During this time when social distance is important to protect the health of all, but the need to communicate is perhaps stronger than usual, every congregation needs tools that meet its needs and fit its budget. Many parishes have regular meetings, such as monthly vestry and parish committees and groups. In addition, parish annual meetings are still a requirement that may seem particularly challenging at this time.
Parish Committee and Staff Meetings
For regular vestry, parish committee, and staff meetings, a tool such as Zoom is ideal. No login is required, a call in option is available, and only one host license is needed for the parish. Zoom Pro may be purchased directly from the Zoom website at a cost of $15/mo or via TechSoup at a 50% discount, which may require several days to be approved but will also offer a significant saving over the course of the year. Other options for video/call in meeting options are Zoho Meetings, and Free Conference, both of which offer online video meetings and call in options. Visit the websites and assess what may work for your congregation.
Parish Annual Meetings
Annual meetings are somewhat more complex as they require presentations by parish leaders, questions and answers, and voting of vestry, wardens, treasurer, and diocesan convention delegates. If the meeting cannot be postponed, a suggestion for moving this format online is to use Zoom or one of the options above with the webinar feature added to your account for the month of the annual meeting (it will be an extra cost). In a webinar format, parish leaders who are presenting at the meeting can be set up as panelists in the webinar, and a form to register for the Annual Meeting webinar event emailed to all members in good standing. Panelists will be visible and can present, and reports can be emailed to the parish by email before the meeting or after. Members can also join by phone. All those joining the webinar can ask a question through a Q&A feature, which any of the leaders may then respond to.
Parish Annual Meeting Elections
Annual meeting elections involve voting for wardens, vestry members, a treasurer, and diocesan convention delegate, and any other major questions or decisions that are put to a vote. This may be done using an online voting system, some of which are included below. They provide the capability for ballots including photos, descriptions, and a simple voting process. The link to vote can be emailed either before or after the parish annual meeting to all communicants in good standing to vote. Some affordable options include:
Please contact Peter Turner with any questions.