DETROIT (WWJ) — More than 40,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses flocked to downtown Detroit’s Ford Field on Friday for an international conference.

Spokeperson Donald Ray-Guiness said that it was a great opportunity to meet new people from around the country, and around the world.

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“We have an opportunity to fellowship with our brothers and sisters from various states and from 10 different countries,” Ray-Guiness said. “When you have an opportunity like that, it is momentous.”

Gloria Watts of West Bloomfield said that her family has traveled all over for prior conventions and that Friday’s conference was one that she would not miss.

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“Because we’re going to be here with our international family — all of one mind — and we’re going to be in a spiritual paradise. We are truly, truly excited for this historic event,” Watson said.

Worldwide, there are nearly 8 million Witnesses in more than 113,000 congregations.

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The themes for the event included family bonding and how to deal with stress and anxiety. Throughout the summer, the Witnesses in the United States will host 16 international conventions in large stadiums in a total of ten different states which was kicked off Friday at Ford Field.