Throughout the meeting, Bible passages are discussed at length and hymns are sung.
It's a blow to the parents but the enthusiasm of their younger children compensates for the one son's lack of faith. family has traveled to Germany's Ruhr region for what many Jehovah's Witnesses consider the high point of the year.
They arrive in caravans, bringing Tupperware, coolers, blankets and, most importantly, their Bibles.
And since the family must expand, "many Witnesses naturally meet their future spouses here," says Uwe Langhals, another spokesman, who has been a Jehovah's Witness since he was 15.
Once decried as a cult, the Jehovah's Witnesses have managed to successfully fight for the title of "statutory public body" in 12 of the 16 German states.
1) "Discuss something from the Bible together" 2) "Observe how the other person participates in meetings and sermons" 3) "Help clean the Kingdom Hall (a place of worship used by Jehova's witnesses) and with construction projects" How many German youths would rather sweep the floors of the Kingdom Hall than spend their summer days flirting at the swimming pool?
Why are 17-year-olds spending their time in Bible Study, instead of meeting with their friends?
They sit close together, still and pious in the seats usually occupied by cheering, swearing fans of the Borussia Dortmund football club.
They hold their Bible in front of them like a silver tray: the word of Jehovah. There are passages explaining why nicotine is forbidden but a glass of wine at the end of the day permitted, why blood transfusions are to be avoided and why non-believers must be converted. They don't mention that the Protestant church has described the translation of the Bible used by Jehovah's Witnesses as inaccurate and uncritical.
Here they can pray among peers, feeling a sense of community instead of isolation.