SIOUX FALLS, SD – Last week over 5,000 Lutheran Women attended the 32nd Biennial Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) Convention at the Sioux Falls Arena and Convention Center making it one of the largest in recent years and creating an estimated economic impact of nearly $3 million!
The Sioux Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Sioux Falls Convention Center bid for this convention in 2001 in San Jose, California. Sioux Falls first beat out Rapid City to be the South Dakota city bidding for the convention and then made it to the finals along with Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Des Moines, Iowa.
The impact of this convention was felt throughout the Sioux Falls community. FallsPark experienced a record number of visitors from June 18 – June 24 of 8,695 people in comparison to 7,498 people last year during the same week. Chrissy Spoo, Marketing Manager for the Empire Mall commented, "Conventions and groups, like the Lutheran Women gathering in Sioux Falls in June, are a tremendous boost to our economy and especially The Empire Mall. During the time that the Lutheran Women were in Sioux Falls, The Empire Mall say a 5-8% increase in traffic, which is great during a time when high gas prices have a tremendous effect on regional visits to the area."
LWML representatives reported daily offerings of $190,000, which is approximately double from years past.
o $52,381.81 will go toward the 2007-2009 mission goal.
o $57,268.50 will be divided between the LWML endowment fund (30%) and LCMS World Mission (70%) for educating missionary children. Added to that figure will be offerings attendees brought to the convention from their districts of $24,906.91, for a total of $82,175.41.
o A third offering brought in $47,831.54 to support seminary-student education.
o A fourth offering, which has not yet been counted, will be used to continue funding for the LWML’s “Heart to Heart” program, which serves women of different ethnic groups.
In addition to the offerings, convention attendees donated the following items back to local organizations within the community:
1,887 Hand towel sets
457 Health kits with towel
2,548 Health kits without towel
338 Items of children’s clothing
2,339 Children’s underwear and sock sets
1,340 Sheet sets
902 Bottles of shampoo
4,540 Miscellaneous items and $2,509
The LWML is the women’s auxiliary of the St. Louis-based Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the second-largest Lutheran denomination in North America. For more information about the convention or the LWML, visit the Web site www.lwml.org.