Ontario’s Toyota Arena to Host First Large Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses Since 2019
As the summer season hits the Inland Empire and residents head out on vacation, thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses will return to the Toyota Arena in Ontario after a three-year pandemic pause for their annual convention series. The theme for the 2023 series is “Exercise Patience”!
This year, the Toyota Arena in Ontario will host four of the three-day events, beginning July 7-9. To prepare for the conventions, volunteers will complete a major facility cleanup on July 6.
Prior to 2020, summers in Ontario were marked by Jehovah’s Witnesses filling hotels and restaurants as they attended their conventions at the Toyota Arena. In 2020, the Witnesses canceled their in-person events throughout the world and held their convention programs as virtual events in more than 500 languages.
“After three years, it’s a good feeling to be back in Ontario. Jehovah’s Witnesses have a long history in the community that goes back generations,” said Derek Adams, local spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The Witnesses have had a significant presence in the Inland Empire for over 100 years. It houses two of their largest indoor venues in the United States, the Norco and Mira Loma assembly halls. And in 2017, the Norman F. Feldheym Central Library in San Bernardino hosted an exhibit commemorating 100 years of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Inland Empire.
Nearly 20,000 people visited the library during its six-week installation. On display were historical documents, images, videos and discourses about the construction of the various facilities Jehovah’s Witnesses have built throughout the area.
“The library exhibit was a highlight for our family, and we have always looked forward to the annual conventions,” said Adams. “This year, I am especially looking forward to seeing how patience can improve my life and my relationships.”
Some 6,000 conventions will be held worldwide as part of the 2023 “Exercise Patience”! Convention series. In the United States alone, more than 700 conventions will be held in 144 host cities. From Friday through Sunday, six convention sessions will explore the quality of patience, highlighting its modern-day relevance through Scriptural examples. A live baptism will be performed following the Saturday morning session and a prerecorded drama will be featured in two parts during the Saturday and Sunday afternoon sessions.
“The virtual conventions were amazing, but attending in person will allow my entire family to experience patience in action and find ways to use that patience in our communities. That’s aside from enjoying the wonderful dining in the area,” said Adams.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have been holding public conventions in stadiums, arenas, convention centers, and theaters around the world for more than 100 years. After resuming smaller in-person meetings and their public ministry during 2022, the summer of 2023 marks the first time they will gather at much larger regional events around the world since the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
The convention is open to the public and no collection is taken. For more information on the program or to find other convention locations and dates, please go to jw.org and navigate to the “About Us” tab