I notice quite a few empty chairs.
I notice quite a few empty chairs.
That is a lot of empty chairs.
By T.J. GREANEY
Thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses are expected to gather at Mizzou Arena this weekend to discuss the end of the world.
They want people to ask themselves three questions: Am I prepared? What are the signs? Will I be saved?
“We are taught to be on the ready basically at any point,” said Kevin Lancaster, news service overseer for the convention. “The Bible tells us that we do not know the day or the hour. But by prophecy and Scripture, we are able to clearly identify the time period of the last days in which we are living.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian denomination that boasts more than 7 million members worldwide, believe that only a select few of the righteous will be saved when Armageddon comes. Some adherents have placed the number that will be saved and go to heaven at 144,000. Those not selected to go to heaven would spend eternity on Earth, which the religion teaches will be transformed into a terrestrial paradise.
Four local congregations meet at different times at Kingdom Hall on Smiley Lane; the building has a capacity of 200 and was constructed in 2007. Their numbers have grown so rapidly in recent years that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are building a new church on Old Plank Road.
Lancaster said some warning signs of the last days laid out in the biblical Second Epistle to Timothy include children being disobedient to parents, and boastful, covetous and blasphemous actions.
He said he sees those things every day.
“Although that’s happened through the years, the elevated degree to which we see this now shows the Bible to be true: We are living in the last days,” Lancaster said. Other Jehovah’s Witnesses have pointed to biblical prophecies of wars and pestilence as indications of God’s displeasure with humanity.
This weekend’s convention, open to the public, includes three days of speeches and panel discussions on various aspects of the end of the world and the afterlife. Tomorrow, beginning at 11:40 a.m., there will be a discussion of the importance of baptism, followed by a full-submersion baptism of new members in a pool.
On Sunday afternoon, there will be a dramatic re-enactment of the Bible story “The Prodigal Son.”
In the run-up to the convention, members have spent three weeks going door to door in Columbia neighborhoods handing out invitations.
On a recent day, Sean Cotton, 40, in a dress shirt and tie, went door to door in the Parkade neighborhood with the invitations, which show a drawing of a line of people with hands linked, walking out of a storm and into the light. When asked whether many people seemed interested in coming to the convention, he was cautiously optimistic. “Several people were very appreciative, and they thanked us for coming by,” Cotton said.
Cotton said he has been to the local convention for three years consecutively. He said those expecting doom and gloom will be surprised at its upbeat message.
“It’s not a downer at all,” Cotton said. “The fact that God’s kingdom is going to come is good news. The phrase ‘end of the world’ has a negative connotation, but it’s really not the end of the planet Earth. The Bible says God does not want anyone to be destroyed but wants us all to have everlasting life. The point of these district conventions is to give us the instruction that we need so that we can be a part of that.”
I noticed the empty chairs as well.
I'm not sure if this is a common practice but... some of the older people in my Dad's congregation, including my father, attend the DCs in a split fashion. They attend one of the days per week since they have to travel a long distance and they don't have money to stay over. So they'll go to the Friday session the first week, the Saturday session the second week, and the Sunday session the third week (or whatever works best for all of them).
Wow...my first response to that picture was suprisingly strong...I mean I haven't been to a meeting for probably 20 years and I don't know how long since I've been to an assembly but I instantly had those old suffocating feelings I used to get. My next reaction was surprise at how many chairs were empty...when I was a good Witness girl those would have been packed. But in those days, the assemblies were five straight days and you were "assigned" a place...it was closer to a one shot deal. My Mom is 80 and she does the "break it up in smaller doses" too...goes on Friday on month, Saturday the next, etc. Also interesting that they could have used that banner at any of the assemblies I attended in the 70's/80's. Same old message...
the assemblies were five straight days and you were
When I became a Jw they were 8 days assemblies..
If you only knew what hell it was in a tent.
couldnt afford a hotel. Yes I know how you felt when you saw the above
x When I became a Jw they were 8 days assemblies.. x
Interesting. They've cut them down by more than 50%. Yay! My Dad was mentioning DC's coming up in October ... Boo!
I asked him if it was the same content as the June one he just attended. He wasn't sure. I figure it is. If so... Yack!
tossed and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd.