ARLINGTON — About 1,000 people grabbed headlines when they arrived in Fort Worth in 1914.The Sept. 16, 1914, edition of the Star-Telegram read: “1,000 Expected at Convention Here This Week.”Members of the International Bible Students Association, who are now known as Jehovah’s Witnesses, arrived to hear religious speakers, including the first president of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, Charles Taze Russell.Now, an estimated 100,000 are coming back on a similar journey to learn and to mark a milestone.“We do believe that this is the centennial of the year that Jesus sat down on his throne and began his rule,” Mike Andrews, a convention spokesman.About 60,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses are gathering this weekend at an annual convention being held at AT&T Stadium. A second convention July 25-27 will bring thousands more to a Spanish-language event. Organizers estimate that 100,000 people will participate in both events.This weekend’s event is for English speakersThe theme is “Keep Seeking First God’s Kingdom!”“People of many faiths pray for God’s Kingdom,” said Matthew Edwards, convention spokesman. “This convention will explain what that kingdom is and how it can be a positive influence in our lives.”Congregations in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana are attending the free convention, which began Friday and continues through Sunday afternoon. A picture of delegates, taken in front of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce during the 1914 convention, is nostalgic for many. Amy Ramirez, 43, of Carrollton said her grandmother and great-grandparents attended the 1914 event. The gatherings were important to her family then and today. “The gathering is very special, very important to me,” Ramirez said.“We feel like we are one big family,” Ramirez said.
Diane Smith, 817-390-7675 Twitter: @dianeasmith1