DAYTON — Breaking a century-old tradition in the name of health and safety, Jehovah’s Witnesses 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 many years the city of Dayton has been the home to many conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses. 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.
The annual convention has always been a priority for Urbana residents, Russ and Beth McCollum. In the past, the commute back and forth to the Nutter Center was enjoyable.
“You’d see friends driving calmly on the interstate and just know where they were going,” Russ remembers.
Today, though, they are thankful that the program is available online. Serious health challenges for both of them would make attending in person difficult.
“Last year, it was a blessing that we were able to watch the convention at home while sicker than dogs,” he said.
“You forget about your illness and focus on things outside the room you’re in. We can look for-ward to each new segment during the rough moments of our lives.” Beth adds, “The dramas aren’t just good movies. They’re powerful. I’m especially looking forward to this year’s drama about the prophet Daniel.”
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 inspir-ing 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. The schedule for download and global streaming is July 19 and 26 and Aug. 9 and 16.
For more information, contact Jehovah’s Witnesses United States at 718-560-5600 or [email protected]