For the first time in its history, the grand-scale, multi-day conventions that Jehovah’s Witnesses’ have hosted each year at numerous large venues across the globe will not be held.
This year, conventions will be virtual in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic.
Portions of the three-day “Always Rejoice”! programme will be released incrementally in six segments, starting July 6, 2020, on jw.org. The convention will be available in whole in over 360 languages and in part in nearly 120. Each member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses will present two discourses during the convention. The programme will be presented in a variety of formats, including brief discourses, interviews, short videos, and a full-length video Bible drama.
Jonnah Pongaponga, spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses, says: “The decision to hold our conventions online was not made lightly. Millions of people benefit from these public gatherings, which are always free of charge, around the world each year. But in the interest of public health and safety, it was clear that cancelling our gatherings was the right course, even
City executives, many of whom have welcomed Jehovah’s Witnesses’ conventions for years, are aware that not having the Witnesses’ convention this year will impact the hospitality industry. Last year, the media reported that Jehovah’s Witnesses convened in different cities for the convention, injecting millions of pula to the city’s economy. Despite facing economic losses, venue executives have expressed their respect and appreciation for Jehovah’s Witnesses cancelling their in-person events. Each year, many who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses attend the annual conventions. There are over 8.6 million active Witnesses worldwide, yet the 2019 conventions had a peak attendance of over 14 million. With the programme available online, in hundreds of languages, this may be the most attended convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses to date.