Most of Southern Baptists’ 41 state or regional conventions are exercising creativity and flexibility as they choose either to adapt or not hold annual meetings in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns.
As of Oct. 9, 20 state or regional conventions are holding in-person annual meetings, with most adapting many aspects of the events; 8 are offering virtual-only annual meetings; 10 are not holding 2020 annual meetings; two are allowing their boards to conduct business typically handled at the annual meeting, and one has rescheduled its 2020 annual meeting until early 2021.
In-person annual meetings
The Alaska Baptist Resource Network became the first state convention to hold an in-person 2020 annual meeting Sept. 28-30. Alaska Baptists’ 75th annual meeting held in Anchorage made headlines as messengers voted to withhold the allocation of future Cooperative Program funds intended for the North American Mission Board, beginning with the state convention’s 2022 budget.
Montana Baptist Convention held its annual meeting on Oct. 1 in Billings, offering a shortened version of the originally planned meeting.
As of Oct. 5, an additional 18 state or regional conventions intend to hold in-person gatherings, with most adapting the length of their meetings, incorporating pandemic-related protocols, restricting the number of attendees, and/or offering virtual options.
Other state conventions currently scheduled to conduct in-person 2020 annual meetings are:
- Dakota Baptist Convention, serving North and South Dakota, Oct. 8-9, Rapid City, South Dakota. A live-streaming option will be available.
- State Convention of Baptists in Indiana, Oct. 19, Martinsville. Indiana Baptists relocated their meeting to a camp setting and shortened the duration of the meeting from two days to one day.
- New Mexico Baptist Convention, Oct. 20, Albuquerque. New Mexico Baptists shortened the duration of their meeting.
- Missouri Baptist Convention, Oct. 26-27, St. Charles.
- Utah/Idaho Southern Baptist Convention, Oct. 30, West Valley City. All sessions will be streamed online.
- Illinois Baptist State Association, Nov. 4, Decatur. Illinois Baptists relocated their meeting to a church, are limiting the number of in-person attendees, shortened the duration of the meeting to one day only, and are livestreaming the meeting.
- Wyoming Southern Baptist Mission Network, Nov. 5-6, Casper.
- Baptist State Convention of Michigan, Nov. 6, Plymouth.
- Georgia Baptist Mission Board, Nov. 9, Macon. Georgia Baptists shortened the duration of their meeting and are limiting the number of attendees.
- Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, Nov. 9-10, Austin. In addition to an in-person gathering, Texas Baptists are live-streaming their annual meeting.
- SBC of Virginia, Nov. 8-9, South Chesterfield. A virtual option will also be available for annual meeting registrants for the SBCV.
- Oklahoma Baptist Convention, Nov. 9-10, Broken Arrow.
- South Carolina Baptist Convention, Nov. 10, Columbia.
- Kentucky Baptist Convention, Nov. 10, Owensboro.
- Louisiana Baptist Convention, Nov. 10, Pineville. Louisiana Baptists relocated their annual meeting to Louisiana College and shortened the duration of the meeting.
- North Carolina Baptist Convention, Nov. 10, Charlotte. North Carolina Baptists shortened the duration of their annual meeting and are offering a live-stream option.
- Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, Nov. 13. In addition to meeting in person, Arizona Baptists will offer interactive simulcast options as well as a virtual option.
- Ohio Baptist Convention, Nov. 16, Dublin. Ohio Baptists will provide a live-stream option of their 2020 annual meeting.
Baptist Convention of New York was the first Baptist state convention to offer a virtual 2020 annual meeting on Sept. 27.
An additional seven state conventions are offering virtual-only alternatives to the traditional annual meeting. Plans for virtual meetings vary, with some state conventions conducting business and others offering opportunities for worship and celebration. Most virtual alternatives to annual meetings are shorter in duration to the originally scheduled annual meetings.
- Minnesota/Wisconsin Baptist Convention, Oct. 23.
- Baptist Convention of Iowa, originally scheduled for Nov. 14 in Des Moines, will offer a four-night virtual meeting, Nov. 15-19.
- Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention, Nov. 5
- Baptist Convention of New England, Nov. 6
- Northwest Baptist Convention, Nov. 10.
- Baptist General Convention of Texas, Nov. 16-17.
- Baptist General Association of Virginia, Nov. 9-10. No business will be conducted at the 2020 annual meeting of the BGAV.
No 2020 annual meetings
- West Virginia Baptist Convention, originally scheduled for Nov. 5 in Scott Depot, is opting to offer a series of four virtual WVBC Family Celebration sessions on Oct. 13, 15, 20 and 22.
- California Baptist State Convention, originally scheduled for Oct. 26-28 in Clovis, will offer a webcast on Oct. 27 to celebrate CSBC achievements since October 2019.
- Alabama Baptist State Convention, originally scheduled for Nov. 17–18 in Montgomery, will not meet, but the State Board of Missions is planning a Nov. 17 online State Missions Celebration.
- Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, originally scheduled for Nov. 8-11 in Brentwood, is planning a Nov. 10 virtual Summit instead of its 2020 annual meeting.
- Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey, originally scheduled for Nov. 5-6, is holding a virtual mini-conference on Nov. 5.
Additionally, Florida Baptist Convention, Colorado Baptist Convention, Nevada Baptist Convention, Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, and Mississippi Baptist Convention will not hold 2020 annual meetings.
Business conducted by board
At least two state conventions have decided to allow their boards to conduct the business normally handled at the annual meeting.
- Kansas/Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists, Oct. 16.
- Arkansas Baptist State Convention, Oct. 20.
Puerto Rico Baptists have rescheduled their annual meeting until February 2021.
Editor’s note: This story is developing and will be updated as necessary. Some state conventions that are planning in-person annual meetings may be offering virtual options or making adaptations that are not listed here. Please contact the specific state convention for further information.