Around the World with the “Everlasting Good News” Assembly
NOTHING like it had ever taken place before a Christian assembly that traveled around the world in ten weeks. Going all the way around the world with the “Everlasting Good News” Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses were 583 convention delegates. They stayed at about 200 different hotels, used 57 airlines and traveled some 26,000 miles. What a privilege to travel with this assembly around the world, an assembly that was scheduled to be held for three to eight days in twenty-four principal cities of the world!
This Around-the-World Assembly began on June 30, 1963, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, moved to New York city, then to Europe, the Middle East, the Far East and concluded September 1-8 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
Moving all these delegates to the assembly cities was a tremendous job. The largest group ever to visit Taiwan, for instance, came and went in four short days. B. Henson, Philippine manager of the Civil Air Transport, which handled the round-the-world delegates from Manila to Taiwan, Japan and Korea, said: “This is the biggest thing I’ve ever handled. As far as I know, it is the biggest tour ever to go around the world.”
Why did hundreds of persons go around the world with the “Everlasting Good News” Assembly? Why did an additional 494 delegates travel with the assembly as far as Palestine? Because of the rich spiritual blessings that resulted from this assembly, which featured God’s Word, the Holy Bible, and God’s established kingdom. Many were the highlights of this assembly, an outstanding one being the widely advertised public talk “When God Is King over All the Earth,” printed in this special issue of The Watchtower. Around the world, a vast crowd of 570,932 persons came to the “Everlasting Good News” Assembly to hear this inspiring talk and felt richly rewarded.
SPIRITUAL REWARDS GREAT
But that public talk was just one of many outstanding spiritual blessings resulting from this assembly. Before the public talk at the New York city assembly, for instance, there were many spiritual benefits. These are a few of them:
On the first day of the program at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, July 7, the Watch Tower Society’s vice-president, F. W. Franz, talked on “The World—God’s Field of Work.” In this most enlightening talk, Franz discussed the meaning of the Greek words in the Holy Bible translated “world.” He showed how the Greek word kosmos is used three different ways: (1) “That framework of surroundings, that arrangement of things, into which a man is born and in which he exists,” as illustrated at John 12:25; (2) “the mass of mankind as apart from the Christian congregation and in opposition to it,” as at John 17:9 and (3) “just the people themselves, the entire body of them as one family, all humankind on earth,” as at John 3:16.
The next day followed with many more spiritual blessings, such as the stirring talk “‘Everlasting Good News’ for the ‘Time of the End,’” the keynote speech at the “Everlasting Good News” Assembly, delivered by N. H. Knorr, the Watch Tower Society’s president. This talk, based on chapter 14 of the book of Revelation, showed that since 1919 we have heard the “glad tidings” concerning the birth of God’s kingdom in the heavens and concerning His vengeance against mankind’s foes. At the close of his talk, the Society’s president released to a delighted audience of 58,524 persons two Bibles, a pocket-sized edition of the revised 1961 New World Translation and an edition of the original six large-print volumes of the New World Translation, all in one volume. These editions were eagerly taken up by the conventioners.
On Tuesday, the conventioners heard the Society’s president speak again on “Living in Hope of a Righteous New World.” He stressed how Christians must bring their lives in harmony with the righteous standards of conduct of God’s Word, the Bible. At the close of his talk, he released a new sixty-four-page booklet entitled “Living in Hope of a Righteous New World,” in both English and Spanish. A most excellent study aid for those progressing toward dedication of themselves to God.
NEW WORLD TRANSLATION IN SIX LANGUAGES
Wednesday brought the remarkable talk “Messengers of Liberation,” by F. W. Franz, which talk made clear why the fall of Babylon the Great had to occur before Armageddon. The main reason is that a religious liberation must take place before the destruction of Babylonish religion. That same day, the Society’s president spoke on “The Importance of Bible Distribution,” thrilling his audience of 62,956 conventioners by announcing the release of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures in six different languages: Italian, Dutch, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish. What applause when the speaker announced it could be obtained in any language on a contribution of only 50c!
