Recently I was looking at the statistics in the latest Yearbook for Jehovah's Witnesses and noted that the Worldwide Memorial Attendance in 2019 was 20,919,041. In the USA it was 2,416,752 and in the UK it was 222,033. This year the memorial is scheduled for Tuesday 7 April at sundown.

The Memorial of Christ's death is the most important annual event for Jehovah's Witnesses. Those who belong to the "anointed remnant" - those with a heavenly hope - partake of the bread and the wine. The last statistic I have for memorial partakers is 2018 when 19,521 Witnesses ate the bread and drank the wine. Witnesses do not use the expression "communion", but I've had to use that tag because it's the only one I could find that is relevant to taking the bread and wine.

I have statistics for memorial partakers going back to 1935 (when 52,465 partook of the emblems) and, as far as I am aware, the only year when there were no statistics for memorial partakers was in 1937. If that is not the case, I would appreciate being corrected.

Given the current pandemic with most of Europe and the U.S.A. in a virtual lockdown, and public gatherings of more than 10 people banned in the U.S.A. (more than 2 in the U.K.), how are Jehovah's Witnesses going to commemorate the death of Christ this year? This is of particular importance to those who belong to the 144,000, the "anointed remnant".

I would ask my local friendly Witnesses, but they can no longer display their literature in the town square and their Kingdom Hall is closed. Neither have they posted a memorial invitation through my letterbox. I've been told that the Governing Body has issued a video telling all Witnesses to follow the directions of government authorities, but also to obey Jesus’ command (in Luke 22:18) to celebrate the Lord’s evening meal.

Has the memorial been cancelled this year? If not, how will it take place and how will the statistics be recorded?

EDIT to provide updated information on the 2020 Memorial Service from the official Jehovah's Witness website: https://www.jw.org/en/search/?q=2020+Service+Year+Report

The 2020 Memorial Service took place worldwide in spite of Covid restrictions. Here are a few important statistics and a comparison with 2019 statistics:

2020 Grand Totals: Memorial Attendance: 17,844,773 (2019 was 20,919,014 attendance)

Memorial Partakers: 21,182 (No figures for 2019)

Average Monthly Publishers: 8,424,185 (2019 was 8,471,008 publishers)

Total Number Baptized *: 241,994 (2019 was 303,866 baptized)

Percentage Decrease Over 2019: 0.6% (2019 was Percentage Increase of 1.3%)

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    If the bread and wine do not need a special consecration perhaps they will host a video memorial. Many churches are attempting to remain connected in this fashion. Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 12:17
  • All forms of public witnessing have been temporarily discontinued as well. You are invited to view the memorial talk jw.org/en/library/videos
    – 007
    Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 17:11
  • Of interest 2019 was an all time high for total number baptized.
    – 007
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 11:45
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    @Kris Yes, since 1999 when the number baptized was 323,493, and then in 1996 it was 366,579 baptized. I think these increases may have had something to do with expectations surrounding 1975 and the close of the 20th century.
    – Lesley
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 12:31
  • You are correct. Not an all time high but a 20 year high in 2019. Which gives some context for the decrease in the number during pandemic year 2020.
    – 007
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 12:37

1 Answer 1


It has not been canceled. Many congregations will be using videoconferencing, but if someone would like to attend and they aren't in contact with a congregation, there is also the option to view a pre-recorded Memorial talk on jw.org. To check what the congregations are doing in your local area, check this Memorial meeting search.

For the bread and wine, each congregation is making arrangements so that each person can have the emblems. (Though if a person is not anointed, they do not need to go through extraordinary measures to obtain the emblems.) There's also the video, "How To Make Memorial Bread."

For counting attendance and the number of partakers, the elders will likely just ask ones how many people attended from their home and how many partook. The pre-recorded Memorial talk on jw.org will likely also keep count of how many people view the video.

  • I guess the memorial meeting search would be helpful only to those wishing to make a phone call to a local Kingdom Hall. Since no memorial meeting will be taking place at the Kingdom Hall one will need to obtain an invite to listen in or stream the local version of this meeting. Calling the local Kingdom Hall will most likely be futile unless the phone has been forwarded to a local brothers phone or another number is suggested on the answering service. Best option is probably to call a local JW if you have a contact or watch that prerecorded memorial on jw.org.
    – 007
    Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 16:33
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    @Kris The Memorial meeting search should display the correct contact information for the Memorial, or it will specify if people should just watch the prerecorded video. They’ve been updating it based on the local instructions for each part of the world.
    – user32540
    Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 18:37
  • Appreciate the links and the updates. Regarding my local Kingdom Hall it simply says “Due to present restrictions on public gatherings, this program will not be held at this location.” That’s because here in the U.K. nobody is allowed to go anywhere unless it is for essential work, to get health care or to buy food/medicines. Everyone has to stay indoors to avoid exposure to the virus. Perhaps the restrictions in the U.S. are not so severe.
    – Lesley
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 9:29
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    @Lesley severity of restrictions vary across the US. However JWs are not having a memorial at any KIngdom Hall this year. Only in our homes with technology providing the means for hearing/viewing the program. Hope you and yours stay well through this situation.
    – 007
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 14:56
  • I don't suppose the statistics will be known till the 2021 Year Book is published. We are certainly living in significant times. Wonder if the Doomsday Clock has been moved forward? In January (before the pandemic statistics were known) it was on 11 minutes to midnight. I pray you and those whom you love are virus free and keeping well.
    – Lesley
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 16:35

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