CBF announces COVID-19 Work Group, launches site for latest information
In response to the spread of Coronavirus, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has formed a COVID-19 Work Group to streamline the flow of updated information across the organization, to aid in decision-making and help facilitate timely communications across CBF staff and field personnel, partner congregations and all Cooperative Baptists.
CBF also announced today that it has launched a site for quick access to COVID-19-related information, including relevant links, updates on CBF events and a CBF-developed resource for congregations to help them prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in their congregations.
CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley said that CBF leaders have been monitoring the Coronavirus outbreak for months and they are working to monitor its impact and make informed decisions during this uncertain time.
“CBF staff members have been monitoring the rapidly evolving spread of COVID-19 for months because we have field personnel serving in Asia and all across the world,” Baxley said. “I am deeply indebted to Steven Porter, Sam Harrell, Eddy Ruble and others in our Global Missions leadership for their extraordinary work in monitoring the situation, engaging field personnel and responding to the challenges that have emerged.”
“As the virus continues to spread, we are creating a larger work group within CBF leadership to make sure that we monitor the impact of the virus, discover best practices in response, make the most informed decisions about how to carry out our witness to Christ in the midst of this uncertain time and have consistency across our mission and ministry endeavors in the ways we respond.
“Because CBF exists for congregations, we are also seeking to learn from congregations regarding their response to the virus and we will provide resources for congregations on the CBF website, along with updates on how we are adjusting plans for major events, mission participation and other ministries in light of the impacts of COVID 19. It’s important that we seek guidance from the triune God to respond faithfully during these uncertain times.”Read the full news release here.
Programs & Events
General Assembly 2020
The CBF Governing Board approved on April 2 a recommendation from CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley to transition the 2020 CBF General Assembly from a traditional in-person gathering at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta to a virtual gathering scheduled for June 24-26, 2020. The gathering will include a series of virtual experiences of worship, inspiration, education, fellowship and business. A schedule and additional information will be announced in the coming weeks.Those already registered for General Assembly will receive instructions about access to this virtual assembly and new registration are being accepted. For those who have already reserved hotel rooms for the 2020 General Assembly in Atlanta, there is no need to take any action for the hotel rooms reserved to be canceled. Read Baxley's letter to Cooperative Baptists here.
Field Personnel Impacts/Mission Teams Working with Field Personnel
The safety of CBF’s 70 field personnel in the U.S. and around the world is a top priority. Last month, CBF International Disaster Response Coordinator Eddy Ruble sent a memo to all CBF field personnel advising them to take precautionary measures to protect themselves, volunteers, partners and the communities they serve from Coronavirus, which included limiting nonessential travel.
The spread of COVID-19 has affected CBF’s Global Missions work. CBF has evacuated a field personnel family from China, and in conversation with its Japanese Baptist partners, a CBF field personnel family presently in the United States has delayed its return to the region. Also, CBF field personnel in Asia have canceled their annual meeting planned for March in Indonesia, and CBF field personnel that are a part of the Europe team have shifted their meeting online.
April 16: All Short-Term Mission Teams Suspended Through August 1
CBF announced that all scheduled short-term mission engagements alongside CBF field personnel were suspended through August 1. This announcement extends the April 30 suspension date announced in early March. As COVID-19 places more and more communities and individuals at risk, CBF seeks to minimize the threat we pose to the communities in which our Global Missions field personnel serve as well as their ministry partners and volunteers. The fluidity of conditions created by this pandemic make planning mission engagements in the near-term nearly impossible. CBF Global Missions will make a determination on the viability of teams scheduled beyond August 1 at a later date.
Video message from Lesley-Ann Hix Tommey - Manhattan, New York
Video message from Tina & Jonathan Bailey - Bali, Indonesia
Video message from Janée Angel – Antwerp, Belgium
Video message from Matt & Michelle Norman - Barcelona, Spain
Video message from Karen - North Africa
Video message from Jon & Tanya Parks - Košice, Slovakia
Video message from Carson & Laura Foushee - Tokyo, Japan
Video message from Nell Green - Houston, Texas
For missionaries, coronavirus creates ‘an interesting moment in plagues and pestilence’ (Baptist News Global)
CBF announced April 16 that it will offer undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity for ministry and mission during the summer through virtual placements with Student.Go and Student.Church, CBF’s student missions and congregational internship programs.
CBF will not be sending students to any physical location for face-to-face experiences due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. In this new model, CBF will provide a virtual orientation for students May 18-19, and throughout the summer supervisors will guide the student participants to engage their ministry sites through online interactions with the diverse communities served by their placements. These initiatives will also offer collaborative learning opportunities using a cohort model. Learn more here.
State and Regional Events
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas has announced its May 1-2 CBF Arkansas Annual Gathering is canceled
Preparing Your Church for Coronavirus: A Step-by-Step, Research-Informed and Faith-Based Planning Manual (Humanitarian Disaster Institute, Wheaton College)
A Concise Coronavirus Guide For Churches (Christianity Today)
COVID-19 FAQ for Faith and Community Leaders (The Partnership Center: Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services)
CARES Act Information
- BJC offers assessment of COVID-19 stimulus for churches, faith-based nonprofits from the CBF blog
- The COVID-19 stimulus packages and houses of worship from Baptist Joint Committee
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources from Small Business Administration
- Nonprofits and Coronavirus, COVID-19 from National Council of Nonprofits
- Federal Coronavirus Relief Bills: What Do They Mean for Nonprofits [March 31 webinar] from National Council of Nonprofits
- COVID-19 and the American Workplace from U.S. Department of Labor
- Review the CARES Act (full 880 page document) from CBF Church Benefits
- Review the CARES Act - Full Summary from CBF Church Benefits
- Review the CARES Act - Paycheck Protection Program Loans (PPP) Summary from CBF Church Benefits
- Review the CARES Act - Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program Summary from CBF Church Benefits
- Review the CARES Act - FAQs about SBA Loans from CBF Church Benefits
- Review the CARES Act - Retirement Plan Provisions from CBF Church Benefits
CBF Coronavirus Response Timeline
April 16, 2020CBF suspends short-term mission engagements through August 1.
April 16, 2020CBF announces virtual Student.Go and Student.Church placements opportunities for summer 2020.
April 2, 2020CBF Governing Board approves recommendation to transition 2020 General Assembly to a virtual meeting format.
March 11, 2020CBF announces Working Group and web presence for regular COVID-19 updates
March 10, 2020CBF field personnel in Europe shift their annual planned meeting in Slovakia to an online platform.
March 9, 2020CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley provides statement to Baptist News Global on CBF’s response to the spread of COVID-19
March 3, 2020CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter interviewed by Baptist News Global on the challenge coronavirus presents to Christian missionaries.
February 26, 2020In conversation with Japanese Baptist partners, CBF field personnel family presently in the United States delays return to the region
February 25, 2020CBF International Disaster Response Coordinator Eddy Ruble sends a memo to all CBF field personnel advising them to take precautionary measures to protect themselves, volunteers, partners and the communities they serve from coronavirus, which includes limiting nonessential travel
February 25, 2020CBF field personnel in Asia cancel their annual meeting planned for March in Indonesia
February 18, 2020CBF Global Missions staff initiates dialogue with the Mission Leaders Forum of Christian Churches Together to survey responses of other denominational mission boards.
February 1, 2020CBF evacuates field personnel family from China
Mid-January 2020CBF staff begins daily monitoring of developments related to COVID-19