Zoom Vote Primer – First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth

If you’ve been following the progression of our Next90 Building Expansion project lately, you may remember that we’ve recently been approved to take our next major step as a congregation — the vote to move forward into construction — via Zoom. This unprecedented form of the congregational vote, a sign of our COVID-19 times, was approved by our District Superintendent Rev. Louis Carr.

So, if you’re like most people, you may now be wondering, How in the world do we do that? How does it work?

Rest assured, more details will be forthcoming as the date gets closer, but for now to answer a few of these questions, here are a few basic details:

The Zoom Congregational Vote on September 13 at 1:00 pm will not be like any other Zoom meeting you’ve been in at our church. Because of the restrictions and guidelines of The United Methodist Book of Discipline, this vote will be taken via Zoom webinar, which comes with a different set of instructions, capabilities, and requirements.

Some things, however, remain the same. If you’ve been Zooming already, you probably already have the app installed on the device you will most likely want to use. It is important to note that each person voting must be logged in on a separate device, so husband and wife, sitting side by side on their living room sofa, will still have to be logged in separately on their respective devices; each one needs to have the Zoom app downloaded and updated to the latest available version.

You will need to register in advance for this meeting in order to vote. Once you register to attend this meeting, you will receive the link to the webinar via email.

There is no chat function through which you can interact with other viewers; in fact, you won’t be able to see the other viewers at all.

Instead, a Q&A button will allow you to ask questions, which will then be relayed to the meeting leaders.

When the time comes to vote, you will cast your vote using the poll function, following prompts that will pop up on your screen. Please note: Audio-only participants cannot vote.

You must be a church member to vote; if you’ve been visiting for a while and would like to be able to vote, please contact Lisa Helm (lhelm@myfumc.org) to make arrangements to join the church prior to the vote.

We will know the result immediately! Be sure to join us for this vote to become a part of this great moment in First Church history.

Zoom Room Security Update – First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth

As we continue living in a world revolving around and powered by technology, it can be hard to keep up with the nuances of all this digital communication.

We’re here for you, FUMCFW Zoomers! As updates occur to the technology we’ve come to rely on for staying connected as a faith community, your FUMCFW Communications Team is right here to share, teach, and walk you through these changes to avoid as many hiccups as possible!

There will soon be an update to our current Zoom technology. This new update, beginning mid-September, will require all Zoom meetings to have a passcode. And to make things easier on us all, we’ve embedded the passcodes needed into a new set of Zoom meeting links to keep your logging into any FUMCFW meetings as simple as the click of a link.

So what does this mean for our FUMCFW Zoomers? If you have grown accustomed to using the same Zoom link since March, you’ll need to start using this new and improved link beginning on September 14. Our communications team will be sending these new passcode protected links to the staff, committee chairs, lay leaders, Sunday school class leaders, and other Zoom hosts. If you do not receive this a new link, but you currently host a Grace Group or Sunday school class, please contact us so we can make sure you have what you need to keep on Zooming!

You should not experience any disruption to your Zoom meetings, but if you do ever encounter an issue, don’t hesitate to reach out to your FUMCFW Communications team — we’d be happy to assist you!

Contact: Melinda Smoot | msmoot@myfumc.org or Hans Grim | hgrim@myfumc.org

AV Upgrade – First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth

Earlier this summer, the Board of Trustees approved an upgrade to our audio/visual technology that will significantly enhance our capabilities for livestreaming worship as well as other programs and events. This past week, the installation began on this enormous upgrade to our AV capabilities that will help maximize the online worship experiences of our online congregation and guests.

This upgrade came about ahead of schedule, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and our resulting need to livestream all our worship services and other events from our church each week since mid-March. And, by all estimations, we will be relying on this technology to “take church to people” well into the future.

This dramatic upgrade will bring our weekly livestream broadcast up to High Definition (HD) quality and will offer considerable flexibility and new opportunities for viewer engagement via six new, strategically located (including two moveable mounts) High Definition Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) cameras plus one person camera with upgraded lens capabilities. This upgrade promises to vastly improve viewer experience of our FUMCFW worship services and other events held in our beautiful sanctuary.

Another part of this project, the addition of theatrical lighting, will create opportunities for maximizing our online impact by offering greater flexibility to accommodate and enhance our different worship styles, with optimum, uniform, camera-friendly lighting for the chancel area.

“This improvement in quality will be more inviting and attractive for younger and more discerning audiences who will appreciate and support the difference this upgrade will make,” says Barry Hudson, Building Committee chair and longtime Media Ministries volunteer. “Taking our existing lighting to dimmable, flicker-free (made-for-cameras) LEDs with the addition of theatrical lighting in chancel area will add balance, depth, and dimension for a better viewing experience, with accent color alternatives that could transform the space for contemporary worship, concerts, and special events.”

