St James Logo, Extended Horizontal

Video conferencing technology is a blessing that allows us to worship together as a socially distant but still tight-knit, all-welcoming church community. If you run into any issues using Zoom, read through these frequently-asked questions for help.​​​

Q: How do I attend Sunday worship via Zoom?

Click here to join the Zoom meeting via computer or mobile device. You will need to enter the password when prompted. To join audio only, dial 646-876-9923, then enter the Meeting ID 872 6883 8807 and password when prompted.​​

Q: Why do I need a password to join worship? And where do I find it?
​We want to protect our community and our sacred space online. Requiring a password enhances our security and helps keep out gatecrashers. That’s why you won’t find the password listed on our website or social media, but if you’re on our email list, you should have an email with all the details, including the password. If you’re not on our email list yet, contact  secretary@StJamesUCC.org, or send us a message on Facebook.

Q: Do I have to set up my own Zoom account to join worship?

Nope! You can attend Zoom worship even without having a Zoom account. (But you can also join Zoom for free, which is quick and easy and allows you to pre-set some of your preferences for audio and video.)

Q: What if I don’t want to be seen on video? My hair is a mess and I’m in my pajamas!

No problem! Worship is always come as you are at St. James. But if you really don’t want to be seen, simply join the Zoom meeting and before you enter, you’ll be given options to connect to audio and video. Just leave your video turned off before you join. 

For a low-tech option…just stick a Post-It note on your computer’s camera!

Last option: instead of clicking the link to join on your computer, you can use the dial-in phone number to join via conference call. You won’t be able to see anyone else on video, but you can listen in.

Q: Do I need to use a fancy headset?

​No, you don’t need a headset of any kind as long as your computer has a microphone and speaker. 

Q: I joined the meeting. Why can’t I hear anything?

You may have missed the option to “Join with Audio”. Usually when you join a meeting, there is either a button that says “Join with Computer Audio” or a checkbox indicating whether you want to connect to audio on your computer. Make sure you use the right option before you join the meeting.

If you’re already in the meeting and your audio isn’t working, click the “Join Audio” button, usually at the bottom left of your screen. (Move your mouse around a bit if you don’t see the bar with the meeting controls, and it should appear.)

If you’ve definitely joined the audio but still can’t hear anything, you can test your speakers to try to find the issue. When you first join a meeting, before you actually enter the meeting, you can use the link there that says “Test speaker and microphone”. If you’re already in the meeting, click the up-arrow next to the Mute/Unmute button at the bottom left of your screen, and select “Test speaker and microphone”.

The meeting will display a pop-up window to test your speakers by playing a ringtone. If you don't hear the ringtone, use the drop-down menu or click No to switch speakers until you hear the ringtone, then click Yes to continue.

Q: I joined the meeting. Why can’t anyone see me on video?

Make sure you check all your options when joining a meeting to ensure you’re joining with video. You should see yourself onscreen before you enter the meeting.

If you’re already in the meeting and no one can see you, move your mouse around a bit to bring up the bar with various meeting controls at the bottom of your screen. If you see a button that says “Start Video” at the bottom left, click it.

If it says “Stop Video”, this means that you've joined with video, so now it's time to test your camera. Click the up-arrow next to the "Stop Video" button, then click on “Video Settings”. Use the drop-down to select a different camera (if you have one) or click through the various other settings until you see yourself onscreen.

Last option: make sure there’s nothing blocking your camera – do you have a Post-It note covering it? Are you hooked up to an external monitor, with your laptop closed?

Q: I thought I would be able to see everyone at once, but I'm only seeing one person at a time (the person who is speaking). How can I see the entire group?

What you're looking for is called Gallery View. If you move your mouse around, you should see a small icon appear at the top right of your screen which looks like a square made up of smaller squares (a little like a Rubik's cube). Click that icon to switch to Gallery View so you can see all participants at once. Or if you're on a mobile device, simply swipe to the left to switch to Gallery View.

During the service, we set whoever is speaking or singing as the "spotlight" video, meaning that's the one you'll see. But you can still manually switch to Gallery View if you prefer. 

Q: What is “chat” and how do I use it?

Chat is a way to type messages to others in the meeting. In the meeting controls bar at the bottom of your screen (move your mouse around until it appears), click “Chat” to open the chat panel. Use the drop-down next to “To:” in order to select who will see your message – everyone in the meeting, just the host, or just one participant. Type your message in the box and hit “enter” to send it.

If you’d like to offer up a joy, concern, or request during Prayers for the People, but you don’t want to do so with audio/video, you can type it into the chat for Rev. Meagan to read aloud. 

Q: I tried speaking up, why can't anyone hear me?

Participants are muted by default. The Zoom host will unmute you when it’s your turn to speak. If you’ve been unmuted and people still can’t hear you, you can test your microphone to try to find the issue. Click the up-arrow next to the Mute/Unmute button at the bottom left of your screen, and select “Test speaker and microphone”.

The meeting will display a pop-up window to test your speakers by playing a ringtone. When you hear the ringtone, click Yes to continue, and then it will test your microphone by asking you to “Speak and pause” – whatever you say, it will replay it back to you. If you don't hear the replay, use the drop-down menu or click No to switch microphones until you hear the replay. Click Yes when you hear it.

Q: Can I mute or unmute myself?

No, the Zoom host has everyone on mute to eliminate background noise from causing distractions. If you need to speak up during Prayers for the People or Announcements, raise your hand and give a wave on video, and the host will unmute you to speak. You can also type your message in the chat.

If you dial in via phone line only and you’re not in the video meeting, press *9 to “raise your hand” so the Zoom host knows you’d like to speak. They will then unmute you when it’s your turn.

​Q: Yikes! The Zoom host unmuted me and suddenly there’s an echo! What is happening?
An audio echo is caused by having two devices very near to each other, logged into the meeting at the same time. (For example, if you’re attending on your laptop and your spouse or child is attending on their mobile phone in the same room.)

If this happens, simply silence the audio on one device – hit your computer’s “volume off” button, or take the mobile phone off of speakerphone. You can also click the up-arrow next to the mute/unmute button at the bottom left of your screen (move your mouse around until you see the meeting controls bar appear), and then click “Leave computer audio”.

Also, if you join the video on your computer but dial in via phone for the audio, enter your participant ID # on whichever one you join second. (Follow the instructions on your screen when you first join the meeting and select Join by Phone.)

Q: I joined via my cell phone/tablet and the audio isn't working. What can I do?
Read tips on troubleshooting audio on an Apple or Android device here.

Q: I seem to be stuck in the Zoom waiting room and it's after 10:30, and I heard that others were having trouble, too. If Zoom is experiencing major technical outages, is worship canceled?
​If this happens, we will do our best to quickly shift worship to Facebook Live and notify attendees. (If you'd like, you can check Zoom's status page to see if Zoom is down or experiencing severe issues.) If Zoom isn't working, check our Facebook page for updates and a live video.