Posted by: Titus Presler | April 16, 2020

Global Mission Conference planned by GEMN is postponed to 2021 on account of coronavirus pandemic

The annual Global Mission Conference organized by the Global Episcopal Mission Network (GEMN) has had to be canceled on account of the coronavirus pandemic, to the great regret of all of us on the Board of Directors, of which I am the president.  This news is over a month old now, but it’s nevertheless appropriate to post it here.

Our plan is to convene in 2021 around the same time of year, preferably in April, if the pandemic has faded enough to permit that, and again the Indianapolis area.  We will have the same timely theme: Earthkeeping: Creation Care in Global Mission, with, we hope, the same plenary speakers, who include Katharine Jefferts Schori, Orlando Gomes, Rachel Mash and Leon Sampson.  You can go to the GEMN website to read more about the projected keynoters and workshop presentations.

Unlike the scholarly conferences whose cancellations I’ve posted, the Global Mission Conference is a gathering for mission activists from dioceses, congregations, mission organizations and seminaries, in addition to a number individuals from around the Episcopal Church.  Please stay tuned for our plans for 2021.

We canceled early on as it was becoming clear that holding the conference would not be viable.  Here is the announcement that I sent out and that was posted on the GEMN website:

Cancellation of 2020 Conference

Dear Global Mission Community,

In view of the national and international coronavirus situation, the Board of Directors of the Global Episcopal Mission Network has decided to cancel the 2020 Global Mission Conference that was to be held at Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis, April 29-May 1.

We have made this decision with great regret, but we feel that canceling is appropriate in view of the widespread concern about the virus and the difficulty of predicting the course of transmission over the coming months.

People have legitimate concerns about participating in gatherings that bring together people from all parts of the country, some of which have recorded infections. We believe it is both caring and prudent to cancel the conference at this time.

GEMN is contacting those who registered for the conference about registration refunds. The Board is exploring remote electronic possibilities for the Mission Formation Program and the Diocesan Networks Gathering that were to be held in conjunction with the conference.

This is the first time that GEMN has canceled the annual Global Mission Conference in the 25-year history of the network. The urgency of this year’s theme, Earthkeeping: Creation Care in Global Mission, intensifies our regret in this cancellation. We encourage all in the global mission community to consider how to integrate creation care in their global mission work amid the planetary environmental crisis. Resources will be provided on the GEMN website.

We will inform you as soon as possible about plans for the 2021 Global Mission Conference.

As you know, the conference often generates new memberships for GEMN. These memberships enable GEMN to proclaim and ignite the good news of God’s mission throughout the year. We count on your support. If you have not already joined GEMN for 2020, please do so now.

In the missional Christ,

The Rev. Canon Dr. Titus Presler

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