San Antonio Mayor Ivy R. Taylor thanked Seventh-day Adventists for bringing the free healthcare and the 2015 General Conference session to her city — and said she looked forward to reading a brand-new copy of Steps to Christ.
General Conference president Ted N.C. Wilson, speaking at a closing meeting of the 10-day convention at the Alamodome stadium on Sabbath evening, expressed gratitude to Taylor for the warm reception that San Antonio offered its 65,000 Adventist attendees.
“This morning I shared with the group how pivotal San Antonio has been,” Wilson told Taylor on the stage.
“Brothers and sisters, in front of the mayor, let’s show her again how happy we are,” he said to a standing ovation and loud, sustained applause.
This was the largest and longest convention ever hosted by the city of 1.4 million in the U.S. state of Texas, and authorities rolled out the red carpet to its guests. The city airport trained 200 “ambassadors” to assist Adventists find their way to hotels and tourist sites, restaurants added vegetarian dishes to their menus, and a special police detail was deployed to ensure safety. Local business leaders predicted that the convention would pump $41 million into the economy.
Taylor, who was introduced on the stage as the first African-American to lead San Antonio and its second woman mayor, said the city had felt the impact of Seventh-day Adventists well before the convention. She thanked church members for organizing a free clinic that provided more than $20 million in healthcare to nearly 6,200 people over three days in April.
“Our citizens here were touched, and we remain grateful for your service,” she said.
Backstage, Taylor told the Adventist Review that the free clinic was life-changing for many who received free medical and dental treatment. She was particularly touched by the story of a woman who hadn’t smiled for years because of the need for extensive, expensive dental work. But the woman left the Alamodome beaming, she said.
“You cannot quantify that kind of impact on a person’s life,” Taylor said.
Wilson presented Taylor with a leather-bound copy of Steps to Christ byAdventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White and a pen to underline meaningful passages. He told her that the slim volume contained only 13 chapters, but its contents “mean so much to me.”
“When things get a little tough, read a few lines from it,” he said.
Taylor said in the interview that she intended to read the book already this week while flying to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a family vacation.
“I’m a little nervous flying, so it will be good reading on the plane,” she said with a smile.