Heartbeat International's Annual Conference, a fundamental mainstay event fostering support for the pregnancy help movement, is on track and moving forward amid the coronavirus pandemic, offering an innovative format that will allow participants to gain insight from pregnancy help experts right from their own home.
Heartbeat's Annual Conference will take place on schedule, April 14-16, but rather than on-site in Seattle as previously planned, the 2020 Vision Conference will come to attendees in a virtual format, a new and unique approach that is also economical for those taking part.
"To continue bringing strategic insights, exceptional training, and timely encouragement to those on the front-lines, Heartbeat has adapted our training from an in-person Conference to an Online Global Conference," Heartbeat International President Jor-El Godsey said. "We are excited to see how God uses this moment in history to advance our movement even further!"
Seattle was one of the communities greatly affected in the early days of the COVID-19 virus outbreak, and Heartbeat reacted immediately, continually monitoring the situation and exploring the possibilities for providing the Conference's wealth of invaluable content to the pregnancy help community while keeping everyone safe. Throughout, Heartbeat staff continued to support affiliates in meeting the needs of women and families facing unplanned pregnancy during the pandemic. While helping pregnancy help organizations as they responded and adapted in the ever-changing situation, Heartbeat likewise reimagined its Annual Conference into its new virtual format, opening the door for even more pregnancy help servants to take part.
Heartbeat’s Annual Conference is designed for ministry leaders, staff, board members and volunteers of life-affirming pregnancy help centers, medical clinics, maternity homes and non-profit adoption agencies, as well as professionals in the areas of medicine, counseling, social work and education.
"The Heartbeat International Annual Conference is such an important event each year for the pregnancy help community," Godsey said. "Here, you have the ability to be trained by experts in a variety of fields to strengthen your organization and ultimately save more lives."
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The Virtual Conference will incorporate much of the originally planned program, with a revamped schedule that includes more than 90 workshops, PEG Talks, live keynote addresses, prayer, live Q&A, and even a virtual exhibit hall.
Registration provides access to all the Conference has to offer, and while the in-person element will not be in effect, the community and camaraderie aspects will be preserved via chats during Conference offerings.
To best serve the pregnancy help movement in these uncertain times, Heartbeat's 2020 Vision Virtual Conference is being offered as an affordable option for all. Heartbeat is issuing full refunds to all participants who were already registered for the Conference, and automatically registering them at no cost for the Virtual Conference.
The original in-person Conference rate was $569. New registrants enjoy a reduced rate of $199 through April 7, and $299 after the seventh. Given the new reduced rate and the absence of travel and accommodations costs, pregnancy help organizations may now have the ability to consider "bringing" additional staff to the Virtual Annual Conference, augmenting the Conference's benefit within the organization.
"This online avenue provides a savings of hundreds of dollars and allows you to view it all from the comfort of your own home or at your pregnancy help organization," said Godsey.
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Heartbeat's efforts to champion the work of its international affiliates at the Conference will still take place as well, likewise reimagined. These components typically occur through a Parade of Nations and a Meet and Greet, where individual organizations report for two minutes on their organization. Heartbeat's international affiliates will still have benefit of these through a mix of a live and virtual experience.
Godsey emphasized the need for staff and leaders of pregnancy help organizations to look forward with a readiness to adapt during these challenging times, but to always rely on God. He expressed hope for the pregnancy help community to embrace the opportunity to come together for mutual support and enrichment at Heartbeat's Virtual 2020 Annual Conference.
"While we were disappointed at first that we are not able to be together in person this year," Godsey said, "God has continuously come through to show us that He is in control and He has bigger plans! This mission is so critical and we are incredibly appreciative of all you do for LIFE!"
Editor's note: Pregnancy Help News is a project of Heartbeat International