1986 District Convention Arrangements
1 Divine education promotes peace. This was emphasized by the inspired words of the prophet Isaiah regarding sons of God’s symbolic woman, or heavenly organization, when he stated: “And all your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah, and the peace of your sons will be abundant.” (Isa. 54:13) That statement certainly shows a direct relationship between divine education and peace. Furthermore, the apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians stated: “The peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7) Since this “peace of God” is granted to and enjoyed only by those who willingly receive and apply such divine education, we are confident that you will be anxious to be in attendance at one of the forthcoming 1986 “Divine Peace” District Conventions that are being scheduled in the contiguous United States. A complete list will be in the February 1, 1986, Watchtower. There is no question that this will require real effort on your part. The apostle Peter in his first letter to the early Christians wrote that they should “seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Pet. 3:11) The rewards should prove to be well worth the effort we may expend to be in attendance.
2 During the announcement period of the Service Meeting for the week of December 29, the letter from the Society dated December 10, 1985, should be read, informing the congregation of the convention it is assigned to attend. Following this Service Meeting, the elders should post on the congregation’s information board the Recommended Lodging Locations list that has been received from the district convention committee of all the motels that are cooperating with the Society’s rooming arrangement. By cooperating with these arrangements, the congregations will help the convention organization in its efforts to provide sufficient seats, food, literature, and rooming accommodations for everyone. To assist you in making the necessary arrangements, the information that follows is being provided. As you make your plans to be in attendance, lovingly include others who need assistance, especially newly interested ones, so that they too can attend every session. (Gal. 6:10) The program will start at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.
3 You should make your own rooming arrangements directly with the motel by using the information provided by the convention through your congregation. In most cases you will pay a great deal less than the regular rates charged by the motel, since the local convention committee has negotiated for a large number of good quality rooms. These rooms will be assigned by the motel only to those identifying themselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses or as delegates attending the Watchtower Convention. The Recommended Lodging Locations list shows the address of the facility, its agreed-upon rates, and the phone number to be used in making your reservation.
4 WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: As soon as your congregation posts the list of motels, you should IMMEDIATELY phone the motel of your choice, identifying yourself as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses or as a delegate attending the Watchtower Convention. Doing so will qualify you for the agreed-upon rates listed. Do not make rooming reservations at more than one facility or reservations that you do not intend to use. (Matt. 5:37) MOTELS ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO EXTEND THE SPECIAL RATES BEYOND THE CUTOFF DATE. If you find it necessary to cancel your accommodations, you should write or phone the motel directly, doing so as far in advance as possible. This makes the room available for other delegates who need accommodations. If the motel you call first is filled, then call your next selection from the list, and so on. The convention Rooming Department will monitor the arrangement and, through the congregation, will provide revised lists as long as necessary, deleting those motels that are filled and adding additional ones until everyone has a room. Thus, if the motels on the list are filled when you call, please wait patiently for the next list and you will be able to obtain a room.
5 DORMITORIES: A few conventions use school dormitories in order to accommodate all those attending. Usually congregations will receive information on these a month or so after the first motel listing. Those needing accommodations of this type should follow through in accord with the instructions on the list that is sent to the congregations by the convention committee.
6 SPECIAL NEEDS: Arrangements to care for those with special needs should be made by the congregation where these attend. Elders and others aware of such circumstances can lovingly extend help. This often involves taking others with them in their own group, for example, those in full-time service, the elderly, the infirm, or the deaf. They may also care for such ones in other ways. (Acts 20:35; Jas. 2:15-17; 1 John 3:17, 18) We are confident that loving concern will be shown to all who need our help. (2 Cor. 6:11-13; John 13:35; Gal. 6:10) Of course, the convention Rooming Department will endeavor to provide rooming accommodations for those with special needs who are unable to care for themselves, or who cannot be cared for or assisted by those from their local congregation. These may ask the convention coordinator in their congregation for a Special Needs Room Request form, discussing their situation with him at that time. Those with special needs are the only ones that should use this form. They should fill it out and return it to the convention coordinator to be checked for completeness, accuracy, and verification of the fact that their circumstances qualify them for special needs consideration that cannot be cared for by the local congregation. This should be done well ahead of the convention. Even though the convention coordinator forwards the form for the publisher with special needs to the convention Rooming Department, the individual will be notified directly of the accommodations by the Rooming Department. The publisher with special needs should NOT simply go to the convention and request a room when he arrives, because the convention Rooming Department needs the verification of the congregation’s convention coordinator.
7 Private home accommodations listed by the convention are usually set aside for those who have limited funds and who would experience real hardship if such accommodations were not available. They are not intended for those who want free or inexpensive rooms just to save money. Nor is it proper for delegates to presume upon the hospitality of our brothers by expecting to be accommodated extra days so that they can visit vacation spots or do other things before or after the convention. These rooms are for the convention period only.
