RESPONDING TO QUESTIONS ABOUT GENERAL CONFERENCE
Some of you have concerns about what has been done in past conferences and what might be decided in the preparations currently underway. We are therefore providing you with a list of your questions and our responses as we have considered your input.
If you have other questions or thoughts, please convey them to us as and we will do our best to respond. Email them to Lisa Howden, Communications Coordinator
Here are some of your suggestions that we have incorporated into our planning that have come from your suggestions.
Why a hotel instead of a school or camp?
Choosing a site for conference began at the end of our last conference. We always try to use a hotel on the airport strip, making it easy for people to shuttle back and forth to the airport. The access to a variety of restaurants and amenities close to the hotel gives people convenience and flexibility on their personal costs. Often the many extra items associated with such events are easily accessed through or provided by the hotel.
A school or camp would mean additional costs for such items. Because of the size of our event, particularly for the Sunday service, we require a space that accommodates over 1,000 people.
Why do you pick this time of year?
Setting down the conference date is always difficult. The Board of Administration (BOA) carefully considered a whole variety of possibilities for this coming conference. Clearly, late May seemed like the best fit for many reasons. The most compelling reason is that a fall date requires that Study Teams do their most important revisions in the summertime a virtual impossibility for achieving full participation.
This is always a complicated decision. If we plan the conference over a long-weekend we receive complaints. However, if we plan the conference on dates that do not include a long-weekend there is always a negative reaction that delegates are required to take off work days in order to attend.
Why don’t we offer more refreshments at breaks?
Coffee for 500 people in a hotel costs between $1,500 and $2,000. Usually coffee breaks are paid for by special sponsors (individuals and corporations). Since juice, muffins and other refreshments in a hotel can usually cost about $1.50 to $2.00 per item at 500 people, you can begin to see how the cost of each break is increased dramatically by the range of items. There are usually quick stands accessible in the hotel where people can grab quick snacks for a reasonable cost. Conference organizers are diligent about keeping cold water available in all the meeting rooms for people’s quick refreshment.
Why are we not sending in delegate credentials anymore?
In the past we used to collect the delegate credentials as a way of keeping track of the delegates in that were elected in the local churches, however we realized that the information would sometime change between general conferences. So now we ask for the delegate information in the Annual Report, that way we always have current information for the elected delegate for each church.
How do we save to cover the cost of General Conference?
The cost for a church that will have 1 pastor and 1 delegate attending will be approximately $1800 (not including the $225 registration fee for each person attending). The total would cover a room for each (pastor and delegate) for the four days along with the cost of food. So if the church were to put aside $180 per month ($90 for each person) they would have enough saved for the 2017 General Conference.
I live 40 minutes from the conference location – why do I have to pay $225 to attend?
The Registration Fee of $225 helps to cover numerous other costs that go into creating this four day conference for our movement. While this registration does not cover your hotel room or meals, the funds are used to ensure that everyone who needs to attend will have the opportunity to be there. For those who live within a day’s drive or less where everyone coming from a church can fit into one or two vehicles, travel costs are relatively inexpensive. But Canada is a large country and not everyone lives within easy driving distances and air travel becomes a necessity and the registration makes that possible.