Sunday, March 22, was another historic first for New Garden Friends Meeting. Margaret Webb, pastoral minister, led meeting for worship online. The format was quite familiar with a welcome, a reading, a hymn offered by music director Marc Alley, and a prepared message. But instead of gathering on benches in the Worship Room, members and attenders watched and listened from home, using the internet and Facebook to connect. The Worship Room was dark, and the building was closed to all but those facilitating the webcast from Pastor Margaret’s office.

The reason, of course, was to practice social distancing and gatherings where coronavirus might spread. Until further notice, the Meeting House is closed to all activities and Meeting for Worship will be conducted via Facebook at 11 a.m. Sunday mornings.

Online worship is new for almost all New Gardeners, and some glitches were expected. Overall, however, the webcast went quite well. Most people who tried to access the live webcast were able to do so.

Some in our community do not use Facebook, so the webcast was recorded and later posted to YouTube, where it is available to everyone. A few in the congregation reported problems in viewing the live webcast on Facebook. Some of those problems might be
attributed to internet traffic; many congregations across the nation were attempting webcasts for the first time on Sunday morning.

Here are some suggestions that might smooth out your viewing experience with future Facebook online worship sessions.

• Go to the Meeting’s Facebook page a little early. Get comfortable with your mobile device or computer before the webcast begins at approximately 11 a.m. Otherwise, you might experience an internet traffic jam at 11 a.m. sharp.
• Turn up the volume. It can be lowered if necessary once the webcast begins.
• If you don’t see the Facebook live webcast on your screen, and you think it should be there, refresh your web browser.
(This is the same thing as reloading the Meeting’s Facebook page.) That solved the issue for at least one person last Sunday.
• If you tune in late and miss something, you should be able to see the entire online webcast on the Meeting’s YouTube page
soon. Be patient. It may take a day or two for Sunday’s recording to be posted on YouTube.
• If you have trouble and need advice, call a tech-savvy friend, child, or grandchild. Don’t call the Meeting House on Sunday
morning! Whoever is there is busy, and the phones have been silenced during the webcast.
• Leave comments on Facebook or YouTube, or send your review in email to the Meeting office. Conducting worship online is new territory for our community. We’re all learning as we go. Our foremost concern is to keep everyone healthy and to keep our community connected. New Garden Friends Meeting Facebook page: Facebook or New Garden Friends Meeting on YouTube