On behalf of your Executive Team, know that you and your congregations are held in prayer during this time of worry, grief and isolation. You and your ministries matter more than ever, even as our normal ways of showing the love of Christ (worship, gatherings, visiting the sick) are not available to us. We are all making it up as we go along, with a lot of prayer and trust in the constancy of Christ. Thank you for your faithful ministry right now.
We have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s AICEME Pastors & Spouses Conference in The Hague.
We met yesterday to consider various options, but we were in unanimous agreement that this is the right course of action. I am sorry to add this to the list of many disappointments we are all experiencing.
We know that this raises questions about refunds, the AGM and more. We are in the process of sorting out all of these details, and we have another meeting scheduled next Thursday. We will send more information after that time.
Here is what we know right now:
- Mark and Lori Vermaire and the American Protestant Church in The Hague have agreed to host the conference, postponed to 2021. Based on what we know already, it is likely to be the same week—late April into early May.
- This will save us a significant loss of money, as we can postpone reservations rather than cancel them. However, there will still be some costs that cannot be recovered. Once we have contacted all our current vendors, negotiated new contracts, and reviewed AICEME’s own ability to sustain losses, we anticipate the ability to refund at least a portion of the conference fees. We will let you know as soon as we do. If your congregation is in a position to decline a portion of your refund as a gift to AICEME, it would be most gratefully received.
- If you have made airline reservations already, we have heard that some airlines are offering refunds for cancelled flights or free changes during this time. We suggest you contact the airline and see what options might be available, and perhaps holding out to see if your flight is cancelled by the airline.
- We still need to hold our AGM, so please reserve Thursday, April 30 at 10:00 CET, for some kind of virtual gathering to conduct the business of the Association.
Our need to be together for mutual support and sharing of our ministries only increases during times of crisis like this. The Executive Team will be talking about finding ways to gather virtually for support, conversation and connection, especially during the week that we would have been together in The Hague. Stay tuned, and leave your calendar open for those possibilities.
I want to offer a huge word of thanks to Mark and Lori Vermaire and the team at the American Protestant Church in The Hague, who have done an enormous amount of work to prepare for the conference, only to face this disappointment.
Once again, we are sorry for the sad news. Our ministry and network will continue in new ways throughout the year, and we will be in touch next week with more information.
May God’s love surround you, God’s strength sustain you, and God’s peace uphold you during these difficult days.
With gratitude and prayer,
Jennifer Mills-Knutsen (President)