After this announcement, Knorr called on some Italian-speaking convention delegates to comment on the Italian-language translation. “Bravo! Bravissimo!” exclaimed one of them as he looked at the fine concordance to the Bible. The Italian-speaking delegates pointed out that the price of some Italian Bible translations is very high, so what a blessing the New World Translation will be to the mass of 50 million people in Italy, and to many more in Libya, Somalia and Switzerland! Dutch-speaking delegates also commented on the Dutch edition of the New World Translation. They rejoiced that God’s name Jehovah had been restored to the Greek Scriptures and that the translation will have wide use in the Netherlands, Northern Belgium, Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles. French-speaking delegates also commented on the fine qualities of the translation and how it will benefit people in France, Belgium, Switzerland, French Guiana, Canada and many other places. German-speaking delegates rejoiced that the Society had printed 250,000 copies with which they could begin to help the 85,000,000 German-speaking people around the world. “What an opportunity for Jehovah’s witnesses,” said one of them, “to awaken the interest that the Germans once had in the Bible.” Portuguese-speaking delegates marveled at the translation, one saying: “I think the Portuguese-speaking brothers all over the world will be thrilled to have this Bible.” And the Spanish-speaking delegates were thrilled, as one put it, “just thinking of all the people that are going to benefit from it in Spanish alone.” The Society’s president pointed out that there are 165 million Spanish-speaking people throughout the world, and today there are 94,000 Jehovah’s witnesses that speak the Spanish language and who will be using the new Bible.
Thursday brought more spiritual goodness, as the Society’s president talked on the subject “The Book of ‘Everlasting Good News’ Is Beneficial.” He stressed that the Bible “is a book of ‘everlasting good news’ for every nation, tribe and people of no matter what language.” “The good news of the Bible,” he said, “is just as good today as ever, because it is ‘everlasting’ good news. It never loses its value.” He then illustrated how the Bible is beneficial for “teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness,” as stated at 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. At the close of this talk President Knorr electrified the audience of 66,295 with announcement of a new book—“All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial.” This Watchtower-sized book, released to the audience on a contribution of just $1.00, has 78 chapters, 66 of them a thorough discussion of each book of the Bible. The first section of each of these studies deals with the background of the book, then a condensed discussion of the contents of the book and, finally, a section called “Why Beneficial,” showing the great value of that Bible book to the reader. The conventioners eagerly obtained their copies and marveled at the wealth of Biblical information.
Friday followed with more beneficial talks, one of them being “Make Disciples, Baptizing Them,” by W. A. Bivens. Following this, 2,251 delegates at the New York assembly were baptized, in symbol of their dedication to Jehovah God. Around the world, there was a total number of 16,267 who were baptized.
RESOLUTION ADOPTED AROUND THE WORLD
Saturday was a momentous day at Yankee Stadium, for the conventioners had been asked in advance to be in their seats early Saturday afternoon for a special program. After the Society’s vice-president, F. W. Franz, explained “Why We Should All Join in a Resolution,” he proposed that a Resolution be presented by President Knorr. This resolution was adopted by 84,890 conventioners at New York city. For the Around-the-World Assembly there was a total of 444,374 persons who adopted it.
This Resolution stressed that Jehovah’s witnesses recognize that the one true God is Jehovah, that the Bible is his written Word, that Jehovah God is the Sovereign of the Universe, that men and nations have set up the United Nations rather than surrender to the sovereignty of God’s Messianic Kingdom, and that though nations have given idolatrous worship to that political image, this Jehovah’s witnesses refuse to do. The Resolution showed that radical governments have been formed, but that “We, as witnesses of God, the Source of life, will maintain our Christian steadfastness and have no part in such radical movements, but will hold fast to our Christian neutrality toward all radical and other types of human government over earth.” It stressed that the nations are being led by invisible wicked spirits to Armageddon, but that “we will not march with them to Har–Magedon, for we refuse to fight against God Almighty and his kingdom.” Jehovah’s witnesses, it was resolved, will continue to declare to all the ‘everlasting good news’ concerning God’s Messianic Kingdom.
