Search

Thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses ‘seek God’s Kingdom’ in Newham

10:59 26 August 2014

Thousands attend the Jehovah's Witness convention at the ExCel Centre

Thousands attend the Jehovah's Witness convention at the ExCel Centre

Archant

The godly descended on Newham as thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses sought God’s Kingdom at the ExCel Centre.

Surej Sadanandan, Jehovah's Witness from Forest GateSurej Sadanandan, Jehovah's Witness from Forest Gate

Fifteen thousand Christians attended the three-day convention from Friday to Sunday, which was linked-up by video to 15 sites across the country.

The theme of this year’s event, held at the ExCel for the first time, was Keep Seeking First God’s Kingdom, and featured talks and sessions to coincide with an even larger convention in Twickenham.

Families turned out in their Sunday best to hear ministers and speakers on large video screens or live on stage discuss family values, health, hard work, and the Kingdom of God.

Surej Sadanandan, 41, a Witness from Forest Gate Kingdom Hall, who attended with his two sons, said the event was “the highlight” of their year.

Performers role-play on stage to explore everyday problemsPerformers role-play on stage to explore everyday problems

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe people should live by Bible principles, which they say “give purpose to life, promote strong family ties and develop productive and honest citizens”.

They are often to be found outside train stations in London with literature about their faith and go door-to-door spreading their message. Peter Howell, chairman of the convention, and a minister at a Kingdom Hall in Edmonton, said he was impressed by the turnout of worshippers in east London.

“The mixture of nationalities is astonishing,” he said. “The multi-cultural diversity we see.

“The good news of the Kingdom applies to everybody.”

Convention over-seer John Taylor, Minister Mike Hodson and media officer Ray Trundley at the Jehovah's Witness convention at the ExCel CentreConvention over-seer John Taylor, Minister Mike Hodson and media officer Ray Trundley at the Jehovah's Witness convention at the ExCel Centre

Mr Howell suggested that people from Africa and eastern Europe tend to bring with them a tradition of faith which could account for their interest in the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

He said: “There’s a materialism about the west that can kill off that spiritual aspect of people’s lives. So if people come here and adopt the British spirit, there’s less emphasis on family life and spiritual things.”

Mr Howell said the faith, which does not celebrate Christmas or Easter, as they are not in the Bible, follows the teachings of Jesus.

“We’re really teaching what the Bible says,” he said. “And it reaches every aspect of your life.

What are Jehovah’s Witnesses?

- A Christian-based religious movement with 6.9million active Witnesses in 235 countries in the world as of 2007, including 130,000 in the UK.

- Produces a magazine, the Watchtower, which claims to have a worldwide readership of 46million.

- Founded in America in the late 19th century by Charles Taze Russell and have their headquarters in New York.

- Believe the Bible is the divinely inspired and historically accurate word of God.

- Believe traditional Christian churches, (which do not recognise them as Christian), have deviated from the true teachings of the Bible.

- Believe the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is irrational and has no basis in the Bible.

- Do not celebrate Christmas or Easter, which they say are pagan-influenced.

- Believe humanity is in the “last days” and that the final battle between Good and Evil will happen soon.

Source: bbc.co.uk/religion

“There’s a lot of religions about who will profess Christianity, but when it comes to sticking to what the Bible says, they say ‘that’s old-fashioned, we’ve moved past that, God will understand’. But what authority have they got for saying that?”

Jehovah’s Witnesses look forward to the transition from the current world system to the Kingdom of God, and believe “Armageddon”, or the end of the world, as described in the book of Revelations, is on it’s way.

In the meantime, they say they try to live by Biblical principles, being “in this world, but not of it”.

Convention over-seer John Taylor, who was tasked with the practical arrangements for this mammoth event, said: “We try to live our lives as best we can in this system, but what we aspire to is in God’s Kingdom.”

The convention had a fairly serene atmosphere, lacking the miraculous healings and appeals for money of some evangelical Christian meetings.

“We make a point of not pressing people to give money,” said Mr Taylor. “It’s not a good thing, it’s not a Christian teaching.”

However, the convention, which was organised and run by volunteers, did accept voluntary donations from attendees.

The Jehovah’s Witness convention was organised by the International Bible Students Association, based in north London.

For more information visit jw.org.

Read more:

Forest Gate travel agent arrested in Hajj fraud probe

Invictus Games: ‘I lost dream of being soldier but found new one’ tells wounded warrior from East Village

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Newham Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Newham Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Newham Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Newham News Stories

Yesterday, 17:42

Newham-born Olympic gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu is encouraging residents to get active as part of a free initiative to improve the borough’s fitness.

Yesterday, 17:39

A consultation has started into extending the 388 bus route between Stratford City bus station and Blackfriars to Elephant and Castle, following the existing route of the 100.

Yesterday, 16:03

A new cafe has opened after its owner decided to move from computers to coffee.

Yesterday, 15:21

Hundreds of people have voiced their support for a much-loved cafe after its owner said he could not afford new rent costs.

Elizabeth Olympic Park

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Read more

As we grow older it becomes more and more important to have means to travel about safely and quickly. Our friendship groups and families grow and the need to have a car that is not only safe but also fast and big enough for all our needs is ever more important. There are many cars on the market for such needs but none deals with them as efficiently or as neatly as a VW Golf Estate. These cars are build strong, long lasting and spacious for a reason. They cater to the needs of many and are some of the most popular cars currently on the market.

Read more

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now