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Jehovah’s Witnesses move conventions from stadiums to streaming platform

Jehovah’s Witnesses move conventions from stadiums to streaming platform

Georgetown, Ontario, Canada. August 19, 2015. Jehovah Witness, Watch tower sign outside of their headquarters. Shutterstock.com

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For the first time in its history of holding conventions, Jehovah’s Witnesses are attending the large religious gathering through an online streaming platform from their homes

This is a press release from the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Philippines are joining fellow believers in 240 countries to attend an annual global convention from stadiums to a streaming platform in conscious efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the first time in its history of holding conventions, Jehovah’s Witnesses are attending the large religious gathering through an online streaming platform from their homes from July to August this year, away from stadiums, arenas, conference halls, and similar public places around the world.

In 2019, attendees to the global conventions reached up to more than 14 million, including many who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses but are interested in learning Bible messages that are useful down to this day.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Metro Manila conventions alone were supposed to gather 46,000 people at the Metro Manila Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Novaliches, Quezon City from the months of June to August.

The 2020 convention with theme “Always Rejoice!” is a fitting encouragement for people who may believe that achieving a state of sustained joy may be impossible due to life’s hardships.

“Our worship is centered on our mutual love for our God and for each other, irrespective of where we are physically,” said Dean Jacek, national spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “This year’s convention program underscores the unity of our international family and the joy that people can have against a backdrop of stress and despair.”

The program answers questions such as: What contributes to finding and sustaining joy? How can you cultivate joy in the family? How can you remain joyful in difficult times? One of the convention highlights is a Bible-based drama which features the prophet Nehemiah and how he helped the ancient nation of Israel find joy in their worship of God.

In the Philippines, there are over 232,000 Witnesses nationwide who are participating in the streaming program.

“As much as we long to meet together, life is far too precious to put at risk,” said Mr. Jacek, referring to the sanctity of life and love of neighbors as two principles primarily considered for the decision to go online. “The virtual meetings we have held over the past 4 months have proved to all of us that it’s not about where we are physically. It’s about where we are spiritually. In many ways we are closer as a spiritual family than ever before.”

Since the pandemic, Jehovah’s Witnesses have moved their weekly public meetings to video conferencing and streaming platforms. Their place of worship, also called Kingdom Halls, will remain temporarily closed to public meetings.

Known for their house-to-house preaching work, they have also been participating in alternative ways of reaching the people such as writing letters and conducting Bible studies online among others.

From July to August, Jehovah’ Witnesses and their families as well as Bible students and guests can view the program to be released in 6 installments via JW Broadcasting found on jw.org website. The program runs from the weekend of July 11 to 12 up to the final weekend of the virtual event on August 29 to 30.

In the Philippines, the convention can be viewed free of charge in English, Bicol, Cebuano, Chavacano, Filipino Sign Language, Hiligaynon, Ibanag, Iloko, Pangasinan, Tagalog, and Waray-Waray.

There are more than 8.6 million active Witnesses worldwide. With the program available online in hundreds of languages, the organization believes that this could be the most attended convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses to date. – Rappler.com

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