NNEA 2020 Closing Address
As this year comes to an end, I along with many of you are thankful to be entering 2021. What a year this has been across this nation and world. While it certainly has not been a year in which we have been accustom to, it has been a time of learning and also a time to reflect and meditate on the things that truly matter.
At the beginning of 2020, I released a new album entitled “Overcome!” This album kicked off the year with its official release and started off our yearly tour. We began traveling in March of 2020. While this was the beginning of our tour, it was also the beginning stages of the COVID 19 pandemic that would soon become a national phenomenon. While many ministries continued to travel per normal during this time, and churches operated as usual - NNEA was aware of the pandemic and the risks caused by this new virus because of our jobs and direct involvement in the medical field. It was during this time we chose to start taking immediate actions to protect not only our ministry but the churches we would be traveling to as well. The ministry developed protocols and revamped our travel procedures including planned stops and research in those areas, refraining from close contact during appointments, masks, hand sanitizer use, and advanced cleaning procedures. We then took further action to suspend our product table and make it completely virtual. We were one of the first ministries to take this drastic action, but we believe because of the actions taken none of our staff had exposure as a result of travel.
Our first appointments were in West Virginia in March. During this weekend, we activated our new procedures. While this was a very different and strange procedure for the congregations we were with, we hoped that they understood why we were taking the precautions that were taken. The appointments were wonderful sings, and we enjoyed our time of fellowship. However, this brought up new issues that would require resolutions including the risk of close contact. It was after our appointments that the NNEA Board of Directors met via FaceTime call and made the executive decision to begin suspending appointments due to sever risks. After this decision was made, the CDC and our government agencies began sending the warnings about COVID 19 and changes began happening throughout the country. West Virginia was one of the last states to have cases of COVID 19, but testing at that time was not being conducted as it was across the country.
Many appointments were scheduled, in fact one of the greatest amount of appointments I had been blessed with as a soloist in many years. We were set to travel not only in WV, but accross the country to states including Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Alabama. The NNEA Board of Directors met a few weeks after our first COVID meeting and chose due to the rapid change of how the virus was spreading to cancel all appointments for the duration of 2020. At that time, we decided to extend our online ministry on facebook and other social media outlets. NNEA Today was extended, but due to many issues both technical and scheduling - the program has been broadcasted as it could be instead of weekly.
The highlight to our year was the NNEA Christmas Broadcast on 2020 that took place LIVE from Raleigh’s downtown district. This program was seen by over 1000 people, and broadcasted the message of Christmas and what Christ means to us. The broadcast also brought a message of hope and remembrance as we remembered Charleston Police Officer Cassie Johnson who lost her life at the beginning of the month in West Virginia. While we are based in Raleigh now, we still maintain our close ties in the community in which this ministry was born.
While we do not know what 2021 brings, we want to let you know we will be working to grow our ministry again this year. We hope to get back to traveling, ministering, and continue growing our online network. We also hope to gain more members and grow the organization this year. We are holding onto hope, maintaining our dedication and perseverance that we have held onto for the last 15 years. As we enter the 16th year of ministry, we look forward to what the future holds.
May God Bless each of you in 2021, and may we forever remember this 2020 year as a time of growth, overcoming obstacles, and truly understanding what is important in each and everyone of our lives.
Warmest Regards & Happy New Year,
Nicholas N. Naylor