Following the adoption of the Resolution, Knorr spoke on the subject “Execution of Divine Judgment upon False Religion.” Here he stressed that the Bible teaches only one true religion, that the Devil is the source of false religion, which began in the ancient city of Babylon, founded by Nimrod who set himself in opposition to Jehovah God. After the confounding of the language of the builders of the Tower of Babel, men spread out to all parts of the earth, carrying with them their false Babylonish religious ideas. The identity of the mysterious Babylon the Great of the book of Revelation was revealed. It is a symbol for the world empire of false religion based on Babylon’s religion, be this professed Christian or pagan. What applause when Knorr announced that hundreds of thousands of persons have already forsaken her and are now preaching God’s kingdom, yes, to the number of 1,028,986 from 194 different lands during last April!
NEW BOOK CAUSES JUBILATION
To climax his talk, the Society’s president released the new book “Babylon the Great Has Fallen” God’s Kingdom Rules! This 704-page book, he explained, is really two books in one. The first section deals with ancient Babylon, how it appears in the Hebrew Scriptures and what its relation was to God’s people, while the second section includes a verse-by-verse explanation of the book of Revelation, chapters 14 through 22. What jubilation throughout the 84,890 persons present at the New York assembly! Yes, these conventioners not only were happy, they were jubilant, for as one conventioner put it, “This is just what I have waited for, for years!” Eagerly, the conventioners obtained their copy, available on a contribution of 75c, perusing it with intense excitement. In the view of many conventioners, no book published by the Society had ever thrilled them more than “Babylon the Great Has Fallen!” God’s Kingdom Rules!
Sunday was the climactic day at Yankee Stadium and the New Rockland Palace, where the eight-day Spanish assembly was held, the day that had been widely advertised because of the public talk “When God Is King over All the Earth.” It had been advertised by the distribution of 2,420,000 handbills and by the use of 20,500 signs inside subways and buses in the city. On Sunday, though it rained intermittently throughout the day, Yankee Stadium overflowed for the public talk. What a pleasant surprise when it was announced that, despite the rain, the attendance at this meeting was 107,483!
The delegates were now keenly awaiting the president’s closing remarks. They had been looking forward to this talk because they felt sure it would contain good news for the future. And it certainly did! Brother Knorr revealed that plans were in the making for some outstanding conventions to be held in the Western Hemisphere and larger ones in Europe, Asia and Africa in 1966 and extending on into 1967. Many of the brothers present from Newfoundland, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile and Brazil were thrilled to hear the names of their lands mentioned as possible sites for these assemblies. The Latin-American delegates, especially, were quick to act upon the president’s suggestion to the North American brothers by inviting these to make plans to travel southward.
RECORD CROWD AT MILWAUKEE
The program at the New York assembly was typical of the assemblies around the world, as far as the spiritual rewards; but there were different features about each assembly. The assembly at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the first of the around-the-world assemblies, drew much favorable comment by the local newspapers. The Milwaukee Star, for example, said in its issue of July 6, 1963: “Milwaukee is currently hosting approximately 50,000 of Jehovah’s Witnesses from 48 states and 12 other countries, in the midst of their Around-the-World International assembly for 1963. This is indeed an honor for our city. . . . Many of the Jehovah’s Witnesses our city is welcoming are Negroes, for this is one of the most integrated religions in the history of all the world. Negroes serve in all capacities in the Witness’ ranks. It is with a great deal of honor that the Milwaukee Star pays tribute to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the work they are doing for the good of all mankind. . . . We say to all of our readers: If you are able to make any of the sessions at Milwaukee County Stadium, remember that you are seeing freedom at work—in action.”
Many people in Milwaukee responded to the tens of thousands of printed invitations to attend the talk “When God Is King over All the Earth.” The crowd at the public talk was such that the Milwaukee Journal of July 8, 1963, said: “Stadium records were smashed again Sunday afternoon when 57,055 persons attended the last session of the Jehovah’s Witnesses assembly and heard a description of the paradise on earth which awaits righteous survivors of the battle of Armageddon.”
