This year’s Annual Meeting will be very different, being virtual via Zoom for Covid safety. We’ve tried to make the Meeting as inclusive and smooth running as possible; here’s an overview and some tips.

Download and review the 2020 Annual Report PDF in advance!

Preparing and Joining

You can participate using pretty much any computing device with a camera: a desktop computer and webcam, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. (We’re unfortunately not able to support participation via voice-only telephone for this Meeting.)

It’s good to consider your lighting so everyone can see you well. Have some decent light shining in front of you, and avoid having a window or other bright light behind you as this turns you into a dark blob on camera.

It’s also ideal but not essential to use a headset, earbuds with a microphone, AirPods, or any Bluetooth earpiece, etc. if convenient so that everyone can hear you well.

If you’ve never Zoomed before, don’t worry, it’s easy, and getting going is mostly automatic (see below).

If you have Zoomed before, you’ll probably already have a Zoom application on your device. In advance of the Meeting, update that application if necessary to ensure you have all the latest features.

Click this link to visit the Zoom website
for the latest Mac and Windows versions or
for mobile versions, visit
the iOS App Store or the Android Google Play Store

Starting the Meeting

The Annual Meeting info email from the church office will include the invitation link for the Zoom meeting. Just click on that link to join the Meeting.

Please join before the 11:30 am start time.
Doors will open, well, virtually, at 11:10 am.

Zoom will offer to download and install its application if you’ve never Zoomed before or to run the application if you have. Agree to let Zoom do its thing.

Zoom will prompt you to Join with Video and to Use Computer Sound; go ahead and agree to both.

You’ll virtually enter the Zoom Waiting Room. This is a security precaution, and one of our meeting managers will need to admit you and verify who you are.

While in or moving from the Waiting Room, Zoom will prompt you to give the host permission to Unmute you. Please accept this permission, as we need it for audible voting (keep reading …).

Zoom unmute permission dialog

To help with verification against our church membership list and ensure fair voting, we’d like everyone to use the same format for their Zoom Name.

See Changing Your Name in a Zoom Meeting

For members (who can vote), use:

LastName, FirstName

If there are two or more of you who can vote sharing a device and appearing as a single participant, indicate the extra folks with “and” in your Zoom name:

LastName, FirstName and FirstName

LastName, FirstName and LastName, FirstINitial and LastName, FirstInitial

If you not a church member (and hence can’t vote), you are still welcome! But indicate this with an asterisk at the beginning of your name:

*LastName, FirstName

Set your Zoom name before or while in the Waiting Room, or one of our managers will help set it for you as you join.

Meeting Staff

Who are these helpful managers you ask?

  • Dani Allen, Debbie Allen, Randy Brown, Michelle Guerrin, Sue Lindemann, and Brian Williams


  • Anne-Marie Merrill will be our Chief Manager, helping run the Meeting overall,
  • from the Digital Chapel at church, Paul Lindemann will be the Meeting’s Host/Producer, and Michelle Guerrin will be there to assist with production, and
  • Treasurer Mike Rounds will be on hand for budget questions, and
  • Council Secretary Cyndi Gray will be responsible for the written record of all that happens at the Meeting.

Meeting Flow and Tools

big zoom gallery
Example of Zoom Gallery view for a large meeting

Once you’ve been verified and join the Meeting, you’ll be in Gallery View, where you can see on your screen everyone already in the Meeting. (You may need to scroll right to see another screen full of people depending on your screen size and our attendance.)

  • Your Video should be on — and please leave it on through the whole Meeting.
  • Your Audio will be initially Muted. Please leave it muted unless you want to speak (and beware of background noises in your room — like kids or pets or a TV— which everyone will hear quite clearly!)

Your Zoom screen includes a set of meeting controls, which you can use to list all the Participants, do a virtual Raise Hand, and Chat with others in the meeting, and more (we’ll cover these functions shortly). The controls are generally in a strip at the bottom of your screen for computers, and along the top or side edge for tablets and phones. Note some functions may be hidden behind the “… More” item.

zoom controls examples
Examples of Zoom control strips, on a Mac (top) and an iPad.

Once we’re all entered and ready, moderator Fred Merrill will open the Meeting, after which Paul will give a brief rundown of how things will work. Pastor Deborah will offer a prayer, and Fred will start on the business at hand.

That business includes brief updates from all the Boards and Committees, an overview of the proposed new budget, voting on that and the other Meeting articles, and discussion of any additional issues or questions raised by the congregation.

Asking Questions & Raising Heck Issues

Fred will invite questions after each segment. To get in line to ask a question, use the Zoom Raise Hand function.

See How to use the 'raise hand' feature in Zoom

To see where you are in the question queue, click on the Zoom Participants button, which should be in your strip of meeting controls (it may be behind the “…”). This will bring up a list of everyone in the Meeting, with waiting raised hands indicated.

zoom raised hand in list

When Fred calls on you, unmute yourself and ask your question or make your comments on camera. Fred will then either answer you or call on someone else to help answer your question.


We’ll have two possible levels of voting for each article, motion, etc. First we’ll try an audible vote.

For an audible vote, the Meeting producer (Paul) or a manager will first Mute all non-members and Unmute all voting Members. (If you’re a non-member sitting with a member, mute yourself, i.e., please don’t vote out loud!)

Then Fred will call for all positive “yeas” and then any negative “nays.”

If the audible vote is conclusive, the Secretary (Cyndi Gray) records this, and we move on. Otherwise, we need to do a counted vote.

For a counted vote, Paul will open Zoom Breakout Rooms where smaller groups will go to vote. He will have already assigned you to a Room; go there when directed to do so. (Non-members will stay in the general Meeting, and can amuse themselves there while the vote counting takes place.)

Your room will have a Gallery View and look a lot like the general Meeting, just with fewer people.

Dig deep into Room details with
"All You Need to Know About Using Zoom Breakout Rooms"
or just go with the flow!

A manager within each room will then work with those folks to count and capture everyone’s vote. When finished, you can leave the room, and the manager will report the room’s vote count to Anne-Marie. She will pass the total of all the room counts to Fred, who will announce the outcome of the vote.

Getting Help and Using Chat

Zoom has a text Chat function that can be handy during the Meeting.

See a quick video on Chat

Don’t use the chat for official Meeting questions or comments—you need to Raise Hand and do these on camera as described above so they are part of the Meeting minutes—but do use the chat to report any technical problems (e.g., “I can’t hear Fred very well”) or to seek help.

For personal help, you can direct a message not to Everyone but just to Michelle or one of the other managers, and they will respond.

A Quick Conclusion

Conducting this first virtual Annual Meeting may be challenging for everyone, but it will hopefully go smoothly (and quickly!).

If you have any questions or suggestions in advance, please email Michelle ( before noon Friday, or email Paul ( any time.

“See” you there!

If you’d like to learn more, there is a lot of help on Zoom out there that’s easy to find via a search on Google or YouTube. Note that many of these resources talk about creating your own Zoom account, but this is not necessary to participate in our Annual Meeting, You might try: