1982 “Kingdom Truth” District Conventions
Those who desire to gain God’s approval must walk in his truth and serve him in truth. (Josh. 24:14) True Christians must carefully follow the direction outlined in the Bible, if they are to walk in the truth. This was done by the first-century Christians as testified to by the apostle John who wrote to a fellow believer named Gaius. John stated: “For I rejoiced very much when brothers came and bore witness to the truth you hold, just as you go on walking in the truth. No greater cause for thankfulness do I have than these things, that I should be hearing that my children go on walking in the truth.” (3 John 3, 4) Our convention this summer will highlight the theme “Kingdom Truth.” It will help us to appreciate better Jehovah’s word of truth and the need to keep proclaiming this Kingdom truth to others. (Matt. 28:19, 20) Our Kingdom Ministry for February provided helpful information about rooming accommodations and listed the convention cities and dates. By this time you have no doubt made your initial plans.
ATTEND ALL FOUR DAYS: Make every endeavor to attend all four days of the convention. The opening session will begin at 1:20 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. This will allow most of the brothers to travel to the convention city on Thursday morning and thus cut down expenses.
It has been observed that in the past some of our brothers have not been attending the convention on Thursday and Friday. They have hesitated to take time off from secular employment. If this has been true in your case, please give consideration to putting forth a special effort so that you can be at the convention all four days, not just on the weekend. Admittedly this may necessitate making other sacrifices. But we are confident that Jehovah will richly bless the effort that you put forth.
As you know, in many parts of the world our brothers overcome great obstacles in order to gather together with their brothers at conventions. Last summer a married couple from Eastern Europe traveled over 240 miles on a tandem bicycle in order to be with their Christian brothers who were assembling in Austria. By special effort a 74-year-old sister in the United States who had lost both legs was able to be in attendance at a district convention last year. She put forth great effort and the local brothers rendered loving assistance. It was necessary to lift her in a sling into the back seat of an automobile, and when arriving at the convention site, the procedure had to be reversed in order to get her into a wheelchair. Despite her handicap, this faithful sister was able to attend and was richly blessed as a result. Perhaps you know of other individuals from your congregation or circuit who have put forth similar effort. Are we not all encouraged and stimulated to follow their wholesome example?
It is strongly recommended that you attend the convention to which your circuit is assigned, as outlined in Our Kingdom Ministry. Of course, some may have extenuating circumstances, such as prearranged vacation dates that cannot be changed, the need to assist relatives living in another area, and so forth. The Society endeavors to determine in advance the approximate attendance at each of the conventions. This information is then used to determine what accommodations are needed and what supplies, such as food and literature must be ordered. When many of the brothers do not cooperate, serious problems can result.
ENDEAVOR TO BE A GOOD LISTENER: All should strive to be in their seats on time and concentrate on the program. This is not always easy as we must sit for extended periods of time and may be faced with distractions that can easily break our train of concentration. A purpose of the convention is to assist us to act on what we hear. Therefore, we do not want to rob ourselves of this important reason for attending by failing to give the program the attention that it merits. At Proverbs 1:5 we are told: “A wise person will listen and take in more instruction, and a man of understanding is the one who acquires skillful direction.” Listening involves paying attention and this requires concentration. We will want to give our full attention to the speaker, being determined to listen earnestly with our ears, mind and heart. When our minds start to wander, we must refuse to give in, so as not to become mentally lazy. Rather, we should continue to focus our attention on the program.
What are some things that will help? (1) Each day fix in your mind the convention theme and the theme for the day. Thereafter, as each part is presented, endeavor to tie in the information with these basic themes. (2) Take brief notes. These will assist in isolating the key thoughts and Bible texts, impressing them on your mind. (3) During each talk or presentation, think of constructive questions related to the subject and watch to see if the speaker answers them. (4) Reflect on what the speaker says, summarizing it, reviewing it, fixing it firmly in your mind and heart. (5) Listen with the right motive, not to criticize either the material or delivery, but to get points that will help you to understand the truth better. (6) Endeavor to get proper rest at night, and do not overeat before sessions. (7) At the completion of each day’s program take time to review the information presented. This will assist you to remember and act upon what you heard. (Ps. 49:3; 77:11, 12) Are you a good listener? In what areas could you improve? A good time to put these suggestions into practice in advance is while attending congregation meetings locally.