After moving from Milwaukee to New York, the Around-the-World Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses traveled to London, England. The delegates going around the world with the assembly traveled by jet plane to Europe; while en route they were often seen to use time wisely by reading the Babylon book. Babylon’s fall was a topic of conversation for conventioners. Many were heard to long for the time when they can have some hours of solitude to become absorbed in the thrilling new book.
LONDON, STOCKHOLM, MUNICH, MILAN
Upon arriving at the convention grounds at Twickenham’s Rugby Union Grounds, the conventioners noticed the novel way the parking lots adjacent to the stadium had been converted into a little city. There were 244 tents, each one with 24 occupants who lived here during the eight-day assembly. In well-organized fashion, these tents were all laid out in named streets and appeared as a small city.
For the public talk on Sunday, July 21, there was a clear blue sky and the stadium overflowed with a crowd of 50,111.
Taking advantage of the time in London the conventioners also visited the British Museum, to see objects of interest to Bible students. Nearly 7,000 conventioners were conducted through the Museum during the mornings of the assembly. They saw the famed Sinaitic and Alexandrine Bible manuscripts and the Nabonidus Chronicle, which helps date the fall of Babylon in the year 539 B.C.
Simultaneous with the London assembly was one in Stockholm, Sweden. Here talks in general were translated into four languages: Danish, Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish. To avoid disturbance from the other languages, each section had a number of specially directed loudspeakers. The beautiful platform in the center of the lawn was shaped like a four-leaf clover. From each of the four “leaves,” the conventioners from the four Nordic countries could hear the program in their own languages simultaneously. At the public talk, given by F. W. Franz, the Society’s vice-president, an estimated number of 3,000 goodwill persons from the Stockholm area were present among the crowd of 25,160 persons who heard this inspiring lecture.
The Around-the-World Assembly next moved to Munich and Milan, where meetings were held simultaneously. It was expected that the attendance for the public talk at Munich might reach 100,000 persons. This figure was not only reached but surpassed, there being 107,164 persons in attendance, or just 319 less than at New York. Since there was no hall large enough in Munich to accommodate 100,000 persons, it was necessary for the Witnesses to change the vast Theresien meadows into a huge Kingdom Hall, with the sky as a roof.
It was an exciting day for the conventioners at Milan, Italy, when on Wednesday, July 24, the Society’s president released the New World Translation in six languages. Four of them were the official languages of the assembly, so practically all present were able to receive a copy with great joy and satisfaction. The public talk, delivered by F. W. Franz, was translated simultaneously into four languages. This hope-inspiring discourse brought rejoicing to the 9,864 Italians, 8,454 French, 1,444 Spanish and 754 Portuguese who listened, each one in his own tongue, making up a total attendance of 20,516. It was estimated that about 4,000 of these were people of Milan who had responded to the invitations.
While at Milan, as at other cities, the around-the-world conventioners took out time to share the “everlasting good news” with the people of the city. The conventioners had opportunity to talk with persons who had never been visited by the Witnesses before. One Japanese Witness, a sister, reported how an Italian householder hugged and kissed her when she learned that this Witness had come all the way from the Orient to bring her the good news of God’s kingdom. It gave the Italian minister who was with the Japanese Witness a fine opportunity to explain God’s truths.
From Milan and Munich, the assembly was scheduled to move on to Athens, Greece. A one-day assembly was scheduled for July 30. The Athens police had given the Witnesses a permit for the assembly, but just a few days before some 1,400 convention delegates converged on Athens, the government canceled the permit and banned the assembly. The Greek government disgraced itself by giving in to the demands of the Greek Orthodox clergy, who repeatedly demanded the ban on the assembly. But the ban did not seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the Greek Witnesses, who were grateful that so many traveling conventioners came to Athens to spend a few days with them.
