8 Tips for Planning Virtual Advent Worship
by Anneli Loepp Thiessen
Planning meaningful worship during COVID-19 is a challenge, but also an exciting opportunity to try new things. Here are some things to try this Advent and Christmas:
- Light Advent wreaths together. Distribute Advent wreaths, or encourage families to create or buy their own to light at the beginning of Advent services. A virtual community crafts night could be one way to facilitate the creation of Advent wreaths.
- Use actions. Consider coming up with actions for simple advent prayers, such as #916 in Voices Together. Actions help us to see the ways other participants are engaging in worship.
- Sing a call and response Advent song. Call and response is one way to attempt singing virtually, whether the response is sung by one person or the entire community unmuted. Slight lags or delays can be embraced as part of the experience. Bernadette Farrell’s Litany of the Word lends itself to this, and is available on OneLicense.
- Engage visual art in worship. Invite people of all ages to send in art for use in the service as background images or focus points during a time of reflection. Artists could be invited to focus their work around the theme for the week: hope, peace, joy, love. This is one way to intentionally engage children.
- Use short songs. Singing without the support of many voices around you can be intimidating. Becoming familiar with a few short songs for repeated use during Advent can be helpful. Examples from Voices Together include #219 “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord” and #228 “Wait for the Lord.”
- Put on a Zoom pageant. Consider using Carol Penner’s virtual pageant: Zooming to Bethlehem. This accessible pageant is specifically designed to thrive on Zoom.
- Make a playlist. Invite community members to share favourite Christmas songs and assemble a playlist on Spotify or Youtube.
- Plan a porch, park, and sidewalk sing. The Center for Congregational Song has put together resources for communities to go caroling at a distance, if it is safe to do so.
Have another idea? Let us know! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to send in an idea.