Jeremy Brown says it does’t matter whether they are walking in neighborhoods knocking on doors or opening the doors of their regional conventions to the public, the purpose of Jehovah’s Witnesses is always the same.
“We are trying to give people hope,” Brown said.
On two weekends in June, Jehovah’s Witnesses will be holding regional conventions at the Columbus Civic Center. Everyone is invited to attend at no cost.
Convention spokesman William Goodman said more than 9,800 Jehovah’s Witnesses from Alabama, Georgia and Florida are expected to attend.
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Bearing the title “Don’t Give Up,” the large gathering will be held June 9-11 and June 16-18.
A business analyst at TSYS, Brown is playing a key role in planning for the conventions.
An elder with the River Road Congregation, Brown will also be one of the speakers. He plans to talk about “How God Supplies Endurance and Comfort When We Are in Material Need.”
“Many people today suffer disappointment and feel discouraged but there is hope. The Bible shows us how to have a happy life now and an even better life in the future,” Goodman said. “The Bible’s message of hope is the subject of this year’s conventions.”
The Friday and Saturday sessions will go from 9:20 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. Sunday sessions will end at 3:30 p.m.
A highlight of the program will be a three-part feature film that shows a family learning why Jesus said to “Remember the Wife of Lot.”
There will be many multimedia presentations to help people discover how the Bible and even nature teaches lessons about how to endure.
With a few exceptions, Jehovah’s Witnesses has been meeting here since 1998.
“The folks at the Columbus Civic Center have just been great,” Goodman said.
Brown’s wife, Loria, looks forward to the event every year.
“It is like a reunion where I see old friends,” she said. “At the same, I am always meeting somebody new and becoming close with them.”
The Browns say those who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses are very welcome.
As with visits to homes on Sunday, Brown said this is not an attempt to convert anyone to their faith.
The Browns, who live in Cataula, Ga., quoted Matthew 28:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of nations.”
“We are doing what Jesus was doing,” Loria Brown said.
Her husband added that one of the biggest misconceptions about their faith is that they do not believe in Jesus.
“We absolutely do,” he said. “You can’t reach salvation without going through him.”
Brown was raised in Phenix City. His wife is originally from Connecticut.
Both were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses. He remembers going to convention as a youth.
“Back then it was fun going and being in hotels,” he said. “Now that I am older I like it being here and Columbus-Phenix City is a great place for it. There is so much to do now, so many activities, so many restaurants and hotels.”
Both are regulars visitors in local neighborhoods.
“Many people don’t answer the door but we really do not see many irate people. Some people are amazing. One woman recently invited me to see her kitchen. It was a nice visit.”
Brown has been doing it for more than 30 years, beginning when he 10 years old.
“It is a labor of love. It is a chance to meet people from various backgrounds and share the way to have a better day. Some people say they already have a religion and that is fine. We can still talk scripture. We can learn, too,” Brown said.
“There are so many angry people in the world today,” Loria Brown said. “Being kind to one another is a way to find real peace. We want to make people happy.”
Brown said he hopes people from the area will stop by at the convention. He called it a “great experience.”