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An Important Update from Fresh Expressions US National Director Chris Backert

After significant and prayerful deliberation, along with consultation from a variety of experts knowledgeable about the potential progression of the Coronavirus in the next several weeks, we have decided to postpone the 2020 Fresh Expressions National Gathering: The Present Future until March 24th – 26th, 2021. 

This is a very difficult decision made with the greatest care and genuine concern for you as registrants and your communities. As we shared last week, our hope was to move forward as planned, but in the end felt that we could not, given the rapidly changing situation.

Our team has been working around the clock to solidify the details that would allow us to postpone the gathering until next March. Although we understand that all changes are difficult, our hope is that this will make your travel transitions as smooth as possible. Our plan is for the 2021 event to follow the same basic schedule, with the main gathering beginning the evening of Wednesday, March 24th and finishing on Friday, March 26th around 1 pm. Pre-Conferences will take place during the day on March 24th.

What follows are several important details. Please read them carefully:

Why We Chose to Postpone

First, we believe it’s important that we share the reasons we have decided to postpone. The expectation of many is that the virus will spread markedly over the next several weeks. Our conference is also being held within a few miles of one of the busiest international airports in the world. We also have a number of attendees coming from regions that have experienced far greater rates of infection. We believe that it is best for us to lean in the direction of caution and do our part to ensure the health and vitality of not only our attendees, but also their local congregations.

2021 North American Gathering 

The Present Future Conference 2021 will carry forward as we had planned for this year. We have already confirmed that our current group of plenary and workshop speakers will be present with us next year. In addition, we will likely be adding a number of dynamic leaders from the FX global family. In other words, we truly expect the March 2021 gathering to be an even more significant event.

Ticket Transfers, Refunds, Etc.

If you are currently registered for this year’s gathering, here are your options:

Option 1 – Do Nothing, and Your Ticket Will Be Transferred to 2021 Gathering: If you would like to have your ticket automatically transferred for next year, you need to take no action. This year’s gathering would have been sold out. We expect similar interest in 2021. Continuing to hold your registration will guarantee your place for next year’s gathering. There will also likely be a price increase for next year’s event to cover normal inflationary costs, so if you plan to attend, this increase won’t affect you.

Option 2 – Transfer Your Ticket to Another Future Attendee: If you know that you cannot attend next year, or if it becomes clear that you cannot attend in the future but would like to hold your spot for your church/organization, we will work with you to transfer your ticket to another colleague or friend. Transfers do not have to happen immediately. Transfer of a ticket to another person can be made up to 30 days before the March 24, 2021 date.

Option 3 – Request a Refund: If you would like a refund, you may request it through Eventbrite. You will need to do this for each event you registered for (Main Conference, Pre-Conference, Meet-Ups, Dinner, etc). We can refund the full amount of your order if you request by March 25, 2020. We will still be able to refund your ticket after March 25, but there will be a non-refundable Eventbrite fee that we cannot refund (about 5.5% of your total order).

Again, if you take no action we will simply transfer your registration to 2021. We can process a refund for your transferred ticket until January 22nd, 2021 (60 days before the event).

Here’s how to request a refund:

  1. Log in to your Eventbrite account (click here if you’ve never logged in before).
  2. Access the account menu, and choose ‘Tickets’ to find your order.
  3. Choose “Request Refund”
  4. Fill out the Contact form and choose “Continue”
  5. Click ‘Submit’

If you need more help, CLICK HERE to see how to request a refund.

Beyond this, if you have any difficulty related to the above, please contact Jon Davis (jon.davis@freshexpressionsus.org).

Hotels

FOR EXTENDED STAY HOTEL guests, you need to cancel your reservation by this Friday, March 13th or you will be charged. 

For all other hotels, we are weeks out from the end of the standard cancellation periods. Please look at your confirmation information from your hotel to confirm your cancellation period.

Flights

At this point, most airlines are waiving their flight transfer fees. Many are currently providing waivers through April 30.

If you wish to transfer for next year, you will want to plan to arrive on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021 if you wish to participate in the Pre-Conferences. If you only want to participate in the Main Gathering, you can arrive on March 24th, 2021, as the main gathering will start March 24th evening.

Please contact your airline immediately to consider your options. Again, we have worked hard to reschedule the gathering within the one-year time frame required for ticket changes.

Flight Information Update:

We would like to provide one further piece of information for those with flight reservations.

Depending on the airline, you may need to wait until after March 23rd or 24th to rebook your flight for next year’s event, as some airlines are only allowing you to re-book within one year’s time.

This will allow your rebooked flight to occur within one year.

As we have further updates that may help in the travel transitions, we will send them along.

A Unique Time

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. Although our team had originally hoped to move forward as planned, we feel a deep sense of peace and expectation as we look to 2021.

We also believe this is a significant opportunity for the church at this moment to be present and to manifest the life and vitality of the gospel in our communities. We anticipate that there could be significant attention needed locally, and since one of our values is to “take the church Jesus loves closer to the people Jesus loves,” we believe it’s important to live into this value during this unusual time. For this reason, we will soon be sharing webinars and additional resources (free of charge) to help churches and ministry leaders live faithfully in this moment.

If there is anything else that we can do to serve you, please feel free to reach out to our National Gathering Coordinator, Jon Davis (Jon.Davis@FreshExpressionsUS.org) or to me directly at (Chris.Backert@FreshExpressionsUS.org).

More than all of this, please join us in prayer, asking God for wisdom for the whole church around the globe. Our hope is that we might be found faithful to the resurrected Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in this unique moment.

Dr. Chris Backert

National Director

Fresh Expressions US

 

 

Please Note: All other FX training events are moving forward as planned, as there are significant differences between our local training events and our national gathering. Local events are on a much smaller scale, do not involve international guests, and are typically attended by those within driving distance of their home. We will continue to monitor these events on an individual basis, but at this time please expect them to move forward as scheduled.

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