Continuing its cautious approach to public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, the diocese announced today that it has decided not to hold Camp Chicago this summer, and that it will conduct its 2021 convention online on November 20.
“The world operates at such a fast pace that it is great blessing to be able to devote an entire week to helping young people understand that God loves them and calls them to a life of purpose and meaning,” said the Rev. Andrea Mysen, the diocese’s acting head of staff and director of ministries. “But unfortunately, we are not certain that we can put on our usual camp experience safely in the context of the pandemic. So, with great regret, we have decided to postpone the next session of camp until 2022.”
Although campers and counselors will not be gathering in person, the diocese is collecting and developing engaging faith formation resources that will provide at least a taste of the Camp Chicago experience at home, said Chad Senuta, associate for youth and campus ministry. “We want our campers and their families to know that they are still on our minds and in our hearts,” Senuta said.
The decision to hold convention online was also driven by concerns for the health and safety of attendees. “Convention is a huge undertaking involving large numbers of people from the clergy and lay delegates who constitute the voting members of convention, to the diocesan and hotel staff who help make it happen, to the exhibitors, workshop presenters and visitors who make it such a lively and enriching experience,” said the Rev. Courtney Reid, director of operations. “Though we certainly hope everyone has been vaccinated by November, there are simply too many moving pieces to be absolutely sure.”
The diocese has already held two successful online conventions, Reid said, conducting regular convention business during a Zoom meeting in November 2020, and electing the Rev. Canon Paula E. Clark in December.
Bishop-elect Clark will chair the 2021 convention.