In the past year, our communities have experienced many challenges. All of us have suffered isolation and adapted to shifts in our interactions with our fellow brothers and sisters. Some of us have experienced unimaginable pain from the loss of a loved one.
Due to the ever-changing landscape of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and our priority of keeping members of the NC Conference community healthy and safe, Pilgrimage 2021 will be offered in two formats: in-person (with restrictions) and virtually. The decision to provide the Pilgrimage 2021 experience in this way was driven by:
- Recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and
- A commitment of the NC Conference and members of the church of Christ to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Learn more about the Pilgrimage 2021 experience:
Pilgrimage 2021 will follow a similar schedule to previous Pilgrimage weekends. Four general sessions will take place throughout the weekend: one on Friday Evening, one on Saturday Morning, one on Saturday Evening, and one on Sunday Morning. Opportunities for missions and service will be offered on Saturday afternoon, as well.
For groups that are interested in attending Pilgrimage 2021 in-person at the Rocky Mount Event Center, here are some key considerations to take into account as you plan:
- Limited seats will be available and registration will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. To adhere to current — and plan for future — large-group gathering restrictions as established by the CDC and NCDHHS, a limited amount of in-person seats will be made available. While the final number of seats is still being determined, groups will be able to monitor how many seats are available at any given time once registration opens. As groups register to attend in person, updates will be provided on the number of seats remaining.
- In-person attendees are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated prior to the Pilgrimage 2021 event. Attendees eligible to receive a full vaccination prior to the Pilgrimage 2021 event are highly encouraged to do so. An individual is considered fully vaccinated once two weeks have passed following both doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccination. For more information on how to receive a vaccine, visit the NC COVID-19 Information Hub.
- In-person attendees and a parent or legal guardian will be required to sign a waiver. This waiver is a recognition that, even with social distancing and other restrictions, an attendee may be exposed to COVID-19 while attending Pilgrimage 2021.
- In-person attendees will be required to wear a face covering that comfortably covers both the nose and mouth despite vaccination status. All attendees will be required to wear a face covering while attending Pilgrimage 2021, even if they have been vaccinated. The face covering must fit snugly on the face, with one end under the chin and the other on the bridge of the nose. Bandanas, gaiters, and other non-form-fitting face coverings are not permitted. The NC Conference will provide acceptable face coverings to any in-person attendees that do not have one upon entry to the Rocky Mount Event Center. In-person attendees that have a pre-existing medical condition that restricts their ability to wear a face covering will not be required to do so.
- Attendees will be asked to leave if they do not adhere to the community standards and guidelines established for in-person attendance. If an attendee does not adhere to the requirements established above, they will be asked to leave the event by a representative of the NC Conference.
In addition to the above guidelines for attendees, all Pilgrimage staff (ministry team, volunteers, etc.) and any external vendors exhibiting at Pilgrimage 2021 are required to be fully vaccinated prior to the Pilgrimage 2021 event.
For groups that prefer to attend Pilgrimage 2021 virtually, each general session will be livestreamed so that attendees can participate in the event from a physical location that they find comfortable and safe. Discounted pricing will be offered for groups that prefer to attend the event virtually via livestream.
A core value of the NC Conference Youth Ministry is to create meaningful and Christ-centered learning, mission, and worship experiences for youth of the NC Conference. It is with our desire to uphold this value — while also protecting members of our community from the adapting coronavirus disease — that Pilgrimage will be held in a dual format and with the in-person attendance limitations as listed above.
Additional information regarding registration and pricing will be provided in the coming weeks at nccpilgrimage.org/2021.
Together in Christ,
The Pilgrimage Ministry Team
The Cabinet of the NC Conference of the United Methodist Church
The Office of Bishop Hope Morgan Ward