Dear Members of OPC and Fellow Denominational Churches:
Due to ongoing restrictions and uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee on General Assembly Arrangements has recommended to the acting moderator of the General Assembly, Rev. John D. Van Meerbeke, and the stated clerk, Rev. Hank L. Belfield, that the location for the meeting of the 87th General Assembly (postponed to 2021) be moved to Dordt University in Sioux Center, IA and that the dates be changed to July 7–14, 2021.
The primary reason for this recommendation is that ongoing state restrictions in Illinois, which forbid indoor gatherings of more than 50 people, will not be modified or lifted until an effective vaccine for the virus can be developed and widely distributed. Given the unlikelihood of an effective vaccine being produced and distributed before the summer of 2021, and given the need for commissioners to make travel plans months ahead of the Assembly’s meeting, the Committee on Arrangements believes the original location of Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, IL is no longer practicable. After considering various other possibilities, the recommended new location was chosen, in part, because the current gathering restrictions in Iowa are light and seem unlikely to change before next summer, though this cannot be said for certain. The recommended date change was necessary because Dordt University has on-campus events booked for the entire month of June.
Having received this recommendation and heard the committee’s rationale, the acting moderator and stated clerk conferred with the general secretaries of the three program committees for their input. No objections or concerns were expressed about making this change to the venue and dates. Therefore, the acting moderator of the General Assembly, Rev. John D. Van Meerbeke, together with the concurrence of the stated clerk, Rev. Hank L. Belfield, determined to follow the recommendation of the Committee on Arrangements. You are hereby notified that the 87th General Assembly is rescheduled to meet at Dordt University, 700 7th Street NE, Sioux Center, IA 51250-1606, beginning with a worship service at 7 PM on Wednesday, July 7, 2021, and concluding no later than noon on Wednesday, July 14, 2021.
Please pray that our gracious God would be merciful to remove this health crisis gripping our nation and creating so many logistical challenges from the efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus. We sincerely hope no further changes will be necessary for the 87th General Assembly to convene in 2021.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the moderator,
Hank L. Belfield
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of
The Orthodox Presbyterian Church
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