Jehovah’s Witnesses return to in-person conferences – The Suffolk Information-Herald

Suffolk’s Daisy Scott was thrilled when congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses returned to in-person conferences this month.

“I’m overjoyed! I can’t wait to see everyone again in person,” mentioned Daisy Scott, of Suffolk, who’s been attending conferences of Jehovah’s Witnesses for 20 years.

Jehovah’s Witnesses within the U.S. suspended public ministry on March 20, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the subsequent two years, they carried on their ministry via letters and telephone calls whereas holding twice-weekly conferences in a digital format. Average attendance at these conferences exceeded 1.5 million every week within the U.S., church officers mentioned in a information launch, although there are fewer than 1.3 million Jehovah’s Witnesses in some 13,000 congregations.

“There is a collective shout of joy among Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world right now,” mentioned Robert Hendriks, U.S. spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “While we have prospered in many ways as individuals and congregations using technology to bring us together, nothing can adequately replace being together in person. We have longed for this moment for the better part of two years.”

The transfer again to in-person conferences coincides with two world occasions being held in all 120,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The first is a particular lecture on April 10 entitled “Where Can You Find Real Hope?” Additionally, the annual commemoration of the loss of life of Jesus Christ will probably be held on April 15, “the very day he sacrificed his life 1,989 years ago.” Both of those gatherings will probably be held in individual at native Kingdom Halls with dwell audio system. No collections are ever taken.

“The timing of resuming in-person meetings could not be better,” mentioned Hendriks. “Bringing everyone back together for these special events will have a powerful effect on the worldwide congregation.”

Guidelines for holding “hybrid” conferences have been despatched to all congregations within the United States. Over the previous six months, many Kingdom Halls have been outfitted with the required expertise to carry a gathering for in-person and distant attendees, all of whom can take part within the discussions. A pilot program was held in October and November in nations all over the world to evaluate how this might be carried out most successfully. The classes realized in these pilot conferences have helped type the plan for shifting ahead with reopening all Kingdom Halls, the place the legislation permits.

“It has been heartwarming to see the peace and unity among Jehovah’s Witnesses during this very divisive time,” mentioned Hendriks. “We know resuming in-person meetings will bring us even closer together. We’re anxious to see one another again.”

“I look forward to seeing and upbuilding my friends face to face,” mentioned Scott. “I know I’m going to be in tears.”

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