Over 3,400 people have gathered at the South Okanagan Events Centre for the Regional Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The convention began Friday morning and will continue through Sunday afternoon. The theme of this year’s event is “Be Courageous!” This is the sixth consecutive year holding the convention at the SOEC, an extra year on a five-year contract between the events centre and Jehovah’s Witnesses Canada. Mark Brett/Western News

Convention attracts around 3,500 Jehovah’s Witnesses to Penticton

Organizers of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Regional Convention for the B.C. Southern Interior hope to return to Penticton next year after more than a half-decade holding the annual event in the city.

The 2018 convention this weekend marks the sixth straight year the convention has been held at the South Okanagan Events Centre, attracting more than 3,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses to the city.

In fact, this year’s convention is estimated to have hit near the 3,500 mark in attendance, a slight rise over the year previous, which marked the end of a five-year contract to hold the event at the SOEC. The event began on Friday and continued through to Sunday at the SOEC.

Related: Jehovah’s Witnesses filling events centre

“Every year it’s a highlight for us that we look forward to. We come here to be encouraged and listen to the talks that give us Bible counsel, Bible help.” attendee Tim Feeny said.

The Feeny family said while they go to church every week, the convention offers something more concentrated for followers of the faith.

“Our weekly meetings at our local kingdom halls, wherever we’re from, they’re a shorter period of time — it’s a couple of hours out of our week,” Melanie Feeny said.

“But our conventions, it’s three days usually that we’ve taken time away from our — we’re all busy — taken time out of our busy lives, and devoted that time to come here and just focus on something that’s upbuilding, positive and helpful to our daily lives.”

Related: SOEC inks five-year deal with Jehovah’s Witnesses

“Be Courageous!” during critical times, is the theme of this years’ convention.

“In critical times we need courage more than ever. At school, at work, and when tragedy strikes,” convention spokesperson Peter Matkovich said.

This year, the convention stuck around for a sixth year, with organizers hoping to come back again next year, speaking positively of the hospitality in the city.

“What’s to happen next year, we don’t know. But that’ll be up to the organizers and the city organizers,” Matkovich said. “(I’m) hoping that it’s here. It’s very convenient. I’m a resident of Kelowna, so coming here to this event is very convenient for my family.”

The event attracts followers of the faith from around the Southern Interior, between the Kootenays and the Okanagan, Matkovich said. And the Feenys said that has meant they get to see friends from across the province and make new ones at the event.

“We enjoy seeing all of our friends here. … So we enjoy catching up,” Melanie said, adding the couple’s daughter, Piper, gets to see some of her friends at the event as well.

“She loves the videos. So that’s something that’s new in the last four years or so that there’s a lot of videos to enjoy,” Tim said. “Videos are such a good teaching tool.”

That includes videos for children, with animals to help the children understand some of the lessons.

Prior to Penticton, the event was held in Kamloops, which was a longer drive for the Feenys and Matkovich, all from Kelowna. While they said the event was good for them wherever, they added they liked the views in Penticton better.

Report a typo or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

City budget 2019: Kelowna council settles on 4.43% tax hike

Proposed tax hike includes controversial 1.95 per cent levy to address infrastructure “deficit”

Scholarship smooths road ahead for Okanagan College transfer student

27 students from Okanagan College received awards from the Irving K. Barber Society

Crash stalls traffic on Benvoulin, vehicle flipped on its side

Early reports from the scene note traffic is backed up in both directions along Benvoulin near Byrns Road.

Your guide to winter light ups around the Okanagan

From Vernon to Summerland, with a stop in Kelowna, we’ve found some activities for you to enjoy

Omar Khadr wants changes to bail conditions

‘My life is held in suspension’, says the former Guantanamo Bay detainee

Sissons scores OT winner as Predators beat Canucks 4-3

VIDEO: Vancouver battles back to earn single point in Nashville

Lions announce seven members of coaching staff not coming back for 2019

The operational moves come two days after the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as the team’s new head coach

Okanagan lawyer honoured by appointment to Queen’s Counsel

Only seven per cent of practising B.C. lawyers are appointed

Missing man last seen in Shuswap

Red Deer RCMP would like public’s help locating elderly man with dementia last observed in Sicamous

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

No plans yet for free WiFi on BC Transit buses

BC Transit says they are monitoring the roll-out of free WiFi on Translink vehicles

Some Kotex tampons recalled in Canada and U.S.

In some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Most Read