Thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses to descend on Sheffield for huge convention

Gifford Birchley, one of the speakers at the Jehovah's Witnesses gathering at the Mororpoint Arena, Sheffield.
Gifford Birchley, one of the speakers at the Jehovah's Witnesses gathering at the Mororpoint Arena, Sheffield.
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Thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses will descend on Sheffield for a huge faith convention next month.

Around 10,000 people will flock from across South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire to Sheffield Arena for the free event which starts on July 1.

More than 80 congregations plan to attend the three-day convention, which is one of 20 in the UK and among more than 1,000 internationally.

While the majority of attendees will be Jehovah’s Witnesses, people who do not follow the religion are expected to make the trip to learn about the faith.

Robert Sealey, a spokesman for the convention said Sheffield was an ‘ideal spot’ for the congregations to meet and that it will benefit the local economy as thousands will be staying in the city’s hotels overnight.

Mr Sealey said:“The arena is brilliant. We used to meet in football stadia across the country which wasn’t ideal if the weather was bad. The local hotels give us wonderful facilities and it certainly does benefit the economy of Sheffield.

“The arena means we can hold lectures, and hold interviews with people about their life stories and experiences. There will also be videos for everyone to see.

Mr Sealey continued: “We meet regularly in smaller groups and every summer we do this. It’s really nice to meet people that have the same ethos and outlook and life as you.

“And the public are welcome to come along. It’s a free event so people can come along and what we are doing.”

The theme of the convention is ‘Remain Loyal to Jehovah’.

Explaining his beliefs, Mr Sealey said:“Loyalty is a quality almost universally admired.

“Jehovah’s Witnesses firmly believe that Jehovah - as God calls himself in the Bible - is the person worthiest of our loyalty.

“The convention will examine the reasons why this is important, consider the examples of individuals who have demonstrated this quality and discuss ways loyalty can be displayed.”