JEHOVAH’S Witnesses are perhaps best-known for their zealous door-to-door proselyting efforts with their Watchtower and Awake magazines.
REPORT BY STAFF REPORTER
But, more of their trademarks include usually constructing their local Kingdom Hall church buildings in just a few days, their three-day annual district conventions and an accompanying campaign to invite the public to attend each year.
All three of these characteristics will be highlighted by the strong membership of Witnesses, who will attend the three-day district conventions in various cities, towns and districts across Zimbabwe.
The first convention will be held at the Harare Assembly Hall on August 2. Subsequently, a series of conventions will continue throughout the country each week through October 20 in 21 towns and districts, including Bulawayo, Checheche, Chinhoyi, Mutare, Masvingo, Mutasa, Murehwa, Gweru, Karoi, Gokwe, Hwange, Mahuwe, Mt Darwin, Zvishavane and Gwanda among others.
An estimated 82 000 people of all ages, races and backgrounds are expected to hear thought-provoking talks and interviews designed to encourage all to desire to understand why “God’s Word is the Truth”.
The 36 three-day conventions will be held in seven different languages — Zimbabwe Sign Language, Shona, Ndebele, French, Swahili, Chinese and English. Morning sessions at the conventions begin at 9:20 am each day, and attendance is free.
Spokesperson for the Witnesses Lloyd Likwide yesterday said: “We are very excited about the programmes. The conventions always feature practical and timely information for all who attend. We were pleased with the response last year and are confident that those who attend this year will be equally gratified.”
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Of particular interest will be a keynote address titled God’s Congregation—A Pillar and Support of the Truth on the first day while the public discourse on Sunday will centre on what the Truth is, according to the Bible scriptures.
The second day will feature a baptism ceremony after the talk Continue Walking in the Truth while the final talk that day, Walk Straight According to the Truth, will scrutinise current events in the light of the Bible and reveal their meaning.
Other bible-based talks to look out for are: Help Your Children “Go On Walking in the Truth”; Jehovah’s Promises Always Come True and a full- costume drama presented on Sunday at the conventions is always a favorite. Another drama on Friday will feature the flight of Christians in the first century whose theme will be: Prepare Your Heart for the Trials Ahead.
Likwide said: “The convention theme this year is significant because it underscores a core family value for Jehovah’s Witnesses. Witness families embrace the Bible as the most trustworthy guide and source of advice in these troubled times. And, we feel that the public will likewise benefit from and enjoy the varied and practical programme.”
He noted that personal Bible study was a priority for Jehovah’s Witnesses. Each week, Witness families devote an entire evening to Bible study and research, which they call “Family Worship.”
“The convention this year will provide families and individuals with fresh new resources for family and personal Bible study.
“And this is the ‘something new’ that Witnesses anticipate receiving each year from our convention programs,” Likwide said.
One misconception some people have about Witnesses is that they don’t believe in Jesus Christ.
“We absolutely believe in Jesus,” Likwide said, quoting from a key statement in the Watchtower magazine, explaining that Jesus is the Son of God and his death and resurrection makes salvation and eternal life available to us — they are a Christian congregation.
The entire programme is based on the scriptures and will offer encouragement to individuals who are troubled by recent world events and declining moral values.
In view of the current spotlight on the role of religion in world affairs, the Witnesses intend to make clear to all how true Christians should conduct themselves in a world of changing values.