Mennonite Church USA announced Jan. 5 it is continuing to plan for both in-person and virtual programming at its biennial convention, scheduled for July 6-10 at Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati.
MC USA director of event planning Scott Hartman said the decision was made in conjunction with the MC USA Executive Board’s Executive Committee, which emphasized attendee safety during the COVID-19 pandemic and considered the financial impact of canceling contracts related to in-person programming. The decision will likely be reviewed again before event registration begins on April 6.
“With the release of a vaccine by several different companies, the potential to host an in-person gathering looks better than before,” Hartman said. “MennoCon21 is still six months away, which allows time for more individuals to receive the vaccine.”
He added that meeting professionals are pointing to vaccine availability as a major factor in restarting large gatherings.
MC USA convention planning staff are monitoring gathering restrictions in Ohio and Cincinnati. Like many other states, Ohio currently is limiting capacity for group events.
“We will follow all safety protocols in place at the time of gathering,” Hartman said. “Virtual programming will mirror much of the in-person programming, so no one should feel pressure to attend if they don’t feel safe gathering in person.”
More information about virtual and in-person schedules is at convention.mennoniteusa.org.