Jehovah’s Witnesses convention to attract over 7,000
Spokesman hopes Citywest event will help understanding of faith
Delegates at the Jehovah’s Witnesses convention at Citywest. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times
An attendance of about 6,800 gathered to witness the keynote address, along with a video drama of Jesus’s life and teachings, relayed on screens in the main auditorium.
It marks the fourth year in a row that the conference has been held in Citywest.
Convention spokesman David Dunlea said the venue is ideal both in terms of the capacity and the facilities on offer, which allow for the customary full-body immersion baptism ceremony.
“We try to base our model on first century Christianity, the type of Christianity that Jesus instituted when he was on the earth,” he said.
“Every active Jehovah’s Witness is an ordained minister, male, female, young and old. Everybody would be involved in that work going door to door. It’s voluntary work so nobody does it on a paid basis.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses are sometimes disparagingly portrayed as a peripheral cult, and Mr Dunlea is keen to dispel any inaccurate perceptions.
“We don’t want people to have those kind of misconceptions because that’s not what we’re about. We’re very open about our activities,” he said.
“My view on the 144,000 is that it is up to Jehovah to choose those people,” said Deborah Olaitan Awogboro (20), on her religion’s assertion that spaces in heaven are finite.
“In regards to other people who don’t have that privilege we have the hope of living on earth forever in the future . . . We believe the Armageddon is God’s judgment day. It’s up to Jehovah to decide who will be destroyed and who will live forever.
End is near
“We can see even by turning on the TV how society is getting so much worse.
“There is so much war and hunger, suffering, pain and all these things don’t make for a happy earth, so in the Bible it was foretold that if you see all these things the end is coming near.”
Brought up as Catholics, Swords residents Dave and Michelle Boxwell now dedicate much of their time to knocking on doors in an attempt to teach people in their locality about their faith.
“People don’t always know the facts about Jehovah’s Witnesses. Sometimes misconceptions can lead to awkwardness,” said Ms Boxwell.
As a young member of the church, Jodi Slator insisted his religious preferences had never driven a wedge between him and his peers, adding that he respects the personal choices of others that may be contrary to his values.
“We view everybody the same. There’s certain moral issues we don’t agree with, but that doesn’t change our view of the person,” he said.
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