The 2021 Cooperative Baptist Fellowship general assembly will be held virtually for the second consecutive year, due to changes in the status of the originally planned venue in Washington, D.C.
Owners of the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., the previously announced venue, decided to close the hotel to make the site available for other uses.
At the same time, organizers are exploring in-person participation by local CBF congregations in partnership with CBF state and regional organizations. To provide better possibilities for in-person participation locally, the dates for the assembly are shifting from the week of July 4 to August 25-28.
CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley pledged the 2021 general assembly will offer “an even more comprehensive virtual experience than we offered last year, while also finding ways to provide in-person gatherings in congregations in partnership with CBF’s states and regions.”
“Because it is hard to predict now exactly what the (pandemic) conditions will be like in late August, we recognize that the levels of in-person opportunities will vary in different parts of our fellowship,” Baxley acknowledged.
Organizers are exploring whether local congregations can host in-person general assembly gatherings that fit their needs, capacity and COVID-19 safety protocols. These gatherings may be regional or joint meetings with other churches in the city or area.
CBF, in partnership with CBF state and regional organizations, will provide ideas, resources and training to help make these gatherings meaningful points of connection for all Cooperative Baptists, organizers said.
“Just as congregations across our Fellowship are discovering new ways of worship and study that includes both in-person and virtual opportunities, our general assembly will do the same this year,” Baxley said.
“In some ways I do grieve that a combination of circumstances means we cannot all be in one place for the second year in a row. I already look forward to our 2022 general assembly. But I also believe that this innovative approach will allow us to invite many people to experience the life of our fellowship, and along the way, we will discover new ways of gathering and strengthening one another.”