Like most other UU congregations, we use a service called Zoom to hold our services online.
If you haven’t used Zoom before, you’ll need to download it.
- On your computer, that will happen automatically when you follow the link to log into the meeting, but if you want to get a step ahead, you can download it using this link: https://www.zoom.us/download#client_4meeting
- On a tablet or smartphone, go to the app store and download the free Zoom app.
It is also possible to call in on a landline phone. Sorry, we can’t afford a toll-free number (it would cost $100/month).
How to “come to church” online
The link (or phone number with other info you’ll need)
Watch your email for each week’s link. A few days before Sunday, Susan Swope will post a message to UUG-Updates, containing that week’s link. If you aren’t on the email list, ask us to add your name. To preserve our security from “Zoom bombers,” we don’t publish the link on this website or Facebook.
When we are hosting worship, our services begin at 10:30. Sometimes we join with other congregations and the starting time may differ.
A little before the service is scheduled to start, follow the link in Susan’s email (or dial the phone number and enter the password and meeting ID).
Virtual waiting room
If you “come to church” early, you will be in a “waiting room” until we “open the doors” about five minutes before the start. That gives those of us leading and managing the service a chance to talk privately and prepare to welcome you into our beloved community. It will be your own private “waiting room” and will look… just like the room you are in! Your screen will say “Please wait. The meeting host will let you in soon.”
Opt into video (or not)
Once we open the doors, you will see everyone who chooses to join by video. If you prefer to “sit in the back of the church” and join by audio only, that is the default. Throughout the service you can opt in or out of sharing video.
Tips for Using Zoom
These tips are for those viewing on a computer. If you are using zoom on your smart phone, the features are similar. We trust you can find them.
If you call in on a landline phone, see the end of the section “Raising your hand” for a tip just for you.
Move your mouse and you’ll see some tools.
At the upper right of your screen, you can change your view between “speaker” view and “gallery” view. Speaker view shows a big window and the contents shift automatically to the current speaker. Gallery view shows thumbnails of as many of us as will fit in the window, with the current speaker highlighted in yellow.
There is a toolbar at the bottom of the screen, with icons for many features.
One of them is start and stop video. It’s your choice whether or not to share video of yourself (assuming your computer has a camera). You can turn video on and off whenever you want. If you don’t share video, others will see a box with your name in it.
In your Zoom account (profile), please use your actual name as a courtesy to the other congregants and those managing the service (to avoid “Zoom bombers,” we need to decide whether it is safe to let people in from the waiting room). If you can’t figure out how to do that, you can correct your name once you are in the “meeting:”
Click on the “Participants” button.
- Next, hover your mouse over your name in the “Participants” list and Click on “Rename”.
- Enter the name you’d like to appear in the Zoom meeting and click on “OK”.
“Raising your hand” is now easier to find
Congregants’ microphones are muted until they ask to speak. To let us know that you want to share, please “raise your hand.” Not your literal hand, but your virtual hand. How do you do this? Click on the Reactions button at the bottom of your Zoom screen and you’ll see something like this.
The feature is also available on a smartphone or a tablet, but may be in a different place.
And here’s a tip for those on a landline phone: you can raise your hand too, by pressing *9.
New as of January 2021: Zoom has now enabled automatic “live transcription” (closed captioning) of meetings. In the Zoom window of your computer, along with the other at the bottom, you should see one that enables you to turn on Live Transcripts. Once you have clicked it, a mysteriously clever robot will start transcribing everything anyone says in the meeting. You can control where the text appears, and its size.
Another feature that we use is Chat. Click on that button and you can follow and participate in typed conversations throughout the service. If you’re shy about speaking, chat is a good place to share joys and sorrows informally. You can also use it to ask for tech support.
We also use Chat to display the lyrics of songs and other information to enrich the service.
Next to the microphone icon in the toolbar, there is a carat symbol ^ that brings up a menu of audio options, and at the bottom of that menu is “audio settings.” Click on that to adjust the volume of your microphone. We suggest the highest setting to be sure you can be heard.
If you are singing or playing music for a service
Make two changes in your Zoom preferences for Audio
1–Turn OFF “Automatically adjust microphone volume”
2–In the Advanced audio settings, check the box that says “Show in-meeting option to ‘Enable Original Sound’ from microphone. Once you have checked this, the option will appear at the top left of your Zoom meeting screen and can be turned on or off as needed. When singing or playing, original sound should be ON
A Zoom meeting is only as good as its weakest link. If your video or audio is freezing or buffering or breaking up, it could be that the person speaking has a weak connection, but we try to avoid that (that’s one of the things we’re working on before we open the doors of the waiting room). Make sure you are in a room with a strong Internet signal.
Keep your Zoom application up to date
This notice appeared on the Zoom website as of May 1, 2020: “Please begin updating all your clients to Zoom 5.0 now. After May 30, 2020, all Zoom clients on older versions will receive a forced upgrade when trying to join meetings as GCM Encryption will be fully enabled across the Zoom platform. Click here for more information.”
Getting the Best View of Video and Slide Shows
We regularly show music videos. For the best view, if you have a computer use that rather than a phone.
And occasionally a worship leader uses slides. To experience this as if you were in the room with them–seeing their facial expressions AND their slides–use a computer rather than a phone or tablet. And adjust the Zoom settings on your computer so that whenever someone shares a screen, Zoom goes into side-by-side mode. Zoom has a page with more info and how-to.