Jehovah's Witnesses meeting here

Starting Friday, Jehovah's Witnesses will have two conventions back-to-back at the Columbus Civic Center, 400 Fourth St. "Follow the Christ" is this year's theme.

The dates are Friday through Sunday, and July 13-15. These are district conventions that are expected to draw nearly 10,000 people to Columbus over the two weekends and add $2.9 million to the area economy. Witnesses from east Alabama and west Georgia are attending. The public is welcome. Attendance is free, and there are no collections taken.

Both three-day weekends will include teachings from the Bible. The conventions are part of similar gatherings U.S. from May through September. The international Jehovah's Witness headquarters is in Brooklyn, N.Y.

For more information about the local gatherings, call 334-291-9595. Here are some of the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses: • Their name for God is Jehovah, and they believe his Son is Jesus Christ. • They view first-century Christianity as their model. • Witnesses believe the Bible is the infallible, inspired Word. • Witnesses seek Jesus' example of being no part of the world by avoiding controversies and prejudices. Though not ascetics, they avoid being excessive in pursuit of wealth or pleasure or prominence.

Convention times for both weekend are: Morning sessions begin at 9:20 a.m. On Friday and Saturday, afternoon sessions begin at 1:50 p.m. On Sunday, the program starts at 1:30 p.m.