Cleveland, TN—In a statement released to the International Presbytery of the Church of God of Prophecy on Friday, the organization’s Corporate Board announced the cancellation of the 101st International Assembly of the Church, and related activities, scheduled to begin on July 8, 2020, in Orlando, Florida, due to issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision, made in consultation with the Church’s various committees, was based on current global travel restrictions and an anticipated prolonged period of destabilization of communities for families planning on attending. In 2018, the biennial meeting attracted more than 12,000 delegates from the 135 nations where the Church is established. Although the situation continues to evolve daily, many of these representatives were already experiencing difficulty in securing the necessary visas for their travels.

The decision to cancel the event also impacted the selection of a new general overseer of the movement. In October, Bishop Sam Clements announced his intention to “transition to another phase of ministry” at the 2020 International Assembly.

In an additional statement released on Friday, the counselors for the selection process announced that Clements “has been asked by all the Assembly authorities . . . to withdraw the announcement of his transition dated October 16, 2019, and to continue to serve the Church as General Overseer until the next International Assembly in 2022.” Clements agreed to remain in his position given the “extraordinary circumstances” and the process of selecting a new leader for the movement has been cancelled.

Both statements expressed not only concern but also hopeful and prayerful support for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

This is only the second time in the Church’s history that an Assembly gathering has been canceled. The fourteenth Assembly was originally scheduled to convene October 31 to November 5, 1918, but due to the 1918 influenza epidemic was postponed until 1919. The 101st International Assembly will convene in July 2022. The dates and location will be forthcoming.

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