Monday, 23 May 2011

Behind the scenes ... how the #IEPC keeps on track

Most participants I chat with are really enjoying themselves the the Peace Convocation - some are suffering a bit with the heat, humidity and the distances we have to walk; a few might like a bit more variety in the food we get to eat (personally I've got rather addicted to rice n peas), generally there seems to be a great spirit and a wonderful atmosphere, particularly in the evenings at the open air bar at the Rex Nettlesford halls of residence. There are good conversations going on there every night and I admit to having developed quite a taste for the coconut rum on the rocks.
However, the pictures here don't show scenes of conviviality but of the back rooms where staff are busy working to keep data input, computer terminals, communications, documentation, finance, accommodation, Bible studies, workshops, seminars, plenaries and much else besides on track as much as possible. Lots of the work is physical, requires alot of concentration and sometimes also nerves of steel - cabling, data entry, collating documents, chasing down speakers, rebuilding the stage between worship and plenary sessions, building interpretation booths, spending ages with administrations on the phone tracking down shipments, dealing with payments converted between several different currencies, filming, writing, updating the web, finding people to sing or pray in different languages and much more besides ...
Creating an event for 1,000 people requires dedicated and committed staff and coopted staff - and liaison with a brilliant local team here in Jamaica, including many volunteers and students. We are not perfect, but together we're a good team, some of us more exhausted than others. When the IEPC is over we will have a real feeling of achievement, proud to have been part of this significant event in the WCC's history. It would not have been possible without us.

Blessed are those who fill in data and greet us at registration with a smile and get us a room!
Blessed are the finance folk who deal with our reimbursements
Blessed are the html programmers, the writers and filmakers getting the story out there
Blessed are the cleaners, the cooks, the travel agents
Blessed are the planners, the speakers and the inspirers
Blessed are the ones who find us ladders, boards, ramps, sound equipment and bamboo poles
Blessed are those who stock the frig with beer
Blessed are those who translate, convert currency, change air tickets, find doctors
Blessed are the musicians who in the midst of it all allow us to think we could still dance
Blessed is Nan, who coordinates us, with aplomb
Blessed is the IEPC staff, co-opted staff and volunteer team.

Thanks to all of you guys, you've done such a good job, we think we might try and do it again ... maybe in about 10 years time.