Breaking a century-old tradition, the largest convention organization in the world moved its annual in-person event to a virtual format for the second time in as many years, canceling nearly 6,000 conventions in 240 lands.
Since 1925 Jehovah’s Witnesses have held conventions in the city of Indianapolis, including a large international convention at Lucas Oil Stadium. 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, 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.
The Gordon family, lifelong Indianapolis natives, have been attending conventions for most of their lives.
“It was a refreshing change,” Natalie Gordon said about adjusting to a virtual platform. William Gordon added, “We could pause, discuss, rewind, laugh, express and hear things again.”
Their 17-year-old daughter, Mychael Gordon, is so excited about this year’s convention that she wants to view the program early.
“The convention is like a burst of refreshment. We’ve made schedules to be together as a family and view the programs,” William said.
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 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, please contact Jehovah’s Witnesses United States at 718-560-5600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.