jehovah_story_web.jpgSUNRISE — Wendell Shepherd remembers attending large summer conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses when he was growing up in Pittsburgh.

“As children, we fondly remember attending large summer conventions of up to 100,000.  It’s a very exciting time and we catch up with our friends. Many families make a mini vacation of the weekend.  We enjoy the convention during the daytime and during the evenings we go out to eat in local restaurants and stay in nearby hotels,” reminisces Shepherd.

Now grown, Wendell Shepherd and wife Alicia travel to several congregations to provide spiritual support and encouragement, though they are based in Delray Beach. Before moving to South Florida, they were full-time volunteers for more than 20 years at Jehovah’s Witnesses headquarters in New York.

Wendell Shepherd will be one of the speakers at the 2014 annual regional conventions to be held at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, the first one starting Friday, June 6.

“A highlight will be the keynote address on Friday morning, which will discuss how the Kingdom is benefiting people today,” Wendell said. “Some people may think that the bible is outdated but that is not the case. The bible offers practical help and solutions for issues we are all dealing with such as health, aging, family and economic pressures. We also have our website at and our downloadable app ‘JW Library’ where we have helpful articles for couples and parents, children and teenagers, as well as a modern-language bible that can be read or heard online.  You can access these on your computer, tablet or even your smartphone!”

Jehovah’s Witnesses are inviting all of their neighbors to attend the three-day program, whose theme this year is “Keep Seeking First God’s Kingdom!” 

An estimated 60,000 will come to the BB&T Center over four weekends for the Bible-based programs, organizers said.  Programs conducted in English will be held on June 6-8 and July 18-20; and Spanish programs  June 27-29 and August 1-3.  In addition to the convocations in Sunrise, two conventions will be held in Haitian Creole on June 20-22 and July 4-6 at the Christian Convention Center, 1610 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., West Palm Beach.

A highlight of each annual convention is a Bible-based theatrical production on Sunday afternoon. The topic is always a surprise.

“Jehovah’s Witnesses in Southeast and Southwest Florida are extending a personal invitation to everyone to attend the convention with them,” said Andrew Pizey, a media spokesman. “The program offers something for everyone.  Families are encouraged to attend together.” 

The program starts daily at 9:20 am. There is no admission or parking fee.  No collections will be taken. Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses are supported entirely by voluntary donations.

Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States plan to host 193 conventions in 71 cities. Worldwide, there are over 7,900,000 Witnesses in more than 113,000 congregations.