zoom is that you can see other participants in addition to the person leading the service, and other participants may lead certain parts of the service (readings, prayers, etc). Participants may join a Zoom meeting just using their web-based platform. A drawback is "Zoombombing", when someone crashes your virtual meeting and displays offensive content to the group. Be aware. Here are some preventions tips from ENS and a short document outlining prevention and what to do if it happens to your meeting.
- Zoom Worship Preparations
- Best Practices for Zoom Meetings
- Zoom Webinars Offered by the Company
- Zoom lighting tips
- Three Ways to Change Your Zoom Screen Name
You can host worship on Facebook Live from your parish Facebook page. Simply let people know in advance that you will be hosting worship at a certain time on your parish’s page. First make sure you are an admin on the page. Then, at the appointed time, click “Live.” The benefit of Facebook Live is that many of your congregants may already follow your page, and it may be easier for them to go to a familiar “place” than to use Zoom for the first time. Viewers do not need to have Facebook accounts in order to watch the service. Let them know! A drawback is that only the person filming the video participates.
Livestreaming Tech - Cost Worksheet
Are you considering upgrading your technical equipment to improve livestreaming? Here are some Three Ways to Change Your Zoom Screen Name from communicators in The Episcopal Church.
Other free or low-cost ways to host online meetings and play music
Alternative ways for smaller prayer groups and bible studies include:
Nonprofit Resources for Remote Work During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Getting Started with Live Steaming from Caffeinated Church
Please direct questions to Katie Clark, Director of Communications. Ask about upcoming Communications Office Hours!