Last weekend teams of Jehovah’s Witnesses began circulating and giving personal invitations to their annual conventions to people in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Around 1,500 Jehovah’s Witnesses are expected to congregate on St. Croix at the Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, North Carlton Road, for their annual conventions over the next three weekends. The conventions based on teachings from the Bible are free and open to everyone.
Willmar Acevedo, a convention spokesman, said the theme of the local convention is based on 1 Peter 2:2 – “Imitate Jesus!”
“Jesus, the founder of Christianity, is widely considered as one of the most influential and significant men who ever lived,” Acevedo said. “As Christians, a core belief of Jehovah’s Witnesses is that Jesus lived his life as a model for us to follow.”
“The Imitate Jesus! conventions will examine Jesus’ life, as outlined in the Bible, and emphasize how all – regardless of their background, lifestyle or religion – can benefit in practical ways from his example and teachings,” Acevedo said.
He added a highlight of the program will be the keynote address at 11:45 a.m. on Friday titled “Concealed in Him Are All the Treasures of Wisdom.”
Throughout the weekends there will be prerecorded lectures, interviews, talks and demonstrations. A theatrical production portraying significant events in Jesus’ life will be shown.
The first weekend of events held in Frederiksted begin at 9:20 a.m. Friday. The next weekend the entire program will repeat and the last of the three conventions, June 26 to 28, will be in Spanish.
People will come to the convention from Tortola, Virgin Gorda, St. John, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico and from the States, Acevedo said.
He said a lot of the local Witnesses will open up their homes to the people from off-island. “The brothers love each other and treat each other like family,” Acevedo said. “It’s impressive to see the fellowship between brothers and sisters when you go to a convention.”
He added the conventions will be a boost to the local economy with many Witnesses staying in hotels, dining at local restaurants and renting cars. The Witnesses appreciate and are thankful for the support given by local business people, he added. Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses are supported entirely by voluntary donations.
Malcolm Villaphane, an elder in the Orange Grove congregation, said he has attended all of the local conventions. He said he encourages people to come and hear the programs, because they might hear something to change their mind about imitating Jesus. He said a Jehovah’s Witness missionary told him 36 years ago to imitate Jesus and think about what Jesus would do.
“This assembly is a step-stone to move forward in personal development to strive to imitate Jesus,” Acevedo said. “There will be fresh information given on motivation on how to copy and follow Jesus in our everyday life. We want to make disciples of people of all nations.”
Acevedo said they decided to hold the convention three weekends, because last year there were 1,500 people attending meetings in the assembly hall that holds 900 people comfortably. Youngsters are welcome and encouraged to attend the programs with their parents. Acevedo said baptisms are held on Saturdays during the conventions.
For more information and to register, call Acevedo at 340-513-9149 or 340-772-4092.
According to Acevedo, Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States are organizing 453 conventions in 29 languages. Worldwide there are over 8,000,000 Witnesses in more than 115,000 congregations.