The Seventh-day Adventist Church is hosting its 61st General Conference Session in St Louis, Missouri, from June 6-11 this year. Postponed since 2020 due to the global COVID-19 crisis, this year’s event will look different to previous Sessions. Instead of hosting ancillary meetings and featuring an in-person exhibition hall, the event will be hosted on a virtual platform to make attendance possible for Adventists across all Divisions and time-zones.
Although largely online, the event will still be held in the 66,000 seat Dome at the America’s Center, where thousands of Adventists are expected to attend the Sabbath meetings. A further 2,700 voting delegates will represent more than 21 million church members from 200 countries. The theme for this year’s session is “Jesus is Coming! Get Involved!”, reflecting the hope that Adventists profess in the soon coming of Jesus and the urgency for Total Member Involvement (TMI).
As well as being live-streamed to church members, a virtual exhibition hall will feature Adventist ministries and initiatives from different Divisions around the world. This will resemble the Adventist Virtual Global Campmeeting held from May 19-23, 2021, which was an interactive and immersive digital experience. With a virtual environment specially designed to look like an exhibition hall, the platform will feature Adventist institutions, customized booths for each ministry, a prayer room, a networking lounge, live presentations, games, a marketplace, and animated elements and digital avatars, to be explored and enjoyed by virtual attendees across the world.
SESSIONS & EXHIBITIONS
“We’ve never had a virtual exhibition hall at GC Session before,” explains GC Virtual Events and Adventist Collective Consultant Sharon Aka. “In the VE hall, you’ll be able to walk into the virtual auditorium where GC business sessions will be streamed live.”
GC business sessions will run in the morning, afternoon and evening according to North American central time, during which time there will be no scheduled events in the exhibition hall.
“The exhibition hall will be open 24/7 of course, but there will only be presentations and webinars in the booths in between sessions, during meals and throughout the night,” Aka explains. “During Sabbath hours, the virtual exhibition experience will be available for attendees. Sales of goods will not be available during Sabbath hours”.
Currently, there are more than 150 booths scheduled for the virtual exhibition experience. Each one may have anywhere from 2-10 presentations, most being about 15-20 minutes. “We’re looking at potentially 500-750 presentations during the event over the course of 6 days,” said Aka. “So there’ll be no shortage of content for people to enjoy!”
In addition to booths from various Adventist ministries, there will be a poster hall to present academic research and innovation. “No Adventist event has ever done anything like this at a global gathering,” says Aka. “We’ll have healthcare entities, education entities and other great ministries who are doing significant research and innovative hosting posters on different topics. This will be a great opportunity to share the important aspects of research with Adventists around the world.”
This year, the Virtual Exhibition team has a strong focus on making the virtual event as accessible as possible to those with special needs or disabilities. Specifically, the event-hosting platform will feature tools to help attendees maximize their online experience and cater to their individual needs.
LEAD-UP INITIATIVES / 40 DAYS OF PRAYER
Leading up to Session, there will be a worldwide 40 Days of Prayer event that all church members are invited to attend. Starting May 3, the purpose of the initiative is to bring revival and seek God’s will for the future of the Church and in our personal lives. Notable leaders including Ted Wilson, Mark Finley, Rod Clouzet, Jerry Page and many others will present the weekly materials covering the topics of revival and reformation, the Word of God, Christ’s righteousness, the Holy Spirit, the three angels’ messages and mission. To register for the event, please visit https://www.revivalandreformation.org/40days
LEAD-UP INITIATIVES / INTERGENERATIONAL REVIVAL
In tandem with 40 Days of Prayer, another intergenerational revival event entitled “Jesus’ Last Love Letter” will be held from May 14-21 for children, teenagers, and adults alike. Adventists from all around the world are called to join via Zoom to hear powerful testimonies, be called to repentance and gather with the Word of God in hand. For more information, scan the QR code in this video:
STAY UP TO DATE
If you’re interested in attending the Virtual Exhibition at Session this year, you’re encouraged to register online at https://exhibithall.gcsession.org/ prior to Session commencing. Doing so will sign you up to the GC’s weekly email newsletter, meaning you’ll receive event promotions, further information and important highlights of some of the ministries and presentations happening during Session.
For more information about this year’s General Conference Session, please visit https://www.gcsession.org/