II n light of recent, very rapid, and highly unusual developments associated with COVID-19 and precautions taken by organizations around the world to curb the spread of the virus, Seventh-day Adventist world church leaders have initiated a series of meetings to discuss implications for the Adventist Church.
Over the course of several weeks, General Conference Session planners, health professionals, legal advisors and administrators have been carefully and prayerfully exploring possible alternative plans for the 2020 General Conference Session in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the last few days, both the world Church’s International Crisis Committee and the General Conference Administrative Committee (ADCOM) have discussed specific possible alternative plans. At its meeting on March 17, ADCOM voted to forward the following recommendations to the General Conference Executive Committee:
Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and surrounding safety, travel, and visa implications on local and international church entities and members, as well as government restrictions on public meetings, it is
- To postpone the 2020 General Conference Session for up to two years, depending on when rescheduling is feasible.
- To reduce the number of attendees when the General Conference Session is rescheduled, inviting only delegates (spouses/dependent children), and a limited number of technical staff.
- To reduce the number of days for the reschedule General Conference Session to between four and six days.
- To not include exhibits at the rescheduled General Conference Session.
- To note that the current term of office will continue for the duration of the postponement. The next General Conference term will end when the scheduled 2025 General Conference Session convenes.
RECOMMENDATION FOR FUTURE GENERAL CONFERENCE SESSIONS
Due to the need to reduce the financial and logistical footprint of General Conference Sessions and to be more efficient and effective in the handling of Church funds, it is
RECOMMENDED, To request the General Conference administration to review the current configuration for all future General Conference Sessions and make recommendations to the General Conference Executive Committee, on the following items:
- That the number of delegates to General Conference Sessions be proportionately reduced.
- That no special guests be invited to General Conference Sessions.
- That the number of days for General Conference Sessions be established between four and six, including a Sabbath.
- That no exhibits/booths be included at General Conference Sessions.
“The last thing we wanted to do is postpone GC Session,” said Ted N. C. Wilson, chair of ADCOM and president of the Adventist World Church. “However, after a process of consultation and analysis, in this very rapidly developing setting, we will need to discuss this as an Executive Committee. It is important for our church leaders and members to remember no decisions have been made yet in regards to Session. These are only recommendations to be discussed by the Executive Committee.”
A special meeting of the General Conference Executive Committee has been called for Thursday, March 19 to discuss the matter. Most members will attend via teleconference technology.
Geoffrey Mbwana, chair of the International Crisis Committee and general vice president of the General Conference, encouraged prayer for God’s leading in these very unusual developments.
Further details will be released following the Executive Committee meeting Thursday, March 19.