SILVER SPRING, Md. --- Plagued by delegate participation falling by half in sessions not dealing with hot-button issues, Seventh-day Adventist leadership is seeking the most boring city possible for a future General Conference session.
“This happens every time—and it’s high time we did something,” said Dwight Flanders, General Conference parliamentarian. “We don’t fly in 2,000 people every five years just so they can catch up with their friends. That’s what Annual Council is for.”
“Remember the Alamo?” Australian delegate Clyde Richards asked rhetorically. “Oh, I’ll remember it—and the gelato, and Six Flags, and Splashtown, and this really good taco place my wife found. San Antonio—I haven’t had this much fun since Big Camp ’08.”
“I don’t know why we keep doing this to ourselves,” said Rick Dewitt, a delegate from the Kansas-Nebraska conference, as he enjoyed a smoothie on the Riverwalk Thursday morning. “My first GC session was 1995---in Utrecht, Netherlands, right up the tulip path from Amsterdam. I think I made it to three business meetings that year. Then Toronto in 2000—why, oh why, couldn’t it have been Ottawa? And then, five years ago, we were in Hotlanta! How can we possibly be expected to attend business meetings when the Coca-Cola Museum is right around the corner? I mean, they have a room where you can sample every single beverage they make, from around the world—with unlimited refills.”
Retiring General Conference employee Larry Swansong looks back even further. “Dude,” he reflected, shaking his head. “My first session was in 1970—in Atlantic City! Talk about building your house on the sand. And in ’85 we had it in New Orleans. I tried to be a more faithful attendee that year, so let me tell you, 20 years later, when I saw those [Hurricane] Katrina refugees huddled in the Superdome, I felt their pain.”
“We’ve already made the down payment for Indianapolis in 2020, so we’re stuck with it,” says Rupert Greenback, venue director for the General Conference. “But we’re not too worried about that one. It’s Indiana—once they leave the stadium, there’s not much to see but highways and grain silos.”
What about 2025 and beyond? Greenback keeps coming back to one idea—though at first glance it may seem a little counterintuitive. “Would you believe that, besides Battle Creek, the city that’s hosted the most GC sessions is San Francisco? Sure, that city’s got a lot of distractions, but I wonder if, just for the business sessions, we could persuade them to rent out Alcatraz.”
Special thanks to an anonymous BarelyAdventist reader for the story
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