March 13, 2020
/ Columbia, Maryland, United States
/ North American Division
The leadership of the North American Division of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (NAD), in consultation with the leaders of the nine union conferences in the NAD, is providing some guidance for the churches and schools in our territories regarding the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
As Christians we have a responsibility to care for each other and ourselves. With the World Health Organization now declaring COVID-19 to be a pandemic, we should be seen as part of the solution rather than potentially becoming part of the problem.
In seeking to limit the potential impact of COVID-19, the NAD administration has voted that all staff should cease all travels immediately. Administration has prohibited work-related travel until June 24, 2020.
In addition, NAD administration has voted to cancel NAD-sponsored events and meetings scheduled to take place before June 24. The NAD Human Resource Services Conference and Union and Local Secretaries Council, scheduled for April 26-28, has been cancelled. The CALLED Pastors’ Family Convention, scheduled for June 20-24, 2020, has been rescheduled for the summer of 2022. Cancellation notices for several NAD events have already been issued, including the Pathfinder Bible Experience and Sonscreen Film Festival.
We, in support of our unions and local conferences, are asking our churches and schools to follow guidelines being established by their local and state governments regarding public meetings and size limits on gatherings. Many state governments are limiting the size of gatherings to 250 people or less. Some areas are even reducing that number to 100 people.
In light of these restrictions, and to maintain a healthy environment for our local communities, we are supporting our unions and local conferences in suggesting that churches and schools strongly reconsider the need to meet over the next two weeks. If churches have live-streaming capabilities, those options should be utilized to provide virtual church services for their members.