About 4,500 Jehovah’s Witnesses will be in Charleston this weekend for their annual global convention, starting on Friday at the Charleston Civic Center.
Charleston has been hosting these conventions for the past 15 years, and the program in Charleston will be tied into one of seven larger international conventions held in the United States.
“The theme of this year’s convention is ‘Love Never Fails,’ and love is the most important teaching in the Bible,” said Matthew Stallard, local media contact for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Jesus directed us to love our neighbor as our self, and the Bible provides very practical guidance in that area, so attendees here are going to learn how to better show love in the family, at work, at school and in the community.”
Stallard said the reason Charleston was chosen for the convention is because it’s an extremely hospitable city and the facilities are optimal.
“We love Charleston,” he said. “The facilities here are some of the best in the country and we like the accommodations. The hotels here are outstanding and the proximity of restaurants [are as well]. It’s just perfect for a three-day convention.”
Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center management is very accommodating, said Stallard, adding that planning and staging of the event is done by volunteers.
The particular program will be presented on six continents, in over 200 countries and in 400 hundred languages with projected worldwide attendance of 14 million, according to a Jehovah’s Witnesses news release.
“The people who will be attending [in Charleston] are all from the tri-state area, so southeastern Ohio, eastern Kentucky, and western and central West Virginia,” he said.
Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses are free to the public with no collections.
“Local Jehovah’s Witnesses get an opportunity to meet and enjoy association with their fellow Witnesses, and the community here in Charleston is happy to accommodate the influx of visitors at the many local cafes, restaurants, hotels and popular tourist destinations,” said Perry Allen, a local representative for Jehovah’s Witnesses.