1979 “Living Hope” District Conventions
93 U.S. Assemblies—4 Days Each
Special Field Service Planned!
1 The 1979 “Living Hope” District Conventions promise to be of high spiritual quality. These are crucial days, and as Jehovah continues to pour out his spirit upon all his faithful servants, they are strengthened to “stand” in this trialsome time. (Rom. 14:4) The February 1 Watchtower and the February insert of Our Kingdom Service provide detailed information as to locations of the 93 district conventions for the United States in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Greek, Japanese, Chinese and Korean. Have you made definite arrangements to attend? Much work has already been done in arranging for these conventions to be held in the continental United States alone. Because of their number these gatherings will, for the most part, be smaller and more convenient.
2 Your determination to be there must be accompanied by good planning if you are to benefit fully from the assembly arrangements. To that end we are providing the following information.
MAINTAINING HONORABLE CONDUCT: Most of you will recall that last year much was said in the April Our Kingdom Service insert regarding the undesirable conduct and appearance of some of our brothers while attending assemblies over the past several years. So reproachful had some of these matters become that the Society even addressed this situation on the circuit assembly program and gave pointed counsel on how to correct it. Did you observe the favorable response to this counsel at the convention you attended? We did, and we were very pleased to see that most brothers took the counsel to heart and did something positive about it. (Heb. 12:4-11) This brings joy to the hearts of all of us, not to mention the joy it must bring to Jehovah’s heart since his name is involved.—Prov. 27:11.
4 You will be interested in some of the reports and comments following the international conventions last summer. Note this comment from a publisher: “For several years now I have been dismayed at the misconduct of quite a few of the brothers at assemblies; pushing and harsh words in waiting lines, filthy bathrooms, unruly crowds roaming hallways during sessions, etc. This year the assembly . . . was the most refreshing experience I can remember. The crowd there was the quietest, most orderly, obedient, and Christlike one I’ve seen in quite a few years. Most of the 400 rooms in the hotel where we stayed were occupied by Witnesses, and I have never seen a finer group. The pool was never crowded or noisy, the bathing suits were modest and becoming, nobody drank alcohol publicly and . . . the friends treated the employees as if they ran the best hotel in the world.” Is it not refreshing to hear about such fine conduct? The regional manager of a motel chain said: “I can’t recall ever having such a large group that exemplified their beliefs so tremendously as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. We hope you will return.” This demonstrates that fine conduct is not only refreshing to us, but also refreshing to many yet in the world who observe us.
5 The motel manager in one city where conventions were held stated:
“The guests that we have served who are Jehovah’s Witnesses are undoubtedly the finest people that I have encountered. They have occupied many rooms here and there has never been a single instance of damage, they pay promptly and never disturb the other motel guests. To illustrate how impeccably honest these people are, I would like to tell you of an incident that occurred here. One of the Witnesses took a small washcloth when he left. It may have gotten mixed up with clothing. He mailed the washcloth back, along with an apology. I am sure that the cost of mailing the package far exceeded the value of the washcloth.”
Such comments make us happy to call those who display such conduct our “brother” or “sister,” do they not?
6 This does not mean that we should not give more attention to the matter. As an example, note what another manager had to say about some of the brothers staying at his motel this past summer. After commenting about the tendency of parents to have too many children occupying one room he reported: “They would take the mattress off the bed and lay it on the floor to make extra bedding. They also used the bedspreads for the same purpose. Feeding children in the room and getting cereal on the carpet was a problem.” A brother in another city said that the conduct last summer was “a little better, though children still are a problem to control as parents tend to let them run around loose in spite of the articles in Our Kingdom Service,” and so forth. What can be done about this, brothers? Greater effort must be made by all of us and our children to exercise self-control and orderliness.
7 The good conduct generally displayed at our conventions certainly should not be limited to assembly time. If we find that conforming to the fine standard of conduct expected at larger conventions of Jehovah’s people makes us feel cramped or takes away from our enjoyment of the occasion in some way, then we should do some serious thinking about how we conduct ourselves at the local Kingdom Hall and, more importantly, in our own homes. Is it not true that everything we do and say can either bring praise and honor to Jehovah or bring reproach to him? Surely as servants of Jehovah we desire to honor his name at all times.—Col. 3:23-25.
8 At the root of the matter is the question: How successful am I in applying Bible principles? (Eph. 4:20-24) Those principles include modesty and cleanliness. Certainly we should want to be well groomed, clean, dressed in good taste and modestly. We do not want to be causes for stumbling on the part of others. (1 Cor. 10:23, 24, 31-33) Cleanliness and neatness should be characteristic of us every day so that it does not require unusual effort for us to avoid littering the assembly grounds.
