Mexico Pastors Retreat Cancelled Due to Flu Concerns

Post a Comment » Written on April 27th, 2009     
Filed under: News
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO (April 27, 2009) – Organizers of the Mexico Pastors Retreat for leaders and spouses in Evangelical Covenant churches had to cancel the event when the government closed the meeting facility until May 6 due to swine flu concerns, Missionary Cindy Hoover said this morning.

The retreat was scheduled to run Thursday through Sunday at the IMSS vacation center in Metepec, Estado de Puebla, which is operated by the government. Many public buildings are being closed due to fears concerning spread of the virus.

The retreat was supposed to be the second ever for the pastors. The previous retreat was held two years ago.

In addition to providing opportunities for relaxation and reflection, organizers also had included a health component for basic screenings and physical exams, says Hoover, who ministers in Oaxaca. An eight-member medical team from Bethany Covenant Church in Bedford, New Hampshire, had been scheduled to leave for Mexico Tuesday morning.

“We are staying home and lying low – all week.”

“We are hopeful to find a date sometime in the fall to reschedule the event,” said Missionary Karl Peterson, who ministers in Mexico City.

Up to 70 people, including at least 23 couples as well as missionary families, were expected to attend. “The teaching theme was ‘Shaped by the Word,’ utilizing the Covenant resource of the same name. We had four seminars planned – Lectio Divina, Inductive Preaching, Inductive Bible Study, and Strategic Planning.”

Hoover said she and other organizers are “disappointed” and will regroup this week to consider rescheduling of the event.

Mexican health officials believe as many as 103 deaths in the country are linked to the virus. More than 1,700 cases have been reported but not confirmed, according to news reports.

Masks were distributed to people in Mexico City to help stave the virus, but Hoover said, “Life is going on as usual” in Oaxaca.

Peterson said that about half the people shopping in the local grocery store this morning were wearing masks. “The masks are now completely out of stock.”

School was cancelled at all levels in Mexico City and the State of Mexico, said Peterson. Officials announced Saturday that classes will not resume until May 6.

“On Sunday at the Tlalpan Covenant Church as well as the El Doradao Covenant Church, worship services were suspended in conjunction with all other activities in the city where large groups of people are together – sporting events, cultural events, movie theaters, etcetera,” said Peterson. “We are staying home and lying low – all week,” Peterson said. “I’ve pulled out science activities, books for reading and craft ideas to keep us busy.”

The swine flu scare also is forcing the cancellation of many activities that are part of Kids Day – a national holiday – on April 30. Children normally go to school in the morning and then celebrate with games and other activities in the afternoon.

“I think we’ll ‘camp out’ in the living room in Zach’s tent and watch movies and eat junk food,” Peterson says.

“We appreciate the prayers of our Covenant family and their interest in the lives of the Mexican people,” Peterson added. “Continue to pray for containment of the virus as well as the families of those infected. May God reveal himself to them as ‘I am God, there is no other, I am God, there is no one like me.’ ”

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