Jehovah’s Witnesses To Convene In Fort Smith

Bryan O’Neal gets baptized by Richard Larru during a baptism ceremony at a past Jehovah’s Witness District Convention. The baptism ceremony is slated for the noon break July 6 at the Fort Smith Convention Center.

Bryan O’Neal gets baptized by Richard Larru during a baptism ceremony at a past Jehovah’s Witness District Convention. The baptism ceremony is slated for the noon break July 6 at the Fort Smith Convention Center.

Jehovah’s Witnesses To Convene In Fort Smith

Area Jehovah’s Witnesses will again gather in Fort Smith for a series of district conventions focusing on God’s word as truth.

More than 3,800 delegates from 34 cities in northwest Arkansas and northeast Oklahoma are expected to attend the “God’s Word Is Truth” District Convention, slated for July 5-7 at the Fort Smith Convention Center, 800 Rogers Ave. A Spanish-speaking convention is scheduled for the weekend of July 12-14 at the convention center, according to information from Kenneth D. Rader, news service director for the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“Jehovah’s Witnesses have been holding annual conventions for many years,” explained Rader, who attended his first annual JW convention with his wife in 1958. “It’s an important part of our spiritual education. It’s one of the many ways to be able to congregate together and receive some very practical spiritual instruction in life with what we’re facing each day.”

Session topics will focus around the “God’s Word Is Truth” theme.

“The convention theme this year is significant because it underscores a core family value for Jehovah’s Witnesses,” J.R. Brown, national spokesman for the Witnesses, said in a news release. “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 program.”

Rader said Witnesses welcome the public to attend any of the convention sessions, which will be filled with practical and timely information.

“The Jehovah’s Witnesses, through our door-to-door ministry, will be going door to door for the three weeks prior to the convention offering each person in the house a personal invitation to the district convention,” Rader explained.

For the Witnesses, the convention offers an opportunity to receive new materials in the form of tracts, books and DVDs.

“Those are always highlights, to get something new,” Rader said.

Brown said that personal Bible study is a priority for JW. 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,” Brown said. “And this is the ‘something new’ that Witnesses anticipate receiving each year from our convention programs.”

Morning sessions begin at 9:20 a.m., with afternoon sessions beginning at 1:45 p.m. Friday, 1:35 p.m. Saturday and 1:25 p.m. Sunday. Sessions end near 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and near 4 p.m. Sunday.

Friday’s scriptural theme will be “The Truth Will Set You Free,” based on scripture from John 8:32; Saturday’s scriptural focus is from Psalm 86:11, “I Shall Walk in Your Truth”; with the final day spotlighting “Firmly Set in the Truth” from 2 Peter 1:12.

Rader said two visual dramas and one sound drama are scheduled throughout the convention.

“Show Yourself Attentive to the Wonderful Works of God,” based on Job 37:14, will be performed at 3:30 p.m. Friday, while the sound drama, “Be Faithful and Conquer Your Fears,” is slated for 3:40 p.m. Saturday. Sunday afternoon’s program will include the visual drama, “Prepare Your Heart for the Trials Ahead,” set for 1:40 p.m.

A baptism service at 11:40 a.m. Saturday will be preceded by interviews with Witnesses who were baptized many years ago.

“Most of the people getting baptized are young,” explained Rader. “For them to be able to learn from those who have been baptized many years ago and have been faithful, it’s a big encouragement for them.”

This is the fifth year Fort Smith has been included on the Witnesses’ list of district convention cities. Throughout the United States, there will be 407 conventions and 53 in Canada by December. No collections are taken.

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