Stay Connected – Pastoral Letter – May 6, 2020

Stay Connected

A message from Rev. Jim

Dear Members and Friends of CCEH,

I am very grateful how faithfully so many of you are joining our Sunday worship via Zoom. It warms my heart to see how much you enjoy being together (if only virtually) and how much you love and support each other. Truly this is the best way to live through these challenging times.

Last Sunday was a bit of a shock as we got “Zoom bombed” about 8 minutes into worship. I had been hearing about this and hoping it wouldn’t happen to us, but it did. Thanks to all who hung in there and rejoined our worship with the new Zoom link I sent. I apologize to those who were not able to rejoin. That truly saddened me. Hope springs eternal, as the optimist says, so we need to move forward with our eyes open and our hearts, too.

David Farrell and Crystal Rose Hill, both experts in managing the online world, have been working with me in determining the best path forward. After they scrutinized the recordings, Dave wrote, “It was most likely some younger, immature, person who was just bored. I do not believe it was any experienced hacker with intent to do harm, or steal information. As I said before, we technically were not ‘hacked’ (nothing was stolen, etc.) Using the additional security settings available, I’m confident we can prevent future incidents, or stop them immediately if they do happen, thus allowing minimal disruption to online worship.”

Because ours is public worship, we are committed to connecting with whomever God sends our way. In this sense, attending our Zoom worship should be as easy as entering our church sanctuary in normal times: all are welcome, and if some misbehave or threaten others, they need to be removed. Who knows whom the Holy Spirit will move to join us?

We had already taken some security measures, and now we’ll need to take a few more:
• A new Zoom link will be issued in the weekly online worship email.
• Everyone will be placed in a Waiting Room (The host or a co-host will admit them).
• David Farrell and Crystal Rose Hill will be added as co-hosts (along with Maggie Hallowell) so that they may assist, especially in case any rapid actions are needed to remove anyone from the service.
• Everyone will be muted on entry (The host or a co-host will then unmute them).
• We may decide to “lock the meeting” after a few minutes, thereby preventing additional people from joining.

Sadly, this kind of disruption is happening with some frequency, and not just with churches. Teachers also report that their online classes are being disrupted. Should this happen again to us, we have additional measures we can take to handle it in real time as we walk that fine line between being open and welcoming, and also maintaining a respectful worship experience for those present.

We will provide parishioners additional information and tips, which will help us fully interact with each other during online worship with the updated security measures. The updated Zoom link, as well as the additional information, will be shared via the email list and through the website.

Yours in Christ-Love,
Rev. Jim

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