1992 “Light Bearers” District Convention
1 Jesus said his followers would be “the light of the world.” (Matt. 5:14) In contrast, the world’s spiritual and moral darkness grows greater with each passing day. (Isa. 60:2; Rom. 1:21) Our responsibility as light bearers takes on greater meaning as we approach the end of this system. Recognizing the vital role we play, it is with eager anticipation that we look forward to attending the 1992 “Light Bearers” District Convention. The first of this series begins on Friday, June 5.
2 A Three-Day Convention: This year we have planned a total of 153 conventions in the United States. Besides English, the entire program will be presented in Chinese, French, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Tagalog, with some sessions in Vietnamese. Please refer to pages 30 and 31 of the February 15, 1992, Watchtower for a complete listing. At 16 locations there will be sign-language interpreting. The program will begin at 10:20 a.m. Friday and conclude with song and prayer at approximately 4:15 p.m. Sunday. Doors will open at 7:30 a.m., and no one will be allowed to enter before that time unless assigned to work. All of Jehovah’s people will want to be in attendance for the entire program. Have you made a personal decision to be there for all three days? Be sure to pray for Jehovah’s blessing on your efforts.
3 From the opening talk Friday morning until the concluding comments Sunday afternoon, the entire program should have our rapt attention. Stirring information will be developed and presented in talks, demonstrations, interviews, and a drama. Plan to be in your seat well before the program starts on Friday. Usually, on the first day more time is needed to park, locate seats, and so forth. So give yourself plenty of time. By taking in all the sessions and remaining for the closing song and prayer, we gain the full benefit of the program and show our appreciation for our privilege of serving as light bearers.
4 Let Your Ear Become Attentive: The psalmist proclaimed: “To your reminders I keep showing myself attentive. How I do love your law! All day long it is my concern.” (Ps. 119:95b, 97) On every occasion that we gather to be instructed by Jehovah, there is a need to pay attention and listen not only with our ears but also with our heart. The need for this is more acute, though, when attending large gatherings such as a district convention. There is much for the eyes to see and the ears to hear. What a personal loss it would be if we invested time and finances to attend the convention only to return home with little recollection of the finer points on how we can improve as light bearers! We must do our best to counteract any distractions if we are to benefit fully from the program. How can we ensure that the information will be deeply embedded in our heart and mind at the conclusion of the convention program?
5 Listening is an art that must be cultivated and practiced. The word “listen” means “to hear with thoughtful attention.” Consider these few suggestions: (1) Put forth every effort to arrive at the convention site well rested each morning. This will take planning and family cooperation. If you are exhausted from lack of sleep or hungry because of not eating breakfast, or if your nerves are frayed because of having to rush, you will get little from the program. (2) Create anticipation with regard to how the theme will be developed. Some weeks prior to the convention, as part of your family study, why not have each member comment on what it means to him to be a light bearer. While at the convention, preview each part for that day before the program begins. (3) Dress appropriately, and refrain from eating and drinking during the sessions. A few have been observed in the auditorium or stadium seating areas eating or drinking during the program. This is disrespectful, distracts others, and displays a lack of self-control.—See The Watchtower of November 15, 1991, pages 8-18.
6 We want to give special attention to the matter of note-taking. If done properly, it will help you to follow the speakers more carefully and retain what you hear. Since we think four times faster than we speak, the best way to prevent mental wanderlust is to take notes. As one writer observed, “To listen to a talk is often harder than to give one.” You may recall that early Christians were known to take pieces of broken pottery to meetings and note scriptures on them in ink. Thankfully, we can do very well with a medium-size notebook and a pen or a pencil. To be skillful in note-taking means writing down just enough to capture the main idea but not so much that we are constantly writing. This would defeat our purpose and result in missing vital points covered by the speaker. Write down key words, and use abbreviations. Your notes will serve you most effectively if you review them that evening and then again prior to the congregation discussion of the program highlights on the Service Meeting.
