1981 “Kingdom Loyalty” District Conventions
Psalm 145:10, 11 reminds us that ‘Jehovah’s loyal ones will bless him. About the glory of Jehovah’s kingship they will talk.’ As faithful servants of Jehovah, we are also loyal to his Kingdom government about which we talk as we share in preaching the good news and teaching people the truth. Our convention this summer will stress “Kingdom Loyalty” as its theme and will do much to aid us to keep on faithfully serving our Creator and working in the interests of his government. We will want to show appreciation for this arrangement to feed us spiritually by being present for the full program at whichever convention we plan to attend. Our Kingdom Service for February provided information about securing accommodations. It also recommended which convention the brothers in each circuit should attend. The February 15 issue of The Watchtower listed the facilities that will be used this summer. We assume that by this time all have determined which convention they will attend and have started making the necessary preparations.
PROGRAM: The program is scheduled to begin on Thursday morning at 9:50 a.m. Plan to be present right from the start so as to benefit fully from the spiritual feast that has been arranged. The opening session on Thursday will emphasize things to which we all need to give attention. Also, while all convention sessions are important, be sure that you do not miss the Sunday morning program. You will do well to pay close attention to the information that will be presented. Our attitude toward going to and attending the convention should be that of David as expressed in Psalm 122:1: “I rejoiced when they were saying to me: ‘To the house of Jehovah let us go.’” It is vital that we listen closely to the entire program. (Luke 8:18-21) Do not unnecessarily save seats so that others are forced to spend time walking around looking for a place to sit. Each one should want to ‘work what is good to others related to us in the faith.’ (Gal. 6:10) While improvement has been noted, reports show that quite a number still inconsiderately save seats that are not used, while others are forced to look for seats or sit in less convenient locations. This does not show brotherly love for others, does it?
CONDUCT AT CONVENTION: Whether we are able to share in the full-time service or not, we are all full-time Christians. As such we want to ‘be made new in the force actuating our minds, and put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.’ (Eph. 4:23, 24) Last year the vast majority of those in attendance manifested the new personality. One of the traveling overseers expressed appreciation for the good conduct in evidence at the convention he attended, stating: “It was noteworthy to see the orderliness of the brothers and their children, with very little milling around in the corridors.” Another brother commented: “The manners and courtesy of the brothers and sisters were certainly a praise and honor to our God. It was the best example I’ve seen in a long time at large assemblies. There was no crowding or shoving and the children were well behaved. The publishers were very courteous and mannerly in their driving habits. Our Bible students attended the convention with us and were very much impressed with what they saw and heard.”
To get the most from the program we should be in our seats during the sessions and not milling around the corridors or outside the convention facility. While there has been improvement in this regard in recent years, the problem still persists to some degree. At one convention site last summer the report was made that “there was constant milling in the walkways. At one point the brothers measured the decibels of sound and more was coming from the restless people in the walkways than was coming from the sound system.” Does this not show a disrespect for Jehovah’s provision? One person who attended commented: “One day my children and I sat by a group of about ten young men and women old enough to know how to act at an assembly. They were constantly talking, laughing, eating, and [getting] up and down.” Such conduct is not loving or considerate, as it makes it difficult for others to concentrate on the program.
In the days of Ezra “all the people” assembled, and as Ezra opened the book “all the people stood up.” At this assembly the Levites “were explaining the law to the people, while the people were in a standing position. And they continued reading aloud from the book, from the law of the true God.” (Neh. 8:5-8) Today we do not have to stand at our conventions. How thankful we are that arrangements are made well in advance so that there will be sufficient comfortable seating. We do well to take advantage of this provision by staying in our seats during the program, paying attention to what is being said, taking notes and following along in our Bibles. One parent wrote this experience to the Society: “My children and I sat by a mother and her four children. They were well behaved but ate continually throughout the whole session. It was very distracting to other adults and children sitting nearby. This family also drank a lot of liquids, which necessitated their making several trips to the restrooms.” Certainly we do not want to be going in and out or eating during the program and distracting others from giving their undivided attention to what is being said.
At times, just outside of our assembly sites, apostates or others opposed to our work pass out literature or endeavor to engage us in conversation. How should such individuals be treated? We should not engage in verbal battles with opposers of the truth since a Christian is to be “gentle toward all, . . . keeping himself restrained under evil.” (2 Tim. 2:24) Some of these individuals may have been disfellowshiped in the past. They prove by their course of action that they are ‘pushing ahead and not remaining in the teaching of Christ.’ The apostle John advises us, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, never receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him. For he that says a greeting to him is a sharer in his wicked works.” (2 John 9-11) When such individuals realize they are not accomplishing their purpose of disturbing us, they are more likely to give up in their attempts.
