On July 2, something important for the Seventh-day Adventist Church will start. That is the first day of the General Conference (GC) session.
Believe it or not, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been having General Conference sessions since 1863! The first session in 1863 had only 20 delegates (more about that in a minute). This time the session will have more than 2,000 delegates! Our church has really grown!
The session is held every five years and lasts for 10 days. This time it will be held in the Alamodone in San Antonio, Texas. People from around the world will come to represent the church in their regions of the world. There will be people from India, South America, Russia, Asia, the United States, Europe, Inter-America—all around the globe—to talk about and decide church business.
A delegate is someone who is chosen to speak for a group of people. Each world region (known as divisions) sends delegates to be sure that the decisions made are best for everyone. Many languages will be spoken and translated so that everyone can understand what is being said.
Each division will give a special report. It is exciting to see the country flags, hear the music, and watch the parade of people in colorful costumes.
Another busy part of the session is the exhibit hall, which has hundreds of booths. There are displays about missions, schools, food, and more. Thousands of people will pass by and collect all sorts of free handouts.
Since so many people come from all around the world, it is like one big family reunion. There are lots of people hugging, greeting, smiling, and visiting with old friends as well as new ones. Many people think General Conference session is a glimpse of what heaven will be like.
While it sounds like the session is all fun, it really is about business. The main reason the Adventist Church gets together is to decide important things. Delegates talk about what Adventists believe, review the mission of the church, change procedures or make new ones, and listen to reports. Lots of speeches will be given and many important decisions will be made.
The session also helps us understand how big and international our church has become. One can see how much God has blessed the Adventist Church when thousands of people from all around the world come together. We are all different, but we are also the same. Why? Because we are all Adventists.
Most important, there will be lots of talking and singing about Jesus coming soon. Everyone there hopes that Jesus will come before we hold another session, no matter how fun they might be!
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