GRANGEVILLE -- As the coronavirus pandemic continues to create challenges for many, Jehovah’s Witnesses have made the historic move of canceling all in-person conventions this year, and will host their first ever virtual global convention which carries the much-needed theme of “Always Rejoice!”
This change includes local Grangeville Witnesses who typically travel to Missoula, Mont., every summer for three days of Bible instruction. They will be “attending” their annual convention from the safety of their living rooms.
Grangeville resident Martin Harris, who is also one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, said he is grateful for the virtual format.
“Conventions and assemblies are truly a spiritual highlight for upbuilding and refocusing all in the family on where we are in the stream of time,” he stated. “We thank Jehovah for the virtual arrangement for conventions, assemblies, and local meetings!”
Work to record the three-day event began in April as the virus continued to spread. Preparing it for a global audience with the restrictions amid the pandemic was an amazing feat. With an average annual convention attendance of 1.5 - 2 million in the U.S. and 14.1 million worldwide, Jehovah’s Witnesses are the largest convention organization in the world. Creating a virtual program for a worldwide audience, ready to view on a unified summer schedule, meant translating and recording it into hundreds of languages in a timely manner.
The platform is free to all and includes 114 videos, 43 talks, and a 76 - minute feature length Bible drama titled Nehemiah: “The Joy of Jehovah Is Your Stronghold.” The 2020 “Always Rejoice” regional convention will run throughout the end of August, but content will remain online for viewers to access free of charge at jw.org.