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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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

As if those people rushing the opening of businesses were indeed that concerned with human lives… Sure!

Opening the businesses prematurely will cost many lives, and will be much more costly than waiting a few weeks more and get this pandemic under control.

I don’t want anyone from Georgia coming to California, unless they are quarantined at the port of entry.


You and President Trump are of like mind, George. Mr. Trump announced today that the governor of Georgia was lifting restrictions too precipitously.


i have my doubts over how genuine that trump announcement was…


Yes he did out of one side of his mouth while at the same time giving subtle encouragement to go ahead with plans to open…
This article breaks it down:
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. James 1:8


Until you have lost someone close to you, you can doubt the medical experts advising POTUS. In a short period of time, I have lost a cousin, a friend and a medical colleague to CV19, with two former classmates fighting for their lives even as we speak. Every time I go make my hospital rounds, I tremble at the horrible thoughts clouding my mind.


Thank-you for sharing, Elmer…these have been horrible and troubling times. Thank-you for serving your patients.


Elmer, are these people elderly? Are they compromised in some way? Could you give more info regarding any other medical issues surrounding the covid virus situation?



My friend was about in his early 60s and practiced complementary/alternative medicine and was exposed unknowingly to a patient having difficulty breathing. My medical colleague was 63 yo and saw one too many psychiatric patients in his public rounds. Both my friends (husband and wife) are in their mid 60’s and he was a technician assigned to the cardiology dept.

Not much is known about this novel virus. It is believed that the virus attaches to the ACE receptors in the lungs where it multiplies. Thus the relationship to hypertension esp those taking ACE inhibitors. It is also believed that a super active immune response, referred to as “cytosine storm” is what causes the pneumonia that kills. It has been likened to using an AR-15 to kill a cockroach. Pity our public leaders because they are expected to know everything that which no one knows about.


Thanks so much, Elmer.

Keep us posted as to how your former classmates are doing. So sorry for the loss of your cousin and your friend. Take care!


I am so sorry to hear about your losses, Elmer. I join you in praying for your former classmates and for your safety as you make your rounds in the hospital.
My husband reports that non-medical hospice personnel are now being allowed back into long-term care facilities because Covid is “everywhere–on every floor.” No need to try to keep it out, now that it’s so thoroughly inside.


i feel for you, elmer…your line of work has taken on such a dangerous turn…i hope you have enough PPE…


the issue now, though, is whether LTC facilities are really equipped to deal with what’s happening…i’m hearing on the news that not many people in these LTC facilities know how to administer the test kits that are being sent them…because these facilities are being run for profit, qualified medical staff are relatively scarce…

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It seems like to me that the Conference should use this time as an opportunity for re-opening churches through safe practices. Such as allowing limited number to enter on the hour throughout Sabbath hours. Providing masks, alcohol sprays and distance between all presence. This would provide time to share and pray together. Friendships are healing.

In keeping churches closed, longer then their communities recommend, the Conference gives the impression that they are really non-essential. Church pastors and elders should be encouraged to provide a safe zones for their membership. It can be done, even if you meet under the shade of a large tree.

It is so heart warming to see Elder William L. Winston, president of the South Atlantic Conference take a principled and informed stand. As a church we have the resources to know what needs to be done and can do what makes sense. So many people dying needlesly. There is no reason for us to add to the carnage.

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Thank you for the compliment!!!

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I have no doubt on this one… :wink:
By the way Jeremy, you should buy shares of Lysol and Bleach!!!.. :innocent:

So sorry Elmer. It’s a tragedy.
And you still have to listen to those idiotic comments and recommendations that Trump is making? Too much…
Isn’t it a felony when someone practices medicine w/o a license?
Ah, certainly not in D.C…


i’m already pouring bleach into my morning decaf, not to worry…

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I am back to work, but I only do Telehealth, and this will be for a long while. From home, where I am quarantined since Mar/9.

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