Fremont church to witness a rarity
Special Russian convention is expected to attract members from throughout the world
By Jeremy Herb, STAFF WRITER
FREMONT — For Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses, Fremont is the place to be this weekend.
From Friday through Sunday, the city is hosting a Jehovah’s Witnesses “Deliverance at Hand!” district convention, presented completely in Russian.
The convention is one of only two in the United States that is in Russian, and is a part of the 266 conventions the Witnesses are holding in the United States from May through September.
The public is invited to all sessions, which begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Jehovah’s Witnesses Assembly Hall, 43400 Osgood Road. There are also afternoon sessions, beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 1:40 p.m. Sunday.
Sunday’s festivities include a full-costume drama reenactment of a biblical event.
While Fremont does not have a Russian congregation — the closest is in San Francisco — Jehovah’s Witnesses spokesman Scott Wells said. The Witnesses are expecting delegates from Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Southern California and even Vancouver, Canada, to trek to Fremont for the Russian convention.
About 700 to 800 people are expected this weekend, Wells said.
Fremont was chosen because of its central location on the West Coast, Wells said.
In past years, the West Coast Russian convention has been held in Los Angeles.
The Witnesses’ conventions are primarily in English and Spanish, but in certain
locations — including Fremont — the entire program is held in other languages, including Armenian, Chinese, French, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Tagalog, Vietnamese and American Sign Language. Some sessions also are held in Arabic.
The Cow Palace in San Francisco is not only the closest English-language convention location and is hosting five conventions in English throughout the summer, as well as three in Spanish and one in Portuguese.
Fremont also has been home to Chinese and Vietnamese conventions this year.
Wells said there are about 2,500 Russian Witnesses in the United States in more than 20 congregations. There are more than 300,000 Russian Witnesses worldwide.
Witnesses generally meet three times a year at conventions, following a biblical example. These are called district conventions, which are larger than other types of conventions.