June 9-12, 2022
(Event dates likely to change)
In mid-November 2021, the Annual Conference planning committee called Sessions asked members of Annual Conference to complete a survey informing Sessions of their preference and comfort level regarding gathering for the 2022 Annual Conference: online, hybrid, or in person. We are very grateful to all those that completed the survey to share their thoughts on this matter. The survey results were very close between in-person and hybrid, and online-only wasn’t that far behind.
“On November 30, 2021, the United States designated Omicron as a Variant of Concern, and on December 1, 2021 the first confirmed U.S. case of Omicron was identified.” (Omicron variant: What you need to know)
Would the survey results be different if the survey was released in December when Maricopa County in Arizona is at an all-time high in the level of community transmission of COVID-19? (AZDHS: Epidemiology & Disease Control – Mosquito borne)
“In all transparency, the Committee has prioritized “safety” as the number one consideration at this time. We have always believed that if only one person is infected at an annual conference event, that is one too many. Your personal safety is the most important element to us, and to ensure your safety, we have chosen what we believe is the best course of action.” – Bishop Grant Hagiya
Churches in the Desert Southwest Conference are advised to keep safe distancing when gathering together in person for worship. Safe-distancing is not possible at the Mesa Convention Center if all Annual Conference members attend the event. Sessions could not model the local church recommendation. Therefore, the Sessions Committee decided to cancel the venue for 2022. However, this does not mean that Annual Conference will be an online-only event.
The Sessions Committee is considering other options.
- Hosting a hybrid Annual Conference split up by district to gather online or in-person where social distancing is possible.
- Hosting Annual Conference online-only for plenary sessions.
- Hosting all worship services in-person with attendance restricted to participants and their families and live streaming the services.
Gathering in satellite locations with an online option adds to the already complex needs of Annual Conference. Still, it is a worthwhile option to explore.
No decisions are made concerning gathering in-person, hybrid, or online-only. We will continue to publish updates as new information is available. For now, Annual Conference members can plan on not traveling to Mesa, Arizona for Annual Conference.
Arizona Department of Health Services. (n.d.). AZDHS: Epidemiology & Disease Control – Mosquito borne. Arizona Department of Health Services. Retrieved December 8, 2021, from https://www.azdhs.gov/covid19/data/index.php#confirmed-by-day.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Omicron variant: What you need to know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved December 8, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/omicron-variant.html.