Church without Walls

Resources for being the CHURCH without going to church!


Scroll down for – Worship online basics, Resources for Worship Online, Worship Examples, Pastoral Care/Fellowship, Education, Administration, Self-Care, Bookshelf and Other.

Key points: Work with FACTS (CDC, WHO, etc.). Work with others to find creative ways to be the church. Communicate this widely.

The CDC has prepared a guide for faith-based groups.

The New York Council of Churches has an update (March 24) in response to the Executive Order. The original document is a Resource Guide including some practical information as well as issues regarding justice and the virus in NYS.


Worship online basics

DefintionProsCons
Livestreaming
(Facebook)
Livestreaming is offered in real time and is not recorded.Shared experience between those who are in person and those who are online. One-way communication. Those online may feel like spectators. Issues regarding copyrights (especially music). Generally not recorded.
Zoom Offered in real time, can be recorded.Interactive. All present can participate.Congregational responses need to be modified. Learning curve for leadership as well as worship participants.
Recordings
(YouTube)
Not offered in real time.Higher level of control over final product. “Just in time” learning (folks can access at will)One-way communication. Copyright issues.

Resources for Worship Online

  • http://www.zoom.us – Unfortunately, Zoom is no longer offering free meetings. The ProPlan is about $15 a month, but I’ve found it invaluable.
  • Guidance on how to lead a worship service using Zoom can be found here: Zoom Worship Preparation
  • Interested in live-streaming worship? Here’s one congregation’s story: Creating Live-streamed Worship
  • Other platforms that are easy to use include YouTube and Facebook.
  • Use a twitter hashtag to connect folks… like Slatespeak!
  • Consider other times and other forms for worship. Scipioville is offering Compline services Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. Not familiar with Compline? This beautiful children’s book is a lovely introduction to this prayer (offered in the Episcopal tradition)
  • Skitguys offer creative videos for online worship. Great discussion starters!
  • Digital Resources for Holy Week can be found here.

Worship Examples

South Valley holds worship using Zoom with a powerpoint base. See their powerpoint here (notice the great use of artwork!). The Presbytery also offers a worship experience using Zoom on Sunday nights at 7 p.m. If you’d like to learn how to put one of these together, the Worship Team meets on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m.

An option for folks that are not internet-savvy or who have limited bandwidth is to provide a weekly service for home liturgy. This can be snail mailed and/or emailed. A sample of this type of service can be found here. Cayuga-Syracuse is also providing a home liturgy for folks.

Maundy Thursday Good Friday Easter

Pastoral Care/Fellowship

Those in social isolation need pastoral care and fellowship. Consider the following options:

  • send out the bulletin (either snail mail or email) each Sunday with notes from members
  • set up a daily conference call or zoom meeting for prayer and checking in. I know of several Ghanian congregations who have been doing this every day for years… often at 7 a.m!
  • create a prayer chain that has those who are isolated calling each other on a daily basis for prayer and check-in, as well as activating your Deacons and others to reach out on a daily basis
  • set up an online games group in your congregation (such as Words with Friends, etc.) and publish the winners each week on your Facebook or Webpage.
  • Ask members to share their story of how they came to your church on your Facebook page. For those who aren’t online savvy, ask those who are to interview those members and share the stories.
  • If you don’t have a Facebook presence… now is the time to consider this platform for its ease of use and its ability to connect folks.
  • Use a conference call for the choir. It may be difficult to work through complicated pieces but it is fun for a hymn sing.

Education

There are a growing number of materials for online faith formation. Please curate your education materials carefully. There are some really good reformed materials out there… and some that are theologically challenged.

Start here: Taking Faith Formation Online.

Also Building Blocks. Check out the at home section in particular.

Shareable resources are available via subscription.  If there is interest in the Presbytery providing these resources to churches, please contact Karen (kchamis@cayugasyracuse.org)   

Here’s a great article Caring for One Another: Care, Share, Play, Love with ideas for making the most of this surreal time.

Check out resources for children at www.illustratedministry.com; visual resources at sanctifiedart.org (wonderful for worship!).  Looking for videos… check out https://www.worshiphousemedia.com/producers/423/salt-project.

Administration

The work of the church continues! Zoom can be used for meetings, as can conference calls (www.freeconferencecall.com is one option).

The offering can be collected via mail…. as well as via a mobile app. To sign up for the latter, consider using the platform provided by the Presbyterian Foundation. Information can be found here: Foundation A video about this can be found by clicking HERE.

A sample Congregational Plan can be found here: CPC Plan (shared with permission)

Looking to adopt your bylaws to include virtual Session meetings, or to create an Administrative Commission to handle emergencies when the body can’t meet? Scipioville has shared these.

The information on the CARES Act changes daily (even after its release). Some of this information may therefore be outdated, but it may still be helpful overall.

Self-Care

Put the oxygen mask on your own face before helping others!

Bookshelf

Reading materials for responding to a pandemic:

Additional Resources

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