9 Knowing that others want to enjoy the program, we will not distract them by moving about or talking unnecessarily. We should be in our seats when the program starts.
10 Likewise, love will prevent us from being inattentive to the needs of others by wanting to be first in lines or by failing to notice that they do not have a seat. Let us be willing to help others and do what we can to accommodate them. (Luke 6:31) In this way we cooperate with those who may specially volunteer as attendants, food service and cleaning personnel.
11 Sometimes negative comments about conduct at assemblies have to do with young ones. Since we live in a corrupt and permissive society, great effort is required to shape youthful personalities in harmony with Jehovah’s will. By giving attention to matters like this at home, we are less likely to experience such problems at assemblies.
12 Since many of us include attending the assembly during our vacation period, we should be careful that the convention spirit does not become a vacation spirit. Otherwise, this may cause the importance of the convention to fade in the minds of ourselves or of our children. Should this be allowed to happen, it would interfere with our joy in assembling as Jehovah’s people, due to the fact that our minds would be preoccupied with having a good time in a fleshly way rather than with the good spiritual things that Jehovah is providing.—2 Tim. 3:4, 5.
13 We want to continue working hard to keep our conduct above reproach. EVERY CHRISTIAN, ESPECIALLY ELDERS, PARENTS AND MATURE PUBLISHERS, SHOULD FEEL PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE TO AID DISORDERLY ONES AMONG US, DEDICATED OR NOT, TO CHANGE THEIR CONDUCT WHILE WITH US BY KINDLY HELPING THEM TO ACT PROPERLY. (Gal. 6:1; Lev. 18:26; 19:17) In such cases, if elders or parents are not present and cannot be readily found, then any Christian present could calmly and kindly point out that Jehovah’s name and our reputation are involved. By assisting everyone among us to appreciate this, no doubt we will regain and maintain our fine reputation in those areas where it has been damaged.—1 Tim. 3:7.
SPECIAL MORNING FIELD SERVICE: Field service at assemblies such as was enjoyed at the “Victorious Faith” conventions last summer was a delightful success. Truly Jehovah’s blessing was evident as indicated by the expressions of appreciation:
Hawaii: “In addition to the many cars, 51 busloads of publishers were taken out into the service during the two conventions held. 70% of the Island was covered. Fine experiences were had and many Bible studies were started.”
New Orleans: “My wife and I went with a group street witnessing on Friday morning. We can honestly say that we have never enjoyed ourselves more or felt Jehovah’s spirit more strongly on us in service than we did on this occasion.”
Pittsburgh: “Friday seemed to be the most outstanding day. Never have I seen such enthusiasm to share in the field service. At least 80% of the convention shared in the field service.”
Field Service Plans
15 At most conventions, service in the field will be on Friday at 9 a.m. from the various Kingdom Halls set aside for this purpose, as well as from motels and hotels where large groups of brothers are accommodated. In order to engage together in the field service, it would be good if elders and ministerial servants could serve as captains of groups from their congregation.
16 On the afternoon program of the previous day, details of the simplified and effective campaign of action will be set forth. Various features of field service will be arranged: Territory will be available for house-to-house service. Informal witnessing can be done wherever one meets people. Street work may be appropriate as well as witnessing at other public places. Some may wish to engage in the store-to-store work and invite business people to the assembly sessions and public lecture.
17 Each one should bring a small witnessing bag, together with his Bible. Something special will be provided that can be enthusiastically featured as the offer. Details will be given at the convention itself. Plan to share in the field activity at this year’s “Living Hope” District Convention. Be sure to report your field service to your local congregation.
VOLUNTEER SERVICE: What a fine example Jesus set for us in being humbly attentive to the needs of others! This same fine spirit is reflected in many ways by those who volunteer to work at conventions. To fill the needs of the convention departments brothers in charge have been inviting others to work with them. However, some larger departments such as Attendant, Food Service, Cleaning and Auditing will still need many more volunteers than these brothers know personally. Your congregation’s convention coordinator will receive a form listing departments still in need of volunteers and he will make this known in the congregation. You may have your name listed on the form under the department in which you would like to work for the entire convention. He will then return this form to the assembly. Through the convention coordinators in each congregation, volunteers will be informed as to where they should report. This arrangement allows for individuals to work together with those from their own congregation or circuit and for children to work along with their parents.
