Adventists' meeting begins in St. Louis
St. Louis, MO – As many as 70,000 people are expected in St. Louis today (Wednesday) for the start of a 10-day conference of the Seventh-Day Adventists Church.
It will be at the America's Center and marks the church's first worldwide gathering in the U.S. in 15 years.
Church leaders and members are expected to elect a new president during the conference, as well as possibly release official policy statements on social issues.
The Adventists will use 59,000 hotel rooms during their stay. That compares to nearly 40,000 rooms used by 54,000 people in St. Louis for the Final Four.
The combination business meeting-spiritual rally is held every five years.
Local businesses have speculated that the Adventists may not give the local economy a boost in spite of their large numbers.
But the church's world President, Dr. Jan Paulsen, says that while the church emphasizes healthy living, the Adventist will spend money in St. Louis.
"The Adventists are very health conscience. We don't smoke we don't drink," Paulsen said Wednesday.
"We are somewhat selective in what we eat, but my wife is perfectly capable of finding ways to let the cash flow."
Paulsen said the church chose St. Louis for its size and for the America's Center which is able to accommodate all of the conference's needs.