Oklahoma City, OK (October 23, 2020) – The IPHC released a statement earlier this week that the Council of Bishops (COB) voted at its October meeting to postpone the denomination’s 2021 General Conference. Specific dates and registration information will be available at a later time. The IPHC released additional information about the postponement today.
“After months of prayer, study and analysis of the current situation, we believe it is in the best interest of the health of our global family that we postpone this important event,” said Presiding Bishop Dr. A.D. Beacham, Jr., who chairs the Council of Bishops. “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entire world with disease, economic and social problems, and death. It has required major adjustments to how we live. In most parts of the world, including the United States, it is not business as usual. These factors are part of the backdrop for the decision made by the IPHC Council of Bishops to postpone the 2021 General Conference until 2022.”
The potential for social distancing was a significant factor in the decision-making process. “We had multiple conversations with our Jacksonville venue,” said Chief of Staff Terry Fowler, who plans and coordinates General Conference. “We were convinced that the hotel could not accommodate us if social distancing was required by the state and or local officials. An outdoor space made little sense for a July meeting, and additional venues would have driven up costs and been less convenient.”
In addition to postponing General Conference, the Council’s resolution provided for the continuing governance and work of the IPHC through 2022. Officials elected at the 2017 General Conference will continue in their roles until the 29th General Conference is held in July 2022. The bylaws and policies contained in the 2017-2021 Manual will likewise remain in effect until that time.
The Council of Bishops also deferred all Quadrennial Conference Sessions scheduled for 2022 until 2023, providing the same extension of elections and actions approved for General Conference. (Read the text of the full resolution.)
“We have never postponed a General Conference before,” Dr. Beacham said. “But we face an unprecedented situation. We’ve taken this action to protect our delegates and their families, and to ensure that everyone who wants to attend the 29th General Conference will be able to do so in hope for our denomination’s bright future.”
While acknowledging that this news will be discouraging to some, Bishop Beacham pointed to the IPHC’s identity and vision, “We remain a place of hope and a people of promise. We are confident the Holy Spirit will continue to guide us as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission through Arise 2033. I look forward to rejoicing with our largest delegation ever when we gather again in 2022.”
General Conference is ordinarily convened along with three other events hosted by the IPHC’s Discipleship Ministries: YouthQuest, the denomination’s teen and young adult conference, and conferences for men and women. A statement from Student Ministries regarding YouthQuest postponement is available now at iphc.org/youthquest. Information about men’s and women’s conferences will be released as it becomes available.