The Coronavirus pandemic has greatly changed many areas of life and truly, we recognize that we are living in unprecedented times. The pandemic is reshaping church ministry life, and this is also impacting ministry in the District Office. Each year we look forward to District Staff Retreat in Whistler as a time of renewal, refreshing, and reconnecting and this has been very meaningful to our district family. After prayerful deliberation, we have made the difficult decision to cancel District Staff Retreat 2020. There are several reasons for this:
- We are concerned for the health and safety of our attendees at District Staff Retreat as there is ongoing uncertainty on whether there will be continuing outbreaks of COVID-19, and especially given that there is potential for an outbreak to coincide with the flu season in November during our retreat.
- Large gatherings over 50 people are not allowed at this time, and both the Premier and the Provincial Health Officer have stated that this is unlikely to change until a vaccine is found or there is community immunity.
- The financial instability caused by the pandemic has impacted our churches’ ability to send participants to retreat and that leaves us with concern over our ability to cover the event costs. As well, the results of a survey of our churches in April indicated that the potential number of attendees was 35% of normal levels and this has caused us to question the viability of the retreat.
We recognize the impact that this may have on our workers, and we understand the importance of District Staff Retreat as a time to share, gather, and rest. It is our hope and prayer that we are able to gather together in 2021 to share our burdens and celebrate what God has done during this season.