Breaking a century-old tradition in the name of health and safety, the largest convention organisation in the world has moved its annual in-person event to a virtual format for the second time in as many years, cancelling nearly 6,000 conventions in 240 lands.
For many years, summers for Jehovah’s Witnesses in St Vincent and the Grenadines meant streaming into the city where they held their convention, a Jehovah’s Witnesses release states.
In 2020, the pandemic unexpectedly interrupted that tradition, moving the international religious organisation to cancel in-person conventions throughout the world and launch a global virtual event. This was a first for Jehovah’s Witnesses, who have held public conventions in stadiums, arenas, convention centres, and theatres around the world since 1897.
Millions around the world have enjoyed attending in-person conventions.
“Powerful by Faith!” is the theme of the 2021 global event, which will be delivered in more than 500 languages to households throughout the globe over six weekends during July and August 2021, uniting some 15-20 million people in 240 countries. Since the convention is typically held from Friday through Sunday, the program will be available in six instalments corresponding to morning and afternoon sessions. “Friday” morning’s session became available for streaming or download on June 28, 2021.
Sheron John, a resident of St Vincent, has attended summer conventions for many years. Though she will miss the in-person experience, she is looking forward to streaming this summer’s convention online.
“I anxiously await viewing the convention,” she said. “The theme ‘Powerful by Faith!’ is just what we need these days.”
The continued risk of bringing thousands of people together in cities around the world prompted the organisation to opt for a virtual platform for the second consecutive year. However, the move has not curbed the enthusiasm for the annual event. Congregations around the world are inviting the public to join them in this historic occasion.
“Faith has helped our global brotherhood to continue to thrive even during a pandemic,” said Robert Hendriks for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Our faith will continue to unite us in worship — even virtually — as millions gather in private homes around the world to enjoy a powerful and inspiring spiritual program.”
All are invited to attend the event by going to jw.org on the web or JW Broadcasting on the free JW Library iOS or Android App, or on streaming platforms like Roku TV, Apple TV, and others. The program is free and accessible to all.