7 Heartfelt Song and Prayer: Singing praises to Jehovah and reverently approaching him in prayer are integral parts of our worship. (2 Chron. 30:21, 27) These are important features of the convention in which all of us can participate. During the three days of our “Light Bearers” District Convention, we will sing 18 songs of praise to Jehovah and be united in eight prayers to our heavenly Father. These are truly priceless privileges. Jehovah is giving us more than 12 hours of spiritual education and training. During the few minutes allotted for song and prayer, we are thanking Jehovah for his generous gifts and praising him. Since it is as a congregated throng that we come before Jehovah in prayer, would we want him to view us as selfish and ungrateful individuals because we failed to join in song and prayer simply because of poor planning? Again, literature supplies this year should be plentiful at each convention, so those who appropriately stay in their seat until the session is concluded will not miss out. Similarly, no one should leave before a session is over in order to line up for food ahead of others.—Matt. 7:12; Rom. 12:10; Phil. 2:1-4.
8 Do All Things for God’s Glory: Each year we are given kindly reminders about the importance of good manners and proper conduct at the convention. The majority are to be commended for conscientiously heeding these reminders. As this system draws to a close, we are increasingly forced into the company of people at work and at school whose conduct is as foretold at 2 Timothy 3:1-5. This association can have an adverse influence on us if we do not keep our guard up. Never do we want to give cause for anyone ‘to speak against us as evildoers.’ (1 Pet. 2:12) This requires that we give more than the usual attention to our Christian personality. All should be watchful of their conduct at the convention and elsewhere in public, such as at motels and restaurants. Elders are interested in all their brothers. (Phil. 2:4) They should be helpful and commend others for their fine conduct. Elders should also feel free to give loving counsel if it becomes necessary, even though they are not personally acquainted with the brother or sister. Any serious problems noted should be reported to the Administration Office at the convention.
9 What do we need to keep in mind? Motel personnel must be treated with dignity and respect. The Rooming Department has worked hard to secure rooms far below the normal cost. If we are overly demanding or leave the room in an unsightly condition, the motel management may not agree to have Jehovah’s Witnesses for future conventions. Some of us still need to be reminded of this. It only takes a few to spoil the reputation of the majority.
10 Regarding the matter of tipping for services rendered, this was covered in the insert published with the May 1991 Our Kingdom Ministry. Please review some of the main points.
11 The new personality mentioned at Ephesians 4:24 is likened to a garment that one puts on after putting away the old personality. This change in personality should be reflected in our literal garments as well. Some brothers and sisters, particularly the younger ones, have been observed dressing very casually, even immodestly at times. Others take off their shoes and prop their feet on the back of the seat in front of them or walk around in stocking feet. Do we deport ourselves like this at the Kingdom Hall? Also, some baptismal candidates have worn T-shirts with worldly slogans and logos or imprinted with advertising for various products. Elders who review the questions with those preparing for baptism should make sure that those to be baptized understand what would be considered proper dress for the occasion.—See The Watchtower of June 1, 1985, page 30, and April 15, 1973, pages 254-5.
12 Recording Devices: Although video cameras are permitted, we urge those who use them to be considerate of others, selective in what they tape, and respectful of those who may not wish to be photographed while eating, listening to the program, or during prayers. Anyone videotaping or using cassette recorders should avoid distracting the audience or causing a disturbance. There is no objection to recording some of the program from your seat. But during the sessions, it would be inappropriate for anyone to be wandering around in the aisles and in front of the audience, taping the program. If necessary, attendants should speak to any who fail to show brotherly love in this regard. Please remember that no cameras or recording devices are to be connected to the electrical or sound systems at the convention, nor should any equipment be placed in aisles or in traffic areas.
13 For Parents: We would like to emphasize again the importance of parents’ supervising their children at all times, whether inside the convention grounds or at the motel. (Prov. 29:15b; Luke 2:48) While the program is in progress, be sure that your children are paying attention and taking notes. During intermission there are opportunities to visit with friends from other congregations.
