Pastors gather together during a listening session on wellness Jan. 29 in Macon. SCOTT BARKLEY/Index
DULUTH — Amid concerns over spreading COVID-19, the coronavirus, events sponsored by the Georgia Baptist Mission Board through March 23 have been cancelled or postponed.
Postponed events include Pastor Wellness listening sessions at First Baptist Leesburg and First Baptist Thomasville originally scheduled for March 19 as well as First Baptist Helen and Prince Avenue Baptist in Athens on March 23. As of the moment, a March 31 listening session in Gainesville for Hispanic pastors is still scheduled but will be reassessed next week. Other postponed events are:
- State RA/Challengers Camporee (March 20, Camp Kaleo)
- VBS training (March 20, Newnan), and
- Disaster Relief Orientation (March 21, Atlanta).
Cancelled events include:
- Sons of Jubal concert (March 19, Valdosta)
- Jubalheirs concert (March 20, Americus), and
- Keyboard Festival (March 21, Columbus).
The GBMB has established a page on its website to post further updates as well as resources related to the coronavirus outbreak. While the Missions and Ministry Center is closed as a precaution this week, Georgia Baptist staff are working remotely and are still available through email and by phone.
On the Georgia Baptist site, readers are urged to remember that the most important thing is to not panic, but be prepared and aware. “You can help prevent getting sick by not being around those who are sick,” it says. “If you are sick, don’t go out unless it’s to seek medical attention.
The postponements and cancellations mirror those steps taken by numerous Georgia Baptist churches this last weekend. Following recommendations by Gov. Brian Kemp, many did away with in-person worship serves and instead moved worship and preaching online.
Today’s daily report by the Georgia Department of Public health recorded 121 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, up from 99 yesterday. Though cases have been reported in the southern counties, the highest concentration persists in the Atlanta area. Of today’s total, 68 have been confirmed in Fulton, Cobb, Dekalb, and Bartow counties.
Georgia Baptist Executive Director W. Thomas Hammond, Jr. shared the updates in a video today (see below). Training sessions on how to live stream worship services will be held through the Georiga Baptist Mission Board Facebook page tomorrow. An 11 a.m. session will focus on the basics while another at 2 p.m. will be a little more advanced. Those interested can sign up here for the 11 a.m. session and here for the one in the afternoon.
Scott Barkley serves as editor of The Christian Index.