The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) planning team that was willing to sign a convention contract in 2010 only when they saw ground actually being broken for a promised additional hotel has now arrived for SBC 2015: Great Awakening at the SMG-managed Greater Columbus Convention Center from June 14-17.
“We’re excited to be here. We really feel welcomed to be here in Columbus,” said Bill Townes Jr., vice president for convention finance and a member of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. “We’ll have 8,000-10,000 people here from all 50 states and around the world celebrating our theme of ‘Great Awakening,’ which is ordinary prayer with just a little extra.”
“There are 500 Baptists from the Ohio area attending. This is the biggest contingent of any state and shows you their desire for us to be here in Columbus,” added Don Magee, associate vice president for convention finance, SBC, and a member of the planning team.
There are about 60,000 Southern Baptist churches in the U.S., according to Townes. Those attending the Columbus event will perform community service and attend conference programming for pastors and the annual meeting, including the national call for prayer that will be broadcast via satellite the evening of June 16.
“When the Southern Baptist Convention planners said they would not commit to bringing their event to Columbus until they saw shovels in the ground signifying the beginning of the construction of the 532-room Hilton Columbus Downtown needed to accommodate their attendees, we invited them to the groundbreaking festivities for a contract-signing ceremony,” said John Page, general manager, Greater Columbus Convention Center. “Not only did they join us and make a commitment to bring their attendees to Columbus five years later, we shipped commemorative shovels to them as a reminder of promises kept and the beginning of a significant new partnership.”
The Greater Columbus Convention Center, located in downtown Columbus, hosted an estimated 2.5 million visitors in 2014.