“I just want to go to church!”
Of course, everyone agrees that real-life, in person church is best, we all miss it. Our first and foremost priority is the health and well-being of everyone. It continues to not be a safe option to worship in-person right now. So, we have been on an “adventure” trying to find alternative, meaningful ways to worship God, to keep us connected as a community and to get us through this unprecedented time together.
One way to worship virtually at First Presbyterian that seems to work for many people is to go to our website and “press play” to watch a video of the live-streamed service. Watching the video of worship is a great option. You can “cast” it to your big screen TV at home. and you can watch the worship service at a time that is convenient to you. We are pleased that we can make this option available and this option will continue to be available on our web page. The limitation of this option of virtual worship is that you can worship with those in your home but you miss the rich experience of worshipping together in community.
We have been offering an additional option to worship virtually by connecting to our church’s Facebook page at 10am on Sundays. Worshipping via Facebook has provided a way for people to communicate and connect with one another as they worship. Facebook has announced they will soon no longer allow streaming that includes music.
This has forced us to continue to look for an alternative that gives the opportunity to engage as a community during virtual worship. We will continue to provide a simple “press play” and watch for those who prefer that option as First Presbyterian has always been a “Spacious” place where people can connect in ways that meet them where they are. We do believe it is important to provide a virtual worship experience where we can connect and interact with one another as a community.
We are excited that we have found another platform that we believe will be much better than the Facebook worship experience and greatly improve our ability to virtually connect with one another as we worship God. This system is called “Crowdcast”.
Crowdcast promises many capabilities which we will be able to take advantage of later (think about… a blend of zoom, youtube, and facebook – only the good parts). But, initially we will be using the basic community features of crowdcast which include fellowship chat, polls, questions, and popup links (so we can provide one-click directions to things like a zoom fellowship after the service).
There are two ways you can join the interactive service.
- Sign in with your google, facebook or apple ID.
- Click “save my spot” and get an email with a link.
Option 1: The fastest way to join is to sign in with your facebook or google ID. This takes just a moment and you are right in. One extra benefit to using this method is that you will only need to do it once. The first time is the last time (in most cases).
Option 2: The second fastest way to join is to enter your email address. Crowdcast will send you a “magic link”. Check your inbox, click the link and you are in.
Once you are in, be sure to “follow” our church events.
When you follow the church events, you will get a notification that will appear in your email any time the church goes live with a link to join the service. If you are on mobile, there is also a free crowdcast app which can also notify you of church events when they go live.
If these options are too much this week, no problem. We plan to continue to live stream on Facebook until they implement their new rules prohibiting music and via a simple “watch video” option.
But, if you have just a little extra time and some curiosity, check out the new interactive option. We think it will be a better way to stay connected and strong as a community in these challenging times.
Do you have other questions, suggestions, or need a little extra help ? Brian Cash, a member of session, the praise team, and producer of the online services is always eager to hear about your experience. Please reach out to Brian at [email protected]
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does the interactive service require a login?
Normally, jumping online to chat without a “login” is dangerous, as this attracts “chat bombers”. Chat bombers are bots, trolls, and other bad actors that love to post really nasty content anonymously to groups gathered online. That’s not something we want to attract.
So, in order to prevent chat bombers, we have crowdcast which provides us with these state of the art options available to login and stay connected.
What else is possible with the interactive services?
Crowdcast supports a multi-session streaming environment. This means that we have a new, previously unavailable ability to stream a combination of live and pre-recorded video during a single, live event. This functionality provides us with a clear path forward to the eventual next phase of in-person, but socially distanced and safe (no singing) church services that are also live streamed.
During this time, our services have been available to you and many others around the world. We’d love to maintain our relationship with those many people that have come to feel a part of our community after this time has passed.