Who knew the whole world within a really long week, would be learning Zoom. I wonder how Zoom is expanding sufficiently to meet the demand for its capacity? It seems like every classroom in America is suddenly meeting that way, at least for the rest of this school year.
I have used Zoom for a few years for meetings, but mostly as a participant. Only now am I in a crash course to learn its intricacies. I need to be fluent in Zoom if I’m going to emcee or “traffic cop” worship there. Lord, help me, I forget the red friendship pads on a good Sunday. Now I need to switch and toggle and mute and minimize and talk at the same time…
My problem is currently: I learn something; then I forget the exact “how to,” but remember that I should know it. Me and technology are like that.
Everyone else can relax. It’s sort of like I tell wedding couples: you got to get through the procession, but the rest is up to me, to turn you this way and that, have you move forward, turn around, and before you know it, I’m sending you out married.
You just need to get through the procession, people! Mostly, that’s getting connected and showing up on our Zoom video call. Please just figure out the basics. We want you on there. We want to be together. We need to stick together… to be able to be church with each other.
Elsewhere in this week’s E-pistle, you will see that Corlis, Suzanne, Tony M. and Woody have volunteered to help people who are stuck. Their contact info is also provided.
Church, it’s not that hard to be a participant. Imagine being in the Sanctuary if you didn’t know how church works. It leaves you too passive, but it’s not like you are missing the total experience. If you get connected, that’s gonna get you 80% of what you want — to hear church and to see your church community.
That last 20%, it’s what you’re going to have to learn to participate fully. Basically, it’s only three functions you have to master: 1) being able to unmute/ mute; 2) being able to turn on the chat function; and 3) being able to show you want to be recognized by “raising your hand.” Once you get that good, next comes switching back and forth between speaker view and gallery view and tooling around to see what other people are doing!
I’m not going to name names, but there were some pretty surprising faces who found their way onto Zoom last Sunday — folks who regularly struggle with simpler online functions were there front and center. YOU CAN DO THIS!
There are some complexities or differences that we’re not going to get all figured out immediately. (Sadly, I foresee we are going to have time to get quite familiar with this technology.) But right now, as we are all learning, there are a lot of variables. People will be on computers, laptops, chromebooks, tablets, smartphones and the telephone. By any means necessary, really. As we want it to be.
But how Zoom works or even shows up on each of those can be different. Holly and I, for example, realize that when we are both on Zoom via our smartphones, our phones have slightly different pop-up windows. We don’t know why. But because of it, we have to do certain functions in different ways.
But rather than panicking, is our situation that different from a Sunday when we are all here? Is there ever a “regular” Sunday at Old First?
We specialize in folks who are special, and we manage to keep everyone together. Some people walk fast; others come in slowly. Some with a cane. Or walker. Or wheel chair. Some come up the stairs. Others take the elevator. Some like to be right next to other people, and some like to sit off alone. Some can hear every mistake; others are looking for hearing aids.
Some people answer their phones in church. Some people talk at the wrong time.
Old First is pretty used to and accepting people and events as they come. We manage. We figure things out on the fly. We go with the flow or change plans. We don’t expect perfect; we forgive each other and ourselves. We find interesting, funny and sometimes enlightening coincidences come from what didn’t work out as we planned. And like those weddings I talked about earlier, in the end, we accept that the way it worked out “must have been” the way had God wanted.
We’ll be fine. Worship will work out, glitches and all. Join us, as we all learn something new. And learn more about ourselves, each other and God. Join us as we do what we can to support one another.
Worship will be at 11 on Sunday, but we ask you to arrive early so we can make sure everyone is situated, between 10:30 and 10:45. Find us at:
If you do not have a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone to get on, you can call in:
Dial:: 646-876-9923. When prompted, type in our meeting ID:: 4571163908#