At this year’s Emerge conference in Minneapolis, two men who share more than Religious Conference Management Association membership reconnected and snapped a photo to share with friends and family. The photo’s caption? Robert Ransom, meet Robert Ransom.

They first connected at RCMA’s 2012 annual meeting in Kansas City. It was the first RCMA meeting for Robert L. Ransom, director of U.S. ministries at Missionary Church Inc., based in Fort Wayne, Ind. He was standing in line at the registration desk to pick up his badge and packet when the attendant handed him a second one—for his wife, Dorothy. Only his wife’s name is Donna, and Donna wasn’t there.

That’s when he and the registration desk attendant realized that there were two Robert Ransoms attending the meeting—and the “other” Robert Ransom—Robert E. Ransom—just happened to be standing in line, too. Same name, same association, same conference, at the same time. “We were amazed,” says Robert E. Ransom, who’s been with RCMA for about eight years.  He is president of the National Baptist Deacons Convention of America in Baltimore, and his wife, Dorothy, founder and president of Do the Word Ministry, is also an RCMA member. She attends the conference every year with her husband.

Having sorted things at the registration desk, the two went on to enjoy the conference, only to bump into each other later and find even more connections. “We had breakfast together and we started talking about our backgrounds,” says Robert E. Ransom. In an astonishing coincidence, both men learned that they are one of 12 children! Each has six sisters and five brothers, with Robert L. being the oldest and Robert E. being fifth oldest.  

The two share the common bond of planning religious conferences for their organizations. Robert L., who has two children and five grandkids, oversees all the ministry functions, including the planning of Shift, the Missionary Church National Conference, which is held every two years. This year’s event, which will be in Fort Wayne, will include a two-day conference within a conference called the National Leadership Ministry Conference, which is open to people outside the Missionary Church.The event typically attracts 1,000 to 1,500 attendees, but he expects the new format will draw even more people.

Robert E. Ransom was a finance manager for the Baltimore Gas Electric Co. until he retired a few years ago. But he is as busy as ever as president of the National Baptist Deacons Convention of America, which meets annually and attracts 750 to 1,000 attendees. He also assists his wife, Dorothy, in running the Do the Word Ministry, which the couple founded in 1999. They have a daughter, four grandchildren, and two great grandkids.