Hybrid Worship

Hybrid Worship: What is it and what does it mean for us?

COVID has changed a lot in our society. Churches have had to adjust very quickly to find ways to share the message of Jesus. Technology has opened up possibilities for members of St. John while also allowing us to increase our reach beyond our walls. We are now able to include in worship people who might not otherwise be able to physically be in church, people who are traveling, and people out of the area who have formed a connection with St. John.

Through most of COVID, we, at St. John, have been able to worship in person or using Zoom which provided an interactive way for us to see and talk with each other. This combination has served us well, but it requires two separate worship services, and additional volunteer and staff time to produce a separate bulletin and to be present for the worship service.

Hybrid worship simply means that we are worshiping together at the same time both in person and online. Many churches and organizations use this practice because it allows the flexibility to participate in person or from any location.

Our plan is to offer Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter as hybrid worship. After that, hybrid worship will likely be an on-going part of our ministry. Updates will be shared in the weekly Pulse newsletter and our website (www.stjohnriverdale.org/worship).

Without getting too much into the weeds, we anticipate that worshippers will be able to join our services on Zoom using their computer or by calling in on their phone. If you have participated in Zoom worship previously, you are already familiar with this process.

We will not be able to screen share the bulletin as we have become accustomed to on Zoom, but we will continue to email the bulletin with the weekly Pulse and we will be able to share lyrics for hymns during the hybrid service. Since this is new to us, please be patient as we get more comfortable with it and try new things to see what works best.

Another change for Zoom worshippers will be the addition of Holy Communion. An article explaining the theology and practical aspects of online Holy Communion is available here.

For those who worship live in the sanctuary, you will notice 2-3 tripods mounted with cell phones, which become our cameras. There will be a small table set up in the nook that leads from the sanctuary to the narthex. That is where the magic happens to get audio and video out of the building.

We invite your ongoing positive and negative feedback because your experiences with both live and online services will help us to improve.