Hybrid Meetings for Worship
by Herb Lape
A “social meal” on the topic of hybrid online-and-in-person meetings was held during Fall Sessions. Herb Lape was one of the presenters at that meal.
Westbury Meeting quickly converted its worship to Zoom when we had a lock down in March. And then when the state allowed us to return in person at 25% capacity following social distancing rules in June, we went Hybrid (a combination of in-person and over Zoom video conferencing). We bought a Blue Snow Ball surround microphone that plugs into a computer and positioned it in the meeting house so that it would pick up any vocal ministry of those present. The computer was connected to Zoom worshippers with a Bluetooth speaker that transmitted vocal ministry from those in Zoomland. This system worked as well for afterthoughts, joys and concerns, announcements, some socializing/connecting after MFW, and after meeting programs like our Quaker Heroes (Helen Garay Toppins joined us one Sunday for an excellent presentation on Paul Cuffe). We had some technical issues that were quickly addressed—using a Verizon hotspot until we “boosted” the Wi-Fi coverage in the meeting house, for example. Our attendance over the summer was consistent with past years, maybe slightly better as we attracted distant Friends who have moved away. We are presently on Zoom only given the uptick and colder weather and wait for the installation of a better filtration system in the meeting house and safer general conditions to be discerned. We have felt spirit-led as we maintained our connection in difficult times.