When messengers arrive in Nashville for the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting, they’ll be met with improved technology and some new times for a few traditional events.
This year, because of the Send Conference prayer gathering at 5:30 p.m., registration will open for messengers at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 13. Registration will take place on Level 2 of the Music City Center. Messengers are encouraged to pre-register at SBCannualmeeting.net to expedite their official registration when they arrive.
Another change is the time of messenger orientation on June 14. Traditionally held at 4 p.m. Monday, orientation has moved to 3:30 p.m. to provide messengers a greater opportunity to attend the Missionary Sending Celebration scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Orientation will be in Room 101C of Music City Center.
The orientation session will include an explanation of “high interest” times, program personalities and processes, how to use the registration materials, how and when messengers may use the floor microphones and much more. There will also be a time for messengers to ask questions of convention organizers and parliamentarians. Interested messengers are encouraged to complete the registration process at the registration desk prior to this session and to bring their materials with them. Convention attendees who are not messengers are also welcome. No advance reservation for orientation is required, and the session lasts about one hour.
Leading the way of new technology available to messengers this year is a new and improved SBC Annual Meeting app. Featuring a daily schedule, COVID-19 guidelines, candidate information and much more, messengers will have all the information they need in one place. Also included in the app is the ability to book an on-site wellness screening at the GuideStone Financial Resources space in the exhibit hall. For those unable to attend, the livestream of the meeting also will be available in the app.
As business takes place June 15-16, messengers wishing to participate in making a motion or an amendment to business items are requested to do so electronically prior to the time of business.
In a process used for the first time at the 2019 annual meeting in Birmingham, messengers can email the text of a motion or amendment to reco[email protected] prior to the business sessions. However, electronic filing of a motion or amendment does not replace the act of making a motion or offering an amendment. Messengers must still make their motion or offer their amendment at the correct time during the business sessions.
Pre-filing motions and amendments simply provides a more accurate recording of business proceedings. Messengers are also encouraged to provide typewritten or legibly handwritten copies of motions and amendments to be used by the recording secretary for inclusion in the record of proceedings.
While the City of Nashville currently has no official regulations regarding COVID-19, airlines and some businesses still require masks, and messengers should prepare for the possibility of needing a mask or face covering. Social distancing by messengers is also encouraged when possible but not required. Hand sanitizer stations will be available at the Music City Center and other convention facilities.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Jonathan Howe is vice president for communications at the SBC Executive Committee.)