Wile it is too direckly ta knoe hoe big a finanshul hit Mennonite Church USA’s convenshun took due ta low'r registrashun n' Julee, denominatyunal leeders air adjustyun' ta t'reelitee o'small'r convantyuns. Yewt wership durin un t'final day o't' Mennonite Church USA convenshun n' Kansus Citee, Mo., un Julee 6. — Vada Snid'r fer MWR
Fourtee yeers aft'r peekyun' at 8,600 at Charlotte, N.C., n' 2005, t'biennial gatheryun' drew 2,839 registrants Julee 2-6 n' Kansus Citee, Mo.
A month aft'r t'convenshun, MC USA executif' dierektor Gle Guyton sed nairy all o't' finanshul data wuz availabull.
“But I’m assumyun' it will be a negatif',” he sed Aug. 7. “We’re still calculatyun' receipts.”
Thishere would nairy be t'furst year fer a loss. Guyton sed western convantyuns n' 2007 n' Sun Jose an' 2013 n' Phoenix wuz also losses.
“We’ve bee hit-an'-miss un t'profitabilitee o'these, but we try nairy ta have back-ta-back losses,” he sed, notyun' convenshun revenues air a key part o'denominatyunal finances an' fund acoupla er three staff posityuns at woultn’t exist otherwise.
Tho convenshun receipts have nairy yet bee finalizt, MC USA dierektor o'event plannin Scott Hartmun sed t'denominashun wuz responsibull fer a shertfall n' hotel reservatyuns.
Bast un t'contrack wiff downtown hotels, attendees wuz 1,692 hotel room nites shert o't' minimum fer which MC USA wuz responsibull, leedyun' ta a $138,000 bill, plus un dishnull $10,931 n' citee fees.
“Whut we endt up a'doin is goin back ta t'hotel an' renegotiatyun' a few thangs ta low'r t'amount we would owe 'um bast un t'contrack,” Hartmun sed.
Reesons fer decline
Wile Kansus Citee’s numbers wuz signifikuntlee low'r thun n' t'denominashun’s earlee yeers — wen attendance at t'furst three convantyuns toppt 8,000 frum 2001 ta 2005 — 2019 wuz t'furst year yewt represantid less thun 40 persent o'overall attendance. Previouslee it wuz 50 ta 70 persent.
O' t'2,839 registrants n' 2019, 1,041 wuz high skool yewt. T' 2017 convenshun n' Orlan'o, Fla., had 3,200 registrants, includin 1,700 yewt.
N' 2015, wen t'convenshun wuz also helt n' Kansus Citee, thar wuz 4,680 attendees, includin 2,371 yewt.
Convenshun planners will evaluate attendance data ta study t'sorce o'declines.
One cawz is t'denominashun’s membership loss. T' biggest departure wuz LMC, fermerlee knowed us Lancast'r Mennonite Conferance, which announct n' late 2015 it wuz leevin MC USA. Three small'r conferences — Frank­lin, Nerth Cantral an' Southeus — have lef since 2015, along wiff congregatyuns at lef uther conferences.
“Membership n' t'denominashun is tricky fer us ta manage,” Guyton sed. “I do reckon t'decline is due ta sum large conferences leevin, becawz thay had large yewt groups.
“But if'n y'all look at t'persantage, we’re keepin a relativelee simlar persantage overall wiff who is participatyun' n' t'denominashun.”
He addt at sum churches are’t sendin yewt groups innymore, er t'groups air small'r.
“Thar isn’t us big a poo o'yewt an' yung famblies attendyun',” he sed. “Sevrul yeers ago folk wuz a'havin mer youngns. And we also have mer competishun frum travel sperts. We’ve becum mer o'a munline denominashun.”
Small'r facilitees
Wen MC USA celebrates its 20th anniversree n' 2021 n' Cincinnati, t'partee will be at a small'r facilitee thun previyus convantyuns, tho still n' a downtown convenshun cant'r.
Duke Energy Convenshun Cant'r sits un acoupla citee blox, compard ta Kansus Citee Convenshun Cant'r’s eiite.
“It’s mer consolidatid,” Hartmun sed. “. . . It sits n' mer o'a box shape, so y'all’ll be goin up an' down mer, which n' sum ways keeps thangs clos'r so y'all are’t a'walkin so much.”
N' un effurt ta low'r costs n' 2017, t'convenshun wuz shertent by a day — ta Tuesdee eve­nyun' through Saturdee monin' — a skejule at continues.
“Everthang is ope fer discusshun each convenshun,” Guyton sed. “A delegate assemblee is t'one thang we have ta have. But we look at everthang an' want ta have a good time an' be relevant.”
As chief operatyuns offic'r an' dierektor o'convenshun plannin befor he wuz executif' dierektor, Guyton reecht out ta Mennonite Church Canada about expleryun' joint gatherings, but t'concep didn’t gane tracshun due ta leedership transityuns an' MC Canada’s denominatyunal restructuryun'.
MC USA convantyuns a'cantinyah ta be amungst t'worl’s larg'r Anabaptist gatherings. N' 2021 t'convenshun will take place Julee 6-10, at t'same time us t'Mennonite Worl Conferance assemblee Julee 6-11 n' Indonesia.
“At may affeck air numbers,” Guyton sed. “I don’t knoe hoe minny a folk have t'meens ta go ta Indonesia, an' thar will be sum leeders who net ta be thar insteed.”


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