Coming Full Circle...
This Sunday, December 5th Westside comes full circle in opportunities for the Sunday services. Let's look back at where our journey began. What an incredible 20 months it has been!
On March 13, 2020, the Board decided not to hold events in the building since a global pandemic was underway, unlike anything anyone had ever experienced. With great intention, the Board closed the building but did not close the church- instead, services moved to a virtual realm.
Sunday, March 15, 2020, Westside’s Sunday service was LIVE on Facebook allowing the Westside community to continue to engage in real time with Sunday services. Despite limited equipment, that service was done allowing people to engage simultaneously with live chat, hearts sharing love and worshiping virtually. A new adventure- yes, a change was launched! Being live on Facebook enabled people to watch and rewatch the service as they desired since the service was saved to the Westside Facebook page. While this service was not perfect, it was genuine.
Spring of 2020 had infection rates rising as well as our collective uncertainty growing, and we wondered what it would mean for us. As the uneasiness grew for people gathered in the same room to produce the service live on Facebook, the difficult decision was made to switch from Facebook to Zoom. Trepidation was felt and shared from those creating, participating, and certainly those tasked with using technology in a new and even scary way for some.
The learning curve was large as Zoom also continued to change. Many dedicated people spent time creating services as well as teaching others to equip and empower Westsiders to be able to connect virtually. Thursdays and Saturdays were spent practicing and preparing for Sunday’s service. This was no small feat. Many of us learned new things and used it to connect in a time when there was no safe option for physical gathering. Virtual was not the same, but it offered a type of fellowship that Westside wanted and needed. Soon it was more than just Sunday services that were offered on a weekly basis via Zoom.
Fast forward to the fall of 2021. Zoom has continued to be the preferred platform for Westsiders to connect. Our year and a half on Zoom offered incredible Sunday services. The Worship Team learned the value of creating a solid script. More people were willing to help produce these services, serving as hosts, co-hosts, and leaders of various pieces of the service. Preparation time was equal to the production of the Sunday service- especially as new things were done via Zoom. The conversation continued and a live service on Zoom was the way forward.
Fall of 2021 included several conversations of the Westside Board on regathering in the building. Safe Congregations and Building Committee were tasked with creating a plan to move forward. At the same time, the Board saw the need to keep moving and planning for the future with technology upgrades. Thanks to Nurse Kim and her husband Eric, a plan was put into place and these upgrades have been made including a new and improved Wi-Fi network throughout the building AND new equipment to stream and record in the sanctuary. This has been an amazing process because the building is now at the place where all the wants from the Board (plan to regather with guidelines, ability to have consistent Wi-Fi and streaming the services) are in place and working!
December 2021 presents us with another opportunity for change in how we engage the Westside community in Sunday services. Again, there is trepidation and great excitement in this change. A great deal of time and energy has been spent preparing for this change as well as a lot of support, knowing it has been worth the effort for Westside members, friends, and guests to gather in both in person (with safety precautions in place) and virtually for this year and in the years to come! The recorded services will continue to be uploaded to Westside’s YouTube Channel.
Why LIVE on Facebook? This will allow those joining virtually to continue to chat and interact in real time with what is happening during the services. One simply needs to click on the link that will come in Westside emails as well as the link on the Westside website. A Facebook account is not needed to join the services.
December 5, 2021, is in fact a new day in so many ways for Westside! There are now three ways to engage with the Sunday services:
1. In person and properly masked (review our Covid Gathering Covenant & Building Use Procedures).
2. LIVE on Facebook. You do not need a Facebook account to watch the service. The link to watch will still be sent in our weekly emails and posted on the Westside website.
3. Recorded services will be placed on our YouTube Channel
Thank you all for the patience and grace you continue to show as Westside’s Leadership and volunteers continue to equip and guide during these incredible times. Sunday’s goal is to gather in community, celebrate Hanging of the Greens in the building, and to keep moving forward in being the Westside needed.
Please celebrate with Westside in person or virtually this Sunday, December 5th as we truly come together full circle!
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Links to know:
Link directly to Dec 5 event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1265872100585942/
Link to all WUCC FB Live videos: https://www.facebook.com/WestsideUUChurch/live_videos/
Health and Safety: email@example.com
General questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope to see you Sunday, in-person or virtually!