Jehovah's Witnesses gather for worry-free convention

2014-06-06T00:00:00Z 2014-07-03T12:00:15Z Jehovah's Witnesses gather for worry-free conventionBy Johanna Willett Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

About 6,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses will check anxiety at the door this weekend for the religious group’s annual convention.

Starting today, the first of eight, regional conventions at the Tucson Convention Center invites attendees to apply biblical principles to issues such as worry in a weekend titled “Keep Seeking First God’s Kingdom!”

The weekend-long gatherings that span the summer are expected to attract about 45,000 people, some of them traveling from New Mexico, West Texas and other parts of Arizona, said Sam Hall, the regional media correspondent.

To prepare for the convention, the 51 congregations in Tucson have passed out invites and cleaned the convention center, said Gerry Wilhelm, an elder for the Saguaro Congregation. Those congregations meet in 18 Kingdom Halls.

Wilhelm and his family have frequented the conventions since the 1980s. Though his children have grown, he still attends with his wife and now sees his daughter and her family at the gatherings.

“It’s always an opportunity to just take your mind off the day-to-day cares and give some attention to spiritual things and refocus,” Wilhelm said. “I also really enjoy seeing the families attend together.”

This year, two dramas — one with an ancient setting and another set in modern day — will highlight biblical principles applicable to both periods.

Throughout the summer, 193 conventions will take place in 71 cities across the country, Wilhelm said.

Contact reporter Johanna Willett at jwillett@azstarnet.com or 573-4357.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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