The Sunday School has a new pet—an owl! More specifically, a new piece of tech equipment called a Meeting Owl, pictured at right, which Third Church acquired this past fall. We used it to test a new program during the season of Advent: hybrid Sunday School.

In our first class, we were evenly split with three families at home and three in Sunday School. With a gathering question that we all took turns answering (alternating between the children joining virtually whose faces were displayed on the smartboard, and the children in the room whose voices and faces were picked up by the multi-directional camera and microphone housed in the owl), followed by a Bible story and litany, the group spent about 20 minutes together.

Following our group time, the children in the room created crafts around our theme, while children at home were able to download directions and worksheets from our website’s password-protected parent portal to complete crafts and activities on their own.

The experiment was a success! As a result, we will continue to offer hybrid Sunday morning faith formation indefinitely.