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June Newsletter Article

How UUSE Zoomed Into the Future

(an update 2024)

In March 2020, when the COVID pandemic began, the world, and UUSE changed forever. There would be no live, in-person services until further notice—would it be a few weeks, a few months, or a year—no one knew. How would we continue to be a congregation? With no answers to these questions, Rev Josh and Jane, our Sexton, quickly got together and figured out how to “do church” using the technology we had at the time—a laptop, Zoom software, a borrowed sound board, a web cam, and a few mikes. It’s hard to believe just how quickly they were able to manage this difficult situation. Jane spent many hours online, researching the various options available to churches all over the country, which were in the same situation.

A “Streaming” committee was organized, using Zoom, to get more people involved to work with Jane and Rev Josh to design a system that would serve us well into the future. This group assessed our needs for hardware, software, sound, and an upgrade to our internet connection. Jane Osborn, Stan McMillen, and Michelle Spadaccini began by installing vMix software, which controls all hardware and is integrated with our Zoom software. Michelle’s son, Jason, helped to configure and install a new powerful computer. We upgraded our COX internet connection, purchased a new sophisticated sound system and PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) cameras. Jim Adams, Stan McMillen, and Dan Thompson worked with Jane to implement this new system and they take turns running Sunday morning Zoom services—what they do seamlessly each Sunday morning is truly amazing. Many other people have helped with such things as security, slide shows, videos, and of course, Rev. Josh and our Policy Board supported this effort every step of the way.

Ironically, much of what we have been able to do to offer Zoom Sunday services to our congregation and the wider world is something that the Communications Committee has been discussing for many years as a possibility. It took a terrible event like COVID to force us into the 21st century.

Joe Madar

Technology Coordinator

Communications Committee

Contact Information modified in accordance with UUSE Privacy Policies.
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