On April 10, Elder Jim Micheff, president of the Michigan Conference, shared the decision to cancel this year’s camp meeting in his weekly video address. Camp meeting was scheduled to take place at Cedar Lake, Michigan from June 12-20. Camp meeting will be replaced with a conference-wide week of prayer, a decision made in conjunction with the Michigan Conference Executive Committee.
“Due to the current situation, our Executive Committee has decided to replace camp meeting with a conference-wide week of prayer, recognizing our great need of the Holy Spirit,” said Micheff. “Details of this event will be communicated as they are developed.” At the present time, the plan is to offer fellowship time during the week-long event that incorporates singing, praying, sharing testimonies, and watching a live-streamed message.
Understandably, many are disappointed that the long-standing tradition of camp meeting will not take place this year. With the addition of the week of prayer, Micheff emphasized the positive. “This is our opportunity to come before the Lord as a Conference, pleading for the presence of God to equip us for what lies just ahead.” A decision has not been made regarding the U.P. camp meeting, which is scheduled to take place from September 3-7, at Camp Sagola.
With the executive order announcement last Thursday by the Michigan governor, churches will now remain closed until April 30, and not April 13 as stated previously. The latest order reinforces protocols that were established in a prior executive order, with several additional mandates pertaining to travel, funerals, and more.
The recent executive order also provides an exemption from penalty for worship-based gatherings:
“Consistent with prior guidance, a place of religious worship, when used for religious worship, is not subject to penalty under section 17 of this order.”
The exemption pertains to church gatherings when meeting for the purpose of worship. However, the Michigan Conference continues to lean on the side of caution and civic responsibility towards fellow members and others outside our faith. Consequently, churches are to remain closed for in-person services until April 30. Members can be thankful that we are able to worship freely on the basis of individual conscience, albeit remotely.
Furthermore, Conference employees and local church personnel deemed critical to support essential, basic operations can continue ministering at the local and conference levels (worship service team, cleaning personnel, pastors, teachers, etc.). The order also states in section 7(a)(12) that funerals are permissible, “provided that no more than 10 people are in attendance.”
A decision has not been made regarding the cancellation of events during the summer season at Camp Au Sable. A statement was released last week from the Camp Au Sable leadership stating, “Presently, the staff are busy making plans for the 2020 summer camp season to go forward as scheduled. . . That being said, we are regularly monitoring and evaluating the current COVID-19 situation with the state of Michigan and the Michigan Conference administration.” Once a decision is made, a news release will be made available.