Each year we look forward to Oasis, our annual assembly, which is a cornerstone of our yearly rhythm as a Baptist family. It’s our chance to come together with followers of Jesus from across Atlantic Canada to worship, celebrate, learn, fellowship, and vote on important business. Some of you have been coming to Oasis—or “convention week”—for decades.
But as we know from the current situation of the pandemic, and as history tells us, sometimes circumstances call for difficult decisions to be made.
The CBAC Council, in coordination with our staff, has made the decision to postpone Oasis. Our annual assembly will not be happening at Acadia University in August as we had originally planned.
We are moving quickly to assess our options for a different time and location, prioritizing the health and safety of attendees and respecting the health restrictions from our governments.
We still have hope that an assembly of some kind could happen in 2020. Our efforts now will be focused on making it the best it can be.
We are saddened to share this news. In this moment, the words of the Apostle Paul in his letters to the early church are resonating in our Baptist family: we greatly desire to see you again, face to face.
We continue to believe that God is bringing fruit from these circumstances for the Kingdom, and we continue to uphold and passionately stand for our Baptist family even though we will not be having our typical gathering in August this year.
This is not a moment of receding interest or value in the gathered, united partnership of our denomination. Rather, it is a time of trusting God to continue his work in our churches and leaders, and of creatively building community and relationship in new ways.
God bless you as you navigate this moment and serve the Lord.
Understandably, you probably have a number of questions about this announcement.
We’ll quickly answer a few of those now, and we welcome you to contact us with any additional questions you might have.
Why are you canceling so far in advance?
The answer to this is based on a few different factors: First, our best information from the authorities is that a mass gathering the size of Oasis would not be allowed this summer. We have received no indication that the restrictions will be lifted to the point where hundreds of people can gather. Second, the process of planning Oasis is months-long. We cannot wait to have a firm “yes” or “no” from the provincial governments and our hosts. And finally, to respect our special guests and their schedules, and to steward our finances well, we feel we cannot delay this decision.
Why did you wait so long to make this announcement?
This decision couldn’t be made by our staff alone—it needed to be a CBAC Council discussion, and that body didn’t meet until the middle of April. Then we needed to contact our special guests, hosts, vendors, and others to let them know of the decision.
What does this decision mean for those who were appointed at Oasis last year to sit on CBAC boards and organizations?
Every year at our assembly, CBAC Council brings a report of the Nominating Committee, and our delegates vote on new individuals to sit on our organizations and boards. If you are currently sitting on one of these committees, you will continue in such a role until there is a vote at assembly.
What will happen with Examining Council?
At this time, the Executive Minister’s office is still planning to hold Examining Council meetings with ordinands on August 18th & 19th, 2020. As soon as we are able, an announcement will be made regarding the location and platform of these meetings.
What about the business items at Oasis?
The “family business” sessions at Oasis are very important to us and our wider Atlantic Baptist family. For months now, we have been assessing our options and legal requirements in this area. Rest assured that we don’t want to compromise your trust when it comes to important decisions on notices of motion, budgets, and other business items. It is now our priority to see how we can at least hold a business meeting in 2020 so that delegates can participate in voting, and so that our office can continue to serve you.
We had been planning a series of Town Hall Meetings later this spring to help with discussion on a joint notice of motion at Oasis 2020. These meetings have been postponed to a later date, and we will announce those details when we have the time and format confirmed.
What will this mean for Oasis 2021?
This makes us all the more eager for our gathering next year. Oasis 2021 is planned for August 12-14th, 2021, and in the usual fashion, Examining Council will meet with ordinands in the two days beforehand—August 10th and 11th. We will soon be able to announce the location.