By Lucy Lettis
I miss being at the meetinghouse with my Ethical Culture family very much.
But, who knew when Zoom was released eight years ago that it would serve as a lifeline? Ethical makes exceptional use of the application. We are physically separated, yet Zoom has brought us together in new, sometimes surprising, ways. In fact, I believe Zoom is truly a silver lining in our forced isolation.
First of all, Zoom enables members who live in other parts of the country and overseas to participate in our platforms and virtual get-togethers. It is “reuniting” us with members who have relocated. Zoom has also demonstrably brought non-members and potential members into our fold. And so we are reaching an expanded audience. Zoom is introducing us, our friendly and welcoming membership, to new people!
Having been a Society member only a few years myself—combined with my poor memory and challenges making face-to-name associations—Zoom has really been a tremendous boon. I like the “gallery” view on Zoom so I can study people’s faces. When I see you again in person, there’s a decent chance I’ll address you by name!
I don’t live around the corner from the meetinghouse. Without fighting evening highway traffic, under- or over-estimating departure/arrival times, I find myself participating in many more committee and Board meetings. And boy, there are a lot of meetings! And with its screen-sharing capabilities, Zoom makes it possible for us to look at one another’s screens during presentations, budget meetings, brain-storming sessions. This is a marvel.
People have also taken better advantage of our numerous and diverse range of activities like the Socrates Café. Previously, many activities might have been impossible or challenging to attend. These benefits can’t be underestimated.
Am I being a Pollyanna? Maybe. For sure, Zoom is no substitute for physical proximity. But in certain ways I feel better integrated into the Society than I did before Zoom. And while I can’t wait to get back to the meetinghouse, I look forward to a future of hybrid gatherings, combining physical attendance at platforms and meetings with the convenience of joining in from one’s own home. If you haven’t discovered the wonders of Zoom yet, it’s time that you do! We have a team of tech gurus, the Zoom Squad, you can call on if you’d like assistance in getting started. They’ll walk you step-by-step through the process. Soon, you won’t know how you ever managed without it!
Lucy Lettis is a member of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County.