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, canceling nearly 6,000 conventions in 240 lands.
For decades, summers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex have featured Jehovah’s Witnesses streaming into the cities to take over hotels and fill restaurants as they held their conventions at various venues over the years, including the Denton Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Frisco’s Comerica Center, and the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas. 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 house-holds 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. Clarence B. Jones has enjoyed the conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for over 45 years. “Each year, I looked forward to visiting different venues and getting together with friends,” Jones said. Regarding the convention’s shift to a virtual format, he added, “Being able to enjoy the program from the safety of my home is especially exciting. This will enhance my concentration and allow me to take better notes. Also, with a front row seat, I won’t miss a session!”
The continued risk of bringing thousands of people together in cities around the world prompted the organization 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.