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Nationwide Zoom outage interrupts some church services

Gabby Jones/Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomb

A national Zoom outage on Sunday may have been felt most keenly by churches, which experienced technical difficulties while trying to deliver their weekend morning services via the videoconferencing platform.

Pastor Jay Williams of the South End’s Union Church said he realized he would have to hack together a solution Sunday morning after his staff informed him that Zoom was dropping calls, muting sound, and disabling video.

“We really depend on the Zoom platform to allow the 200-plus people who gather to be able to interact with each other,” Williams said.

So he asked congregants to reach out to each other at the time the service would have been held and snap selfies of themselves in their Sunday best, to be blended into a photo collage that was later posted on social media. The live sermon was prerecorded, to be watched Sunday night on Facebook.

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“It’s a bit strange,” said Williams, who is unused to delivering sermons without so much as a digital audience, "but we have a commitment to deliver something for Sunday. So we had to make some lemonade out of lemons and just press forward.”

Trinity Church and Fourth Presbyterian Church of South Boston experienced difficulties, as well.

“Our friends at Zoom experienced system-wide issues that kept us from convening for Community Hour at 11 am, and left our other morning programming glitchy. We missed being with you!” Trinity Church wrote in a Facebook post.

Meanwhile, Fourth Presbyterian Church of South Boston said on Facebook that it had named the YouTube video of the morning’s service “Anarchist worship” because Zoom crashed "and it’s all anarchy.”

The issues behind the national outage were mostly resolved by Sunday afternoon, according to Zoom, although its status page indicated the platform was still having problems displaying meeting information as of 1:19 p.m.

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“We are continuing to assess this matter that impacted a subset of our users and will monitor to ensure no further operational impact,” Zoom’s chief technology officer, Brendan Ittelson, said in a statement. “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused.”

Zoom Video Communications, of San Jose, Calif., claims 300 million users.

Max Jungreis can be reached at max.jungreis@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MaxJungreis.


Max Jungreis can be reached at max.jungreis@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MaxJungreis