It was a tall order and took five years of detailed planning. 600+ bishops accompanied by their spouses from 60 countries across the globe, over 200 worldwide media, 150 conference staff, 60 exhibitors, volunteers and a host of support staff all relying on us to make their 3 week Conference a success.
The Anglican Church's Lambeth Conference, called by the Archbishop of Canterbury, is held once every ten years and brings together 600+ bishops for worship, study and conversation. A conference for the Bishops' 600 or so spouses runs in parallel with the Lambeth Conference, and the University also had to accommodate worldwide media, technical crew and conference staff.
Virtually all of the University's extensive facilities were in use during the Lambeth Conference. To provide a clearer picture of the demands placed on the team, Kent had to manage and provide:
Because of the nature of the event and the number of different nationalities involved, specialist facilities also had to be provided, such as simultaneous translation equipment, alongside the usual audio visual systems that go hand in hand with a conference of this size.
In overall charge of what could have been a logistical nightmare was Kevin Stuckey, Head of Residences and Conference Services at Kent. He says: “Managing an event of this size required considerable planning and a sophisticated event management system to help us, but most importantly a team of managers and staff dedicated to ensuring the success of the event. I’m pleased to say that they ensured the event was a major success”
After the event the Lambeth Conference said “The University’s role has been in many ways key to the success of the conference: The warmth of your welcome, the constant resourcefulness of staff in responding to queries, the great food in so many venues and all times and staff who have responded to ever query with calm and informed responses. The University enquiry desk fielded so many questions, coped with endless room changes and additional requests for meetings. Your catering staff were amazingly constant in the high standard of food for the main events and fringe programme. They really are a great bunch and the teamwork across the board was obvious as was the pleasantness of the most harried staff. Campus watch security too ensured a relaxed atmosphere and even when there were minor dramas, no one felt anything but entirely safe. – Thank you all”