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2020: The Year That Time Forgot
The NC Women of the ELCA Officers and Board met on Saturday, July 25th, using Zoom to consider our options for upcoming WELCA events – Committee Day I in August, the Fall Retreat in September and the Fall Conference Gatherings in September and October. Our hearts were heavy as we knew the gravity of the decisions we were going to make. Is it safe for us to meet in any capacity in the coming months? If not, how is our organization going to be impacted if we don’t meet or hold any events for an entire year?
Before coming to any decisions, we discussed how each of our home churches is working within the current NC Synod guidelines of allowing up to 25 in attendance for outdoor worship. We also discussed the current COVID-19 conditions and trends in North Carolina and neighboring states, along with recognized strategies for safety protocols that need to be in place for any future events or gatherings. After due consideration, the NC Women of the ELCA Officers and Board voted unanimously to cancel all NC Women of the ELCA events through year end, which led me to title this article “2020: The Year That Time Forgot”.
Personally, I think we all knew before the meeting that this was the only prudent call that we could make to ensure the safety and well-being of our ladies who faithfully attend our events. We knew that there was no feasible way to plan for Committee Day I just a few weeks away with NC Synod restrictions still in place. And canceling Committee Day I had a domino effect. Without holding Committee Day I in August, there was no feasible way to plan and prepare for the Fall Conference Gatherings.
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In regards to the Fall Retreat in September at the Blowing Rock Convention Center, we discussed the fact that there would be at least five other groups holding events at the Convention Center the same weekend as our Fall Retreat. Since we wouldn’t have control over the environment and where the other guests might be coming from, we knew it wasn’t prudent to continue with plans for our Fall Retreat. We erred on the side of caution, but will ask the Convention Center if they will keep our deposit for Fall 2021 when we will hold a Fall Retreat, God willing!
We have scheduled our next NC WELCA Board Meeting for Saturday, December 5th, when we will plan and prepare for 2021. Please continue to pray for both our organization and our state of North Carolina and, hopefully, we will all be in a better place by then.
And there is Good News to take away from all these cancellations. We already have a program on “Justice” that is written and all ready to go for our Spring 2021 Conference Gatherings! Plus, the Fall Retreat Program is already to go for Fall 2021! There is always a silver lining, no matter what the situation at hand.
I don’t want you to get discouraged during these trying times. Some of us are essential workers and are taking a risk going to work each day. Others of us are working from home and trying to balance work along with educating our kids or our grandkids. All of us are feeling the effects of sheltering in place and the sense of isolation that comes with it after months of social distancing. Throw in all the uproar from social justice protests, not to mention the disparaging political climate, and it can seem like Armageddon is upon us.
Call me crazy, but I see God at work in all this chaos. How long have so many of us been working diligently to achieve Social and Racial Justice? How many decades have voices been raised against Injustice without being heard? I see God taking advantage of the world sheltering in place during COVID-19. All of our daily distractions have been removed while sheltering in place and God put JUSTICE on all of our hearts when we were stopped long enough to listen. It is truly inspiring to me to see God’s hand at work amidst all that’s happening around the world.
Please stay safe and we’ll meet again in 2021.