Baptist state conventions across the country are all facing a similar question right now — what do we do about our annual meeting?
Some state conventions have already announced plans to cancel their meeting or conduct a virtual meeting. The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is currently considering various options because we have some decisions that our convention needs to make that will help us in 2021 and beyond.
By now, many of you have learned that this year’s annual meeting will not be held at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro on Nov. 9-10 as originally planned. With limits on public gatherings in place until mid-September and no clear indication on when those limits would be eased or lifted, it became evident that holding the annual meeting at the Koury Center in 2020 would not be possible.
The state convention’s executive leadership team has had frequent discussions with Koury Center officials throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and on Friday, Aug. 7, we made the necessary decision to cancel our contract with Koury for this year and begin exploring other alternatives for our 2020 meeting.
When we canceled our contract with the Koury Center, an automated email was sent by the host hotel to those messengers and guests who had room reservations indicating that their rooms had been canceled. We were not aware that this email would be sent out, and it created some confusion about the status of annual meeting. Once we learned of this email, we worked to release a statement as quickly as we could to indicate that convention officials were beginning to explore alternative options for this year’s meeting. We apologize for any confusion those events caused.
Our executive leadership team is now having discussions with our board officers, elected convention officers and other leaders to explore various options and scenarios for this year’s annual meeting. Further discussion will happen with the executive committee on Aug. 25. Ultimately, any decision regarding this year’s annual meeting rests with our board of directors in accordance with our bylaws, which state that in the “case of emergency or unusual circumstances,” the board is empowered to “change the time or place of meeting or cancel the sessions of the Convention.”
These certainly are unusual circumstances that we find ourselves in due to COVID-19, which continues to impact our lives. If we have an annual meeting this year, it will look much different than any we have had before. However, I can assure you that you will enjoy being present, and I hope you will attend if possible because this will be the final convention that I will have a role in leading. I invite and encourage all North Carolina Baptists to pray for convention leaders and board members as we discuss various options for this year’s meeting in light of the ongoing public-health situation.
Thank you for your patience as we work through these logistical challenges. We will provide updates related to annual meeting as quickly as we can and in as many places as we can. Please watch the convention website (ncbaptist.org), the annual meeting website (ncannualmeeting.org) and the Biblical Recorder’s print edition and website (brnow.org) for updates. We will also provide updates via email, social media and the N.C. Baptist mobile app.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” — James 1:5 (NKJV)