Demand for display booth space at General Synod 2016 has been so high that some would-be displayers have been put on a waiting list, organizers say.
“We’re full. We’ve had a terrific response,” says Becky Boucher, production manager at Anglican Video, which has been handling display booths for the last few General Synods. The space for display booths at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel and Suites, which will host the triennial meeting July 7-12, says Boucher, “runs from one end of the lobby right to the other, and we are in there in every place where we can be.”
There will be space for 50 display booths and all 50 spaces were swallowed up a couple of months ago, says Rose MacDonald, display and sponsorship co-ordinator. There’s now a waiting list of 12 would-be displayers, who will get a booth only if an existing displayer cancels.
Two of the displayers will be using two booths each, so there will be a total of 48 displayers at General Synod, she says.
The list of displayers, publicly available on the General Synod 2016 app, includes a wide range: Anglican Church of Canada bodies such as resources for mission and General Synod archives (and the Anglican Journal); theological schools; organizations related to Anglican affairs in Canada, such as the Prayer Book Society of Canada and Integrity Canada; companies providing financial services, church supplies and books; and much more. This year, there will be one foreign displayer-Cincinnati-based book publisher Forward Movement Publications, MacDonald says.
A key reason for the event’s popularity with displayers is probably its location in Toronto, where many organizations are headquartered, MacDonald says.
Although the display booths will provide some revenue to the church, the main benefit of having booths is to help delegates and displayers connect with each other in person, Boucher says.
This General Synod will feature again the ever-popular display booth passport. Delegates will be given a “passport” when they arrive, and encouraged to have it stamped at each booth. Members who get a stamp from all the booths can then enter a draw for prizes.
Organizers are also planning to try some new things. A “special events” table will feature activities, including a stained-glass painter demonstrating her art, and staff from The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund giving presentations on some of their programs. Broughton’s Church Supplies, which sells books and other church supplies, is hoping to host book signings by two Ontario authors: the Rev. Dan Graves, editor and compiler of Prayers for Healing from the Anglican Tradition, and the Rev. Mark Whittall, author of Reinvention: Stories from an Urban Church, MacDonald says.
MacDonald is also planning a daily display booth “scavenger hunt”: delegates will be given a clue or question in the morning that, if solved correctly, will take them to a table where a small prize will await them.
“I think having something different every day is going to be fun,” she says.