Hybrid Worship and Gatherings

As the pandemic continues, some Friends are able to gather in small numbers while others continue to connect with their meeting community via Zoom or other online tools. On this page you will find tips, considerations, and resources for blending online and in-person gatherings, which many refer to as "hybrid."

Things to consider before a beginning hybrid experiment in your meeting:

1. Purpose: Why do you gather as a meeting? How might a hybrid offering support (or get in the way of) your meeting's core purpose or the purpose of a given activity?

2. Participation: What does meaningful participation look like? Whether it's worship, business, fellowship, First Day School, or another activity, clarify what it means for someone to meaningfully participate. Is meaningful participation possible for both online and in-person participants? What changes to practices or expectations might you need to make to fully include both modes of participation?

3. Capacity: Switching to a new way of gathering takes mental and spiritual capacity. Does your meeting have the capacity to set up a new way of gathering at this time? Do enough individuals in your meeting have the capacity right now to grow new the new skill sets required to manage and facilitate worship and other activities in a hybrid format?

4. Impact: How have your current and past ways of gathering impacted relationships within your meeting community? How might a shift to a hybrid experiment impact the community?

5. Access: Who has had access to your current and past ways of gathering? Who has been left out? What access challenges will you need to consider if you shift to a hybrid model? How will this shift impact children, parents, the hard of hearing, those with limited mobility, those without internet?

6. Safety: How will maintain a sense of security for participants? What practices will you need to adopt to respond to disruptive or inappropriate behavior at hybrid gatherings?

7. Equipment and technology: Will all participants be able to hear and see each other in order to participate? What tools will you need to effectively connect participants with each other and how will you orient Friends to them?

8. Continuing revelation: As you continue to learn and grow through experimentation and exploration, how will you update your practices? What do you need from each other in order to take a risk together? How can the meeting community be a place where is OK give feedback and to make mistakes and learn together?

See the downloads section below for more detailed resources.

Looking for a deeper dive into the details of this topic? Check out the Facebook Group "Quaker Gatherings: Best Practices & Creative Exploration" for on-going conversation with a global community of Quakers. You can also find an expanded reading list on the topic at Kathleen Wooten's (Fresh Pond, MA) blog, "Being the Church Online."

File Downloads

Thoughts on Blending Physical and Online Worship

This nine-page guide from Britain Yearly Meeting offers detailed questions to consider as you prepare for hybrid worship including about many of the technical aspects such as audio equipment

Pendle Hill's Hybrid Worship Experiment

This three-page handout from Quaker retreat center Pendle Hill describes the nuts and bolts of their own experiment with hybrid worship including technology used and instructions for the "care of meeting" role

How To Do Backyard Hybrid Worship

This three page guide, written by David Coletta (Beacon Hill) offers practical advice for Friends blending outdoor and virtual worship

Wellesley Friends Meeting Hybrid Set-Up

This photo-filled presentation details Wellesley (MA) Friends Meeting's hybrid worship set up

Questions? Didn't find what you were looking for?

Contact Program Director Nia Thomas to begin a conversation.