Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, We regret to inform you that the General Conference Session, scheduled for June 25 – July 4, 2020, has been postponed due to concerns related to the rapid spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday, March 19, 2020, the Executive Committee of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (EXCOM) voted to reschedule the 2020 General Conference Session (GC Session) for May 21, 2021. This vote followed a March 17 General Conference Administrative Committee (ADCOM) recommendation to suspend the GC Session to as late as 2022 in response to the Coronavirus.
Plans are now underway for a scaled-down GC Session to be held from May 20 to May 25 of 2021; this route was deemed the most feasible of various alternatives. The postponed GC Session will also be held in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Since its appearance at the end of 2019, the novel Coronavirus (or COVID-19) has spread worldwide, impacting hundreds of thousands directly or indirectly. Schools, restaurants, non-essential businesses, churches and more have been shut down in an effort to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19. Furthermore, several major events across the globe have been cancelled or postponed.
COVID-19 is highly transferable, and for some, fatal. To date, a reported 230,000+ have been infected with the virus, with over 9,300 resulting deaths (visit https://www.who.int for updates). Therefore, we must be prudent.
In a General Conference press release, World Church Health Ministries director, Peter Landless, stated, “The Church has consulted with senior representatives of the World Health Organization structure, and we are recommending that the Church take a careful approach to large gatherings including the General Conference Session.” Logistical and financial challenges were also considered.
The General Conference Session is the Seventh-day Adventist World Church’s largest and most significant business meeting, held every five years. At the GC Session, delegates elect officers and matters such as our fundamental beliefs, Church Manual, constitution and bylaws are reviewed. It is also a time of visioning and fellowship for as many as 60,000 Adventists from across the globe. However, the 2021 event will be open only to delegates, spouses and dependent children, as well as a small complement of technical staff. Its focus will be on the business meetings, with exhibits and ancillary meetings cancelled. The next General Conference Session remains scheduled for 2025.
In the EXCOM meeting, GC president, Ted Wilson, quoted the biblical text 2 Timothy 1:7. “God has not given us a spirit of fear.” He concluded, “The Three Angels Messages are not being stopped by the Coronavirus. God’s work will not be inhibited by this virus.”
We understand that this news will be a blow to many who were eagerly awaiting what Wilson calls a “super camp meeting and homecoming." We also understand that the Coronavirus seems like an insurmountable foe. However, we encourage you not to lose heart or give in to the anxiety that has gripped the world.
As Ontario Conference president, Mansfield Edwards, stated, “In these difficult times, we must be focussed on the fact of Christ’s soon coming. Let us encourage each other to remain faithful. Let us be creative in reaching others for Christ through total member involvement. His coming is near.”
God bless you and yours,
Ontario Conference Administration
Mansfield Edwards President
Jakov Bibulovic Executive Secretary
Virene Meikle Treasurer
For a full report on the EXCOM’s decision, visit https://www.adventistreview.org/church-news/story14603- world-church-executive-committee-votes-to-postpone-general-conference-session