COVID-19 could force cancellation of Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Orlando if the pandemic escalates.

SBC Executive Committee staff plan Monday conference call on Coronavirus conditions.

The Southern Baptist Convention is monitoring the COVID-19 Coronavirus situation and is preparing for potential disruptions to the Annual Meeting set for Orlando June 9-10, it said in a statement released by the Executive Committee staff. It is possible that the SBC could cancel the convention if the medical situation warrants, the official statement released by the Executive Committee said.

According to the official statement, “SBC EC president and CEO Ronnie Floyd has called for representatives from our national entities to gather on a conference call on Monday (March 9) to discuss best practices and prevention strategies as well as to join in prayer for our churches, communities and country.

With less than 100 days until the SBC Annual Meeting, we are pressing forward with our plans to meet in Orlando. However, should conditions escalate to unprecedented levels, there is a provision in the SBC Constitution that allows for us to cancel or change the place of meeting. This provision would only be considered in an extreme circumstance.”

The Southern Baptist Convention urged: “Prayer, precaution, planning and preparation” call these “the order of the day.”

Reaction to the huge news included support for Ronnie Floyd’s proactive leadership and a renewed push to begin remote Annual Meeting participation.

Falkirk Center fellow and Southern Baptist pastor Malachi O’Brien said, “There is a possibility that #SBC20 could be cancelled because of #CoronaVirus. Encouraged by the proactive & call collaborative leadership of @ronniefloyd @SBCExecComm.”

Nathan Suller of Louisville, Kentucky said on Twitter, “You know, online voting would greatly mitigate the impact of an epidemic forcing the annual meeting to be (physically) cancelled.”

Online voting is an important part of SBC Presidential Candidate Randy Adams reform package. Adams a conservative Southern Baptist and outsider wants to bring accountability to SBC Elites. One of his suggestions is to empower small churches to participate in Southern Baptist meetings via online technology.

Adams plans to reveal further details about how this might work in the future. This was discussed prior to the latest SBC announcement. However, the Cornavirus Pandemic highlights the need for this type of reform.

UPDATE: For those interested, the SBC Constitution Article XI, Section 3 outlines a grave emergency as reason to cancel an Annual Meeting:

Article XI. Meetings:
  1. The Convention shall hold its meetings annually at such time and place as it may choose.
  2. The president may call special meetings with the concurrence of the other officers of the Convention and of the Executive Committee.
  3. The Executive Committee may change the time and place of meeting if the entertaining city withdraws its invitation or is unable to fulfill its commitments.
  4. The Convention officers, the Executive Committee, and the executive heads of the Convention’s boards and institutions acting in a body may, in case of grave emergency, cancel a regular meeting or change the place of meeting.