Community of Christ postpones World Conference until 2023

By Mike Genet
The Examiner

Though it’s more than a year out, the Community of Christ will postpone its 2022 World Conference in Independence a year due to the pandemic.

The First Presidency announced the decision late Wednesday afternoon, citing uncertainty that enough of church members around the world would have access to a COVID-19 vaccine in time to make travel plans. 

The next World Conference is now scheduled for April 21-29, 2023 in Independence, where Community of Christ has its headquarters. The conference, which brings delegates from as far away as Europe, Africa, Australia and the Pacific islands, is held every third spring. To keep to the three-year schedule, the next following conference will be in 2026.

While current vaccination projections show people in many countries might have vaccine access in time to travel in April 2022, “that is not the case with all countries where the church has a presence,” Community of Christ leaders said in a statement. They decided it would be wise to wait “until delegates from around the world can safely travel, enter the USA, meet together and return without contributing to community spread of COVID-19 or its emerging variants.”

In addition, the First Presidency said it wanted churches to be able to fully resume in-person ministries and for families and churches to have time for financial recovery from COVID-19 effects.

Initially, church leaders planned to make a decision about the April 2022 World Conference in June – 10 months out. But based on input from people who make travel arrangements for delegates around the world, the church said in a statement, “a year of lead time is necessary to successfully pull everything together.” An earlier announcement also allows more time to plan for alternative programs and gatherings in 2022, leaders said, and plans to organize online gatherings this year have started.