Safety protocols allow in-person Resurrection to go on for youth

Safety protocols allow in-person Resurrection to go on for youth

The theme for Resurrection 2022 is "Together Again," scheduled Jan. 21-23 at LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. (File photo)

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. – About 3,800 people will be “Together Again” on site at Resurrection, the annual winter spiritual experience for youth and youth leaders to be held Jan. 21-23 in Pigeon Forge.

However, safety measures will be enforced to prevent spread of the COVID-19 virus, and online viewing and participation remain an option for those who want to further reduce risk of exposure, according to the organizers.

“We are moving forward with an in-person event with our COVID-19 protocol in place,” said Laura McLean, Holston associate director of connectional ministries for youth and young adults.

Resurrection returns to LeConte Center this weekend, two years after the last in-person gathering for the now 37-year-old Holston Conference winter tradition. In January 2021, Resurrection was transformed into an online-only gathering to protect participants from COVID-19.

As the omicron variant sends virus cases spiraling again in early 2022, the Resurrection Design Team tried to make the best decision for groups longing to meet on site for worship and fellowship while making the experience as safe as possible.

“We know people have struggled with the decision about whether to meet in person and our team has also struggled,” McLean said. “This is where we landed.”

COVID-19 protocols for Resurrection 2022 include:
  • Face masks will be required.
  • Youth groups will sit together in assigned “pods,” distanced from other groups.
  • Participants will stay seated with their groups and will not be allowed to come to the stage.

The doors to the convention hall will open one hour prior to each session’s start time, which should help youth groups feel as if they don’t have to stand together in long lines to get their preferred seating, McLean said. “You can come any time. Your seat assignment won’t change.”

The exhibit hall will also open one hour prior to start time and will stay open about 30 minutes after the session. Participants should avoid congregating in large groups in the exhibit hall. If youth leaders want to purchase Resurrection T-shirts in bulk, they may make their orders prior to the session and then pick them up after the session, McLean said.

Regarding the requirement for participants to stay seated with their groups throughout all sessions, McLean said she is aware some may feel the Saturday-evening “call to commitment” will have a different feel without an invitation to move forward to the stage.

“But we also think it will be meaningful when you stay with your group and pray together,” she said. “We hope youth groups will see strength in that.”

This year’s expected Resurrection attendance of 3,800 is about one-half or one-third the attendance of years past, McLean said. Some youth groups are opting to watch online. So far, only eight of 181 total groups have recently canceled their registrations because of spiking COVID-19 cases.

The lower attendance helps Resurrection organizers keep participants safer with spaced seating, McLean said. Because the numbers are low enough to accommodate all participants in one session instead of back-to-back sessions, the LeConte Center staff will have more time to step up sanitizing efforts. Fewer exhibitors have also registered to share their ministries or products this year.

Some youth leaders are also putting extra safety precautions in place, requiring their youth to submit negative virus tests before departing for Pigeon Forge or preparing for possible quarantine in their hotels or cabins if positive tests are revealed during the weekend, McLean said.

The 2022 Resurrection speaker is Paul Epperson from South Carolina. The worship band is Roger Williams and the All-Mixed-up Quartet of Maryville, Tennessee.

Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, resident bishop of Holston Conference, will make her first appearance at Resurrection on Sunday morning, Jan. 23, to celebrate Holy Communion. Participants will take communion in their seats with pre-packaged communion elements.

This year’s Resurrection offering is designated for youth ministries who are “struggling with the pandemic,” a heartfelt desire of the Conference Council on Youth Ministries (CCYM), McLean said. Participants will be asked to drop their offerings in buckets as they depart the Saturday-morning session on Jan. 22, or they may give online at ResurrectionYouth.com.

For more information, visit ResurrectionYouth.com. Live streaming of the sessions will also be provided at ResurrectionYouth.com.
 

Author

Annette Spence

Annette Spence is editor of The Call, the Holston Conference newspaper.

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