1989 “Godly Devotion” District Convention
1 The expression “godly devotion” refers to reverence, worship, and service to God, with loyalty to his universal sovereignty. The prime example of godly devotion is Jesus Christ. He was the one man to manifest godly devotion perfectly under severe conditions down to his death. (1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 7:26) As followers of Christ, we must strenuously train if we are to display godly devotion. This entails enduring opposition as Jesus did. (2 Tim. 3:12) Training with godly devotion as our aim “holds promise of the life now,” namely, spiritual health, satisfaction, happiness, and a purpose in living. It also holds out to us the promise of life that “is to come.” (1 Tim. 4:7, 8) Therefore, such training is not for our materialistic gain. Rather, as a result of it, we are content with basic provisions as we serve Jehovah.—1 Tim. 6:6-8.
2 Though persecution and hardship may come, true Christians need not fear, for “Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial.” (2 Pet. 2:9) He admonishes them to be identified by “holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion” in order to survive the judgment of Jehovah’s day. (2 Pet. 3:10, 11) Would you like to learn ways to strengthen your godly devotion so as to remain loyal to Jehovah in the difficult days ahead? Much helpful counsel and encouragement regarding this will be presented at the three-day “Godly Devotion” District Conventions planned for the United States branch territory this summer. Plan now to attend and partake of the fine spiritual refreshment to be presented.
3 Following the Service Meeting for the week of January 2, the elders will post on the congregation’s information board the Recommended Lodging Locations list covering the district convention to which your congregation is assigned. This list gives all the motels presently 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. As you make your plans to be in attendance, lovingly include others who need assistance, especially newly interested ones, so they also can attend every session. (Gal. 6:10) The program will start at 10:20 a.m. on Friday.
4 WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: As soon as—but NOT before—your congregation posts the Recommended Lodging Locations list containing the addresses of the motels, their agreed-upon rates, and the phone numbers, you should phone the motel of your choice and make reservations, identifying yourself as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and as a delegate attending the Watchtower convention. Doing so will qualify you for the rates listed, which in most cases have been greatly reduced, since the convention has negotiated for a large number of rooms. One night’s DEPOSIT will be required at all locations in order to hold the room. Your deposit should be sent directly to the motel AS SOON AS you make your reservations. Do not make reservations at more than one motel or at motels that you do not intend to use. (Matt. 5:37) MOTELS ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO HOLD THE ROOMS OR EXTEND THE SPECIAL RATES WITHOUT A DEPOSIT. If you must cancel your reservations, you should notify the motel directly, doing so as far in advance as possible. This makes the room available for other delegates. If the motel you call first is filled, call your next selection from the list, and so on. The convention Rooming Department will continue to provide the congregation with revised lists as long as necessary, deleting motels that have been filled and including additional motels until everyone has a room. Thus, if all the motels on the list are filled, 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 of 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 the instructions on the list that is sent to the congregations by the convention.
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 the individual circumstances can lovingly extend help. This often requires that publishers consider the needs of those in full-time service, the elderly, the infirm, the deaf, and perhaps others, which may include taking such ones with them. Publishers may care for such ones in other ways also. (Jas. 2:15-17; 1 John 3:17, 18) Of course, the convention Rooming Department will endeavor to provide rooming accommodations for publishers with various special needs who are unable to care for themselves and who cannot be assisted by those in the congregation where they attend. These publishers may ask the congregation secretary for a Special Needs Room Request form, discussing their special situation with him at that time. The secretary should then speak with the Congregation Service Committee to see if it is possible for the congregation to assist these persons to care for their own rooming accommodations. If not, then he may give them a copy of the Special Needs Room Request form. Those with special needs are the only ones that should fill out this form. It is to be returned to the secretary and checked for completeness, accuracy, and verification of the circumstances that qualify the person or persons for special needs consideration, which is to be explained in detail in the space provided on the form. This should be done well ahead of the convention. This provision is only for baptized Witnesses and unbaptized publishers, including their children, who are in good standing with the congregation. The secretary will then forward the form to the convention Rooming Department. The individual making the request will be notified directly about the accommodations. Those with special needs should NOT go to the convention and request a room when they arrive because the convention Rooming Department needs the verification of the congregation secretary.
7 Private-home accommodations are usually set aside for those who would experience real hardship if such accommodations were not available. They are not intended for those who can afford motel rooms but who want free or inexpensive rooms just to save money. Similarly, it is not proper for delegates to presume upon the hospitality of our brothers by expecting to be accommodated extra days in order to visit vacation spots or do other things before or after the convention. These rooms are for the convention period only. Those receiving such accommodations should see that they and their children act respectfully toward the home of their host and do not damage anything or rummage through the possessions or private areas of the home. If householders experience any difficulties along this line, this should immediately be brought to the attention of the Rooming Department at the convention, and the brothers there will be happy to help.
