Record-setting attendance, exceptional speakers, and top entertainment combined to make the Religious Conference Management Association’s 36th Annual World Conference and Exposition one that attendees will remember for years.

The RCMA conference, held February 5 to 8 at Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Orlando, Fla., attracted 1,411 attendees and continues to be the only not-for-profit meeting in the world dedicated solely to serving the religious meetings community. The theme for the conference was “Exploring New Horizons.”

RCMA’s general-session speakers all drew raves: musician Ken Medema, former beauty queen Jeanne Robertson, adventurer Paul Templer, the inspirational Albert Mensah, and communication expert Linda Larsen. Tutorials offered practical information on a wide range of topics, including food and beverage, negotiating, marketing, and site selection.

After boarding about a dozen motor coaches Wednesday night from Rosen Shingle Creek, attendees took in the Arabian Nights dinner show, followed by a dessert reception at Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park and viewing of the fireworks and light show, Illuminations. Three of Branson, Mo.’s finest entertainers—Tony Orlando, Jim Stafford, and Jim Barber—were the highlights of Thursday’s gala dinner.

Other news and notes from the conference:

  • RCMA Executive Director DeWayne S. Woodring announced that RCMA again has donated $100,000 to the World Food Programme for the purpose of feeding children worldwide. It’s the third consecutive year RCMA has made a $100,000 gift to the World Food Programme.
  • RCMA bestowed its 2008 President’s Award on Ken Lupp, senior sales manager, The Founders Inn & Spa, Virginia Beach, Va.
  • Four RCMA members were appointed to three-year terms on the RCMA Board of Directors: Joseph Floreano, Rochester Riverside Convention Center, Rochester, N.Y.; Cookie Hernandez, Paula White Ministries, Tampa, Fla.; Jack Stone, Church of the Nazarene, Winter Haven, Fla.; and Ron Kelly, The Wesleyan Church, Indianapolis.
  • RCMA’s board of directors selected Tampa as the site for the 2011 conference. RCMA will be held in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 2009, and Fort Worth, Texas, in 2010.
  • RCMA’s Behind-the-Scenes Experiences, in which meeting planners have hands-on access to the inner workings of meetings, included half-day immersions at Rosen Shingle Creek resort, a production company, a public relations firm, and an advertising agency.