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Woodburn Independent

Jehovah's Witness convention returns to Woodburn

By Justin Much,


Jehovah’s Witnesses announced that things will be busy in the coming months as multiple congregations will be assembling for the first time in more than four years.

That means Woodburn will be seeing an influx of visitors as the JW Woodburn Assembly Hall will be one of the groups’ destinations. The group announced earlier this year that it returned to in-person meetings. Taking that a step further, JW is gravitating back to the larger conventions as in the past.

“Due to the pandemic, the last convention Jehovah’s Witnesses had in person, was in 2019,” said Brent Fillman, a JW public information representative of the Salem and Woodburn areas. “There are 14 weeks of conventions at the Assembly Hall in Woodburn at 1510 N Pacific Hwy, throughout the summer. In addition Salem has 3 English conventions, at the (state) fairgrounds, the last one is this weekend.

“These involve multiple congregations assembling together,” Fillman added. “From May through September 2023, Jehovah’s Witnesses will host 708 conventions in 144 U.S. Cities in 35 different languages. Worldwide we will host over 6,000 conventions in over 500 languages.”

Fillman and Martin Navarro, a JW public information representative for the Portland-metro area, both emphasized that when JW members congregate, most hail from out of town and enjoy exploring and shopping in the areas they visit.

Fillman noted that there are more than 1.2 million Jehovah’s Witnesses in more than 12,000 congregations in the U.S. Worldwide the number swells to 8.7 million members in more than 117,000 congregations.

“All congregations throughout the world will have this same ‘Exercise Patience’ convention. All sessions are open to the public and attendance is free,” Fillman noted.

Back to normalcy

Like most faiths, JW officials stress that personal contact is vital to the human spirit.

“As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we believe that personal interaction and community are essential to our faith,” said Stephen Eatman, local spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “While our virtual conventions were a great alternative during the pandemic, we long to return to the in-person gatherings that allow us to strengthen our bonds with one another and deepen our spiritual connections.”

Some 6,000 conventions will be held worldwide, including more than 700 in the U.S., as part of the 2023 “Exercise Patience!” convention series.

From Friday through Sunday, six convention sessions will explore the quality of patience, highlighting its modern-day relevance through Scriptural examples. A live baptism will be performed following the Saturday morning session and a prerecorded drama will be featured in two parts during the Saturday and Sunday afternoon sessions.

“Patience is a quality that we all wish we had more of, but it’s not just a desirable trait — it’s an essential one to a Christian,” Eatman said. “In a world that moves at a breakneck pace and demands instant gratification, developing patience is crucial for our mental and emotional well-being. Spending three days exploring aspects of this quality is something we feel everyone can benefit from, as it will help us to cultivate a deeper sense of peace and contentment in our daily lives.”

Fillman conveyed that Jehovah’s Witnesses have been holding public conventions in stadiums, arenas, convention centers, and theaters around the world for more than 100 years. After resuming smaller in-person meetings and their public ministry during 2022, the summer of 2023 marks the first time they will gather at much larger regional events around the world since the lifting of pandemic restrictions.

The convention is open to the public and no collection is taken.

For information on the program or to find other convention locations and dates, visit and navigate to “About Us.”

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