The conventioners used their time wisely by visiting points of Biblical interest, such as ancient Corinth, the Acropolis and Mars Hill. It was most thrilling for them to stand on top of Mars Hill where the apostle Paul stood and spoke the words of Acts 17:22-31 to the mighty ones of Athens who did not know the true God. Sloping off to the one side of Mars Hill was a sort of terraced terrain forming a natural amphitheater arrangement where people could gather and view and listen to the one speaking.
Leaving Greece, the conventioners winged their way to Beirut, Lebanon. Here the Witnesses were not allowed to have an assembly, but they were permitted to meet in their Kingdom Halls. A schedule was worked out whereby some of the Witnesses traveling with the Around-the-World Assembly, and especially the speakers from the Society’s headquarters, spoke at these Kingdom Halls. Thus the Witnesses in Lebanon heard the principal assembly talks. The public talk “When God Is King over All the Earth” was given at various Kingdom Halls to a total audience of 914 persons.
While in Lebanon the conventioners had opportunity to visit the famed cedars of Lebanon. This was quite an adventurous trip for them up a very winding, mountainous road until they reached a small group of the cedars. They are a squatty tree, 50 to 80 feet tall. Apparently they are not of the gigantic size they were centuries ago, but it was a real pleasure for the assembly delegates to stop and have their lunch under the cedars of Lebanon and to view snow-capped Mount Hermon. They could now appreciate better the location of places in the Scriptures, after having been eyewitnesses to these things.
VISIT TO THE HOLY LAND
The next stop of the around-the-world conventioners was Jerusalem, in Jordan. Though an assembly was not scheduled for Jordan, the stop was profitable, since the conventioners were very anxious to see Jerusalem and to experience walking in this area where God’s own Son walked and where the apostles had carried on Kingdom preaching. For many it was a major highlight of the around-the-world trip. It amazed many of the conventioners that the terrain of the Holy Land had great variance. Some had expected it to be lightly hilly and rolling; but the land was really mountainous. Traveling from Jerusalem to Bethlehem or Bethany required going down a winding mountain road and back up another similar road.
The conventioners often photographed Jerusalem. Across the Kidron Valley they saw the Garden of Gethsemane. Only a small area remains, and on the rest of the ground are two large churches. It was most interesting for the conventioners to study out the terrain, visualizing the activities of the early Christians. They also visited the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, which is 1,297 feet below sea level. Seeking to find a little refreshment, some of the traveling conventioners walked to the shores of the Dead Sea and were going to wade in it, but they found the water to be not only warm, but hot and with no refreshing quality at all.
INDIA, BURMA AND THAILAND
Returning to Lebanon from Jordan the Around-the-World Assembly travelers moved to Delhi, India, where all 583 of them were housed in the government-owned Ashoka Hotel, India’s prestige hotel. The place of assembly was also a fine one, the impressive Vigyan Bhavan (House of Knowledge), India’s prestige hall. Each chair has a writing table and is equipped with earphones, with selector switch so that one can switch to any of four languages, in addition to the speech from the platform. About half the hall was used by Indian delegates who listened to talks in Kanarese, Malayalam, Tamil and Urdu-Hindi. Attendance at the public talk was the largest the Witnesses ever experienced in India, as 1,296 persons rejoiced in hearing “When God Is King over All the Earth.”
Then the “Everlasting Good News” Assembly moved to Rangoon, Burma, and Bangkok, Thailand, both scheduled for August 8-11. The public talk in Rangoon was held at 6 p.m. Saturday; and when heavy rain swept over the city an hour before the talk, it appeared that prospects for a record attendance were bleak. Despite this, a steady flow of people soared the attendance figure to 603 persons. In Bangkok, attendance for the public talk reached 961, about 200 of them being newly interested persons.
THE NORTHERN ROUTE
From Thailand, the Around-the-World Assembly took two routes, the northern and the southern. The conventioners who took the northern route went next to Hong Kong, where the assembly opened August 13. For the public talk, an audience of many local Chinese Witnesses and goodwill persons, totaling 1,180 in all, listened attentively to this thrilling lecture given by the president of the Society and his Chinese interpreter.
