With the 2017 General Assembly in our rear-view mirror, can we start thinking about 2021? Is it just assumed the gathering will be held in Indianapolis? I like Indy. It’s a great city, but can I vote for someplace else?
75% of Nazarenes live outside of the United States, isn’t it time to seriously discuss having a General Assembly outside of the USA too?
In the past when the notion of holding a General Assembly outside of the USA is mentioned, Toronto, Canada seemed to be the first destination of choice. It’s clean, Canadians are generally nice people (unless you remind them that the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967) and technically it is not in the United States (I’ve heard that it’s a little too “American” for the “anywhere but North America” crowd, which I think bothers my Canadian friends who aren’t thrilled with such a descriptor.). I’ve also been told that there aren’t enough Nazarenes around Toronto to have the needed, money saving volunteers and that Toronto is an expensive city.
So, if Toronto is out of the running, why not Rio? Let me offer this disclaimer: I have never been to Rio de Janeiro. The Rio de Janeiro chamber of commerce did not pay me to write this blog. But the city has hosted an Olympics and a World Cup, so shouldn’t Rio also be able to handle a bunch of Nazarenes? We can’t be more trouble than soccer fans, can we?
With a little bit of checking this is what I discovered:
There are 17 Nazarene churches in Rio. I think that should cover the volunteer quota. There are plenty of Nazarenes in Brazil.
I checked on hotel costs. There are 27,000 hotel rooms in Rio (more than enough). The rooms seem priced quite a bit lower than in Indy. I think meals would be lower too. Obviously, it would cost more to fly to Rio, instead of driving to Indy like I did in June, but the flight from Johannesburg, South Africa to Rio is about the same ($100 more) as it is to Indianapolis. So the airfares are more (depending on your starting point), but daily expenses are less in Rio than Indianapolis.
Rio has a convention center. It has sporting arenas. It has a mission opportunity for “one heart many hands” too. I’ve heard it’s a beautiful city.
People come from all over the world to General Assembly. Would it be easier or more difficult for the delegates to get visas for Brazil? I don’t know the answer to that, but ask our delegates from Guatemala or the Philippines who ended up sitting at home during the General Assembly how easy it was to get a visa to come to Indy last summer. I’m not sure it would be more difficult (and maybe it would be easier).
Just like in Indy there would be costs in holding the Assembly in Rio. Would those costs be more or less than Indy? I have no idea. I believe that the actual cost of a General Assembly is a secret held nearly as tight as the nuclear launch codes. No doubt there would be a cost to hosting the GA outside of the USA, and maybe it would be more. But isn’t that the price of having a truly international church? With half of our General Superintendents born outside of the USA, let’s have our next General Assembly outside the 50 states too.
Why not Rio in 2021?