Exploring Hybrid Worship Models

LEYM’s Ministry and Nurture Committee has been exploring the many ways that Quakers are adapting to a more virtual life of the spirit as groups adopt online meeting practices. Quakers are worshiping online across the globe, as these extensive lists of worship opportunities compiled by Western Friends and Friends World Committee on Consultation make clear.

As more and more people get vaccinated, attention has turned to how Friends are going to return to their meeting houses, and how we might continue to incorporate some of the gifts technology has given us even as some of us gather together in person.

Resources of Special Interest

Friends General Conference hosted an FGC Consultation: Spirit and Community Online Resources in April 2021 which featured a panel discussion entitled What Have We Learned? Spirit and Community-Building Online which is now available for viewing, as well as other related discussions, at fgcquaker.org. Topics include online and hybrid worship, Religious Education, clerking, reopening meetings to in-person, technology, and accessibility.

Kathleen Wooten, a Friend from New England Yearly Meeting, has developed a rich collection of resources on her page Being the Church Online. Her links to resources on Blended/Hybrid Meetings for Worship highlight the good thinking and open sharing that Friends are doing as they explore new models for gathering together.

Pendle Hill, the Quaker retreat center, has been successfully hosting a daily worship where they bring online visitors together with in-person worshipers in the Pendle Hill Barn. This write-up of Pendle Hill’s Hybrid Worship Experiment provides lots of interesting details for their approach. Building on their experience, Pendle Hill has teamed up with the Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in the UK to offer a Pendle Hill Workshop scheduled for June 11-13, 2021 that will explore the theme Becoming Blended Worshiping Communities: Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges. There is a fee for this workshop ($90).

With respect to different technical tools on offer, the Western Friend has developed a spreadsheet designed to help groups think through the advantages and disadvantages of different technical approaches to hybrid worship.

Friends interested in digging deeper into these topics may be interested in joining the Facebook Group Quaker Gatherings: Best Practices & Creative Exploration for on-going conversation with like-minded Friends.

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