From Hong Kong the assembly moved to Manila, in the Philippines. Here the Witnesses, in advertising the public talk, used 5,000 placards, 500,000 handbills, 50,000 posters, 2,000 bus signs, 46 jeep signs and 32 billboards. Provision was made at this assembly for the audience to listen in Tagalog, Cebu-Visayan and Ilocano. On Sunday afternoon for the public talk, the sun shone brightly on a tremendous crowd of 37,806 jamming the stadium. A stadium official commented, “I have spent many years here, but this is the first time I have ever seen the stadium filled.”
On to Shou Feng, Taiwan, and here the Around-the-World Assembly had an unusual setting. It was the public school grounds, situated at the foot of mountains covered with the lush green foliage so typical of Taiwan, an ideal setting to learn about the time when God’s kingdom will make the whole earth a paradise. The public talk, delivered in the Chinese language and translated into the local Ami dialect, was heard by a fine audience of 1,566 persons.
Next stop for the “Everlasting Good News” Assembly was Kyoto, Japan, a city rich in Buddhist tradition, with 3,500 temples. As in the other assembly cities, the visiting Witnesses shared in door-to-door witnessing and also toured Kyoto. At temples and shrines they saw in Buddhism many of the appendages of worship of Babylonish origin that are common also in Christendom—holy water, incense, candles, rosaries, images, haloed “saints,” and representations of “hell.”
From Japan the assembly moved to Seoul, Korea. When the around-the-world conventioners arrived in Korea, they were supplied with convention badges written in the Korean language, including the delegate’s name and home country; thus any Korean could immediately read and know where the delegates came from and what they represented. The assembly turned out to be the greatest event in the history of the New World society in Korea. The assembly was held in the beautiful Citizen’s Hall, where Brother N. H. Knorr gave the public talk that drew a record crowd of 8,975 persons, including 1,412 at an overflow hall.
THE SOUTHERN ROUTE
While 463 of the around-the-world conventioners took the northern route, 120 chose to go with the assembly via the southern route, the first stop after Thailand being Singapore. Here the conventioners took a tour through Chinatown and saw such items of religious interest as “hell-money”—money that is burned by the worshiper and which is supposed to help the relative or friend in a supposed fiery hell. The public talk at Singapore was attended by 560 persons, the largest theocratic assembly ever held in Singapore. At the next stop, Bandung, Indonesia, the assembly likewise had a record attendance, with 752 persons coming to the public talk. The previous peak for a public talk had been 451.
From Indonesia, the “Everlasting Good News” Assembly moved to Melbourne, Australia. The climactic day at this assembly was described by the Australian magazine The Bulletin, in its issue of August 31, 1963: “Melbourne has seen some marvelous conferences . . . but I don’t think we have ever seen anything like the ‘Everlasting Good News’ Assembly of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. . . . The time was almost 7:45 p.m. The great moment, the climax of the assembly, had arrived; Brother F. W. Franz, from Brooklyn, New York, vice-president of the Watch Tower Society, was to give his address, ‘When God Is King over All the Earth.’ There were over 12,000 jamming into the huge pavilion and the sight was almost unbelievable . . . There was huge applause from the 12,000 in the sheep pavilion as they clapped the Everlasting Good News.” The actual attendance was 13,142, including 682 who listened in German, Greek and Italian.
Auckland, New Zealand, was the next stop for the Around-the-World Assembly. When people learned that Jehovah’s witnesses had hired New Zealand’s largest theater, the Civic, for the “Everlasting Good News” Assembly, many said, “Unheard of,” or “How did you do it?” This was an unprecedented move—the stopping of films to make way for a five-day religious convention. But the theater was not even large enough for the assembly, and the 2,000-seat Auckland Town Hall was tied in with the Civic Theater to accommodate the crowds. Situated on the main street, these buildings provided an excellent place to hold what proved to be the largest religious assembly in the history of New Zealand. On the day of the public lecture the assembly sites were packed to capacity with 6,005 persons.
