Much of the church work is moving online in response to the situation with COVID19. The tool we are using to Stay Connected is called Zoom.

Zoom is an online conferencing service that allows up to 1000 people to join together with video and voice and to listen to each other; talk to each other; be with each other when physical togetherness is not possible.

There are many ways to connect using this service.

From Your Desktop or Laptop Computer: Go to the website in your browser. You will have the option of creating a free account or simply click on “JOIN A MEETING”. Then you’ll type the Meeting ID and click “JOIN” and you’re off and running.

From Your Smartphone:

1.  Go to where you get apps for your Apple or Android smartphone.

2.  Type Zoom into the search.

3. Download the free app:  “ZOOM Cloud Meetings”.

4.  When you want to join a ZOOM meeting, open the app and enter the Meeting ID when prompted.

From Your Land-line or Other Phone: Dial +1 669 900 6833. You will be asked to enter the Meeting Number. There are other phone numbers you can use to dial-in if that one is overloaded and you get a busy signal. The Administrator can help you find one.

Click here for some instructions with pictures.

You have noticed the phrase “Meeting Number” pop up a lot. That is a unique identifier for that meeting (or series of meetings) that you need to connect. For Worship, RE, Zoom Office Hours, and other church functions that number will be available on our website, in our email updates, and may be sent to you directly as part of an “invitation” if the meeting is for a group or committee. Be sure you have that number before you try to connect.

Zoom Etiquette: Meeting this way, just like meeting in person, comes with some standard etiquette. The most important – the “mute” button. The first time you log on to Zoom – find that button. It should be located somewhere in the lower left-hand corner but it may be invisible until your cursor hovers over it, so be patient. When you are not speaking in a meeting – “mute” yourself. If you keep your microphone “live”, then everyone in the meeting will hear you cough, and chew, and your dog barking, and the radio playing in another room. Not only that, but every time you sneeze, your face will pop up on the main screen. It can become quite a distraction if 100 people are burping and laughing and swallowing all at once. On the flip side of that coin – if you are trying to speak and everyone seems to be ignoring you – check your Mute button and switch it off. It takes a while to get used to – but it’s a skill we all need practice with – knowing when to be quiet. (An advanced tip – if your microphone is muted and you only have a word or two to say, you can temporarily unmute by pressing and holding the space bar key on your keyboard.)

Another hint – be aware of your home surroundings and remember that everyone else can see what is behind your back. Everyone else can also see all your movements. You can stop your video (the button is right next to the Mute button) if you are moving around a lot or need to do something that you don’t necessarily want everyone else to see.

Don’t let this get too overwhelming. If you have trouble connecting, let us know. We have volunteers standing by who can talk you through this over the phone or can come to your home and help. Contact the Administrator if you need assistance.

And when you are ready – your church has a Zoom account (UUSLO Meeting Zoom) which you can use for committee or other group meetings. Your Administrator has the details. If you’re ready to Zoom – here is the form you can use to reserve the church Zoom account – fill in the PDF, save it to your computer, and email it to the office. The Administrator will be in touch with the sign-in details. Or simply email the office and let me know what you need.

Like any tool, Zoom can be misused. Participants can use the platform to disrupt a meeting. There are ways you can minimize the risk and deal with disruptive behavior. These guideline will help you set up a safe meeting.