Come to the 1990 “Pure Language” District Convention
1 The 1990 district conventions will have the theme “Pure Language,” and you are invited to attend. In the United States, 142 conventions are scheduled. They will commence on June 7 and will run for nine consecutive weeks. Although most will be in the English language, there will also be conventions held in Chinese, French, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. Additionally, sign-language interpretation will be featured at 16 conventions.—See pages 30-1 of The Watchtower of February 15, 1990.
2 Jehovah’s prophetic word at Zephaniah 3:9 says: “Then I shall give to peoples the change to a pure language, in order for them all to call upon the name of Jehovah, in order to serve him shoulder to shoulder.” The convention this year not only will identify what the “pure language” is but will also help us to appreciate why learning it and speaking it fluently are so vital and how our ability to use it strengthens the unity of the worldwide brotherhood.
3 ARRIVE EARLY: Jehovah’s organization is inviting us to feed at his spiritual table. It is a sign of respect and appreciation to arrive on time. Actually, this means that we should arrive early each day and be seated before the program begins. This requires allowing sufficient time to care for matters that need attention, such as parking our vehicle and finding suitable seats for our family.—1 Cor. 14:40.
4 Delegates to the conventions in Poland last year were impressed by the godly devotion, love, and unity of their brothers. Deep appreciation for the spiritual provisions the convention would bring was evident. Each morning, the brothers were at the convention sites early, seated and ready for the opening song and prayer. They stayed for the closing song and prayer, and they lingered after the program so as to fellowship with their brothers.
5 The orderliness of the brothers was exemplary. They had come to listen and to learn. Even rain falling on the open stadiums at Poznan and Chorzów could not divert their attention from the program. The younger ones present, including small children, were well-disciplined, quiet, and attentive to the program. Families were seated together. They were exemplary in their display of deep respect for Jehovah’s table. How can we benefit from their example?
6 It is Scriptural to imitate the good example of others. (2 Thess. 3:7) While our personal circumstances may be different, we too want to get the most out of our conventions. To prevent anxiety and frustration because of getting a late start to the assembly site, some families find it beneficial to set a reasonable time for retiring. By strictly adhering to a schedule, they are more likely to get a good night’s sleep and be ready for an early start the next day. This avoids arriving while the program is in progress, which is distracting and can be an annoyance to those already seated. Our thoughtfulness in this regard is a reflection of our reverence and respect for Jehovah and of our love and consideration for our brothers.
7 A FOUR-DAY CONVENTION: The “Pure Language” District Convention will last four days. It will begin on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. and will conclude about 5:10 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. On Friday through Sunday the program will begin at 9:30 a.m. Each day will be filled with vital information related to speaking the pure language. There will be talks, demonstrations, experiences, symposiums, and two Bible dramas.
8 Make it your resolve not to miss even one session. This may require personal sacrifices and adjustments in your schedule. Some may find it necessary to make special arrangements with their employer. Many even forgo financial advantages in order to attend all sessions. However, think of what many of our brothers sacrificed and had to go through in order to attend the conventions in Poland last year. Does it not incite you all the more to be present at your convention for every session? Jehovah will certainly bless those who make the matter a subject of sincere prayer and put forth heartfelt effort to attend.—Heb. 10:24, 25.
9 Consider the joy expressed by a family from the Midwest after attending last year’s district convention. They said: “It was a wonderful program of instruction, which we all appreciated. One outstanding new feature that really touched our hearts was the way you released the new publications. My wife and I were moved to ‘really open up’ and give far more than we ever have at any assembly throughout the many years we have been associated. We were not alone. There was just something about the new arrangement that motivated us to do more than usual. Of course, none of us could ever give enough to Jehovah for all he has done for us and continues to do.”
10 LISTEN INTENTLY: At Psalm 50:7 Jehovah says: “Do listen, O my people, and I will speak.” Therefore, during the convention program, do not be distracted by sights and sounds unrelated to the material being presented from the platform. Our desire to speak the pure language fluently should motivate us to comply fully with Jehovah’s request at Isaiah 55:2: “Listen intently to me.”
11 All the material to be presented at this convention is for our spiritual well-being and will serve to strengthen our resolve to remain steadfast in our service to Jehovah and at unity with our brothers. The convention will bring us up-to-date with the current needs and help us to keep pace with Jehovah’s organization. Inattentiveness will result in our being left behind. We must keep ourselves absorbed in the program in order to derive full benefit from it and thereafter put what we learn into practice.—Jas. 1:25.
