The Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) officers, executive committee members and leaders of its boards and institutions decided today (March 24) to cancel the 2020 annual meeting, citing concerns about the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), according to a Baptist Press report.
The event was expected to draw upwards of 10,000 people June 9-10 to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.
“In one sense, this was a difficult decision for us,” said SBC President J.D. Greear. “Gathering regularly to hear about the great things God is doing in the present and to seek his face together for the future is an essential part of who we are as a convention, and we will be saddened to forego this opportunity in June.
“But in another sense, this decision was easy. Our purpose in coming together is to support one another in gospel mission and to better catalyze our collective mission efforts. This year, the best way to accomplish that purpose is by not meeting together.”
This year’s cancellation marks the first interruption in SBC annual meetings since 1945.
“While we will not physically be coming together in June in Orlando, we will be going together in unity as we minister to our churches, our missionaries, our church planters, our seminary students and our own communities,” said Ronnie Floyd, president of the SBC Executive Committee.
SBC officers will remain in their roles until the next annual meeting, which is scheduled for June 15-16, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn.
All ancillary meetings that are usually held in conjunction with the annual meeting, including the SBC Pastor’s Conference, have been cancelled as well.