14 To illustrate the importance of knowing where your children are at all times, a taxi driver in one convention city reported to a brother that he picked up two young girls at the convention center. They were evidently planning to be away for the entire afternoon and told the driver that their mother would not miss them until 5:00 p.m. This taxi driver was worried about their welfare, but what about their mother? What a tragedy it would have been had some calamity befallen them, not to mention the reproach on God’s name and people!
15 Your Full Cooperation Is Appreciated: How important is it that each one of us cooperate with the Society’s direction regarding attending the convention where our congregation is assigned? Careful planning by the Society and responsible brothers in each convention city goes into the preparation for each convention. It involves having adequate seating, food, literature, and so forth. If enough brothers attend conventions where they are not assigned, difficulties can result. Likely, few would have circumstances requiring their going to another convention. Other convention sites may appear more attractive for various reasons, but if a large percentage of brothers went to the location of their choice, the results would be very disruptive.
16 Your 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 CAR. Special sections for elderly and disabled ones will be available at all conventions. We ask that everyone please observe the signs carefully and follow the directions of the attendants. Some older brothers have had to look for seats in less accessible areas because younger ones filled the seats in the section for the elderly. Please be considerate of the elderly. We regret that it is not possible to accommodate requests for separate areas or rooms for those with problems such as allergies.
17 It is suggested that you keep to a minimum any personal items brought to the convention. If an item does not fit under your seat, it may be better to leave it at home. Large coolers are not allowed in the aisles for safety reasons, and if they are put on the seat next to you, someone may be deprived of a seat.
18 Literature and Food Service: All literature and food items will be distributed under the simplified arrangement in effect the last few years. 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.
19 Sufficient food is ordered to care for the anticipated attendance at each convention. If each person, including young ones, takes only what is needed for each meal, all should be satisfied. Please see that you take only enough food for the immediate use of yourself and your family. Keep in mind that food is not to be taken away from the convention site for later use elsewhere. The only exception to this would be if there is extra food remaining in the evening that is served out of the food stands at the close of each day or as surplus at the end of the convention Sunday evening.
20 It has been observed that unopened containers of food have been deposited in the trash barrels by those who took more than necessary. Unused food items cannot be returned to the food stands. It is better to take a modest amount first and then go back later if you still wish to have something additional after all others are served. The convention is pleased to make it as convenient as possible to care for basic food needs.—See The Watchtower of November 15, 1991, page 11, paragraphs 13 and 14.
21 Please observe that there will be separate containers for trash and for empty soda cans. To help expedite recycling, please completely empty your soda cans before disposing of them in the proper receptacle.
22 Jehovah’s people appreciate being able to meet together in fine facilities in order to benefit from the spiritual program 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, installation of expensive sound systems, operation of an efficient Food Service Department, and a number of other services that make attending the convention enjoyable and spiritually refreshing.
23 Attend the “Light Bearers” District Convention: By attending the “Light Bearers” District Convention, we will be thrilled to hear why being light bearers is a great honor and privilege. We will be reminded that it is also a serious responsibility. By paying more than the usual attention to the things heard at the convention, we will improve in both our skill and our appreciation of our role as light bearers. Make your plans now to be on hand for all sessions, from the opening song on Friday to the concluding prayer on Sunday afternoon.
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District Convention Reminders
Rooming: Your cooperation in using only 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 are 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 and aisles or between rows of seats. Since large 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 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. After the last verse, the attendants will direct the baptismal candidates to the immersion site or to vehicles that will take them there. 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 convention. There have even been a few reports of unscrupulous individuals attempting to lure young children away from the convention area. Please be careful.
It has been reported that some motels provide easy access to television movies with immoral content or even of a pornographic nature. This highlights the need to avoid unsupervised TV watching by children at these places of lodging.
Some brothers and interested persons have called the management of the convention facility seeking information about starting times for the sessions and related matters. Please do not do this. If the information you need cannot be found in The Watchtower or Our Kingdom Ministry, you should write to the convention address found on the back of the Special Needs Room Request forms on file with each congregation secretary.