MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Jehovah’s Witnesses are holding their Exercise Patience convention at the Renasant Convention Center in Memphis which has brought more than 14,000 people to the Mid-South over four weeks.
“Whether we’re driving to work or we’re in line at a grocery store sometimes our patience can be run thin,” said Josh Tallent, a local spokesperson for the organization.
The organization said its members visit local restaurants and grocery stores and book more than 700 hotel nights each week, boosting the local economy.
“Well Memphis is a wonderful location. This week we have six states represented. Being in this central location we can pull people from Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee,” Tallent said.
Tallent said in addition to the location, their members have chosen Memphis for the hospitality and good restaurants and hotels. Jehovah’s Witnesses said no one in their organization, including its ministers, are paid a salary.
Instead, they rely on volunteers to organize their conventions. They said a volunteer cleaning crew comprised of more than 300 people clean the Renasant Convention Center before and after each use.
“We’re guided by bible principles. God is a clean God. We want to make sure that we represent him well. Also we want to make sure that when we speak about a clean world we want that to be relayed in how we interact with the community,” said David Patterson, a volunteer who oversees the cleaning of convention locations.
This year is the first time Jehovah’s Witnesses have held in-person conventions since the pandemic during which they were forced to go virtual.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have approximately 140 English-speaking congregations in Tennessee. The organization will hold another convention next week, Thursday through Sunday. Jehovah’s Witnesses said all their meetings and conventions are free and open to the public.