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President of South Atlantic Conference Responds to Georgia Governor’s Decision to Reopen State


Elder William L. Winston, president of the South Atlantic Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, has responded to Governor Brian Kemp’s decision to reopen businesses in Georgia.

On Monday, April 20, Kemp announced that restrictions put in place to flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic would be relaxed, and businesses including gyms, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, and more would reopen Friday, despite the warnings from health care experts and the federal government that such a move is premature.

President Winston weighed in on Wednesday, April 22, in a letter posted to the Conference’s website and social media channels, urging Kemp to reconsider.

“Governor Kemp, if you are listening, please reconsider your decision. A delay of just a few weeks in implementing this order will save hundreds of lives, untold grief, and millions of dollars in healthcare expense.

It’s never too late to do the right thing.”

Winston, who oversees 144 churches and almost 50,000 members throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, said he believes “it would be irresponsible for me at this time, to reopen our churches or our conference headquarters in Decatur, Georgia. I will not place our employees and their families, nor our faithful members nor our neighbors and friends at risk…”

He went on to state that “all churches within my jurisdiction, in all three states, will remain closed until I and my fellow officers feel that it is safe for us to return to corporate worship” (emphasis in original).

Read his letter in full below or on the Conference’s website.


Alisa Williams is managing editor of

Images courtesy of the South Atlantic Conference website.


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