331 Attend “Friends of Peace” Event in Basseterre

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The event was the first of its kind since before the pandemic

The Basseterre Kingdom Hall was filled with a joyful crowd of 331 from St Kitts and Nevis on Saturday as Jehovah’s Witnesses held their first large event after a three-year pandemic pause.

“Fabulous,” was how Anthony Warner, of Dieppe Bay, described the reunion of the groups from St Kitts and Nevis. “Just to see everyone together, hugging, laughing,” he said, “you could see the joy on their faces.” 

The theme of the event was “Friends of Peace.” 

“Even though the crossing from Nevis was a bit rough and I arrived a little wet, it was all worth it,” said Lorraine Smithen, of Nevis. Lorraine, who was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1991, said she was excited to see the baptisms scheduled to be held during the break between the morning and afternoon sessions. Two attendees at the event were baptized in Frigate Bay.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have tens of thousands of Kingdom Halls around the world, but the Basseterre building, first constructed in 1992, has a unique “expandable” design. During normal weekly meetings held in English and Spanish, only the front section of the building is used. However, additional seats are added three times a year for the Witnesses’ largest events, allowing the building to hold over 500 from the three congregations in St Kitts, one in Nevis, as well as many guests from the public. 

“Pausing these large events during the pandemic was a difficult decision,” stated Joel Pogson, a local spokesperson for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “The decision to transition to virtual events over videoconferencing during the pandemic was a good one in order to respect the health and welfare of the community, but we are thrilled to return to larger in-person events now that it is reasonably safe to do so.” 

Two more large events will be held at the “expandable Kingdom Hall” later in 2023, including a three-day event from July 14-16. Entry at all events, including the three-day summer conferences, is free. Details are available on the organization’s official website, jw.org.

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