Breaking a century-old tradition in the name of health and safety, the largest convention organization in the world has moved its annual in-person event to a virtual format for the second time in as …
Breaking a century-old tradition in the name of health and safety, 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, cancelling nearly 6,000 conventions in 240 lands.
For 55 plus years, the summers in Mobile featured Jehovah’s Witnesses streaming into the city to stay in hotels and fill restaurants as they held their conventions first at the Mobile Civic Center and most recently, at the University of South Alabama Mitchell Center.
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, 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.
John Figgers, a long-time resident of Mobile has been volunteering at the Witness conventions for many years.
“I love the camaraderie of all the Witnesses as they work together in peace,” he adds, “and hearing over 4,000 people sing together is so beautiful and powerful!” However, because of the pandemic he is looking forward to watching the program from his living room this year. “I have very little distraction in the comfort of my own home. I can really focus on the program and get so much out it. I love being home too.”