Three-Minute Interview: 2014 International Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses

By Stephanie Davis Smith, February 18, 2015

Convention spokesperson David Fitzgerald gives us a peak at the event that brought more than 24,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses to Oahu, Hawaii. 

THE 411

David Fitzgerald

David Fitzgerald

Where: Hawaii Convention Center near
Honolulu, Oahu

When: Nov. 14-16 and Nov. 21-23, 2014

Attendees: 24,000 from 10 countries

Speakers: 51

Hawaii-based Jehovah’s Witnesses: 8,200

Planning time: 6 months

Who plans your events?

We don’t have a planner for our conventions. In New York, there’s a governing body of about seven men for Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world. They decide the global interests of our entire group and the direction, and then under them are committees of men who handle certain aspects of carrying out those directives. See, the committee members don’t campaign for a position. They are volunteers recommended and approved by the committee above them.

How the New York Witnesses picked Hawaii as the location for this international convention is kind of like the Olympic Games… You never know exactly why a city was chosen. That top governing body appoints a committee to select the convention cities. Regional conventions take place every year, but three-day international conventions like this one are more sporadic. There’s no rhyme or reason to when they happen. In 2014, there were 193 Jehovah’s Witnesses international conventions in 71 cities and nine countries around the world, and they all followed the

MakingLeis

Jehovah Witness volunteers making leis for international conference in Oahu.

What you love about being the spokesperson for this event?

It’s fun and an incredible privilege. JW’s are often misunderstood. None of us claim to be perfect, however we do strive to be good honest law abiding citizens in our respective communities regardless of which country, state, or city we live and work in.

I loved bridging the gap between JW’s and the public’s perception of what we do, our witnessing work and why we attend these conventions. When conversing with the media I endeavored to use terms that those in the Hawaii community could relate to and hopefully grasp the benefit it would be for themselves and their families by accepting the open invitation to attend.

Most inspired by:  

The program was brilliant. It not only helped to elevate my thinking and ideals but also encouraged me to follow through in the areas I could improve in, in order to strengthen my relationship with my creator and become a better contributor toward my fellow man or women. When I attended his convention I felt like I was having a part in the most noble, greatest movement there has ever been.

Favorite quote from the event?

So many… There was a talk about keeping your life’s priorities in the right order. He said if you don’t have important kingdom interests first, its just like mis-buttoning a shirt, no matter what, it won’t fall in line.

How many of these int’l or regional conferences have you been to? 

At least 6 International conventions  and 51 regional conventions.

What did you learn most from the conference?

The convention reconfirmed for me that the Bible brings together a united worldwide brotherhood, that out of love for Him would put His will ahead of their own. I saw it in action. Incredible experience.

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