12 Is there something we can do so as to pay better attention to the program and remember the information presented? Yes, there is. Many convention delegates have developed the useful habit of taking notes during the program. Appropriate note-taking materials should be included with Bibles and songbooks as standard equipment when attending a convention. If you have viewed note-taking with skepticism, why not try it during the “Pure Language” Convention? You may find that it is a good way to keep your attention riveted on what is being said and that it protects you from allowing your mind to wander.
13 Notes need not be extensive or elaborate. Usually a phrase or two will suffice for a key point. Elders find it advantageous to have neatly arranged notes for conducting a meaningful review of the convention program on the Service Meeting. Also, they may wish to incorporate many of the points presented at the convention in their teaching and shepherding work.
14 SONG AND PRAYER: We honor Jehovah by singing his praises. It is a part of our worship. Jehovah is also pleased when his people approach him in earnest prayer. (Prov. 15:8b) District conventions afford us a unique opportunity to be united with thousands of our brothers and sisters in praising Jehovah in both song and prayer. However, some have shown a lack of respect for these important parts of our worship. How? By unnecessarily arriving at the convention during or after the opening song and prayer. Or at the conclusion of the program, some leave their seats during the song and before the prayer. Why? On rare occasions there may be good reason for doing this. However, is proper respect and appreciation being shown for Jehovah’s table when some relinquish the privilege of singing and joining in prayer just so they can get an early start to their cars or to eat?—Matt. 6:33.
15 Care must be exercised that in the pursuit of personal convenience, we do not allow the worldly me-first attitude or ungodly traits such as greed and selfishness to hamper our spiritual progress. May we show the same spirit of appreciation for sacred things as our brothers did at the conventions in Poland last year, and may we walk shoulder to shoulder with them by showing appropriate respect for such lofty features of our worship, namely, prayer and the singing of praises to Jehovah.—Ps. 69:30.
16 OUR CHRISTIAN MANNERS: Our Christian manners and appearance at conventions have earned us a good reputation as Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is because we are serious in our worship of Jehovah and because we do not view attending a convention as a mere social outing. When coming together for such special occasions, we should maintain Christian dignity and a spiritual frame of mind, conducting ourselves as ministers at all times.—1 Cor. 10:31-33.
17 However, it is disturbing to see that a few attending the conventions have become unduly casual in their attitude, dress, speech, and conduct. What can be done when such things become evident in the local congregation or at a convention? Those who have spiritual qualifications should offer loving counsel with a view to readjustment. (Gal. 6:1; Eph. 4:11, 12) Speaking the pure language should incite us to uphold our good reputation and high standards of conduct.
18 A visitor at one of the conventions left the following note in a contribution box: “I enjoyed your program very much. I will now study the Bible with one of [the] brothers. This was my first visit to any of your assemblies. I planned to come only on Saturday, for Sunday is my church day. But so impressed was I that I came today and brought my entire family with me. But I was disappointed by the adults talking loudly while the speaker was speaking.”
19 It has also been observed that at some conventions a few teenagers sit in upper portions or remote areas of the auditorium, pass notes, whisper, and generally do not pay attention to the program. Conduct of this nature indicates that they still need parental supervision and should be seated with the family. Responsible parents will give attention to these matters and provide the guidance needed by their children. (Eph. 6:4) Brothers, sisters, and young ones should appreciate that when the program is on, it is a time to be listening, not talking.—Deut. 31:12.
20 Another area where consideration and courtesy should be displayed is in connection with our place of lodging. We are acquiring good motel rooms at significantly reduced rates. We should show appreciation and be considerate of motel personnel, being courteous and not overly demanding. (Gal. 6:10) Good counsel has been given regarding proper conduct at motels. Many have responded favorably and are earnestly striving to cooperate fully with motel personnel. Despite such cooperation, a negative attitude toward the Witnesses persists in some places. Why?
21 Most of the brothers have displayed a fine attitude about the articles “To Tip—Or Not” and “Tips on Tipping,” on pages 24-7 of the June 22, 1986, issue of Awake! This information was referred to in the insert for last year’s district conventions. It still deserves our attention. Please reread these articles, as they specifically define who expect tips and how much, according to the custom in different countries.
22 Additionally, the above-mentioned Awake! articles stress that when “attending a convention, what you do personally reflects on the whole group. People will judge the group by your behavior.” So regardless of your personal views about tipping, when you visit a city as a delegate to a convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses, use good judgment and discernment and be ready to “do all things for the sake of the good news.”—1 Cor. 9:19-23.
