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June 1 Conference Announcement 
Here we are on June 1st. I told you that today we would be announcing a decision for Conference this summer. As you know nothing in the last few months has been typical. The good news is that in close consultation with our Leadership Team, our staff, and local leaders, our Board made the decision to move forward with Conference this summer — though there will be some changes, and some hard decisions we made, that will not make Conference typical. 
 
In a moment I will tell you how Conference will look this summer, but let me emphasize, that our primary concern is safety for everyone, especially for the most vulnerable. And with that in mind, let me share with you the changes we have decided to implement. 
 
First: We decided to shorten Conference this year. Conference will begin on Sunday morning August 2nd and end on Friday night August 7th. 
 
Part of the reason for shortening Conference is that we cannot hold concerts in the Tabernacle because of social distancing guidelines. Concerts draw our biggest crowds. However, we have been able to move the Sidewalk Prophets concert from Saturday evening to Sunday evening, August 2nd. The exciting news is that it will take place in the Arnolds Park Greenspace instead of the Tabernacle. 
 
Second: Again, because of social distancing guidelines, we will not be able to have a nursery, or children and youth programming. This was an extremely difficult decision. We love families and will be working toward making the evening sessions as family friendly as possible and provide opportunities for our youth to be engaged. 
 
Third: There will be no Women’s Luncheon because our venue is not able to handle this large event for this summer. We are also canceling the Men’s breakfast for this year. Food service this summer is very challenging. The Women’s Luncheon and the Men’s Breakfast will not be rescheduled this year. 
 
Finally: We are postponing the Pastor’s Day to a date in the fall. We will connect with all the pastors once we secure a date. 
 
Okay, that’s enough bad news, so let me tell you what is happening this summer! 
 
  • We will kick the week off with Sunday morning worship in the Tabernacle with our worship team. 
  • The Sidewalk Prophets concert will be Sunday evening on the Greenspace at the Amusement Park. 
  • Monday thru Friday we will have the Morning Bible Hour with Juan Hernandez. 
  • We will have three morning community options, which will be held in the Tabernacle, Founders Hall, and the new Multi-purpose room called Ella’s House…..speaking of the new space, our new restrooms will be in use! 
  • We will have our regular evening sessions Monday thru Friday in the Tabernacle. 
  • There will be prayer gatherings in the mornings and evenings. 
  • We will still have Fellowship Gatherings with Nutty Bars and food trucks on an expanded terrace. 
One other change: we will not be printing and mailing the regular programs. Instead, you will be receiving a revised schedule and updates in a letter format in the mail toward the end of June or early July. 
 
The changes to this summer’s Bible Conference are being instituted because: 
 
First, we want to provide programming AND safety, consideration AND sanitization for our Conference family that meets federal, state and local guidelines. 
 
Second, so we can flex our programming depending on how COVID-19 is affecting Okoboji in August. We want to live in faith, not fear, but also walk in wisdom and prudence as we consider our Christian responsibilities and testimony. 
For those who decide to not attend this year, all our events in the Tabernacle will be streamed live. We want everyone who decides to stay home to have access to our Tabernacle programming –this includes Sunday Morning Worship, the Morning Bible Hour, the Morning Community that will be in the Tabernacle, and the evening worship services. Please use your judgement if you should stay home due to being in a vulnerable health position. 
For those comfortable attending we will be following all social distancing guidelines that are in place at the time of Conference. We understand those guidelines may flex to be more open or become more constrained leading up to Conference. We will adjust our seating and spacing with the regulations in place in August. Extra preparation and care will be taken in cleaning and sanitization over the entirerty of campus. 
This will not be the only time you hear from me leading up to Conference. I will be in communication often as plans continue to come together. Further logistics will be communicated in the coming weeks, and especially as we approach August. Our website is in the process of being updated to reflect the changes to Conference. A frequently asked questions (FAQ) page will be developed to answer logistical questions. Please check our website and Facebook page often for updates on the schedule, lodging options and more. 
Thank you for understanding as we try to make wise decisions. And let us affirm together that the world may be changing but God is not. I am convinced that God is going to use our current situation in a mighty way for his kingdom. With Eyes of Faith, I look forward to how God will move in our midst in August. 
Whether we see you online or in person I look forward to gathering together!