Mint Methodist Church Exeter
Covid-19 Emergency 2020
Sunday Morning Virtual Coffee
As the lockdown continues,
Sunday morning Virtual Coffee has become a regular thing: after the
streamed service from the Mint, members and friends of
the Mint meet over the internet to drink tea or coffee
together. We welcome anyone else who has been joining in the
streamed services, too - wherever you are physically, we'll be
pleased to see you virtually.
Virtual Coffee meeting will be open from 11am to 1pm each Sunday
until further notice. Below are some updated
instructions for how to join us. They aren't definitive, but
they have enabled many people to join us. We update the
details of these instructions regularly, in the light of
experience. Major updates for Sunday 31st May are flagged as
We are using the commercial package Zoom. Meetings are
"hosted" by Stephen Lea. You can use either a web
browser on a computer (works well with either Firefox or
Google's Chrome browser), or a smartphone or tablet. The
Methodist Church's Learning Network South West has put
together a handy Youtube introduction to using Zoom for
computer users which you can view here,
and there's one for iPad users here.
- If you don't have a suitable
computer or device, you can still join for voice only, by
phoning one of these numbers:
- 0203 481 5237
- 0203 481 5240
- 0131 460 1196
- 0203 051 2874.
- The first time you use Zoom, you'll
need to install the Zoom app. You shouldn't have to do it
again unless you switch to a different device, though you
will get asked to update it from time to time - since the
lockdown, Zoom are getting massively increased business, and
different kinds of business, and they are constantly trying
to improve the software. At the moment you should be
updating to at least version 5.0.1.
a good idea to
create a Zoom account (click one of the buttons that say
SIGN UP), but you don't need to pay anything.
may have heard that Zoom meetings are limited to 40
minutes unless you pay. However, we have bought a
licence so that we can host meetings of unlimited length
(well, up to 24 hours). Only the host needs a
licence so, again - you don't need to pay anything.
- To install the app:
- on a computer, go to https://zoom.us and click on
the place where it says JOIN A MEETING (top of the screen,
usually slightly to the right of the middle). You'll
then be told how to download the app. The
instructions you get from Zoom are really clear and well
- For a smartphone, download
the Zoom Cloud Meetings app from the Apple or Google store.
- Once you've done the initial
download, the easiest way to join a meeting is to start the
app. It's called Zoom (or Start Zoom, or Zoom Cloud
Meetings, depending on your system), and you should be able to
find it in your list of apps.
You'll need either a direct link, or the Meeting ID
and a Password to join the coffee meeting. These are
circulated to members and friends of the Mint on the weekly
email message. If you
are a visitor who would like to join us - Welcome!
But please contact the Zoom host (Stephen Lea: 01392
435204, stephen [at] lea.eclipse.co.uk) so he can give
you the link, and will let you in and introduce you to
people who are already there. Be
prepared to say who you are - for Safeguarding reasons we
have to know who is joining us.
- To use the direct link,
just click on it. To use the Meeting ID and Password,
start the Zoom app on your device, and you will be prompted
to enter them. To use them if you're joining over the
phone, be prepared to tap them in on your keypad. The
Meeting ID is usually a string of 11 numbers, and the
Password is usually a string of 6 numbers. Both
methods usually work reliably, but if one fails, try the
- When you first join the
meeting, you'll go into a "waiting room". The meeting
host can see you there, and will let you into the meeting if
he recognizes you. This procedure is advised by
Methodist central offices, to avoid undesirable intruders on
meetings. To make sure you are recognized, ensure you
have entered your name in Zoom.
- To see several people at
once, select "Gallery view". On a computer, you
click an icon of four small squares at the top right of the
screen. On a smartphone or tablet, you may have to click
a row of dots at the bottom of the screen to find this
option. Depending on your device, there is a limit on
how many people you will be able to see: on a phone it might
only be 2 or 4, on iPads it seems to be 9, on most computers
it is 25, if you have a powerful computer it might be
49. In any case, there's a way of seeing a different set
of people, by swiping left or right (on a phone or tablet) or
clicking blue arrowheads that appear to the left or right of
the grid of people (on a computer).
It's best if your laptop or phone is on a
table or desk, rather than in your hand or on your lap; and
don't have it too far away, otherwise your voice will be very
faint (and you can't tell this). A headphone/microphone
headset isn't essential, but works well if you have one.
We've had some problems with some people being very
faint. We'll let you know if that affects you, and in
that case it is a good idea to test your microphone using the
Settings in the Zoom app (reached from Zoom's Home screen)
before you join the meeting. Go to the Audio settings
and use the Test Mic setting; when you speak, you should see a
blue line going at least half way way to its maximum position
as you talk, and then you should hear your own voice played
back clearly. Some computers' internal microphones just
aren't very sensitive, and an external plug-in microphone can
also had problems with people's microphones picking up
background noise - maybe a radio playing, or a fridge
humming. Again, you can't tell from your end. We
might send you a chat text to let you know. Try doing
the Test Mic again but not saying anything: if the blue line
is moving across substantially, you have something
- On the smartphone, if your
audio or video isn't working at all, try tapping the
horizontal row of three dots at the bottom of the screen; that
leads to a variety of options. On a computer or tablet,
there are obvious audio and video icons at bottom left of the
screen - if they are crossed out, click them.
Annoyingly, all Zoom's icons disappear after a few seconds if
you are not moving your cursor or finger around: if you can't
see them, move the cursor or your finger to where you think
they should be, and they should appear. If nothing
shows, try tapping or clicking again.
- When a lot of people have
joined the conversation, it gets quite noisy! If you
want to speak so everyone can hear, just raise a hand - and if
you see someone else raise their hand, let them speak.
You can also click on the "Reactions" icon, which lets you
raise a hand icon (or show approval with a thumbs-up).
has a facility for text-based chat - click on the
speech-bubble icon. You can direct your text
either to Everyone or to a specific individual who is in the
conversation (a private message).
- NEW: Once most of the
regulars have joined, we will split people up into smaller
groups ("Breakout rooms") for a few minutes to allow easier
conversation. You can always leave your breakout room
and come back to the main room, where there will be other
people to talk to, as new arrivals start there.
leave the meeting, click "Leave". On a computer, this
appears at the bottom right of the screen, in red letters;
on a tablet it's at top right, also in red. You get a
chance to change your mind before you finally leave.
When the host leaves the meeting, it ends for everyone, but
we'll give a warning before this happens.
Please let me know of
anything you found difficult, and we'll try to update these
instructions to help people avoid the problems.
updated 26th May 2020