Thousands attend Jehovah's Witness meet at Plymouth's Home Park
THOUSANDS of Jehovah's Witnesses have gathered at Plymouth Argyle's Home Park for their annual convention.
Around 5,000 people from across the South West descended on the city's football stadium yesterday for the start of the three-day event.
Families from all over Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset have travelled to the popular gathering, one of 40 being held this year throughout Britain, Ireland and the Channel Islands.
Witnesses are well-known for their missionary work, in which they visit people's homes offering Bible literature.
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A series of speeches, songs and meetings are taking place over the weekend, as well as a baptism ceremony and a costume drama.
The theme of this year's convention is 'Safeguard Your Heart' which looks at the heart as having a symbolic meaning and ways to improve the 'inner person'.
James Pallett, a spokesperson for the convention, said: "It is brilliant to see so many people here. We have a number of talks lined up, a dramatic Bible reading and a baptism ceremony on Saturday. The live play on Sunday, based on stories from the Bible, is largely around looking at true love and what it is.
"One thing we have done this year is to make a real effort to invite as many people as possible from the four counties to come along – we are hoping to see some new faces. You don't have to be a Jehovah's Witness to attend you can just come and see what it's all about. The more the merrier. There are plenty of seats and we'd love to see it packed with people."
All sessions are open to the public at no charge and with no collections.
A total immersion public baptism, in which 40 people are expected to take part, will take place from 11.40am to 12.30pm today.
The baptisms are done in an 18ft pool at the pitch side which holds 25,000 litres of water. The water will then be used to water the pitch after the event.
The sessions run today from 9.20am to 4.55pm, and tomorrow from 9.20am to 3.40pm.