Jehovah’s Witnesses convention expected to draw 13,500 in Amherst this weekend

  •  A Jehovah's Witnesses convention at the Mullins Center at UMass Amherst in 2016. FILE PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 7/26/2019 3:00:04 PM

AMHERST — More than 13,000 people are expected on the University of Massachusetts campus this weekend for an ongoing global convention of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“Love Never Fails” is the theme of the 2019 convention, which runs through Sunday at the Mullins Center.

The Amherst event is tied to seven larger international conventions held throughout the United States, during which 35,000 foreign delegates from 105 countries will be attending.

The same program for Jehovah’s Witnesses, in Spanish, will be held next weekend, Aug. 2-4, also at the Mullins Center.

With the people attending the convention, restaurants and other businesses in downtown Amherst and near the campus are expected to be busy, which they were last weekend when about 10,000 people were in town for the National Lacrosse Federation tournament, held on playing fields at UMass and in Amherst, and an additional 2,000 or so people came to the first weekend of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Convention.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman said having so many people in town was great for Amherst’s dining and shopping destinations, while Ann Tweedy, marketing manager for the Amherst Business Improvement District, said a number of people stopped by the Visitor Information Center during the weekend.

This weekend’s convention began with a program focused on how love can help people surmount obstacles, like a troubled upbringing, chronic illness or poverty, and was expected to be followed by a program to consider how Bible principles help family members to show love for one another. The convention concludes with a program that will include a public Bible discourse entitled “True Love in a Hate-Filled World—Where?” that addresses overcoming prejudice and hatred.

Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses are free and open to the public.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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