9 August 2021 | Orange County, Florida, has been under a state of emergency due to rising COVID-19 hospitalizations but that didn’t stop the in-person 2021 Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries (ASI) International Convention from going ahead August 4-7.
As of July 27, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that even vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas of “substantial or high transmission.”
Although ASI requested that unvaccinated attendees wear masks at the convention, pictures from the event feature mostly mask-free faces and negligible social distancing.
According to the Adventist Review, certain (unnamed) ministries and church departments opted not to attend the Rosen Shingle Creek Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, “due to health-related or other concerns.”
The Review added that ASI convention organizers “said they are trying to follow all the local guidelines in place, which are few and don’t seem to be strictly enforced.”
The publication included opening night advice from ASI president Steve Dickman: “Wash your hands often, and don’t get as close as you would like to.”
The theme of the event was the Three Angels’ Messages. “By the end of the convention, you will understand your mission in the Three Angels’ movement. You will be given the tools you need to make this call your own. You will discover your place in the Adventist movement,” promised the ASI website.
Leaders of the denomination attended the event, including General Conference (GC) President Ted Wilson and Mark Finley, a leading evangelist who serves as assistant to the GC President.
The 2020 ASI International Convention was not held in person because the Rosen Shingle Creek Convention Center was closed for COVID-19 reasons.