Southern Alberta Jehovah’s Witnesses convention relocates to Edmonton

Jehovah Witnesses candidates are led out of an applauding crowd before they are baptized at Rexall Place on June 29, 2013.Photograph by: Megan Voss , Edmonton Journal

Jehovah Witnesses candidates are led out of an applauding crowd before they are baptized at Rexall Place on June 29, 2013.Photograph by: Megan Voss , Edmonton Journal

Southern Alberta Jehovah’s Witnesses convention relocates to Edmonton

EDMONTON – The Jehovah’s Witnesses in southern Alberta are getting a second chance.

In a case of deja vu, about 10,000 delegates will flock to Rexall Place this weekend after the arena played host last weekend to a similar-sized group from central Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

The 78 congregations of southern Alberta faced major disappointment the weekend of June 21 when the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary flooded with nine feet of water.

Spokesman Merrill Morrell said about 200 volunteers were already setting up Thursday when they were warned of the impending flood and told to immediately evacuate the arena.

“We were all very unhappy because we were so looking forward to this convention. Nevertheless, we knew something would be arranged later on,” Morrell said.

The Calgary Stampede also announced Tuesday the cancellation of four concerts because of damage to the Saddledome: Carly Rae Jepsen, Wednesday, July 10; Tim McGraw, Thursday, July 11; Dixie Chicks, Friday, July 12; and KISS, Saturday, July 13.

Three weeks later, though, Rexall Place is realizing the congregation’s hope. This weekend’s convention will feature the same program and theme — “God’s Word is Truth” — as last weekend’s, but with different speakers.

“Everybody, of course, was very elated. A lot of our people have been displaced and affected from the (flood) disaster,” Morrell said.

About 300 members were displaced from their homes in High River, Medicine Hat and Canmore, among other areas. More than 200 people in the city have offered their homes to the disaster victims, Morrell said.

Delegates can expect practical Bible talks and a full-costume drama set in the days of the Bible character Queen Esther.

“We thank Edmonton,” Morrell said. “Because of its hospitality, we’re able to have our convention.”

The convention is open to the public free of charge and will run Friday to Sunday.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/edmonton/Southern+Alberta+Jehovah+Witnesses+convention+relocates/8608044/story.html

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