Cancellation of Celebrate Messiah 2000

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

'Except a grain of wheat falls into the ground and die..'
(John 12.24).

How do I begin this letter to you? It represents one of the saddest days in my life, and certainly the saddest day in the brief life of the AD2000 and Beyond Movement - as I write to share with you the decision taken just a few hours ago by the Board of AD2000 to cancel Celebrate Messiah, which is due to start in Jerusalem on the 27th of this month.

There is so much background information that I want to share with you, but first I sense something of the shock that you must be feeling right at this moment. We know of people with their bags packed, of people who have started their journey, and even of some people who are now arriving in Israel. This decision has not been reached lightly. We could continue with a Conference - it would have less than half the people present who are booked to attend it - but the Board believes that a divided Conference would be no Conference at all.

Let me share with you some background information.

The Visa workers strike in Israel is now over a month old. It means that every delegate who needs a visa to attend Celebrate Messiah 2000 has not been able to obtain one. That's 667 delegates! The efforts in the last four weeks to persuade government officials to find a way to approve entry for the delegates who need visas, has been enormous. I can't begin to describe the number of individuals, organisations, and companies who have made representation on behalf of AD2000 delegates to the government bodies concerned. We have had numerous contacts with the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Interior, the Mayor of Jerusalem and anyone who has influence here in Israel. Yesterday, the matter was discussed at the Cabinet meeting with the Prime Minister of the country present! Today I had a one to one with the Chairman of the Strikers Committee, to try one last effort of persuasion. Regrettably despite numerous promises of help, all human effort has failed to produce the promised visas.

We have been thrown back on the Lord, like we have never been before. We have been searching for what He is saying through it all. The 'AD2000 Movement and Beyond' is a global movement. It represents so many from the Christian body here on earth. We firmly believe that such a Movement cannot continue with its final Conference, when half of its body, is forcibly not able to be present. The promise that we cling to at this time is that that God is in control. I believe that out of the death of the Conference, God will cause new Life to come (though right now, all of us may find that hard to see!)

It is almost too soon, to face the practical application of this decision.

But let me outline some practical matters here.

  1. We will seek immediate return from the Tour Companies of advance monies paid to them
  2. We will reimburse to all delegates monies due to them. This will be 100% of Land Services and Tour monies paid. The extent of Registration fees to be returned needs to be resolved, once irrecoverable payments have been calculated.
  3. We regret that for some delegates, airlines may charge penalties on cancelled tickets. We pray that they will be sympathetic to your case. As a Movement we will seek to help in cases of hardship.

For so many on the Board, the International Operations office staff, and others, this Conference has been part of their life for the last 3-4 years, as they have planned and prepared for this closing AD2000 event. The pain and sadness of 'letting go' after so much effort and promise is hard to bear. However our faith and trust is in God! The seed may die... but fruit will come! We rest in His sovereign will in this, and all matters. Praise God!

In His limitless love

Luis Bush

For further information, phone:
Lauri Dennis, AD2000 office, Colorado Springs - 1.719.576.2000
Gordon Pettie, Conference Office, Jerusalem - 972.51.801.188

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