2020 EPA Annual Conference Announcement from Bishop Peggy A. Johnson
Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,
I am writing to let the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference know that I have prayerfully decided that the bulk of our annual conference sessions this fall will be virtual and not in-person (face to face). The continual rise in COVID 19 cases, the threat of a second wave in the fall, the age of most of our constituents, and the budgetary challenges we are facing has led me to this decision.
I will be meeting with the annual conference session committee to determine the details and we will be in touch as plans are worked out with more specific information. We plan to keep the same dates that have been previously announced, but with a few changes. We will not be gathering at the Oaks Convention Center. Understanding that all social distancing and other health precautions will be observed, the dates are:
- Tues. October 13, 2020 – 9:00 am – 11:00 am – Clergy Session (virtual/live streaming) and there will be no laity session.
- Tues. October 13, 2020 – 1:00 am – 5:00 pm – Annual Conference (virtual/live streaming).
- Wed. October 14, 2020 – 10:00 am – Memorial Service (at a local church yet to be confirmed). This will be in person but by ticket only with limited seating and live streaming available.
- Wed. October 14, 2020 – 2:00 pm – Ordination Service (at a local church yet to be confirmed). This will also be in person but by ticket only with limited seating and live streaming available.
Many annual conferences across the country have opted for virtual sessions with great success so we will be able to learn from their experiences. Ensuring electronic accessibility for our voting delegates is a priority for us. We are committed to providing accessibility for individuals with disabilities and those who speak Spanish. We will also continue to receive our special Annual Conference offerings online and/or by mail.
I realize this is a huge change from what we are used to doing. The fellowship and resourcing that is typical of an in-person event will be limited and the agenda will be smaller. However, this will help us to do things in a new way that may facilitate even greater options for ministry in the future. As Isaiah 43:19 reminds us “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Our God is a way-maker, doing new things for a new generation. Please be in prayer as we embark on this venture of Annual Conference 2020.
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson