In planning for the BUC Session we had to consider a number of different scenarios which could arise in relation to COVID. Guidance and circumstances have been changing, and it was the change in circumstances which led to the first proposed date of the BUC Session being cancelled. There is still the possibility of things changing and, if they do, we will have to adapt accordingly, as we did before. Again, the three basic scenarios we are considering are as follows:
  1. Government roadmap remains on course, indoor meetings continue to be allowed inside, and the hotel gives direction and assistance regarding COVID safety measures. The BUC Session will strictly follow government guidelines. In addition to any legal requirements we will expect delegates and attendees to:
    • Have received the appropriate vaccinations (except where medically exempt)
    • Have taken a lateral flow test before setting out to the session
    • Submit to a further lateral flow test (if necessary) on arrival at the venue
    • Wear masks when indoors except during meals
    • Maintain as much social distancing as possible
    • Use the hand sanitisers provided
    • Be cautious about close personal contact and respect others' personal space
    • Refrain from shaking hands - an elbow touch or something similar will suffice
    Whatever your own personal views about COVID, your perception of the risks, and your attitude to personal freedoms, we would urge you to consider others and put them first. Knowing that other delegates are being as cautious as possible will help to give everyone confidence.

  2. Lockdown reimposed, with public meetings not allowed. In this case the physical constituency meeting would be cancelled and we would expect the hotel to refund our booking fee. Alternative options, which the Executive Committee would have to approve, could include:
    • A postponement of the Session to a later date. This would prolong the 'limbo' period for those currently in office and those already nominated. There is no guarantee of when a rescheduled meeting might be able to take place.
    • If outdoor meetings are allowed, it might be possible call an outdoor meeting specifically for the purpose of voting the new constitution. This would require a great deal of good will and cooperation on the part of the delegates! The new constitution specifically allows virtual Sessions and a virtual Session could then be scheduled for a slightly later date, possibly the next day.
  3. Government allows indoor meetings but advises that they be avoided if possible. This is probably the worst-case scenario as the hotel might not be willing to refund the booking fee and delegates might not be willing to attend. Alternative options, which the Executive Committee would have to approve, could include:
    • If the hotel is willing to refund the booking fee, follow the options under 2 above.
    • Postpone the meeting and accept the loss of the booking fee, which might well be the entire amount that would have been spent had the meeting gone ahead. This would be a significant loss to the church.
    • Hold the Session with the minimum numbers required for business to proceed. Deal only with essential items and keep the meeting as short as possible. In this case we would have to be absolutely certain of achieving the quorum requirement for the Session.
Whatever happens we have to recognise that we are working in exceptional circumstances. We very much appreciate the good will, patience and cooperation already shown by delegates. Please pray for the BUC Session, that God will lead, and that our business will be accomplished swiftly and effectively.
For further information on COVID testing please check out these documents which have been recommended by our Health Ministries director: