Jul. 16—Breaking a century-old tradition in the name of health and safety, the largest convention organization 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 nearly 100 years, summers in Indiana have featured Jehovah's Witnesses streaming into cities like Evansville and Indianapolis to take over hotels and fill restaurants as they attended their conventions. In 2020, the pandemic unexpectedly interrupted that tradition moving the international religious organization 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 centers, and theaters around the world since 1897.
"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 installments corresponding to morning and afternoon sessions. "Friday" morning's session will be available for streaming or download beginning June 28, 2021.
Gary and Jill Key, residents of the Bloomington, Ind. area, have enjoyed attending annual conventions with their two daughters since 1990. "It is remarkable how they take a subject and tie it into every aspect of your life," Jill Key appreciatively comments about of the quality of education they receive. Key continues: "The videos and dramas are so powerful...it's amazing how much you get from your own living room." Although the format has been different, the entire family remarks: "We're really thankful to still be able to get the same information at the same quality."
The planning and translation of a program of this magnitude takes months of effort. With the uncertainty of whether it would be safe to bring thousands of people together in cities around the world, the organization opted 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, U.S. spokesman 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 www.jw.org on the web or JW Broadcasting on the free JW Library app available for iOS or Android, or on streaming platforms like ROKU TV, Apple TV, and others. The program is free and accessible to all.
For more information, contact Jehovah's Witnesses United States at (718) 560-5600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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