By Rick Wolcott*
The health and safety of East Ohio Conference clergy and laity are paramount. Bishop Tracy S. Malone, after prayerful discernment and in consultation with the Extended Cabinet, leadership of the Board of Ministry, and the Annual Conference secretary, has made the decision to postpone Clergy Executive Session and Annual Conference 2020 until the Fall.
Both Clergy Executive Session and Annual Conference will meet at Lakeside Chautauqua the last weekend in September.
Clergy Executive Session will meet from 11:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. on Friday, September 25. The 51st Session of Annual Conference will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 26 and will conclude by 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 27.
In choosing new dates for the rescheduled Annual Conference session the deliberate decision was made to include Saturday as one of the meeting dates so that the conference will be more accessible to lay members. Lakeside is able to accommodate a weekend session because the rescheduled Annual Conference meets after the summer Chautauqua program season concludes.
Annual Conference members will gather September 26-27 guided by the theme Bearing Fruit that Lasts: Called, Committed, Connected. Worship, business, and fellowship will underscore the importance of being connected to God, to our neighbors, and to our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and bearing fruit that lasts.
“There is great joy and anticipation felt by many of us as we prepare to connect for a time of holy conferencing after this extensive time of physical separation from one another,” Malone said. “God’s Spirit continues to move among us as we join together across the East Ohio Conference to share the Good News of the Gospel in creative and tangible ways.”
Youth Annual Conference will not meet at Lakeside Chautauqua this summer. The decision on the date and details regarding YAC 2020 will be provided after Conference Council on Youth Ministries (CCYM) meets April 25. Leadership is mindful of the other important events in the lives of teens that are also being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and will explore alternative options for youth across the Conference to connect virtually.
East Ohio Camps & Retreat Ministries leadership is moving closer to decisions about 2020 Summer Camp. It continues to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and to gather information and direction from the Centers for Disease Control, the Ohio Department of Health, and Camps peers and advisors.
New information about decisions made regarding Annual Conference, Youth Annual Conference, Clergy Executive Session, and Summer Camp will be published in the Conference bi-weekly electronic newsletter E-News, and posted on the Conference website pages for Annual Conference 2020, Youth Annual Conference 2020, and Summer Camp.
Youth Annual Conference Housing Information from Lakeside Chautauqua:
Hotels/Cottage Rentals: Starting Friday, April 24, Lakeside staff will contact you directly by phone to process hotel and Lakeside Chautauqua Realty cottage rental cancellations and refunds. If renting through Street Sotheby’s International Realty or from individual homeowners, please contact them directly about cancellations and refunds.
Group Housing: Starting Friday, April 24, Lakeside staff will contact you directly by phone to process group housing rental cancellations and refunds. Wo-Ho-Mis check reimbursements will be a delayed process.
Annual Conference Housing Information from Lakeside Chautauqua:
Hotels: Starting Monday, April 27, Lakeside staff will contact you directly by phone to transfer hotel reservations to September or will process cancellations and refunds as needed. Hotel room rates will remain the same.
Cottage Rentals: Starting Monday, April 27, Lakeside staff will first be checking with homeowners to see which cottages will be available to rent in September, which will slightly delay the process. Lakeside staff will then contact you directly by phone to move cottage rentals to September or process Lakeside Chautauqua Realty cottage rental cancellations and refunds. If renting through Street Sotheby’s International Realty or from individual homeowners, please contact them directly about cancellations and refunds.
Group Housing: Starting Monday, April 27, Lakeside staff will contact you directly by phone to process group housing rental cancellations and refunds. Wo-Ho-Mis check reimbursements will be a delayed process.
*Rick Wolcott is director of Communications for the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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