Thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses flock downtown for international convention

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ST. LOUIS – Approximately 32,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses are in St. Louis weekend. Every five years this group holds what they call one of its international meetings.

“We chose St. Louis because St. Louis really wanted us,” said Robert Hendriks, US spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. “It was a good partnership.”

About 25,000 Jehovah's Witnesses are from Missouri and Illinois. About 5,000 more are delegates from other countries, being shown around taken care of by local brothers and sisters.

“This is the Show Me State. When in St. Louis, we show a lot of love,” said Alex Swopeshire, a St. Louis-based Jehovah’s Witness. “Since the delegates have been here, that's been our main theme. This is what St. Louis needs.”

The Witnesses say they like our cuisine, politeness, and, of course, our notable attractions.

“We saw the Botanical Garden, Arch, and I met lots of good friends, my brothers and sisters,” said Mikka, a Jehovah’s Witness from Latvia.

This group’s decision to come to St. Louis is yet another convention bringing in much-needed revenue to the city.

“We're glad to make this a win-win situation economically and also glad to bring an international delegation here of 5,000 people who are being served by your people,” Hendriks said.

The theme of the conference is "Love Never Fails” and they are trying to show it inside the Dome at America’s Center and out of it.

“We’re practicing Christians, followers of Christ, haven't perfected it, still practicing, working on our Christian personality, which is love,” Hendriks said.

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