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Large religious convention returns to Medicine Hat in June

Posted on March 5, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

By Brendan Miller
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

It only took a matter of minutes for hotel rooms in Medicine Hat to sell out after the Jehovah’s Witnesses Convention announced a return to the city in June.

More than 3,500 people are expected to travel to the city to attend the large convention that runs June 21-23 at Co-op Place, creating a significant economic boost for local hotels, restaurants and businesses.

Elisha Ammann, executive director Medicine Hat Accommodation Association, told reporters during a press conference Feb. 27 that hotel rooms sold out in a matter of minutes.

“In under 10 minutes all the rooms that were blocked off for this event sold out,” said Ammann. “As soon as they’re told which location and that they’re invited to the event they book right now, they book online and phone the hotels.”

Last year more than 8,500 people travelled to the city to attend the same convention over two weekends and it was Medicine Hat’s largest convention it has ever held.

An economic impact study conducted by Tourism Medicine Hat and the Medicine Hat Sport and Event Council discovered last year’s convention brought in more than $4 million in economic activity.

Jace Anderson, executive director Tourism Medicine Hat, says several people visited the city for the first time during the convention, leaving many with a positive outlook on the community.

“With that many people coming into the community and some of them for the very first time, they’re going to see our community, which is a small city with a big life,” says Anderson. “One of the things I love about tourism is that it all starts with a visit. Whether it’s relocation, or economic investment, or business (investment) – all of those things when we think about when and how they happen.”

The convention itself will be open to public and will not be collecting donations. Organizers say there will be multimedia presentations, reenactments and interviews conducted with religious leaders across the world.

Sermans, speakers and talks will focus on this year’s theme, which is “declare the good news.”

“It’s linked closely to the preaching work that Jehovah’s Witnesses are going for throughout the Earth,” said Brad Pramberg, spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “And it’ll show us how that good news can benefit us today but also in the future, when there’s peace here on the Earth based on that good news.”

Pramberg says Jehovah’s Witnesses are excited to return to the Hat, stating they received a warm welcome last year.

“We’ll be taking advantage of all of the restaurants and other hospitality that Medicine Hat has to offer,” says Pramberg. “Everyone’s looking forward to returning to the city again.

“There’s going to be families coming in from all parts of the southern prairies, if you will, from all different backgrounds. And this is such a nice place to learn about our Creator Jehovah but also to be with our friends and to enjoy that association.”

Across the country the Jehovah’s Witnesses hold 60 conventions in 23 locations. Four conventions, including Medicine Hat, will be held this summer in Saskatoon, Edmonton and Winnipeg.

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