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

LETTER: Thanks to all who ran in election

To those that were elected, I look forward to your collective stewardship

Kettle Valley Steam Railway holds train ride of terror

Summerland tourist train will have Halloween-themed events

Ballet Kelowna to kick off 16th season with pair of premiers

Fresh off performances in Beijing and Toronto, company will perform at KCT Nov. 16 and 17

LETTER: Support candidates who will assist cannabis industry

Cannabis has often provided extra income for fruit growers or paid the bills for students

COLUMN: Life is So Good: A biography to remember

George Dawson was African American at a time of great racial discrimination

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

VOTE: Nature in Focus reader’s choice photo contest

The Penticton Western News Reader’s Choice photo contest

Who is running in Summerland’s election?

Introducing you to the candidates asking for your vote on Oct. 20

Ovechkin has 4 points as Caps rough up Canucks 5-2

WATCH: Defending champs pick up impressive win in Vancouver

World Junior Hockey fever hits Vernon

Vipers spice up floor ball demonstration at OK Landing School

Shuswap refugee family settles into new, more hopeful life

Father of 10th Syrian family to come to Salmon Arm says learning English, work, top priorities

RCMP seek missing Vernon man

Michael Ramsey, 49, was last seen Oct. 21

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Most Read