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The Trans-European Division reschedules major events following COVID-19

Jul 02, 2020  |  St Albans, United Kingdom  | 

The Trans-European Division reschedules major events following COVID-19

Youth Congress and the European Pastors’ Council will both move one year later to help with financial and logistic planning.

In a joint agreement between the Inter-European and Trans-European Divisions, the European Youth Congress planned for August 2021 in Lahti, Finland, will be pushed one year later to 2022. Following the COVID-19 lockdown across most of Europe, including Finland, the level of uncertainty about a ‘second wave’ that could hit and how the winter will progress, the executive committees of both divisions voted to postpone the event that attracts around 4,000 young people.

The host Union, Finland, believes that there will be greater participation with the one-year delay. It will also facilitate planning as health issues and financial stability will both be more secure.

The ability for unions to subsidize the event for their youth, together with the anticipated rise in the cost of air travel, at least in the short term, also affected the decision.

The last congress was held in Valencia, Spain, in 2017 [See: ‘The Journey’ begins.]

The 2023 date for the TED Pathfinder Camporee will remain unchanged. However, with a reduced window for planning between the three major events that the TED runs each quinquennium, the European Pastors’ Council will move to 2024. The last council, in Belgrade, Serbia, attracted 1,200 pastors, bible workers, administrators, and their spouses for the four-day event.

The rescheduling of major events was a key item in an extraordinary TED Executive Committee meeting held on Sunday, June 28. Forty-two participants met on the now-familiar Zoom platform to look at major events, gain a financial update, and to hold the annual ADRA TED general meeting.

A crisis can lead to creativity. In his introduction, TED President Raafat Kamal noted that he had seen more resilience, innovation, and creativity in the past three months than in the last five years. 

“We have really used the opportunity to become salt and light,” Kamal noted, referencing how churches have supported local communities, while online teaching and worship led to increased outreach possibilities.

Nenad Jepuranović, TED treasurer, remarked that tithe was down by 6.6 percent for the first four months of 2020. 

“This is not as bad as might have been anticipated, but still represents a drop of some £1 million (US $1.25 million),” he noted. 

Some unions are more affected than others and the TED is providing short-term assistance where needed. Unions where on-line giving was already established have done better, but there is hope that finance will improve as churches are starting to reopen in some countries.

Prudence is a keyword and the TED had already cut the 2020 budget by £900,000 (US $1.12 million) while keeping a strong emphasis on outreach. The Mission Board has already voted over £1.1 million (US $1.4 million) in projects for 2020 with a significant portion of that being to support online projects.

“These are challenging times,” Jepuranović stated. “In the short term we are being as efficient as possible while calling on our reserves to provide needed support.”

Emphasizing the need to be cautious on the way forward, he noted that there may need to be more adjustments as we head toward 2021.

The extraordinary committee was a follow-up on the main spring meetings held in mid-May – also by Zoom. [See: Working together in difficult times and still open for business: TED Spring Meetings]

As people have adapted to technology, the ability to bring 42 people together from 22 countries has demonstrated a very practical change that can save time and travel while increasing efficiency. That efficiency could be seen as a keyword for this extraordinary committee as Christine Burt, a lay representative from the North England Conference, said in the closing prayer just 32 minutes after the scheduled start of the meeting. Some delegates commented on the hope that this can set a new trend in speed and efficiency!

This article was originally published on the Trans-European Division’s news site

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