The Next Step in virtual worship at New Garden Friends Meeting / The technical team invites you to a community event to launch – and debug – a new setup for our hybrid worship (hybrid being “online plus in-person”). Join us in person or through Zoom or Facebook on Wednesday, March 16 at 7 p.m. for a test run using a new setup. We will do a short worship service, complete with music, reading(s), and a short waiting (silent) worship.

We all hope that the need for strict protections against the spread of Covid will continue to relax, and that soon we can all worship in our Worship Room together, much like before the pandemic. But the pandemic taught us that there is value in worshipping with Friends who can’t physically join us. So we work towards a way of worship that is very close to our old way, but includes Friends who can’t be with us in the room.

When the weather was pleasant during the past year we gathered outdoors to worship, using internet technology to include remote worshippers. We have a plan for doing the same (only better!) when we are back in the Worship Room, but the full plan requires some wiring and installations that will take several more weeks to bid out and get completed. Meanwhile, the Communications Committee’s tech team has a temporary hybrid setup that we are ready to try out. It will support a hybrid worship experience between online (Zoom and Facebook) and in-person worship. Don’t confuse this new setup with the one we’ve used the last two weeks. The current one just provides a shared Zoom session in the Worship Room, while the event itself is still a Zoom meeting. Our new setup will be different because the programmed elements (welcome, announcements, reading, message, and waiting worship) will take place with gathered Friends in the Worship Room. Even live instrumental music will be there, while live singing will need to wait just a bit longer. Like our outdoor hybrid worship, the links to Zoom and Facebook will still be complicated and less than ideal, but they will be there, so we can “be with” our Friends who are someplace else.

These hybrid setups are complicated, so they often have problems on their first run. We don’t like to push technical problems into the intended calm of a First Day worship, so we’re offering a “dress rehearsal” (well, more of a preview performance) where all our technical elements will be tested. If there’s a volume setting or a missing cable that we’ve overlooked, we hope to find it Wednesday instead of in First Day worship. Please join us if you would enjoy the adventure, or the added chance to celebrate worshipping together.