4 people at Willow Creek summit that Craig Groeschel attended have coronavirus: report

Pastor Craig Groeschel
Life.Church Pastor Craig Groeschel says in a video that he has been quarantined by health officials after being exposed to the coronavirus at a conference in Germany. |

Four people tied to the Willow Creek Leadership Summit in Germany last month that was attended by Life.Church Pastor Craig Groeschel have tested positive for coronavirus.

The German language news publication reported that four people connected to the three-day conference tested positive for COVID-19. The announcement came from Karl-Heinz Zimmer, managing director of the Willow Creek Germany community network, who noted that the four people had "only slight symptoms,” according to Idea.

“On February 26, 22 employees and speakers attended a dinner leading up to the congress. Among them was a Nuremberg pastor, who was later found to be infected with the coronavirus during a test,” reported the website, as rendered into English by Google translate.

“As a precaution, the participants of the dinner went into quarantine for two weeks …  The congress with 7,500 participants had ended prematurely on February 28th.”

Last week, Groeschel announced that he and fellow Life.Church pastor Bobby Gruenewald have been quarantined after being exposed to the coronavirus at the Willow Creek event.

Groeschel said he and Gruenewald, founder of the YouVersion Bible app, were headed home when they learned that a person at the Germany summit had tested positive for COVID-19.

"We decided to isolate ourselves for the full 14 days, no contact with anyone whatsoever," he said in his video announcement. “The good news is, I’ve gotten time to pray.”

Groeschel went on to explain that while he and Gruenewald did not exhibit any of the symptoms of the virus, they were still taking precautions.

“We will not be at church, don't worry. We're going to stay completely away. We're trying to do this out of an abundance of caution to ensure that everyone is safe,” he said.

Concerns over the spread of coronavirus have led many churches to cancel in-person worship or change how they oversee worship, such as removing customary handshake greetings.

Last week, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States, announced that they were delaying registration for their 224th General Assembly.

The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, stated clerk of the PC(USA) General Assembly, explained in a statement that registration was being pushed back from March 9 to “no earlier than March 24.”

“While continuing the planning for GA224, my staff, along with the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly, are closely monitoring the situation involving COVID-19 (the coronavirus) and we are developing contingency plans in response if needed,” stated Nelson.

As of Wednesday morning, there have been more than 1,000 coronavirus cases in the United States with 30 confirmed deaths, according to ABC News.   

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