CONDUCT IN CONVENTION CITY: Jehovah’s Witnesses frequently return to the same convention cities year after year. Our gathering together in a spirit of true brotherhood and our personal conduct provide a fine witness that does not go unnoticed. A few years ago we received admonition about our conduct while staying at hotels/motels. The need to conduct ourselves as Christians at all times was stressed and the point was made that our actions reflect on the name of our Father, Jehovah. Many expressed appreciation for those straightforward remarks and, since then, favorable comments have been received indicating that those attending assemblies have endeavored to apply the counsel given. It is sad to note, however, that some reports still come in indicating that there are continuing problems. At some hotels/motels where our brothers stayed, there were complaints from other guests, who were not there for the convention, indicating that Witness children were playing on the elevators and otherwise interfering with elevator service as well as unnecessarily riding the escalators. Others had grievances related to children using swimming pools after closing time and demonstrating a lack of concern for non-Witness guests. Christian parents certainly will want to watch their children and be observant of any regulations relative to the use of swimming pools or other facilities at these hotels/motels. Would it not be good to discuss this matter as a family before leaving for the convention city?
The insert in the May 1980 issue of Our Kingdom Service provided good direction on the matter of tipping. It is not against Christian principles to express appreciation in this way for personal services rendered by others. (Luke 10:7) Although this is a personal matter, to neglect doing so where it is expected may cast unfavorable reflections upon Jehovah’s people. To illustrate: The manager of a motel who cooperated with the convention personnel and arranged for many of our brothers and sisters to stay in his facility expressed concern over a problem that developed. The waitresses in his employ had told him that they did not want to wait on Jehovah’s Witnesses as they left no tips. On one occasion, a party of Jehovah’s Witnesses arrived just before the restaurant was to close. Arrangements were made for this group to sit together and be served, despite the fact that the workers had to stay after closing time to do so. It was reported that the only tip left was a copy of a pocket-size book that was released earlier that week at the convention. While so-called fast-food eating establishments do not provide waiter service and no tipping is involved, in restaurants where such service is provided it is left to the brothers to consider leaving a tip where this is the local custom.
FRIDAY AFTERNOON FIELD SERVICE: Jesus commanded his followers to make disciples of others, sharing the good news that he had taught. (Matt. 28:19, 20) A fine opportunity to do this while attending the assembly is to participate in field service arrangements that will be scheduled on Friday afternoon. The program that day will conclude at 12:40 p.m. All in attendance should be able to get something to eat at the convention site and then be in field service well before 2 p.m. To save time it would be good to get organized for field service activity on Thursday. Perhaps you can arrange your groups with appointed servants taking the lead. Territory can be obtained on Thursday so that there should be no delay or confusion in getting out. While there has been good support for field service at past conventions, apparently some groups did not have enough territory. Therefore, when asking for territory, please indicate how many persons will be in your group and how long you wish to work. In this way you will be given sufficient territory and can have a full share in the preaching activity.
The publishers should bring their own witnessing bag, a supply of the current magazines and a Bible. Further direction and printed material will be provided at the conventions that will assist us in giving a fine witness to people contacted in the convention cities.
Many have expressed appreciation for the opportunity that the special field service arrangements afford to work in different territory and to share in service with friends from other congregations. One sister wrote: “I was happy to be among those who answered ‘aye’ to the resolution adopted at the convention. Later that day I went out into the service. Inside of 30 minutes I placed 18 magazines and passed out invitations to everyone who walked by me as I stood on the street corner. I thank Jehovah for those spirit-arousing talks that motivated me to action.” The Friday morning program will highlight the importance of the field activity that afternoon.
VOLUNTEER SERVICE: It was foretold that Jehovah’s people would offer themselves willingly in his service. (Ps. 110:3) This applies not only to our willingness to participate in the preaching and disciple-making work but also to sharing in the work that must be done in order to make conventions a success. It is fine to see many helping out in this regard. Once again, the various departments needing help will take the initiative in inviting individuals in advance to assist. The local convention coordinator will be receiving from the convention some requests for volunteer workers needed. The Society’s new procedure for volunteer service means that no Application for Volunteer Service forms will be sent to the congregations. However, the convention will be sending some congregations a list of their personnel needs, and the convention coordinators will strive to fill such needs, if and when requested to do so.
Any children 16 years of age or under must work together with a parent or another adult at all times. We encourage parents and their children to volunteer and work together, if possible.
FOOD NEEDS: Food and drink will be provided similar to what was available for recent district conventions. We are very grateful for the efforts of the brothers and sisters who prepare the food at the conventions. There was fine cooperation last year at conventions where surplus food was sold after the conclusion of the Sunday program, and it may be that such surplus items will again be available at a few of the conventions. If that is the case, your cooperation will be appreciated again.
