Hope church began streaming our services on Facebook on March 15, as well as continuing our live radio broadcast on WHTC 99.7FM. We have been presenting a fairly typical Hope Church service each week for our congregation and friends near and far who have been tuning in. We post a bulletin link on Facebook, as well as emailing it out to members (or via postal service to those without email) earlier in the week. This is because our service is quite participatory, so we want folks following along to have the readings, responses, and hymns. Our three pastors are all present, as well as Brian Carder, music director, myself, and our sound person.
As before, we have prelude and postlude on the organ. Brian and the pastors sing as I play the hymns (and we are all thankful for their good singing voices!), and the pastors do all the readings, responses, sermon, and liturgy. All parts of our service take place live in the sanctuary – which means the choir has not been singing, and I play a short offertory instead. We are all very careful to be positioned at least six feet from one another in the sanctuary and while we interact before and after, as well as wiping down all surfaces that are touched by multiple people.
The choir has been having regular Zoom social get-togethers, and Brian occasionally sends out Youtube recordings of anthems that relate to the scriptures of the week for the choir, sometimes also anthems the choir remembers singing in the past. As a staff, we meet weekly via Zoom for worship planning meetings, and the office staff work remotely to prepare the bulletin and their other administrative duties.
I still go into church to practice (though not nearly as often as before, with my kids home all the time!) We have also recently put a call out to church members who are musical, asking if they’d like to make a short video of themselves playing music, to share with the congregation over Facebook. My kids and I recorded one of their Suzuki songs for Easter.
I’ve been gratified by the many comments we’ve heard from congregation members about how meaningful it is for them to be able to watch our services during a time when so much about life has changed. Our members really love seeing us in the sanctuary (even if they can’t be there) - for a sense of normalcy. They also have mentioned enjoying the feature on Facebook where they can watch people enter the virtual space, much like they do on a Sunday morning, and comment during the service to one another.
Submitted May 6 by Rhonda Edgington