Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
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 more questions or thoughts, please convey them to us as we want to be accountable to you! 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.
• The use of ballot votes for important decisions will be more readily considered
• City and Provinces will be included on the nametags
• There will be intentional coaching for the presentations given by the study teams
• Screen visibility at all angles of the room will be better assessed
• More signage in the hotel at arrival will be attempted
• Ministry Centre Staff will be visible
• Every effort will be made to explain acronyms and terminology for newcomers
• We will advise Study teams not to “read” their full report to the conference
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. The long weekend was avoided in response to the 48% of respondents who voiced strong dissatisfaction in the evaluations.
The conference was planned over a long-weekend (unlike our 2005 General Conference). 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 can cost 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 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 and along the Dixon strip where people can grab quick snacks for a reasonnable cost. Conference organizers are diligent about keeping cold water available in all the meeting rooms for people’s quick refreshment.
About Travel Equalization? I live 20 minutes from the conference site. Why should I pay the travel equalization fee?
One of our aims as plans are made for General Conference is to ensure that everyone who can
possibly attend will be there. As the majority of our churches are located in Ontario our conferences have always been held there (it would be too expensive to fly everyone to BC, or Calgary as an example). As in prior Conferences, an equalization plan is being used so that everyone pays approximately the same amount for travel expenses to General Conference 2008.
Each lay delegate and appointed pastor is eligible to participate in the travel equalization
- This includes members of conference (ordained ministers) who are appointed and serve as unpaid volunteers at a local church.
- It also includes ministerial candidates who are appointed and are volunteers at a local church.
- Taking part in the travel equalization plan ensures that all of us can participate and connect!
If you have a question that you would like to ask the General Conference planning commitee please send email message through Lisa Howden.