Upper New York Annual Conference postponed due to COVID-19 concerns
The Sessions Committee of the Upper New York Conference gathered by Zoom on the morning of Thursday, April 21 to discuss growing concerns about the uptick in COVID-19 cases in Upstate New York and throughout the United States.
Members of the Committee shared both their own perspectives and what they have been hearing from others regarding the comfort level of gathering more than a thousand United Methodist from across Upper New York at Onondaga Community College’s SRC Arena. In the end, while there was a great sense of loss about not being able to gather in-person for the third year in a row, the Committee overwhelmingly agreed that the top priority had to be the health and safety of the individuals that would be asked to attend. The decision was made to institute a backup plan that has been in place since the Committee started planning for an in-person Annual Conference gathering.
Annual Conference will be postponed to Oct. 6-8, and it will be a virtual gathering. The plan is to use the same technology that was used at the 2021 virtual Annual Conference gathering, which was relatively well received.
Postponing Annual Conference creates a new set of logistical concerns to address and the decisions about those concerns will be shared once they are made. In the meantime, anyone who has already registered for the planned in-person Annual Conference gathering will receive full refunds. The processing of refunds will start immediately but could take a couple of weeks to complete. If you made a hotel reservation, you should contact the hotel directly to cancel.
“We know that there will be many different reactions to the news of Annual Conference being postponed and moved to a virtual event,” said the Rev. Joellyn Tuttle, Chair of the Sessions Committee. “Many will be disappointed; many will be relieved; and many more will be some combination of the two. Ultimately, this decision puts the health of the members of the Annual Conference first and that felt right to the Committee. Our first desire was to do no harm, and we are confident that we can pull together an excellent virtual event in October.”