About 7,100 Jehovah's Witnesses are expected to converge in downtown Birmingham today for a three-day "Imitate Jesus" convention at the BJCC Legacy Arena.
Sessions start at 9:20 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 3-5.
The group teaching sessions will focus on Jesus' sermon on the mount and building stronger families.
"Jesus' Sermon on the Mount offers timeless advice that can help parents to better use their time and resources to build a more secure and loving family environment," said spokesman Nick Patterson.
Admission is free. The conventions of Jehovah's Witnesses are supported by voluntary donations.
Jehovah's Witnesses, with more than 1.1 million U.S. members, are one of the fastest-growing denominations, with door-to-door evangelism required of all members.
There are more than 150 worship centers called Kingdom Halls in Alabama, with a combined membership of more than 15,000.
Jehovah's Witnesses in the United States are organizing 453 regional conventions in 29 languages in 124 cities. Worldwide, there are more than 8 million Jehovah's Witnesses in more than 115,000 congregations.
The conventions feature mass baptisms in a pool on the floor of the convention center. The new converts study a book of the basic tenets of Jehovah's Witnesses, who believe believe Jesus was the son of God but not God himself. They emphasize using the name Jehovah for God, to give glory to the creator, and teach that the end of the world is imminent. Many Jehovah's Witnesses believe they will be among 144,000 kings and priests ruling in heaven with Jesus, while others hope to be among the meek who live forever on a restored earth following Armageddon, when God destroys the wicked.