From ANN – 16 March 2020 | Out of an abundance of caution and care for the community we serve, the leadership of the General Conference (GC) has decided employees will work remotely until March 30th, 2020. This is a precautionary response due to a heightened index of suspicion related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
President of the General Conference Ted N.C. Wilson emphasized the business of the Seventh-day Adventist Church will continue. Wilson said, “Although access to the building will be very limited, the General Conference will continue to operate remotely by using many technological tools such as Zoom, Office365 and VPN access. Hourly employees will continue to be paid during this time.”
On Thursday, March 12, General Conference leadership met to assess travel of its employees. At that time, travel restrictions were put in place and traveling employees were called home.
Now, in an effort to further protect employees and the surrounding community, the decision has been made to restrict access to the World Headquarters building for two weeks.
On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. As of now, virus has infected more than 130,000 people. There have been more than 5,000 deaths.
The goal of these temporary changes is to provide a buffer of protection to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Care should always be taken to follow the simple health care guidelines provided by the Center of Disease Control and medical experts. These include:
- Careful washing of your hands with soap and water; and using sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol when washing hands is not possible.
- Covering of your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing. If you don’t have tissue paper available, then utilize your arm or sleeve to cover your mouth and nose.
- Maintain a safe distance from others; and avoid shaking hands, giving hugs, etc.
- Sanitize your living and work areas daily.
- Stay at home if you are sick.
- Seek medical treatment if you have any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19.
The General Conference asks, at this time, that all our members remain vigilant and continue to operate in the best and most responsible way to protect their communities. The Director of Health Ministries for the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, Dr. Peter Landless, emphasized this closure isn’t a stop to the work of the Adventist Church, “The Church will continue working hard and working appropriately. We are not shutting down. We have to follow the guidelines of the jurisdictions we live in, but we will continue to work.”
More importantly, the leadership asks all members to pray. Pray for those who are working to heal those who are sick. Pray for those who are battling illness and pray for world leaders and doctors as they face tough decisions to curb this pandemic.
Wilson asked members to be an example to those around them. “Be an anchor of stability. Be a pillar of hope, all grounded in Jesus Christ,” he said. “I urge you to be a strong testimony and witness for the Lord. God wants you to be a special witness for Him even in this time of heightened concern and chaotic behavior. Be a strong, firm person grounded on the rock, Jesus Christ, as you appropriately engage in Total Member Involvement.”
Some have asked how COVID-19 will impact the 2020 General Conference Session scheduled to be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, this summer. Plans are still in place for the session, but world leadership will continue to monitor and review the situation on a daily basis. The utmost care for everyone’s health and safety will be top priority. We will update Session.Adventist.Org with the latest updates about this issue.
In addition to these resources, please check with your local churches, conferences, and/or unions for information on closings, cancellations and preventative measures.
Adventist Risk Management’s webpage link: https://adventistrisk.org/en-us/safety-resources/solutions-newsletter/2020/march/information-regarding-coronavirus-covid19-naden
General Conference Adventist Health Ministries article by Dr. Peter Landless: http://healthministries.com/articles/homepage/coronavirus-update
U.S. Department of State travel advisory page link: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
World Health Organization COVID-19 link:https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
CDC COVID-19 Resources for Households link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/index.html
Adventist News Netwok (ANN) is the official news agency of the Adventist Church.