Hudson adds that taking advantage of this opportunity to attract a larger online congregation in a time where this connection feels essential, we will also help guard against the inevitable failure of our aging (13 ½-year-old) studio equipment. “With replacement parts hard to find and technology that is incompatible with more current equipment, sudden failure would call for an emergency response that could easily be more costly and less efficient than this well-planned approach,” he explains.

As our online attendance and engagement metrics continue to show increased participation and an expanding audience, we are now beginning to envision the creation of a “digital FUMCFW campus” experience that will live and grow and reach more people, far beyond the current pandemic circumstances.


This week’s work in the sanctuary begins the installation of our new lighting and AV equipment features an enormous scaffolding structure that will enable the installation of new theatrical lighting for the chancel area as well as upgrades to existing lighting for cleaner, clearer, more even lighting — as well as capability for some innovating use of “lightscapes” for special events and worship services, contemporary worship, music and worship arts performances and more!

All About Zoom – First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth

All About Zoom

The technological advancements we’ve witnessed in the last thirty or so years have been mind-blowing. We’ve seen an explosion of knowledge that can be accessed at the click of a button. But with all that change, some members of our communities might think these advancements have been incredible, but without someone there to help them along the way, they might seem just out of touch. It has been an honor to help some of our older members from FUMCFW to learn how to use an application we’ve found helpful during this time of social distancing, called “Zoom.”

You may be wondering what on earth Zoom is! Zoom was originally designed to be a quick way to connect employees together in a virtual office. It was a great way to log in and have a quick meeting for employees who might not work in the same state or even country! Now that we’ve entered into this unprecedented reality of social distancing, Zoom has become a way to stay connected with one another when being together in person just isn’t an option.

Change can be hard to accept, especially when that change is thrust upon us. But one thing is for certain, change is an inevitability of life. Many older folks have realized that they’ll need to jump on the trend in order to stay connected in a time such as this! Our FUMCFW Communications team has been hard at work ensuring that every member of our First Church family can access this incredible tool of connectivity!

Some of our Loyalty class members including, Jack Benson, Chuck Nixon, and Bill and Karen Hunn have been quick on the upswing of this change and have been more than willing to learn about Zoom and what it has to offer. Although this learning has not come without struggle, they have stuck with it and have committed to holding space together, albeit virtually, on Sunday morning for their usual Sunday school class (and Jack promises to bring the virtual coffee and donuts).

Jack admitted that he and his group had been hesitant to join on Zoom for fear that it would be too difficult to get the hang of it. But their perseverance has paid off and after several practices, he is prepared to host his first Zoom Sunday school class on Sunday morning! He was even able to tune into Rev. Lance Marshall’s morning daily devotional this morning at 9:00 am!

If you, your small group, or your Sunday school class would be interested to learn more about how you can meet using Zoom, please get in touch with us! We want to ensure that our sense of togetherness doesn’t disappear when we can’t be physically with one another, so let’s use every tool we’ve got!

And remember, we won’t get through this without one another. If you are lonely, chances are your friend is, too. Give them a phone call, set up a “Facetime” call with them, or plan a Zoom meeting together!

Zoom zoom . . . zoom?

If you’re getting a little tired of hearing all this “Zoom-ey” lingo — especially since you don’t have it, don’t know how to get it, and feel vaguely anxious because you think you might need it — here’s help.

Right now our church is making all kinds of inroads and opportunities for connection with creative use of Zoom meeting technology — from Grace Groups to Sunday School classes to Prayer groups to  . . . yoga!

If you’d like to know more about Zoom — and how to lead or join a meeting with your group, contact FUMCFW communications to schedule a time for a meeting, activity, or just a social time with your church friends.

If you need help getting started with Zoom, don’t hesitate to ask our FUMCFW team for some instruction, guidance, and practice sessions. Contact Emily McDermott (emcdermott@myfumc.org) to schedule your Zoom tutorial session, and one of our team will be glad to help!

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Go to Zoom.com on the device you are going to use for this class. You don’t need to set up an account — you just need to download the app from the App Store.
  2. Click on the link provided in your meeting confirmation from FUMCFW Communications and follow the prompts* to join the meeting.

*You’ll be asked to join with or without video (with means we can see you), and you may be asked to grant access to your video camera; and with or without audio (with means we can hear you — unless you mute your microphone.)

It is recommended on most Zoom meetings that you keep your microphone on mute unless you’re talking to minimize background noise. When you want to unmute, you can either click or tap on the microphone — or use your space bar like a walkie-talkie button (hold it down to talk, let it back up to mute).

If you have questions or need help learning to Zoom, please feel free to reach out to our communications team for a guided tutorial and/or practice session!