PORTLAND, Maine — Nearly 5,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses from around New England gathered Friday at the Cumberland County Civic Center for their three-day annual convention.

This year’s theme is “Remain Close to Jehovah!” according to a press release. The meeting began Friday and is scheduled to end Sunday.

The convention has been designed to encourage those who already believe in God and want to deepen their spirituality, according to the press release sent out by the denomination’s media office in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The program also will examine attitudes nonbelievers have toward God and misconceptions that may hinder them from developing an “intimate friendship with God,” the press release said.

A baptism ceremony and ordination of new lay ministers will be held today. On Sunday, a play set in the first century will focus on God’s desire to deliver those close to him when he brings an end to “wickedness” on Earth.

A series of talks Sunday will examine the eight aspects of God’s personality as revealed in the Scriptures, according to the press release. A discussion titled, “How Can you Draw Close to God?” will consider how God communicates with humankind.

Friday’s keynote address focused on how family members could enhance their communication with one another based on their individual relationships with God.

Sessions begin at 9:20 a.m. today and Sunday. Admission to the convention is free, and no collections will be taken, according to the press release.