The convention tickets in sheets worth $1 (10 tickets of 10c value) will be used for purchasing food and drink. The convention organization will make these tickets available to your congregation a few weeks ahead of the convention and you may purchase them then so as to save standing in line when you first arrive at the convention. It is suggested that you purchase enough food tickets in advance at your congregation to care for your needs for the first two or three days of the assembly. The tickets can be used for surplus food purchases also.
MUSIC: Special taped music for the interludes and audience singing is again planned by the Society. All are encouraged to join wholeheartedly in the singing, as this is an important part of the program and provides us with a fine opportunity to worship Jehovah, rendering praise and thanksgiving to him.—Eph. 5:18, 19.
As the “Kingdom Loyalty” District Conventions draw close, we look forward to benefiting from the fine spiritual provisions Jehovah has in store for us. The information provided herein will no doubt be of assistance to you in finalizing your plans to attend. All will want to consider carefully the direction given and endeavor to comply with the suggestions made, both individually and as families. May all of us work unitedly to make the 1981 “Kingdom Loyalty” District Conventions a success so that, as loyal servants of our Grand God, all who attend will be better equipped to talk about the glory of Jehovah’s kingship.—Ps. 145:10, 11.
District Convention Reminders
ROOMING: Your cooperation in using the listing of accommodations provided by the convention in selecting your rooms is very much appreciated. If you have not already made a reservation and forwarded a deposit, it is necessary to do so immediately if you are planning to stay overnight in the convention city. Congregation convention coordinators should be sure that Special Needs Room Request Forms have been promptly forwarded to the appropriate convention address. If you find it necessary to cancel your accommodations selected from the listing, you should write or phone the hotel/motel directly, doing so as far in advance as possible. If you must cancel an accommodation made through the Special Needs arrangement you should notify both the landlord or hotel/motel and the convention Rooming Department so the room may be reassigned.
The convention Rooming Department will provide, upon your request, available information on any commercial trailer and camping facilities in the convention area. Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your request.
BAPTISM: At most locations, the immersion will be on Saturday. Those who wish to symbolize their dedication by water baptism should have reviewed the 80 questions and also chapter six in the Organization book with the elders prior to the convention. A bathing suit and towel should be brought by each one who plans to be baptized.
PROGRAM TIMES: It is the course of wisdom and shows appreciation to be in our seats when the program begins. That will be at 9:50 a.m. on Thursday and Friday and at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The same qualities are displayed when we do not plan to leave before the sessions conclude. The closing song and prayer will be at 4:50 p.m. on Thursday. Friday afternoon will be set aside for a special effort in field service and so the sessions will conclude by 12:40 p.m. On Saturday the closing song and prayer are scheduled at 4:50 p.m., and on Sunday at 4:40 p.m.
GILEAD AND BETHEL MEETINGS: A meeting will be held on Thursday at 1:00 p.m. for pioneers between the ages of 20 and 40 who are interested in attending Gilead School to receive training for missionary service. There will be a meeting on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. for any dedicated publishers between 19 and 35 years of age who are U.S. residents and would like to enter Bethel service.
PIONEER IDENTIFICATION: All regular and special pioneers as well as traveling overseers will need to bring their Watchtower Identification and Assignment card (S-202) to the convention. Those on the list for six months at the time of the district convention they attend may receive $15.00 worth of convention tickets upon presentation of their Watchtower Identification and Assignment card at that one convention only. Treat the card as carefully as cash. It cannot be replaced at the convention. Any free releases or other literature at pioneer rates will be available to pioneers at the bookroom only upon showing their Watchtower Identification and Assignment card. Those in Bethel service may obtain any free releases or other literature at pioneer rates at the bookroom by showing their Bethel Identification card.
LAPEL CARDS: These cards are provided as a means of advertising the convention as well as to facilitate identifying our brothers and sisters in attendance. To this end, please wear the lapel card at the convention and also while traveling to and from the convention site. It has been observed in recent years that not as many as formerly are wearing a lapel card. Not only is the card a fine means of identification but it so often results in giving a fine witness while traveling. You should obtain these through your congregation. You will note that the lapel card has been designed in such a way that it may be used again for circuit assemblies until next summer. The lapel cards are 1c each and the celluloid holders are 5c each.
A WORD OF CAUTION: Regardless of where you park, you should lock your vehicle at all times and never leave anything visible inside. Keep your belongings locked inside the trunk, if possible. Also, guard against thieves and pickpockets who are attracted by large gatherings. This includes not leaving anything of value unattended on seats at the conventions.