Worshipping During This Time of Physical Distancing

These are very different times and we have had to learn to do ministry all over again. Just when we thought that this was going to be a typical Lenten season, the rug was pulled out from under us and we have had to maneuver how we do ministry. We know that church is about relationships so we have had to learn to maintain and perhaps create new relationships in this world of physical distancing. Some churches are connecting with their Communities of Faith in various means and various levels of technology. I want you to know that whatever way you and your governing body have decided to do worship (Facebook live, recorded services, YouTube for Sunday, teleconferences and printed services hung on the church door or taken to people’s homes), whatever high-tech or low-tech worship you offer, remember it a gift and is right for your congregation. So, be gentle with yourselves. All offerings of worship are perfect, even if it is not perfection.

On April 2, United in Learning (online educational platform) hosted a workshop Congregational Programming During the Pandemic: Tips on making the most of worship online during the Pandemic. Click on that link and it will take to the recorded workshop.

Online Worship and Copyright

Our singing the faith always enhances worship. To do that legally and to give credit to the artist, there are things we need to know. Many Communities of Faith have a copyright license already which allows them to print and copy written music. For many of our favourite hymns from Voices United and More Voices, there is a separate streaming license that you will need to get to accompany your license. Each of the companies below have a separate streaming license you will need to purchase.

One License

This link will allow you to understand how One License works with the license to Podcast and stream.

Options and Prices for One License

CCLI Licensing

This link will allow you to understand CCLI’s Streaming License, how it works, what it covers and what it doesn’t. When in doubt, CCLI’s Customer Service is ready to help at Customer Support or 1-800-234-2446.

CCLI’s Cost: Please note that if you are only looking for a streaming license, you will need to purchase the annual license and the streaming license in addition.

Please note: Neither One License nor CCLI covers all of the hymns in Voices United and More Voices so which ever license you use, please know there may be hymns that are not covered. 

Online Communion

Communion in the live streaming format or the conference call format is the easy answer. The community gathered can partake at the same time and is therefore in keeping with the statement. The question is whether communion is theologically proper when it is taped and viewed at different times. The community who gathers can gather at any time not just at a specific moment for a specific amount of time. In our worship, we often ask the Community of Faith to hold people in thoughts and prayers throughout the week. This act connects and binds a Community of Faith together even when they are apart. Some congregations have practice where communion elements once blessed are taken to those who are sick and shut in. They are offered a liturgy that becomes an extension of the table of that Community of Faith. Can we imagine the table being extended to those who partake when they are able? We leave this decision to you and your governing body.

If you choose to do communion, you might wish to include: We believe in the close and universal love of God who is with us always and we believe is the great cloud of witness that surrounds us, encourages us and gathers us. In this time of physical distancing when we feel alone, we know that you are with us and we eat and drink to remember that you are there.

For more information, please consult the General Council website regarding Online Communion in The United Church of Canada.

Another option is to have the communion elements visible and speak of remembering Jesus’ resurrection and holding the visual elements until you are able to partake together. Another option is an agape meal. A liturgy is on page 550 of Celebrate God’s Presence.

For more information, please contact your Regional Minister, Rev. Heather Sandford (1-800-268-3781 ext. 6155)

April 8, 2020