Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Langham Partnership’s Vision Weekend (April 2-5, 2020, in Hilton Head, S.C.) has been cancelled

March 16, 2020

Greetings to the Langham Partnership family,

You are among a wonderful band of sisters and brothers we were blessed to invite to Langham Partnership’s Vision Weekend (April 2-5, 2020, in Hilton Head, SC). Obviously, the COVID-19 global pandemic has changed the context of the world in which we all live, including the need to cancel that event. For many reasons, I am sad and sorry to deliver this news.

Whether you RSVP’d “Yes,” or “No,” or whether you have recently cancelled your plans to attend, I thought I would share my heart about the rationale of cancelling Vision Weekend 2020. Yes, it may seem obvious, but I wanted you to glimpse a bit more. In this context, Langham feels called to…

  • Submit, along with you, to governmental authorities:
    • Twin announcements on Friday of a “national emergency” by the President, and likewise the Governor of South Carolina declaring an emergency (note: the emergency declarations by states stand above 40 and are likely to rise).
    • The new guidance, as of yesterday evening, from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is “CDC…recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.”
  • Love you as a neighbor:
    • Every Vision Weekend attendee would be placed at higher risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus at the event or during travel to the event.
    • I’ve attached a decision-making matrix that was assembled to help churches decide on gathering practices. Developed by a pastor in Singapore, the matrix obviously suggests the “high risk” nature of a multiple-day event.
    • Further, as we seek to promote the health and thriving of our Langham community, we did not want to obligate anyone to a potential quarantine after the event if someone subsequently tested positive for the virus.
    • Over the weekend, a Langham staff member based in the United Kingdom was diagnosed as presumptive positive for COVID-19. The introduction of the virus into our own Langham community is another reminder of the escalating risk.
  • Provide you a powerful encounter with the global church:
    • Based on recent global travel restrictions, only one of our ten Langham Partnership international guests would be in attendance.
    • A hallmark of Vision Weekend has been dialog and interaction with our global experts at tables, in hallways, poolside, on beachfront walks, with sips or over meals.
    • Providing this level of face-to-face interaction is not possible this year – and we yearn, at each Vision Weekend, to offer such powerful encounters.

More than ever, Langham Partnership and the vulnerable world in which we are all called to serve need your prayers and action.

Yet, now is not the time to simply throw in the towel! To the contrary, that is why our team is working to offer an array of on-line opportunities for you to interact with the global church and uniquely connect with Langham’s global leadership. I’ll be the first to say that our small team will need some patience from you as we “unwind” the many plans and logistics that had been firmly in place for Vision Weekend. But, as soon as that is done, we will delight to announce these future opportunities. The goal will be for you to engage more closely with key efforts to strengthen the church around the world via a series of still-tobe-developed, conversational webinars, etc. These on-line events will be designed with a very limited number of attendees for a more intimate and interactive context that will unpack some of what would have been in store at Vision Weekend. Stay tuned.

We live in extraordinary times, facing something that the world has rarely, if ever, confronted on this scale. Yet, we also serve a God who changes not and bends not to adversity. We stand strong with a gracious Master, though buffeted by adverse winds. My prayer is that, as we live out the Gospel in these days, there will be a special opportunity to define anew for a watching world who God is – His character, love, compassion and care. I’m also convinced that the global church will play a key role in this.

So grateful for you,

Benjamin K. Homan President, Langham Partnership USA

P.S. Again, please know our thankfulness for your embrace of the global church. We praise God for you. And, it almost goes without saying, but PLEASE take care of yourself. Implement the relevant guidelines from health experts such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization and other credible, professional health sources. Take seriously the necessary precautions. Though these are weighty matters, I’m reminded of a light-hearted hand towel in the WC of Langham colleagues, Chris and Liz Wright. Embroidered on the fabric are the words, “Wash your hands and say your prayers because germs and Jesus are everywhere!”

Questions?

We’re happy to respond to any questions you may have.