Keep up on the latest and greatest Grand Rapids happenings here. Check back often – this city is on the move! more
Does it seem like the world has suddenly gone gluten-free? You’re not imagining things. The NPD Grou...more
Need some in-person inspiration for your Grand Rapids story?... more
Local Impact: UCC
Related Document: local_impact_UCC.pdf
Rejuvenate Magazine | Frontlines
By Regina McGee
The United Church of Christ wrapped up its biennial national conference in Grand Rapids, June 24-30, booking about 8,500 hotel room nights - the most ever for an area convention, according to tourism officials.
Held at the city's 6-year-old convention center, DeVos Place, the 2009 Synod drew some 3,400 UCC members and visitors from around the country, pumping an estimated $3 million into the local economy.
Church members volunteered for local service projects prior to the opening of the Synod, including two Habitat for Humanity Projects and planting trees and visiting residents at the Pilgrim Manor retirement center. The denomination also sponsored a free, day-long music festival at Rosa Parks Circle, as well as a kite launch. UCC churches in Michigan, in keeping with a long tradition of serving home-baked cookies to Synod delegates and visitors, bakes more than $40,000 cookies.
With the theme "Immerse Yourself," water was a constant element throughout the conference. A 25-by-42-foot hand-painted canvas showing mountains, lakes, sky and rivers provided the main backdrop to the stage - in part a homage to the host city's Grand River. A large immersion pool and waterfall were other water elements in the main staging area.
Delegates of the UCC. which has 1.1 million members, elected their second African American as national president (Rev. Geoffrey Black), rallied for universal health care coverage and moved to change its governing structure.
The denomination also passed a resolution on responsible meeting practice, which asks meeting planners to consider the "interconnectedness" of the venue and resources required to meet and the impact a meeting would have on the local community. The resolution also asks "education be provided so that meeting attendees, local community members and vendors all work together to minimize impact.
Miles of cookies if placed end to end produced by Michigan UCC churches for 2009 Synod: 2.37
Forecasted change in year-end RevPar for hotels: -9.8 to-17.1
Percentage of planners expected to cancel, rebook or postpone a meeting this year: 41%
Average cancellation/rebooking fee planners will pay in 2009: $81,000
By September, estimated decline in number of domestic flights since 2001: 20 Million
Sources: United Church of Christ General Synod Digest, Smith Travel Research, Meeting Intention Survey, The New York Times
In our June 2009 Special CVB Advertising Section, we omitted the contact information for the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau's dedicated faith-based team and Web site. Donald Oswald heads the Religious Conventions Team and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information on faith-based planning is available at: www.faithinphoenix.com.
At the conference, UCC, which has 1.1 million members, elected its second African-American as national president, rallied for universal health care coverage and moved to change its governing structure. For more details, visit ucc.org.