For the first time in their history, the grand-scale, multi-day conventions that Jehovah’s Witnesses’ have hosted each year at numerous large venues across the globe since 1897, will not be held.
This year, conventions will be virtual in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
A statement by Jama Onwubuariri and Ezekiel Bolaji, Jehovah’s Witnesses spokesmen, noted that portions of the three-day “Always Rejoice” programme will be released incrementally in six segments, starting July 6, on jw.org.
It said: “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.
” 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.
“Therefore, in the interest of public health and safety, it was clear that cancelling our gatherings was the right course, even in places where they would have been permitted.
“Our Creator values life highly, and we believe this arrangement honours that high standard.
“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 program available online, in hundreds of languages, this may be the most attended convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses to date.”