19 The convention organization will again be selecting congregations to share in one-time work assignments in several departments. Such an arrangement not only fills a vital need in departments such as cleaning, but also provides an opportunity for those who cannot work all four days to share in the organized effort to care for the needs of their brothers. The convention organization will advise your congregation of the need and your elders will select a capable captain for a group to work along with you in caring for this special one-time assignment. Such assignments involve part of one day of the convention usually before, between, or after the sessions.
20 Of course, there will always be some need for last-minute volunteers. If you want to volunteer, please go to the Volunteer Service desk. They will let you know where help is needed. Your willing service will be very much appreciated.—Acts 20:35; Ps. 110:3.
FOOD SERVICE: Since we have assembled to benefit from the spiritual program, is it not wise to involve as few as possible in the preparation and serving of material food? Really, only a few things are necessary. (Luke 10:42) As a result of simplifying our food service operation, last year in the United States over 70,000 brothers who used to work hard during the sessions to provide us food were able to hear the program.
22 Effort is being made to further improve the simplified feeding arrangement. You will be pleased to know that the breakfast menu is being enlarged from what we had last year. Also, a fresh vegetable bag will be offered where possible and orange juice will be available at noon as well as breakfast. We may be confident that at all the conventions there will be suitable food that has been lovingly provided by our brothers for our convenience and enjoyment.—Prov. 15:17.
CONVENTION TICKETS: Once again the $1.00 convention tickets in 10c segments will be available for use at the conventions for the purchase of food only. So that less money handling will be required at the convention itself, as well as to eliminate long lines at the cashiers on the first day, we are recommending that, to the extent possible, each one who will be attending a convention should purchase ahead of time a sufficient supply of tickets for at least two or three days of the convention. These tickets will be made available to your congregation by the convention organization a number of weeks in advance and you may purchase them through the congregation at that time. Your cooperation in obtaining and using the tickets will be appreciated and will contribute much to the smooth operation of the convention feeding program.
MUSIC: Special music for the interludes and for audience singing is again being prepared by the Society. This specially prepared music will be presented by tape recording to give real uniformity to this important feature of the program at all the conventions.
25 We trust that this information will be helpful to you in making your plans to attend the “Living Hope” District Convention. Your determination and effort to make your attendance a reality will undoubtedly result in a blessing for you and your family.—Rom. 1:11, 12; Gen. 32:24-29.
[Box on page 6]
District Convention Reminders
ROOMING: Any desiring rooms who have not as yet sent in a Room Request form should fill one out neatly and accurately and turn it in to the congregation convention coordinator. He will carefully check it over, sign and mail it to the rooming address noted on the back of the form for the convention city where you will attend. If you receive a rooming assignment and later have to change your plans, please immediately advise (1) the landlord and (2) the convention Rooming Department so the room may be reassigned.
There will be no trailer camps at the U.S. conventions, but the Rooming Department for each convention will gladly furnish available information on any commercial facilities.
BAPTISM: At most locations, the immersion will be on Saturday. Those who wish to symbolize their dedication by water baptism should review the 80 questions and also chapter six in the Organization book with the elders prior to the convention. Bathing suits and towels should be brought by each one who plans to be baptized.
PROGRAM TIMES: Plan to enjoy the entire program, which will begin each morning by 9:30 and will conclude each afternoon at approximately 5:00 p.m. Of course, at most conventions Friday morning will be set aside for field service. Thus, the convention program that day will begin at 2 p.m. We encourage you not to leave the assembly prior to the conclusion at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.
PIONEER IDENTIFICATION: All regular pioneers should bring their Pioneer Identification and Assignment card to the convention. You may present this card to the proper cashier on the first day of the convention and receive $14.00 worth of convention tickets for obtaining food. The cashier will simply date stamp the back of your Pioneer Identification and Assignment card in the upper left-hand corner to show that you received the tickets. Literature will be available to pioneers at pioneer rates at the bookroom. Treat the card as carefully as cash. It cannot be replaced at the convention. All those in special full-time service (traveling overseers, Bethel service and special pioneers) will continue to receive from the Society the Convention Pioneer Identification card as in the past.
LAPEL CARDS: No doubt all will enjoy wearing the cards as a means of advertising the convention and to become acquainted with other brothers and sisters in attendance. By wearing the lapel card while traveling to and from the convention, you may contribute further to the convention witness. You will note that this year the lapel card is designed in such a way that it may be used again for circuit assemblies in addition to the district convention. The lapel cards are 1c each and the celluloid holders are 5c each.
A WORD OF CAUTION: Regardless of the convention you attend, you should lock your car at ALL times and NEVER leave anything showing in a parked car. Keep your belongings locked inside the trunk if possible. Also, beware of pickpockets. Do not leave anything of value unattended on seats at the conventions.