The impact that COVID-19 has had on lives and routines and schedules and plans is like nothing anyone has likely ever imagined. Since the pandemic became a reality in March (six months now!), the people of the CTC and all over the world all had to deal with the unknown and the unprecedented: quarantines, shelter-in-place orders from civil authorities, the cancelling of major conferences and events, businesses, schools and church/faith communities suspending operations, constant hand washing and mask wearing – the list goes on and on. And that’s not to mention those who have actually contracted COVID and those who lost their lives or loved ones to the disease.
The pandemic has also affected the conference's ability to come together for its 2020 Annual Conference session. When it became obvious that it was not going to be possible to convene AC20 in June as scheduled, the conference shifted plans to a one-day, in person Annual Conference to be held on August 10. And when the pandemic situation didn’t improve, the date was moved again and tentatively scheduled our meeting for October 19 in hopes of gathering in person.
Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to surge—more so in some areas than others. It is still an extremely dangerous situation according to the medical experts and civil authorities from whom CTC leadership has taken its cues since the beginning of the pandemic. As such, the likelihood is very small that the annual conference will be able to gather for an in-person meeting of more than 1000 persons in one place before the end of the year. Because the health and safety of all involved is paramount, Bishop Lowry has determined, in consultation with the Conference Chancellor, the Conference Parliamentarian and the Cabinet, that the best option is to convene the 2020 Annual Conference VIRTUALLY or online.
And, since the meeting will now be all online, there is no longer a need to wait into the fall in hopes that the pandemic subsides. As such, Bishop Lowry has moved the date up one month to Saturday, September 19 starting at 10 a.m. Additionally, the service of Commissioning and Ordination will take place the following Sunday, September 20 at White’s Chapel with EXTREMLY LIMITED in-person participation. Both the service and the Conference session will be available via a live web stream.
Details about the Sept. 19 meeting are available on the conference website – including the Preliminary Report and registration details. For Conference members, it is vital that they register in advance. Members will NOT be able to actively participate in the online conference without registering and if they wait until the day of the meeting they will likely miss the first 20-30 minutes. In the next few days, more details and information about how to vote and otherwise actively participate in the meeting will be available. So, visit ctcumc.org/ac20 and check back regularly.