NWC and Ministerial Association Annual Meetings cancelled due to COVID-19

Dear Friends in Christ (March 25, 2020),

As the days unfold and news continues to proliferate regarding COVID-19, please know that the Northwest Conference staff and Executive Board members are praying for our churches, camps, schools, pastors and leaders. This is particularly true as decisions are being made locally about how to continue in both mission and relationship during this time of physical distancing leading to a greater risk of isolation.

Even as you are adapting in the midst of ever-changing circumstances, NWC leaders find themselves in a similar position. Just last week we announced that our scheduled upcoming gathered Annual Meeting at Minnehaha Academy was cancelled, but we intended to conduct the business portion of the meeting digitally. However, as we have followed recent events and considered current projections, the decision has been made to cancel the NWC Annual Meeting (including the Ministerial Association meeting) in its entirety. This is a decision that has also been made by several other regional conferences in the ECC.

Once things normalize, we may be able to offer another occasion to convene to conduct the business of the Conference, but we do not believe that now is the time. We know that you, our co-laborers in Christ, have your own hands full as you navigate the complexities of your local ministry.

What are some things to know?

  1. The NWC Executive Board will continue to serve conscientiously as a decision-making body until the next time NWC delegates are convened. Among other things, this will involve recommendations surrounding both NWC and Minnehaha Academy budgeting and board involvement.
  2. NWC leadership will remain in conversation with denominational leaders regarding the implications for the Covenant Annual Meeting, ordination and credentialing requirements, and other such business as would ordinarily come to the ECC at its June meeting.
  3. Any church that has sent in registration fees for the NWC Annual Meeting will have them returned to the church in full.
  4. Even while we will not convene the meeting, the NWC office will still be sending out a 2019 Ministry Report booklet to churches as a matter of record and accountability. However, this booklet may not be sent out until sometime this summer.
  5. During this time of challenge, our hope is to send out a weekly digital UPDATE to those who are signed up to receive it. If you are interested in signing up, please contact Cheryl Theilen at

Along with you, we are keeping abreast of further developments and recommended restrictions by state and federal health officials. We strongly urge you to heed all of the recommendations and live within the bounds of what is being advised by those who are charged with our health and wellbeing. Therefore, please do not think that your setting is an exception to the rules. It is not. We want to be good citizens, and we also do not want to inadvertently put other people at risk.

If we can be of continued service to you, please do not hesitate to contact a NWC staff member directly or the Conference office at 612-721-4893. We are all accessible at this number, even as we work remotely. We want to be of assistance to you, even as we are also working away from the office.

Please be assured of our continued prayers on your behalf.

Sincerely in Christ,

James Volling,
NWC Executive Board Chair

Mark Stromberg,
NWC Superintendent