GC Session Behnind the Scenes
Let me begin by welcoming you, in anticipation, to San Antonio where the Church will be holding the 60th General Conference Session from July 2-11, 2015. You and probably many other members may ask how this event is planned, organized and how things seem to fall into place when the Session is held. The amount of time and the number of individuals who are involved in the planning process is just unbelievable. It may surprise you that planning for this monumental event begins approximately ten years prior to the date.
This document details the needs of the organization ranging from the dome capacity, hotel accommodation, labor relations, airport facilities, and reasonable access to the country as far as immigration is concerned.
It all begins by sending out a document called the “Request for Proposal” to cities considered to have adequate facilities needed for the Session. This document details the needs of the organization ranging from the dome capacity, hotel accommodation, labor relations, airport facilities, and reasonable access to the country as far as immigration is concerned. Once the documents are filled out and returned to us, a comparative city summary report is prepared and placed side by side. The participating cites are invited to make presentations to the Annual Council following the GC Session year. It is at this meeting that the decision is taken regarding the location of the next session. Therefore, the location for the GC Session of 2025 will be announced in 2016!
With this announcement, the work has just begun. The General Conference Session Planning Committee, chaired by one of the General Vice Presidents, is charged with organizing the meeting. This Committee is subdivided into nineteen committees with specific terms of reference and timelines. Subcommittees include: Audio Visual, Exhibition, Music, Program, Platform, Secretariat, Shipping and Procurement, Session Management. There are many others. Each subcommittee determines their needs in terms of the program, people and money needed to accomplish their goals. This is subsequently compiled by the Session Treasurer and a budget is presented to the General Conference Session Planning Committee for approval.
You may ask what I consider the most challenging issue with regards to organizing this meeting. The answer is simple. You are! Why? How can I be sure that you will obtain a visa so that you can come and occupy the rooms we have booked for you nine years ago and avoid attrition? What security apparatus should I have in place so that you are safe during the meeting? What kind of meals can I serve you that will be acceptable to all the other delegates? How many translators can we provide to insure that non-English speaking delegates can understand the meeting proceedings? These are just a few of the challenges that keep us awake at night, but we are encouraged by the organizational structure of our church and the many dedicated technical staff who will be working to make sure we have a smooth and spirit-filled meeting in San Antonio!