8 DELEGATES ATTENDING FROM OUTSIDE THE ASSIGNED AREA: In nearly every case, the location assigned for you to attend is the one nearest 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 convention other than the one assigned and need accommodations, the congregation secretary can give you the address of the convention headquarters where you desire to attend. These addresses are listed on the back of the Special Needs Room Request form. Then write to that convention headquarters and request a copy of the motel listing for that location, sending along a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Upon receipt of this list, use it to make your reservation.
9 YOUR COOPERATION NEEDED: The smoothness and success with which this rooming arrangement functions depend on the cooperation of everyone involved. (Compare Genesis 6:22.) Unless everyone cooperates by using ONLY the motels on the list, the Society may have to discontinue the present rooming arrangement. Thus, we are asking everyone to cooperate with the Society’s rooming arrangement so as to avoid major difficulties that we are experiencing in our negotiations.
Because a number of complaints have been received, it is also necessary to make the following requests:
1) Do not make reservations before the congregation posts the Recommended Lodging Locations list from the convention or try to do so for the next year while attending the current convention.
2) Do not make reservations with motels not on the list or accept a higher price than what is quoted for a motel on the list.
3) Do not make reservations at more than one motel and, after arriving, check each one and then take the best one, canceling the others.
4) Do not reserve rooms for others without giving names and sending the deposits for each room immediately.
5) Do not put more people in the room than the law and the management allow, which is never more than four or five people, including children. To do otherwise is dishonest. (Remember, you are paying a rate based upon no more than four or five persons in the room.)
6) Do not check in before 1:00 p.m. or whatever is the motel policy. (You may check in after the program that day, since your deposit guarantees your room.)
7) Do not cook or heat food in the room unless it has a kitchenette for that purpose.
8) Do not get food on floor, walls, beds, or linens.
9) Do not allow children in hallways, elevators, or swimming pools without parental or guardian supervision with them. Do not use the swimming pools after their closing time.
10) Do not take any linens, including towels and washcloths, away from the motel.
10 Because of violations in these areas, the Society will be asking the Rooming Departments to check with the motels during the convention to determine if any are experiencing such violations and who is involved. Such abuses are selfish and unloving. They not only make it difficult to negotiate for good rates at the motels but also bring reproach on Jehovah’s name and organization. (Ps. 119:168) Your compliance in these matters is earnestly sought so that the Society may be able to continue assisting delegates to obtain reasonably priced accommodations. On the other hand, if you experience a problem with a motel, please immediately bring it to the attention of the Rooming Department overseer at the convention, and he will be pleased to assist in resolving it. The convention organization is working hard to save our brothers as much expense as possible, so it is in the best interests of all for everyone to 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 arrangement is to help delegates to be accommodated as comfortably and economically as possible so they will be refreshed and fully able to enjoy the fine spiritual program.
11 A simplified food service arrangement similar to last year is planned for 1989. This greatly eases the work load and allows more attention to be given to the spiritual aspects of the convention, with the workers being able to enjoy more of the program. (Ex. 12:16b; Deut. 31:12; it vol. 1 pp. 503-4, 821; compare Luke 10:38-42.) The menu provides sufficient sustenance for the morning and noon periods. (Compare Matthew 14:14-20.) For evening meals, everyone is free to make his own arrangements, although some food will be available at the convention.
12 The Society appreciates very much the fine support you brothers and sisters have been giving to the food service arrangements at the district conventions over the years. This has made it possible to rent good buildings and care for the convention expenses. It has also enabled you to remain at the convention site during the short noon break and to be present, on time and refreshed, for the more important spiritual program.
13 As you will note in the February 15, 1989, 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.) This has proved to be a real blessing for a number of years now for those with this special need by providing good-quality translating and larger groups with which to enjoy upbuilding fellowship. Those who are signers should let the deaf in their congregations know of the arrangements and help them to attend where the sign-language provision is made by the Society.
[NOTE TO THE BODY OF ELDERS: Please read the Society’s convention assignment letter for your congregation, dated December 15, 1988, at your Service Meeting during the week of January 2, and post the Recommended Lodging Locations list on the information board. (NO ONE, INCLUDING THE ELDERS, SHOULD MAKE ANY MOTEL RESERVATIONS BEFORE THIS SERVICE MEETING.) Please read the assignment letter again at your next meeting, and then post it on the information board. In this way, all congregations will receive the information the same week.
The congregation secretary should handle convention-related material and announcements on future meetings. All elders will want to cooperate fully to ensure the prompt, enthusiastic, and effective handling of convention-related material.]