Jehovah’s Witnesses Hold Global Virtual Event in 240 Lands, 500+ Languages
Breaking a century-old tradition, 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.
Since the early 1900s, Des Moines, Iowa, has hosted many of these summer conventions for Jehovah’s Witnesses—most recently held within the Iowa Events Center. The many visitors would fill local hotels and restaurants during their stay.
The Cowell family from Sioux City, Iowa, looked forward to these annual events every summer. Joe, 11, said, “We get to spend time together as a family, and we get to spend time with the other people at the convention.”
Older brother Sam, 14, agreed. “Sometimes we meet new friends at conventions,” he said. He also enjoyed the side trips to zoos or museums that the family often took when the conventions were over.
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 Des Moines Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Hy-Vee Hall at the Iowa Events Center before COVID-19 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.
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.
Although the Cowells missed taking their traditional summer convention trip in 2020, every one of them expressed how much they enjoyed watching the virtual program from their home. Parents Andy and Katie appreciated having fewer distractions and being able to pause the sessions at any time to let important points sink in.
When asked about the upcoming 2021 virtual convention, Annie, 6, said she is anxious to see the video dramatizations that she knows will be included in the program. “I can’t wait to see all the new ones!” she said. “I’m so excited for the convention, just for the convention days to start.”
The entire Cowell family is eager to watch the upcoming 2021 virtual convention—together as a family.
“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. The schedule for download and global streaming is listed below.
For more information, please contact Jehovah’s Witnesses United States at (718) 560-5600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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