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  1. FAIRFIELD, CA—On July 28, 2017, Tagalog circuit in Northern California of Jehovah’s Witnesses will begin their three-day annual conventions with the theme “Don’t Give Up!” The program will be held in 2020 Walters Road, Fairfield CA. As in years past, the Witnesses are participating in a global campaign to personally invite the general public to attend.Admission to each event is free and no collections are taken. “Nearly thirteen million persons attended our conventions last year worldwide,” states David A. Semonian, spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses at their world headquarters in Warwick, New York. “We hope to have an even larger audience this year.” Angelito Roque, the Tagalog’s local circuit convention spokesman, has estimated 1,900 Filipino to attend this years’ convention which is similar to last years’ attendance.The program is divided into 52 parts and will be presented in a variety of formats, including brief discourses, interviews, and short videos. Additionally, one segment of a three-part feature film entitled Remember the Wife of Lot will be shown each afternoon. Media outlets may contact Mr. Roque for reporters planning to cover the convention.“Challenges in life can rob us of peace and even cause some to think about giving up,” says Mr. Semonian. “Our convention this year will benefit both Witnesses and non-Witnesses because it promises to empower individuals not only to keep enduring but also to cope with challenges productively.”For more information, please go to
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    then click the “Convention” section under the “About Us” heading. Regional Media Contact: Angelito Roque, telephone: (408)238-1063
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  2. LeConte Hall signs during a convention for the hearing impaired at the Jehovah Witnesses Assembly Hall in Fairfield, Friday. The convention drew 1,300 people and attendees travelled from Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic) FAIRFIELD — Gloria and Gilbert Dante drove from Spokane, Washington. Jose and Marites Calma flew in from Hawaii. Both couples were among the 1,300 people in the Jehovah’s Witnesses assembly hall Friday for the first day of a three-day annual regional convention for the deaf, blind and those with impaired hearing. Some of them traveled from as far as Alaska. Gilbert Dante lost his hearing when he was 7 months old. “He couldn’t hear anything,” Gloria Dante, his wife of 43 years, said. He was sent to the Berkeley School for the Deaf, where he learned alongside John Tracy, the deaf son of actor Spencer Tracy. Gloria Dante learned sign language when she married him. He used to spell words backward in sign language just to tease her, she said. The couple became Jehovah’s Witnesses after their son died of Sudden Infant Death syndrome in 1972. They traveled for several years to Southern California to attend conferences that offered services for those with hearing impairments. “He is in his element (here),” said Gloria Dante. “He is hearing the Bible through his eyes.” Marites Calma grew up in a small Jehovah’s Witness congregation with no services for the deaf. She would go to meetings but not understand what was being said. “It’s hard to connect with God if you don’t know him,” LeConte Hall, a Vacaville resident who spoke Friday afternoon on the topic “When Tired,” said. Marites Calma said through her husband of 20 years that the American Sign Language conference is “in my language” and gives her the opportunity to meet with other deaf Jehovah’s Witnesses. Bryce Henry of Santa Rosa learned sign language and speech. He’s more comfortable signing, he said. The American Sign Language conventions draw him closer to God, he said, because the Scriptures are brought to life rather than just reading them on paper. He has many passages of Scripture, in American Sign Language, on his phone. This year’s convention has more audio than in the past, Hall said. Most of the deaf people attending are accompanied by speaking family and/or friends. “For each deaf person here, there’s probably another two or three people with them,” Hall said. Nearly 50 videos will be shown over the course of the convention. About 90 percent will have audio as well as American Sign Language. Speaking people at the convention are asked to use sign language out of respect to those with hearing impairments. A bevy of monitors are spread throughout the huge room so all can see. According to JW.org, the first sign language service was held in Korea 40 years ago. Today, there are more than 4,000 sign languages services in Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Fairfield Kingdom Hall offers American Sign Language services at 7 p.m. Tuesdays and 10 a.m. Saturdays at 2010 E. Tabor Ave. Hall is part of the services. He learned American Sign Language from the deaf mother of a friend. He began working as interpreter while in his teens. The Jehovah’s Witnesses website has translated its material in 28 different sign languages. The free convention is open to the public and begins at 9:20 a.m. It’s in the Assembly Hall at 2020 Walters Road, behind the Kingdom Hall. For more information, visit
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