Virtual summer conference hosted by Jehovah’s Witnesses

Virtual summer conference hosted by Jehovah’s Witnesses

“Powerful by Faith!” is the theme of the 2021 global event, which will be delivered in more than 500 languages throughout the globe during July and August. The anticipated attendance is 15 to 20 million people in about 240 countries.

Breaking a century-old tradition to ensure public health and safety, Jehovah’s Witnesses have moved their annual conventions to a virtual format for the second consecutive year, canceling nearly 6,000 in-person events around the world.

Since the convention is typically held from Friday through Sunday, the program will be available in six installments corresponding to morning and afternoon sessions. Presently, Friday morning and afternoon sessions and the Saturday morning session are available.

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Each summer for many years, local Jehovah’s Witnesses were among the thousands who streamed into Bossier City, Louisiana, for the three-day convention. In 2020, the pandemic moved 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.

George Peden of Texarkana has attended Witness conventions since 1958. He has fond memories of conventions in Bossier City, Houston, Milwaukee and New York City. All of those were live in-person events, but Peden said he enjoys the virtual format.

“I especially appreciated (it) because we can go back and watch it at any time,” Peden said.

The live-action feature film on the Bible character Daniel is what Peden is most excited to see.

The annual convention also is a highlight of the year for the Perez family of Texarkana. “We look forward to the convention again this year, all four of us sitting together, having our faith strengthened and not missing a single word of the program,” said mother Casey.

The continued risk of bringing thousands of people together in cities around the world during the pandemic 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. “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.”

To access the event at no cost, go to www.jw.org or JW Broadcasting on the free JW Library app available for iOS or Android. The program also can be viewed for free on streaming platforms like ROKU TV, Apple TV and others. (For information, contact Jehovah’s Witnesses, United States, at 718-560-5600 or pid@jw.org.)

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