CONDUCT WHILE ATTENDING CONVENTION: In reporting on the 1981 district convention where he attended, an appreciative elder reported: “The program was excellent and the message was very timely and clear.” Commenting further, he said: “Most were very attentive; there was very little activity in the hallways, etc. The brothers demonstrated respect for the information that was presented.” At another convention site the stadium manager volunteered this comment: “I was at the stadium on Saturday afternoon and listened to several of the talks. I was impressed at your discipline and orderliness. I have never seen the likes of it in this stadium before. Please tell your brothers and sisters that we are grateful that you came.” Jehovah is most pleased when our conduct reflects favorably our fine Christian training and brings honor to God’s name.
Each year direction is given related to the saving of seats. This matter continues to be a problem and warrants our frank consideration. Please do not unnecessarily save seats so that others are forced to spend time walking around looking for a place to sit. Let us consider a few examples of what has happened. One family of four reported that they experienced difficulty locating seats due to the fact that countless seats were saved early each morning for individuals who had not yet arrived. On the final day of the convention this family rose at 5:30 a.m. and were at the convention site before the doors were opened. At 7:00 a.m. the friends were allowed to enter and immediately they dispersed in all directions in a frantic effort to locate choice seats. Within the first 15 minutes it was reported that literally hundreds of the best seats had been covered with magazines, Bibles, and programs by a few brothers and sisters who were representing their families and friends. In some cases entire rows were reserved.
It is one thing to save seats for one’s immediate family, an infirm publisher, or perhaps a newly interested person you have invited, but is it loving for an individual to reserve several seats or entire rows of seats and then give them to personal acquaintances? An interested person agreed to take his family, who were Jehovah’s Witnesses, to a convention last summer. He later reported that they rose early and were at the convention site nearly two hours before the morning program began. For the next 30 minutes they combed the entire grandstand area, looking for four seats together. None could be found. Countless seats were saved, but not occupied. Finally they located a wooden bench in the bleacher area. Halfway through the morning session, while taking his young son to the restroom, this interested person observed that several of the “saved” seats in the grandstand area were still empty! Other reports indicate that at some locations whole blocks of seats were reserved. Some even have attempted to save seats overnight. The sad thing is that sometimes these seats are still unoccupied hours after the program begins.
When a person attends a public event, it is not uncommon to be charged an admission fee that entitles that individual to one seat. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not charge admission, as we are guests of the Society. However, guests normally do not have at their disposal more than one seat per person. He does not take it upon himself to reserve seats and assign them out to others as though he were the host. Do we demonstrate appreciation for the Society’s loving provision and are we considerate of the needs of our dear brothers and sisters? Do we go out of our way to assist others so that they will be more comfortable? Do we demonstrate genuine consideration for others, regarding them as superior to ourselves and reflect the fruitage of the spirit in this regard? (Phil. 2:3; Gal. 5:22, 23; 1 Cor. 13:2-8) What have you observed in the past? What can you and your family do to help alleviate this problem?
If we are holding a seat or two and the session starts, our Christian conscience should move us to relinquish any seat we are saving, unless we know that the one who is to sit there will arrive soon. Please cooperate fully with the attendants in these matters. How refreshing it is to see our brothers, including children, freely offering their seats to elderly or infirm persons who may not have found a place to sit and listen. By showing such loving concern we demonstrate that we really have the truth and are sincerely concerned about the physical and spiritual needs of others.—Phil. 2:4; 1 Pet. 2:12.
