Orientation/Refresher for First Time Commissioners and anyone new to Zoom for a Presbytery meeting

The information on this page will be updated from time to time as we approach each upcoming meeting. In the meantime, the general information below may be helpful for any session, congregation (or maybe even other presbyteries) as they plan for online meetings.

Last update: Friday, August 6, 2021

Participating in a meeting of the Presbytery of Tampa Bay for the first time? 

–>Will our next meeting be the first time you’ve participated in a presbytery meeting on Zoom?

–>Will this be the first time you’ve participated in a Zoom meeting with more than 100 people?

–> Been there, done that, but want a refresher?  

This is the place for you!


Zoom regularly updates its client software and sometimes makes changes to the features we use for feedback and voting, so it is vital that everyone check for updates in their installed Zoom client or visit Zoom’s Download page for the most recent release for your computer or device before joining the meeting. If you need help with how to update your current software, please visit Zoom’s Upgrade/update to the latest version page.


Bill Wildhack, Stated Clerk for the Presbytery of Tampa Bay, will host online Zoom orientation for new ruling elder commissioners and other first-time participants — and anyone new to using Zoom to participate in a Presbytery meeting — before each meeting of the Presbytery.

If you’re a first-timer to a meeting of our Presbytery or on Zoom (or just want a refresher!), plan to join us at 2:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. on Monday, August 9, for an online orientation session. We’re sending information on that to your pastor and clerk of session, and look for a link to it in a follow-up confirmation email of your Zoom registration in the next few days.

In the meantime, you can click here to view a video with Stated Clerk Bill Wildhack created before our last online meeting to walk you through some of the Zoom features we use in our meetings that not everyone has used in smaller settings.

Even if you consider yourself VERY familiar with Zoom, you’ll need to know how we use Zoom to seek recognition, take attendance, and vote.

Please see below for tips on using Zoom, especially in the “Additional Technical Guidance” and “Zoom Expertise” documents, and send an email to Stated Clerk Bill Wildhack through our “Contact Us” page with questions.

PRESBYTERY OF TAMPA BAY Information on our meeting and how we use Zoom

Click on the links below for additional background and resources about meetings of the Presbytery of Tampa Bay, how we’re using Zoom for conducting our meetings right now, and how to use Zoom in general. NOTE: All links will open in new tabs to make it easier for you to come back here!


Already have Zoom on your device? Be sure to update it regularly (and especially no later than the day before a presbytery meeting):

Are you new to Zoom or is Zoom new to you? Along with the information and links in the “Additional Technical Guidance“ at the link above, here are some direct links to get you up to speed with how to use Zoom or to update your software to the latest version — and please keep in mind that it is easier to use Zoom’s meeting and feedback features on a laptop or desktop than on a tablet or smartphone:

Have other questions about Zoom?  Check out Zoom’s Frequently Asked Questions.

Considering having a congregational or another meeting electronically?

We have some ideas and notes on things to consider when using Zoom for larger meetings while in-person gatherings are still limited.

When planning to hold a meeting (session, deacons, or a congregation) while larger, in-person gatherings are limited, never lose sight of the bottom-line standard for electronic meetings as described in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised (12th Edition): the meeting must “provide, at a minimum, conditions of opportunity for simultaneous aural communication among all participating members equivalent to those of meetings held in one room or area.” (RONR (12th ed.) 9:31)

In other words, everyone has to have the same opportunity to hear and be heard as everyone else while discussing a matter before a vote. There are ways to do that using Zoom and other tools, but don’t compromise on that minimum standard.

Hybrid meetings, with some attending in person and others attending via Zoom or another electronic platform, present additional challenges.

Stated Clerk Bill Wildhack has put together this document with some thoughts and ideas; please contact him directly at (813) 868-4800, opt. 2, or send him an email through our “Contact Us” page with other questions.