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More than 10,000 messengers, guests attend SBC Anaheim meeting

SBC Registration Secretary Don Currence oversees the marking of ballots in an election for an SBC office June 15. More than 8,000 messengers registered to participate in the proceedings of the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim. Photo by Sonya Singh

ANAHEIM (BP) – More than 10,000 messengers and guests registered for the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting, taking place June 14-15 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Many of the 8,133 messengers, representing all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., traveled across the country for the meeting’s proceedings. Those messengers were joined by 2,856 guests, bringing the total attendees to more than 10,000.

California led the way with 1,126 messengers with the other top states being Texas (819), Tennessee (545), Georgia (529) and Florida (485).

Including more than 1,000 exhibitors, the attendance at the meeting totaled 12,543 with 3,075 churches represented.

SBC Registration Secretary Don Currence told Baptist Press these number counts represent a positive trend in the convention.

The count was much higher than the last time the annual meeting was in the West—2017 in Phoenix. The messenger count in Phoenix was 5,015 with 2,063 guests.

“The challenge this year was that we were in the West, but this year was an election year, which was not originally expected,” Currence said. “These numbers are encouraging.”

Convention planners have made several changes in recent years to make registration easier and quicker, Currence said, even down to the way the registration lines are set up. 

“Most people told me it only took about 10-15 minutes for them to get registered, which is what we want,” he said. “Even when it was at its worst, with a ton of people in line, things were always moving and it took maybe only 25 minutes.”

Currence did note one glitch in the process this year, namely that every person, upon registering, was asked whether they were ordained. He explained this was simply a computer error that forced the question on the form to be answered before printing out someone’s name badge.

He said there was no agenda behind the question; it was simply a mistake that was not caught beforehand, adding that organizers already had a plan to correct it for next year’s meeting. 

Currence was elected to be next year’s registration secretary after being nominated by Amy Whitfield of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

As a graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Currence is feeling good about positive registration trends as the convention heads to New Orleans.

“I think New Orleans will be a great spot,” he said. “The seminary wants to really showcase New Orleans and I’m very excited.”

Currence became emotional as he praised the hard work of the volunteers on his team in Anaheim, including many IT specialists as well as local volunteers and the registration committee appointed by SBC immediate-past President Ed Litton. 

“All of our volunteers are great people,” Currence said. “I have this title and this position, but this is a team effort. I cannot do it without them. I always tell them we are a family and I appreciate so much what they do, because I couldn’t do it without them.

“What is so cool about this is that I’ve done this for so many years, and I’ve met so many great Southern Baptists. We have some great people that are a part of this convention.”

Pre-registration for next year’s annual meeting in New Orleans, La., is scheduled to open Feb. 1, 2023. 

Editor’s Note: This story was updated with official numbers and church totals.