Organizers of the 25th Pentecostal World Conference are doing more than preparing for on-site participants. The program includes an ambitious plan to bring a cross-continental congregation together.
When the Pentecostal World Fellowship started searching for a host city for the 2019 Pentecostal World Conference, the church’s global growth made narrowing the prospective destinations for the triennial gathering a challenge. Reverend David Wells, general superintendent of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, told PCMA that the movement is enjoying rapid growth in portions of Asia, southern Africa, Latin America, and South America. The 2016 edition was held in São Paolo, Brazil, and the 2013 edition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Wells, who lives in Ontario, will be able to stay closer to home for next year’s event. Organizers chose Calgary, Alberta to host the 2019 conference. Wells cited a number of factors for the decision, including Canada’s wide appeal as a welcoming destination for international travelers and Meetings + Conventions Calgary’s Champions program — an initiative that leverages local ambassadors in bids for conventions. “Meetings + Conventions Calgary has the relationships that are helping us bring all of this together,” Wells said. “They’re the glue knitting it all together.”
The DMO will do more than meld an experience solely taking place in Calgary, Aug. 27–30 next year. Wells and his conference co-chair Reverend Wes Mills are working with the IT staff at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre on an ambitious plan to connect with those who cannot make the journey to Calgary. The opening plenary session on the final day of the conference will double as a live-streamed global prayer.
“Friday morning, which coincides with Friday night in Singapore and South Korea and an afternoon time slot in Africa, will be an opportunity to unite the whole world,” Wells said. “Someone in Seoul will take the lead for a while, and someone in Singapore will have the opportunity, too. The tech experts at the center are making sure that all the uplinks are in place to make the event simultaneous.”
In addition to understanding the vocabulary of live-streaming technology, conference organizers are speaking a wide range of other languages due to the global audience makeup. Plenary sessions will feature simultaneous interpretation in five languages — French, English, Spanish, and two more that will be determined based on registration data, Wells said. “The early-bird cutoff will give us some indication,” he said, “but we’ll hold off until we get closer to the actual conference to accommodate the largest groups of participants.”
Champions: A Winning Formula
Meetings + Conventions Calgary started the process of bidding on the conference and helped connect the dots with its local community Pentecostal church. Now, as the program approaches, the Calgary Champions will help engage the local attendance base and enhance the marketing strategy. Wells said that he is already looking at overflow facilities to accommodate the audience.
The Champions have succeeded in preaching the good news of Calgary to other groups: The city will also welcome the International Society of Biomechanics Congress in 2019. For more information on the program, click here.