I'll get straight to it.
The national Fellowship Board and Event Design Team have made the very difficult decision that we will not hold our 202One event at Lake Junaluska this June.
This news is disappointing to many and I share that disappointment. Our meeting would have been the 30th anniversary of my hiring by The Fellowship in 1991 at Lake Junaluska. We ache to celebrate getting through the pandemic. We need to see each other and refresh our spirits. But all that will have to wait.
And while we wait, we have the opportunity to create something entirely new, to transform – maybe even transfigure – the blank page of the pandemic into worship arts that are beautiful, colorful, and bring new life into our churches.
We are working with our friends at Lake Junaluska to develop a series of small, safe gatherings and online opportunities in 2021 that will continue to unite us. I'm hopeful that we will be able to detail these options by February 1 at fellowship202one.org.
The planned 202One event was to feature the best of Music & Worship Arts Week and our National Convocation and to unite us in one large event that would be spiritually fulfilling, programatically exciting, and financially successful ... all in beautiful living color.
While much is unclear about the future, it is very clear that the current pandemic conditions do not allow us sufficient assurance that we can meet those goals. And the risk of deciding later is too great. If we proceed further, it is as if we are paying up front and in-full for the event in June, a payment that is non-refundable whether we have the event or not, no matter how many attend. That's not a deal that I imagine you would go for individually, so we can't take that risk corporately.
Last week, a TV show I've been watching gave me an insight. It's not the perspective I wanted, and for some of you, I know this decision is not what you wanted to hear. But this quote helps me remember who I am, and who holds me close:
"All you can do, all anyone can do ... is love ... listen ... and wait. Ooh, there's so much power in waiting. So much. So just wait."
"But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint."
(Isaiah 40:31, NRSV)
Loving all who care deeply for The Fellowship, Music & Worship Arts Week, and the Convocation,
Listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and