I fully expected to be writing this letter to you, though perhaps not quite so soon.
I have received word that the Northfield Mount-Hermon School is suspending all 2020 summer programming, including hosting the Northfield Conference. They have shut down the campus for the rest of this semester, and plan to take all reasonable measures to keep the area virus-free as they work toward reopening to students in the fall.
As a result, on behalf of the Northfield League Board of Trustees, it is my sad responsibility to announce that we will not be gathering in residence for the Northfield Conference this June.
This was by far the likeliest outcome, given all we know and don’t know about how this outbreak will run its course. Nonetheless, I’m sure you feel, as I do, a deep and genuine sense of loss that we won’t be able to see each other face to face in June. For many of us, the rhythm of each year just naturally includes setting aside that early summer week for our journeying together in community, sharing and singing and playing. And oh, the hugs!
While we will not have our usual Conference in 2020, I write today to assure you: all will not be lost.
As I wrote last week, the Board is committed to providing opportunities for us to be together via electronic means in June. The details are being worked on; we’ll be meeting in mid-April and I’ll be in touch again to let you know what’s in the works.
I would like at this moment, on behalf of the entire Board (and I’m sure the entire Northfield community) to express our profound appreciation to our 2020 Program chairs, Lynnette Tucker and Gail Ferris, as well as Workshop Coordinators Sarah Melasecca and Andy Jeffrey. These wonderful people have been so hard at work on our behalf since last June, guiding and supporting the planning process. I’m very happy to be able to report that Lynnette and Gail and Andy have agreed to stay on in their roles for next year — to ensure that as much as possible of the program that was envisioned for this June can be brought forward to the 2021 Conference. It’s a hugely generous offer of service which makes this uncertain time feel much more grounded and hopeful to me. While Sarah can’t commit to continuing at this time, we are deeply grateful for her work this year. We are also so appreciative of all those who hosted a planning meeting, or attended one during the year, or who volunteered to do a workshop or to fill other roles for the June conference.
We are each a vital, interconnected part of a deeply committed community, and we will persevere!
So, friends, watch this space for news which will come later in April. In the meantime, I hope this finds each of you safe and well. Now, more than ever, we need to count our blessings and seek the light beyond the clouds.
All will not be lost.