23 After attending last year’s district convention, a sister received a letter from the maid who cleaned her hotel room. It said, “I would just like to thank you for leaving your booklet and tip for me. . . . Thanks to you, I am now having Bible studies and learning to appreciate our Father Jehovah and his Only-Begotten, Jesus Christ. . . . I am happy you enjoyed your stay at our hotel. I hope to see you at the next convention.” The maid had underlined the words “booklet” and “tip” in her letter.
24 Although the vast majority of the brothers bring honor to God’s name, we must admit that a few families attending conventions have given reason for complaint. For example, after renting a room with the rated capacity of no more than four or five persons, including children, some have brought in up to ten persons, and that is dishonest. To accommodate them, mattresses were taken off the beds and placed on the floor so that some could sleep on the mattresses while others slept directly on the box springs. Then extra linen was requested from the management. In addition, sleeping bags were used for children to sleep in.
25 There are motels that no longer want to rent their rooms to Jehovah’s Witnesses because some have violated regulations prohibiting the cooking of food. Another complaint is that brothers have checked out of motels, leaving their rooms in an unsightly condition. Cleanliness and consideration should be manifested not just in our dress and conduct but also in the way we treat the property of others. Is there any reason why a rented room should not be left neat and clean? Inconsiderate behavior mars our good name. During the coming district conventions, let all of us strive to conduct ourselves so as to “adorn the teaching of our Savior, God, in all things.”—Titus 2:10.
26 FOR PARENTS: Young children and teenagers are among those invited to the “Pure Language” District Convention. They too must speak the pure language fluently. How fine it is to see young ones who have learned to pay close attention at all Christian meetings and who are intently interested in the convention program! (Ps. 148:12, 13) But much depends on the example and supervision of the parents. Many young ones have been well-trained to take notes. If as a parent you have not as yet taught your children how to take notes, why not use the time remaining before your convention to do so? Even the very young can be encouraged to write down Scripture citations and related key words they hear expressed by the speakers. Some parents arrange to review main points from the day’s program after returning to their place of lodging or while traveling home.
27 Of course, most parents appreciate that the natural inclination of children is to be playful. They lack experience in life, and they are immature. Therefore, they have to be taught when to pay attention and how to conduct themselves at meetings. This calls for good supervision by their parents. Some parents have been lax in this area. At times, although parents may be showing proper reverence to Jehovah during a prayer, their children are playing and distracting others. Parents should know what their children are doing even during prayers. Also, what are they doing when they leave their seats during the program? Are children left unsupervised during or after the convention program?—Prov. 29:15.
28 In some cases children have been left unsupervised in motel swimming pools while the parents are in the room, out to dinner, or involved in other activity. This is not proper. Some children have acted in an undisciplined and unruly manner and even have been disrespectful to older brothers and sisters who have tried to correct them in a kindly way. Such unruliness and conduct unbefitting Christians is often the result of permissiveness and a lack of discipline in the home. It certainly should be corrected. All Christian parents should give close supervision to their children at all times as they bring “them up in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.”—Eph. 6:4.
29 YOUR FULL COOPERATION IS APPRECIATED: Considerable planning and work have been done to see that sufficient seating, literature, food, and other provisions are available for everyone attending the convention. To ensure the effectiveness of these arrangements, each congregation has been specifically assigned to a particular convention. Your full cooperation is vital in order to prevent overcrowding. Of course, there may be circumstances that make it necessary for a few to attend a convention in another area. However, most should be able to attend the convention at their assigned location.—1 Cor. 13:5; Phil. 2:4.
30 Your full cooperation is requested in the matter of saving seats. Please keep in mind that SEATS MAY BE SAVED ONLY FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS AND ANY WHO MAY BE TRAVELING WITH YOU IN YOUR OWN CAR. Please do not reserve seats for others. At times, extra seats are reserved for no one in particular. This is unloving and is misleading to the attendants and others looking for available seats. In harmony with the Bible counsel, we should strive to display brotherly affection and cooperate fully with the approved arrangement for saving seats.—2 Pet. 1:5-8.
31 It is suggested that good judgment be used in bringing personal items to the convention site. In the past, some have brought large coolers or other bulky items that could not be placed under their seats. These were placed in the aisle or on seats. This resulted in depriving others of a seat, and sometimes it violated fire and safety codes. We need to show consideration in such matters.