During the Auckland assembly, as at the others, the around-the-world conventioners took time out to share in telling the good news with the people of Auckland. Many householders were amazed that people on a world tour would take time off from sight-seeing to preach God’s kingdom. The people of Auckland were also impressed by the conduct of the Witnesses. The Civic Theater manager, for instance, said: “You are the best organized and by far the best behaved people I have seen.”
Then on to Suva, Fiji, where the “Everlasting Good News” Assembly program was presented in four languages: English, French, Samoan and Fijian. Delegates came from seventeen different lands, including Western Samoa, American Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, Niue, New Caledonia and New Hebrides. The around-the-world travelers here were treated to a special island meal of tasty native dishes; they saw the genuine uncommercialized hospitality of these Pacific Island people. A half hour before the public talk the audience was treated with singing of Kingdom songs by Samoan and Fijian choirs, dressed in national costumes. At the public talk a record crowd of 1,080 heard this hope-stimulating lecture.
HAWAII AND PASADENA
At the next stop, Honolulu, Hawaii, the conventioners on both the northern and southern routes converged, along with 1,200 more delegates from the mainland of the U.S.A., Canada and Alaska, for an assembly at the Waikiki Shell, an open-air amphitheater, situated at the foot of the Diamond Head, just two blocks off Waikiki beach. The Shell has a backdrop of lovely coconut palms. Amid this ideal setting, the message “When God Is King over All the Earth” was delivered by the Society’s president to an audience of 6,189 persons. It was the largest convention ever held by any organization in the Hawaiian Islands; moreover, it was the first time that the public talk was televised. The estimated viewing audience was between 60,000 to 100,000, covering the entire Hawaiian Island chain.
The Around-the-World Assembly reached its conclusion with an eight-day assembly in southern California’s famous Rose Bowl in Pasadena. By the afternoon of the opening day 80,543 conventioners had assembled at the huge stadium, English-speaking delegates in the Rose Bowl and Spanish delegates in an adjoining ball park. They had come from all over the United States and many other countries, and for eight joy-filled days they feasted on the same spiritual provisions that their brothers around the world had enjoyed. How happy they were when 2,496 new ministers were baptized on Saturday morning! Their joy was increased the following day when many of their friends gathered with them for the public talk, swelling the attendance to 118,447!
Another great thrill for the conventioners was when Brother Knorr spent three and a half hours describing the tremendous success of each one of the completed assemblies. Jehovah’s blessing has resulted in a great crowd of people from all nations being gathered to His organization, he emphasized. Why, just during the seventy-one days of the Around-the-World Assembly, 16,267 new ministers were baptized and 570,932 persons assembled to hear the public talk!
Brother Knorr therefore urged his vast audience of dedicated Christians to assume their responsibility to care for the thousands of sheeplike persons Jehovah God was gathering to His organization. He encouraged them to imbibe the spirit of the missionaries, 805 of whom were able to be in attendance at the assemblies. After outlining future assembly plans, Brother Knorr concluded the Around-the-World Assembly with heartfelt admonition to stick to Jehovah’s organization.
Besides the cities tied in with the around-the-world tour, there were other assemblies, such as the one at Haifa, Israel, where 115 persons heard the public talk, and Nicosia, Cyprus, where 702 rejoiced in hearing “When God Is King over All the Earth.” The complete details of all the assemblies will be published soon in a 200-page convention report, with many pictures.
Yes, around the world, thousands of persons rejoiced over the benefits of the epic “Everlasting Good News” Assembly. For the around-the-world conventioners, it was marvelous to see how the New World society is expanding throughout the globe. A great number of people have gained access to God’s truth and are rejoicing in their being released from the bondage of Babylon the Great and can thereby make their lives happy, as they enjoy sharing in the “everlasting good news,” to Jehovah’s glory.
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Around the world 444,374 persons adopted the resolution. Here a crowd of 84,890 conventioners adopted it at Yankee Stadium, New York city.
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Around-the-world conventioners visited places of religious interest where they traveled. A delegate here photographs Jerusalem.
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The around-the-world conventioners shared the “everlasting good news” wherever they went. Here one with an interpreter offers a person in Bangkok, Thailand, the “Watchtower” magazine in the Siamese language.