Synod Clerk Rita Griffiths explains how her mainly tech-phobe church have embraced virtual services during lockdown. 

Over eighties involved in virtual services

On Palm Sunday St John's URC, Warrington, held our first church live service using the Zoom video conferencing platform. Twenty church members and friends joined in, including three over 80 year olds who don't have computers but rang the relevant Zoom phone number, so they could hear everyone even if they couldn't see them. I took my laptop to the flat of my own 90 year old mother so that she could join in too.  My Mum, Grete, said that she was 'overwhelmed' to see and hear church friends as she is not able to go to church regularly anymore.  

Good Friday and Easter Sunday (including Holy Communion) services were also conducted via Zoom, and we may well continue to worship in this way every so often so people like Mum can feel included.  

All of those attending the services on Zoom said how much they valued them, and how lovely it was to see and hear the church family. One of our 80 plus year olds has been ringing round other 80 plus members and encouraging them to join in on the phone too!  

Songs of Praise via Zoom

The services were shorter (35 minutes) and the leader was able to share her screen to show YouTube hymns and words. Soon we plan to have a Songs of Praise via Zoom but will make sure that those who ring in will have hymn books posted through their door.  

For those considering using Zoom but haven’t yet made the leap:

You need a lead person who will book the session on Zoom and then send the link round to invite those whom you wish to attend. It’s free up to 40 minutes but you’ll have to sign up as a paying member if you want more time than this.

As an attendee all I do is click on the link and choose the audio and video options, then join the meeting.  

Some older folk who do not have smart phones or computers rang one of the given numbers, typed in the given code and hey presto! They could then hear everyone, and us them, but could not see us, or us them.