OEP staff currently plans to not schedule any national or international travel for at least the first six months of 2021.
It is clear at this point that the COVID-19 pandemic will remain a substantial presence through that time (unless the virus happens to mutate in such a way that it starts to fade on its own like SARS-CoV-1 did, which the science indicates to be an unlikely event).
All of the OEP staff’s extended families have members in various significant risk factor categories. We cannot ask our staff to unnecessarily expose themselves or their loved ones or to further limit these important relationships by adding travel exposure to the mix.
The good news is that our staff and interns are seasoned practitioners in facilitating online training, meetups, other events. Staff and interns have done more than twenty of these activities in recent months. We still plan to offer our full set of Church of the Brethren annual conference insight sessions using online tools, as well as our annual report to the delegate body, and our regular meetings with the Council of District Executives and with the Standing Committee.
We are prepared to do this whether the annual conference is in person, online, or a hybrid of both next years. We may even invite people to an online OEP breakfast event to continue the tradition, a first for everyone!
We plan to review our plans toward the end of each quarter next year, and expect we may further extend this travel restriction. Thank you all for your generous support and understanding. We look forward to seeing you all at the online "village well" and to continue building the Beloved Community in these new circumstances.
Bill Scheurer, Darlene Johnson, Marie Benner-Rhoades, Matt Guynn