32 The use of video cameras and audio recording equipment is permitted at the convention site. However, those who use such equipment must exercise care to avoid disturbing or distracting others. Such equipment should not be set up in aisles or exits. No such equipment should be connected to the public address system or electrical outlets. Floodlights will not be permitted. Those who are causing a distraction or ignoring any of the above guidelines should without hesitation correct the matter when it is brought to their attention. Attendants and others in charge will be alert to correct any violation of these guidelines, and they should receive full cooperation from those using such equipment.
33 LITERATURE AND FOOD SERVICE: As was done last year, all literature items will be distributed without charge. In addition, this year the Society will adjust and simplify the food service arrangements, making all food items available at no charge to those attending the convention, in the same way as the literature. What fine provisions these are, making the work lighter and much faster for the benefit of everyone! No doubt such generosity on the part of God’s organization will move us with gratitude to express our appreciation in practical ways.—Prov. 11:25.
34 Certainly, Jehovah’s people appreciate being able to meet together at fine facilities each year in order to benefit from the delightful spiritual program that has been prepared. We also appreciate the many services and conveniences provided at such gatherings. With much care and at considerable expense to the Society, arrangements are made for adequate seating, installing expensive sound systems, operating an efficient food service, and handling a number of other arrangements and services that make attending the convention enjoyable and spiritually refreshing.
35 These expenses are covered by your voluntary contributions in support of the Society’s worldwide work. For your convenience, clearly marked contribution boxes are located throughout the convention facility. All contributions are very much appreciated, and the Society wishes to thank you in advance for your generous and unified support of Kingdom interests in this way. We are confident that all will be moved to sense their individual responsibility with regard to the changes here mentioned and will cooperate fully by sharing to the extent their circumstances allow.—Luke 6:38.
36 COME TO THE “PURE LANGUAGE” DISTRICT CONVENTION: By attending the “Pure Language” District Convention and paying close attention to the program, you will appreciate even more fully why Jehovah has given us the pure language and why we must always be on guard against any selfish tendencies that could interfere with our being at unity with our brothers. Make your plans now to be on hand for the opening song and to attend all sessions until the concluding prayer on Sunday afternoon.
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District Convention Reminders
ROOMING: Your cooperation in using the listing of accommodations provided by the convention is very much appreciated. If you are planning to stay overnight in the convention city and have not already confirmed a reservation, please do so immediately. If you find it necessary to cancel your reservation, you should write or phone the motel directly, doing so as far in advance as possible so that the room can be made available to someone else.
Congregation secretaries should be sure that Special Needs Room Request Forms have been promptly forwarded to the appropriate convention address. If you must cancel an accommodation made through the special needs arrangement, you should immediately notify both the landlord or motel and the convention Rooming Department so that the room can be reassigned.
BABY STROLLERS: In many locations, baby strollers may not be used in places of public assembly. Fire regulations prohibit parking them in corridors, aisles, or between rows of seats. Since larger crowds may cause congested conditions, baby strollers are potentially dangerous not only to the baby but also to any who may stumble over them. So please do not bring them to the convention site. However, infant or car seats are permissible, since these can be secured in seats next to the parents. Your cooperation in this matter will be appreciated.
BAPTISM: Baptismal candidates should endeavor to be in their seats in the designated section before the program begins on Saturday morning. A modest bathing suit and a towel should be brought by each one who plans to be baptized. After the baptism talk and prayer by the speaker, the session chairman will give brief instructions to baptismal candidates and then call for a song. Beginning with the last verse, the attendants will direct the baptismal candidates to the immersion site or to vehicles that will take them there, while the rest of the audience completes the singing of the song. Since baptism in symbol of one’s dedication is an intimate and personal matter between the individual and Jehovah, there is no provision for so-called partner baptisms in which two or more baptismal candidates embrace or hold hands while being baptized.
VOLUNTEER SERVICE: Volunteer help is needed for the smooth operation of a district convention. Even if you may be able to work for only a part of the convention, your services will be appreciated. If you can assist, please report to the Volunteer Service Department when you arrive at the convention. Children under 16 years of age can also contribute to the success of the convention, but they are required to work with a parent or other responsible adult.
BADGE CARDS: Please wear the specially designed badge card at the convention and while traveling to and from the convention site. This often makes it possible for us to give a fine witness while traveling. Being identified as a convention delegate by a clearly inscribed badge card will facilitate the operation of the simplified food service arrangement. Badge cards should be obtained through your congregation, as they will not be available at the conventions.
WORDS 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. Please be careful.
It has been reported that some motels provide easy access to television movies with immoral content or even of pornographic nature. This highlights the need to avoid unsupervised TV watching by children at these places of lodging.