Regarding Convergence in July

As a member organization, all of us at the Handweavers Guild of America, Inc. (HGA) – Staff and Board – are keenly aware that without you we would not exist.  You, our members and supporters, are HGA. And you have been heavy on our minds as we look to HGA’s future in a new world living with the COVID-19 virus.
We are concerned about your health and the health of our organization. For the past few months HGA’s Board of Directors and Executive Director, Elizabeth Williamson, have been diligent about reviewing medical reports, listening to daily briefings, and trying to distill a huge volume of information. Most of all, we want to make educated and thoughtful decisions, since it will affect us all: staff, Board and our membership.
Our first priority is protecting HGA’s staff. Without our staff our organization would not be able to function. This week we have been transitioning operations to a remote work model for their safety. With many organizations doing the same thing there is a backlog to upgrade our phone system and to put the technology in place that will be needed to run HGA efficiently. For the time being, we only have one staff member in the office each day to answer phones and process mail. All other staff are working from home and responding to emails. While we adjust, please be aware the staff may be slower to respond. We anticipate the transition should be complete within 2-3 weeks.
Our second priority is Convergence®. We’ve been preparing for this conference for more than two years and have been so excited about seeing everyone in Knoxville. We don’t know what the future will hold, and Convergence® is still more than four months away. We are trying to remain positive. Watching recent events unfold has filled us with concern for the conference, but more importantly concern for the health of our members. The Board has discussed our options and, for the present, has decided to proceed with Convergence® as scheduled for July 24-30, 2020 in Knoxville, Tennessee. While we would never want to put any member in harm’s way, we hope you will stay the course with us for the present time. However, if you feel uncomfortable we certainly can understand and ask that you please refer to our cancellation policy*.
We are so very grateful for the continued support we have received from you all. The COVID-19 virus has affected us all in some way or another. Please be assured that we continue to assess, re-evaluate, and modify our plans with the health and safety of each one of you in mind. When the board reconvenes on April 20th we will reassess the situation and provide you with another update.
Thank you again for your support, your concern, and your help as we make our way through these uncertain times. We will get through this together.
On behalf of the HGA Board of Directors,
Penny Morgan
HGA Board President
*Convergence® Change and Cancellation Policy
With the exception of Sessions, all purchases are non-refundable. Sessions may be changed to a Session at an equivalent or higher registration fee if made in writing by April 24, 2020. Changes will incur a $25 administration fee per Session. Sessions may not be changed after April 24, 2020. Session cancellations must be made in writing by April 24, 2020 and will incur a $50 cancellation fee per Session. Session registration fees are non-refundable for cancellations made after April 24, 2020. Sessions and Tours require a minimum number of participants to run. HGA reserves the right to cancel Sessions and Tours if there is insufficient registration. If we must cancel a Session or Tour HGA will issue a full refund.