The Rev. Randy Townsend, chair of the local planning committee for General Synod 2010, says those attending can look forward to “good Maritime hospitality.” What does that mean? “We’ll do anything for ya!” says Townsend with a grin.
That hospitality begins as soon as delegates arrive, thanks to about 100 volunteers making it all happen. From the moment they arrive at Halifax airport, “there will be someone with a smiling face but without a Wal-Mart vest” to greet everyone, says Townsend. There will also be volunteers helping with luggage and transportation into the city, a 40-minute drive away.
Volunteers Gordon Hamelin and Peter Townsend (“No relation,” says Randy Townsend) lined up buses and vans and drivers and will also be helping transport everyone to events off the Saint Mary’s campus. This includes the service celebrating the 300th anniversary of worship in the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island being held at Exhibition Park. There’s also a service at St. Paul’s in the Grand Parade in downtown Halifax and a banquet at the historic Pier 21 museum.
Mary Wilkie, a deacon at Emmanuel Church in Halifax and a veteran of many General Synods, is helping to welcome delegates as they arrive at Saint Mary’s. “We were told to smile and smile and then smile some more,” she said.
Dartmouth resident Dawn Skene and her son Paul helped delegates with their luggage and with registration materials. “When you have 500 delegates coming from all across Canada, you need a whole lot of people to volunteer and so [we came] just to help out,” she said.
Her parents, Ethel and Gerry Nelson, were helping out as greeters. Gerry said he thought Maritimers are known for their friendly hospitality because “they treat other people as they would like to be treated when they go elsewhere.”
Other volunteers knowledgeable about the local area take care of answering questions at an information desk. And when the transportation team is not too busy, they may even take small groups to the places they want to go, Townsend said.
Visitors will also get a strong sense of Maritime culture during the evening socials. Hosted by various groups such as the Compass Rose Society, Council of the North and the diocese of Ottawa, all will features live entertainment from local artists, including some award-winning musicians such as Molly Tomason, a high school student who will sing acoustic pop music. Other performers include singer Lucky Campbell, folk artist Sam Ryan, Celtic fiddler and vocalist Delia Macpherson and jazz act Jeff Goodspeed and Friends. At the Pier 21 banquet, entertainment will include the barber-shop quartet Quadrangle, harpists Ardyth and Jennifer and comedian Bill Carr.
See related video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mJqBkrqT4A