The Family Enrichment Series, offering insights and hope for every family, scheduled to be held in Hamilton, Bermuda, March 7-28, with Alanzo Smith, Greater New York Conference executive secretary, was suspended after only six days because of concerns over COVID-19.
Although at the time of suspension there were no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Bermuda, the meetings ended on March 14 following the recommendation of David Burt, Premier of Bermuda, to church leaders and the Bermuda public that gatherings of more than 50 people be suspended. As a result, Kenneth Manders, Bermuda Conference president, and his team, in an unparalleled response, decided at the end of the meeting on March 13 to be proactive, rather than reactive and cancel all church services until mid-April.
In the days before the cancellation, Smith spoke to attendees on such topics as “Grief, Hurt, and Loss,” that encouraged participants to allow people time to grieve and to learn to comfort themselves. “Do I Have to Give up Me, to Love You?” sharing that it is not a sin to love yourself; by loving yourself, you can then love others. “Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Sexuality” explored the dangers of social media; the best of social media is the Bible, and “Don’t Follow the Fool” encouraged attendees to know God for themselves; He is real.
In Smith’s final sermon, “God Is Our Refuge and Strength,” at 11:00 a.m. on Sabbath, March 14, conducted via live stream and ATV (Adventist Television), he reminded viewers that amidst fears of the virus, a fact is that God, “during any crisis, any calamity or catastrophe, is our refuge and strength. Although a virus may come upon the land, we should not fear, though there is much of which to be fearful. Never forget, God is our divine assurance.”