What does one of the largest convention organizations in the world do when in-person gatherings are canceled due to the pandemic? In the interest of health and safety, Jehovah’s Witnesses broke from a century-long tradition and moved their annual in-person events to an online format for a second straight year.
Worldwide, in each of 2020 and 2021, Jehovah’s Witnesses canceled nearly 6,000 conventions in 240 countries, including the annual convention which was to be held at the CN Centre in Prince George. Jehovah’s Witnesses have a long tradition of holding conventions in Prince George, dating back to 1964. In fact, since the first large gathering 57 years ago, 44 conventions have been held in the city, with an aggregate total attendance of 121,967. Travelling to, and staying in Prince George for these conventions was a highlight for delegates from across Northern BC.
Local Jehovah’s Witnesses have been busy inviting others to enjoy the program.
“My attention recently has been on reaching people in my community by means of letter writing or phone calls,” says Sandra Leson, a longtime resident of Prince George and a member of the East Hart Congregation. “The invitations I have been sending out extend a welcome to interested ones to access the convention at our website JW.org.”
“Powerful by Faith!” is the theme of the 2021 global event, which will be delivered in more than 500 languages to homes around the globe over six weekends during July and August, uniting some 15-20 million people in 240 countries. The first installment is now available for streaming or download.
“Like us, many in our community are facing difficult challenges that have just been made worse by the pandemic,” said Aaron McLean, a father of two and an elder in Prince George’s East Hart Congregation. “Faith helps families and communities to stick together, to work together, and to meet any challenge.”
“Faith can give us the mindset to cope with our challenges,” said Max Correia, spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in BC. “Our faith will continue to unite us – albeit virtually – as thousands gather in private homes across British Columbia to enjoy a powerful and inspiring program.”
The convention program is free and accessible without registration. Everyone is invited to attend this event by going to JW.org.