During sessions it is important that we be considerate of those around us. If we engage in conversation with family and friends while the program is in progress, we not only miss vital information ourselves but also disturb others nearby. If a small child begins to cry and you are unable to quiet him quickly, it shows loving consideration to take him to an area where he will not disturb others. It is good when children are sitting with their parents and paying attention to the program. As parents, do we always arrange to have our children sit with us and keep them with us, even before and after the sessions? Occasionally children of Witness parents have involved themselves in mischief that has harmed persons and property. As Christian parents, have we properly supervised our family? As children, are we quick to follow our parents’ direction?—Deut. 6:7; 31:12.
The majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses, both young and old have demonstrated wholesome conduct while in convention cities and this has not gone unnoticed by the public. Many sincere persons are impressed and some even have investigated the truth as a direct result of observing our Christian conduct. At hotels, motels and private homes where we are accommodated, we will especially want to demonstrate wholesome conduct. Do not be thoughtless or make loud noises that will be disturbing to others. We still receive reports of children playing by themselves on elevators or running uncontrolled in hallways. At one motel, Witness children left so many bars of soap in the swimming pool that the filtering system became completely plugged, resulting in serious problems for the management. Some conventioners, in making arrangements for accommodations, reserved blocks of rooms and then failed to keep their commitment, without letting the management know of their change of plans. Could we perhaps show more concern in these areas?
FIELD SERVICE ARRANGEMENTS: Arrangements will be made at each convention for field service on Friday following the conclusion of the afternoon session at 4:05. This will give all the opportunity to participate in the service in the early evening. We are pleased that at most conventions last year the field service arrangements were well supported. At one convention with over 7,000 in attendance, it was estimated that approximately 5,000 shared in the ministry. This is indeed very commendable and reflects the zealous spirit that we should all demonstrate.
VOLUNTEER SERVICE: Much work goes into the preparation of our conventions and many volunteer workers are needed. As in the past, various departments will take the initiative, inviting individuals in advance to assist. However, some of the larger departments will still need many more volunteers. Your congregation’s convention coordinator will receive information listing departments still in need of volunteers and he will make this known in the congregation. No volunteer service applications will be sent to the congregations.
Children 16 years of age or under must work together with a parent or other adult at all times. We encourage parents and their children to volunteer and work together, if possible.
There will be need for some last-minute volunteers. If you want to assist, please go to the Volunteer Service desk when arriving at the convention. The responsible brothers will inform you of where help is needed. Your willing service will be very much appreciated and will help toward the operation of a successful convention.—Acts 20:35.
FOOD NEEDS: Food and drink will once again be provided, following the procedure that has been used in recent years. We are most thankful for the hard work of our brothers and sisters who provide for our physical needs. As in past years, there may be surplus food available at the conclusion of the Sunday program. If so, perhaps you could purchase some of these items before returning home. Your cooperation in this will be a fine contribution indeed.
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 and you may purchase them a few weeks in advance so as to save standing in line when you first arrive at the convention site. It is suggested that you obtain enough food tickets in advance to care for your needs for the first two or three days of the convention. These tickets can be used for surplus food purchases as well.
Conventions have played a vital role in the lives of Jehovah’s people, both in Bible times and today. It is important that we take full advantage of the provision again this year as, without doubt, it will prove to be one of the highlights of the 1982 service year. With keen anticipation we look forward to the 1982 “Kingdom Truth” conventions and we are confident that the program will be both stimulating and faith-strengthening, aiding us to remain “steadfast, unmovable, always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord.”—1 Cor. 15:58.
It is suggested that each publisher or family group take this insert with them to the convention and review this information on the first day. This will serve to remind and encourage us to apply the direction that has been given.
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 1:20 p.m. on Thursday, 9:50 a.m. on 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 4:05 p.m. On Saturday the closing song and prayer are scheduled at 4:50 p.m., and on Sunday at 4:40 p.m.
BETHEL AND GILEAD MEETINGS: There will be a meeting on Friday 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. A meeting will be held on Saturday 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.
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. 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 as they will not be available at the conventions. 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.