After a three-year pandemic pause, one of the largest convention organizations in the world has once again chosen St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, to host its global three-day event: the 2023 “Exercise Patience!” Convention.
Prior to 2019, summers in USVI were marked by Jehovah’s Witnesses filling restaurants and staying in hotels or with local congregants to attend their annual conventions. In 2020, the pandemic interrupted that tradition, when the Witnesses canceled their in-person events throughout the world and held their convention programs as virtual events in more than 500 languages. Beginning Friday, July 7, the Witnesses will bring that tradition back to St. Croix.
The convention series calendar starts in the Frederiksted Kingdom Hall on St. Croix with the program being held in English and Spanish from July 7-9; then during the weekend of July 21-23, the program will be streamed in English and Spanish in the Charlotte Amalie Kingdom Hall, St. Thomas, and streamed in English in the Lane Cruz Bay Kingdom Hall, St. John.
“Virtual conventions were very enjoyable,” said Ulises Rivera, spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “They very much filled a need during the pandemic for me and my family. However, going back to in person convention for the first time in three years is a reason for joyful expectation for me.”
Some 6,000 conventions will be held worldwide 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.
“Nothing beats being there, together with family, friends and guests,” said Rivera.
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 more information on the program or to find other convention locations and dates, please go to www.jw.org and navigate to the “About Us” tab.