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Omaha interviews local JW for RC


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The 'Lincoln gathering to top 6,000 for Jehovah's Witnesses' article says:

 

Helping people develop stronger bonds with friends, family and God is the goal of the Jehovah’s Witnesses annual regional convention this week in Lincoln.

 

More than 6,000 people from six states including Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota are expected to attend the convention, which runs Friday through Sunday at the Pinnacle Bank Arena. The event draws a mix of ages including adults, children and retired people, said Darryl Gucwa, a local spokesman for the denomination. The event is free and open to the public.

 

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For some denominations, annual conventions are when representatives vote on church policy.
 

Gucwa said his denomination’s annual gatherings are aimed at helping attendees become better people.

 

Loyalty is the theme of this year’s convention, and the event will feature presentations on the topic, including 35 video segments and two films.

Gucwa said the Bible is central to the denomination’s beliefs.

 

There are 1.2 million members in the United States and 8.2 million worldwide, and the count has been growing, Gucwa said.

 

The denomination has an estimated 2,000 members in the Omaha area, he said. The denomination calls its places of worship Kingdom Halls and has nine in the Omaha area and about 30 congregations. The newest Kingdom Hall was built about a year ago in Ashland, he said.

 

Kingdom Halls typically have multiple congregations within them. Gucwa said the denomination likes keeping its congregations under 100 people so members can get to know each other better.

 

Gucwa said there are misconceptions about Jehovah’s Witnesses, such as that the only work members carry out is knocking on doors and visiting people at their homes. He said contacting people door to door is an important role for members because the denomination believes that doing so is essential to sharing the Bible message.

 

Gucwa said he believes those contacts are one reason the denomination’s membership has been growing.

 

But he said the denomination has other important ministries, including disaster relief. Local members have provided food, clothing, medicine and other supplies and assistance following hurricanes, flooding and other disasters in the United States and other countries.

 

The denomination also has created videos and other resources to help young people and parents deal with bullying.

 

Zach Berton, a local Jehovah’s Witnesses elder, said the denomination also helps immigrant groups with housing and jobs and establishing congregations in their language.

 

Last summer, for example, he and his wife and other members helped establish a Karen congregation in Omaha. Karen are an ethnic minority group from Myanmar, formerly called Burma, who began arriving in Omaha around 2005 as they fled persecution in their home country.

 

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