8 DELEGATES ATTENDING FROM OUTSIDE THE ASSIGNED AREA: To reduce travel, district conventions are arranged at many locations. In nearly every case, the location assigned for you to attend is the one nearest to your congregation. Seating, literature, food orders, and so forth, are planned on the premise that the majority will attend the convention to which they are assigned. However, if for some reason you will be attending a location other than the one assigned, you may ask the convention coordinator in your congregation for the address of the convention headquarters where you will attend. He will find these addresses listed on the back of the Special Needs Room Request form. Unless persons have special needs, they should NOT use the Special Needs Room Request form. Rather, they should write to the convention headquarters where they wish to attend and request a copy of the motel listing for that location, sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope along with this request. Upon receipt of this listing of motels, they should proceed just as if they were using the list for their local area.
9 YOUR COOPERATION NEEDED: The smoothness and the success with which this rooming arrangement functions depends largely on the cooperation of everyone involved. For instance, if a number of delegates run ahead and make reservations on their own before the congregation receives the list of facilities that are cooperating with the convention Rooming Department, it can cause a major breakdown in negotiations. This would also include making reservations for the following year while attending the current convention as some have done, even though they do not know the dates or if a convention will even be scheduled in that city. If this is done and a convention is scheduled in that city the following year, the motel management would see no need to list with the convention nor give them special rates, since most of the rooms would already be filled with our people during that time. The same is true if a number of delegates choose to make their own arrangements with facilities the convention did not list because they did not cooperate with the convention rooming arrangement.
10 In the past some have not seen fit, for one reason or another, to select their rooming accommodations from motels on the Recommended Lodging Locations list provided through the Society’s arrangement. When this happens, it has been known to jeopardize seriously the possibility of using that city again for a convention, because other motels have learned of those that did not cooperate with us and yet these motels were filled with our people at much higher rates than we were willing to list. One such motel manager stated: “WHY SHOULD I LIST ROOMS WITH YOUR CONVENTION AT LOWER RATES? I FILL THEM ANYWAY WITH YOUR PEOPLE!” Managers who cooperated with us on rates and whose motels were listed have felt taken advantage of, since other motels did not cooperate and yet they were filled at much higher rates. As a result, they have stated that for future conventions they will raise their rates too.
11 As an example, a motel across the street from the convention site or elsewhere may not lower its rates or may possibly even raise them for the convention, as has been the case in some instances. Hence, the convention Rooming Department advises the motel management that the motel will not be put on the list and thus get our business. However, if brothers go ahead and accept these higher rates and fill this motel, even though it is not listed, then that motel may never lower its rates. In turn, the management of other motels may be encouraged to hold out for higher prices.
12 We have been informed, also, of another practice on the part of some that is seriously damaging our relationship with the motels as well as depriving other brothers and sisters of needed rooming accommodations. Some have been making reservations at a number of motels and when they arrive in the convention city, they check each one. The one that suits them best is the one they take. This results in a considerable number of rooms remaining empty and perhaps prevents some of our brothers and sisters from enjoying the accommodations they prefer. It also causes the motel to lose money, since there is no demand at this point for the room unless someone happens to come at the last minute.
13 In this regard, a letter was recently received from the general manager of a very prominent motel who had this to say: ‘We have deeply appreciated having Jehovah’s Witnesses stay here. However, there has been a trend developing, in the last years, on the part of those attending to make a reservation for a room early in the year, with no real intention of using that room. This year, our reservation department had to refuse some of your people’s requests for accommodations, only to find there were many rooms unclaimed throughout your convention. Some, by their own admission, had reserved rooms at three motels, intending to see, on arrival, which one they liked best. This is certainly an unfair practice for both the motels and for those persons who had wished to come but had been informed that there were no rooms available.’
14 The conventions are working to save all our brothers as much expense as possible, and so it is in the best interests of all that everyone cooperate fully with the Society’s rooming arrangement. The listing is broad enough to give a choice of good quality accommodations and yet give preference to the motels that cooperate. Our aim with this rooming arrangement is to help delegates to be accommodated as comfortably and economically as possible, so that they will be refreshed and fully able to enjoy the fine spiritual program.
SIGN LANGUAGE SESSIONS
15 As you will note in the February 1, 1986, Watchtower, sign language translation will be provided ONLY at 16 specific convention cities. (No provision will be made at any other conventions for sign language.) We know this will prove to be a real blessing to those with this special need by providing good quality translating and larger groups with which to enjoy upbuilding fellowship. Those who are signers can do much to let the deaf in their congregation know of the arrangements and help them to attend where the sign language provision is made by the Society.
16 No provision will be made by the Society for recording the program or the dramas either on audiotape or on videotape. Any individuals who make personal recordings for their own use should do so in such a way that it will not disturb or distract others in attendance.
[NOTE TO THE BODY OF ELDERS: Please read the Society’s convention assignment letter for your congregation, dated December 10, 1985, at your Service Meeting during the week of December 29 and post on the congregation’s information board the Recommended Lodging Locations list from the district convention committee. Please read the assignment letter again at your next meeting and then post it on the information board. In this way, all the congregations will receive the information the same week.
The elder serving as the convention coordinator should conduct the Service Meeting part covering this insert as scheduled, as well as handle other convention-related material and announcements on the meetings. When covering this insert, please read paragraphs 2-4, 6, and 8-14, and make application of scriptures as time allows. All elders will want to cooperate fully and offer suggestions to ensure the prompt, enthusiastic, and effective handling of convention-related material.]