Spring Harvest is still on for now
The organisers of Spring Harvest, one of the UK's biggest annual Christian conferences, have said they are still planning for the event to go ahead despite the coronavirus outbreak.
In an update to supporters on Friday, Peter Martin, Group Chief Executive of Essential Christian, said the team was continuing to monitor the situation closely and was "taking appropriate steps" to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers and guests.
Spring Harvest is spread over three different locations and a total of four weeks. Week One in Minehead is due to commence in less than three weeks on 4 April.
Falling over the Easter break, Spring Harvest is popular with families and is for some a fixture on their calendar each year.
But there has been concern about this year's event in light of the rapid spread of COVID-19 around the UK, with confirmed cases surpassing 1,100 on Saturday.
In a letter to guests and supporters, Martin asked for prayers.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the coronavirus, COVID-19, around the world," he said.
"The team at Spring Harvest are continuing to closely monitor the outbreak and are taking appropriate steps to ensure we keep our team, volunteers and those attending our events as safe as possible.
"We are deep in prayer about this situation and we ask that you would please stand with us in prayer too."
He continued: "In line with the latest government advice, we continue to plan for Spring Harvest 2020 to go ahead.
"We do not intend to cancel Spring Harvest unless directed to by the authorities; the most recent government statement has clarified that the cancellation of large events would not be of benefit at the current time."
He went on to say that any action taken would be in line with government advice, and asked for people's support in "avoiding unhelpful speculation, criticism and negativity on social media".
"We will communicate when there is any significant change," he said.
He concluded: "We passionately want the ministry of Spring Harvest to continue to touch and impact the lives of thousands of people and we look forward to welcoming you in April. We really do value your prayers and also ask for your prayer for those who are suffering at this time."