Diocese Announces Virtual Meeting Space

Diocese Announces Virtual Meeting Space

The Communications Commission for the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California is pleased to announce the decision to launch diocesan-wide web conferencing capabilities and the development of the first three diocesan Media Centers in 2012!

Following the results of last year’s communications survey, in which teleconferencing and web-based meetings and seminars ranked high among areas of interest, and with unanimous support by the Bishop and Diocesan Council, the Communications Commission set out to establish a plan for making this possible. After giving careful consideration to a number of competitive providers, we have selected “MegaMeeting” as our service provider and will begin use of their meetings portal by diocesan governing bodies (Standing Committee, Board, Council, CoM and their committees) this February. MegaMeeting comes highly recommended by other organizations, including the Diocese of Southwest Florida, who has been using their services successfully for approximately two years.

MegaMeeting will enable varying groups at several locations to participate in a meeting without messy downloads or expensive software.  “Seats,” are purchased per month, as needed, allowing each seat access to a secure, online meeting space. Those without Internet access may also join this virtual meeting space by way of a concurrent, secure conference phone line.

As a way to assure that folks in outlying areas have access to this technology, we are establishing four initial “Media Centers,” which will house the tools necessary (computer, video equipment, high speed Internet connection, etc.) to allow visitors to join diocesan-held meetings and webinars. We recognize that there may be congregations who already have the necessary technology available and we will be working to include them. Our initial plan calls for four locations this first year: three new Media Centers at St. Martin’s, Davis; All Saints', Redding; Christ Church, Eureka; in addition to the existing center at the Office of the Bishop. Future plans may allow for subsequent Media Centers to be established in additional regions as well.

Enthusiasm and support for the ability to meet in a virtual meeting space has been high. And while initial rollout calls for use of this technology by our governing bodies only, this first year is meant to serve as a springboard from which additional programs and ministry groups may one day benefit. As we understand better how to manage and use this technology, this expansion will be made possible.

This is indeed an exciting time, as we continue to take steps which will ultimately increase our connectivity while reducing our carbon footprint. Equipment has been ordered and will be installed in the next six weeks, with plans to begin use thereof in mid to late February. We ask for your continued patience as we work to roll out this plan, and encourage any questions or concerns to be sent to Communications Director and Benefits Coordinator  Nicole Baxley, nicole@norcalepiscopal.org.

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