The internet can be a wonderful environment for connection. Unfortunately, just like the “real world,” it’s plagued by people who don’t share our commitment to love and justice. Because the pandemic has moved most gatherings online, we’re seeing the rise of “Zoombombing.” These are trolls who try to use Zoom’s features to cause disruption by sharing harmful imagery or messages that are often sexual or racist.
We are striving to offer a meaningful, accessible and safe online worship service for UUCM members, friends and visitors. We already had some prevention settings in place for our Zoom worship. Based on recommendations, we’ve added a few more and will let the community know if others are required:
- We will now be using a new meeting ID for each weekly worship service. We had previously been using the same ID number. The Zoom link will be shared each week in the Friday Update email and posted on https://uucmtka.org/.
- When you connect to worship, you will automatically be placed in a waiting room. This will happen whether you join through the app or by phone. One of our greeters will manually admit you into the main Zoom meeting space. Think of this like waiting in the church community room before going into the sanctuary. For those using the Zoom app, it would help greeters if you changed your name to something recognizable (and not your device name). It would also help if folks could arrive early so there’s not a log-jam at the start of worship.
- Once worship begins, we will mute all participants and not allow you to unmute yourself. If there are moments in the service where you will be invited to speak aloud, we’ll unmute for you. You will be able to mute/unmute yourself in a breakout room and during the gathering and post-worship coffee times.
- We have turned off private text chat. You will still be able to use the chat panel to text with everyone, but cannot send a private message to an individual.
- We have turned off virtual backgrounds. We know this can be a fun feature and offer some privacy. We hope people will continue to show their video since it’s great to see each other’s faces. If you do not want to show anything in the background, positioning yourself in front of a plain wall or door is a good alternative.
We are grateful that we can continue to worship and be together in online spaces. We know that it is a different experience than gathering in our beautiful building. Thank you for your understanding and your openness as we continue to keep church going in new ways.