Kingdom Hall in Rockaway Beach given loving makeover
Jehovah’s Witnesses from throughout Bay Area pitch in to help
Pacifica Tribune Staff
The Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian religious sect, worship in meeting places known as Kingdom Halls. It’s not called a “church,” but is nonetheless an essential part of the religion’s weekly life.
In Pacifica, a Kingdom Hall has existed at 500 Ebken Street in Rockaway Beach since August of 1963.
“Construction had begun in 1961,” says Jim Greish, a Pacifica resident and active member of the local group. “Prior to that, the congregation had met in Moss Beach. At that time they were known as the Moss Beach Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The property on Ebken Street that the Kingdom Hall sits on was part of the land surrounding the old Pacifica Schoolhouse next door. Don and Marjorie Zwiep sold the lots to the congregation so the hall could be built. About the only other building in the area was the American Legion Hall.”
For the last few weekends, swarms of helpful Witnesses have been coming to Pacifica to help renovate the old building. A new ADA-compatible bathroom has been added. The entire building was gutted and renovated from the inside out. According to Greish, city officials at the Planning Department were helpful in expediting permits, especially since the actual footprint of the building was not altered.
“We have skilled tradesmen volunteering their weekends to help us,” says Greish. “Unskilled labor is used to support the trades. Local congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been helping us by serving the workers meals. Alan Hale of the American Legion Hall helped us by letting us use the American Legion Hall to serve the meals and for parking. We will help them by building a wind break on their porch. Pete Pereira helped us by letting us use a couple of his lots in the area for off-site parking. We needed that because we have 150-175 volunteers at times.”
Just like an old-fashioned community that would come together to build a house or a church, the Jehovah’s Witnesses pitched in to make the Kingdom Hall in Pacifica a sparkling new facility. It has plenty of memories, but now has a thoroughly new inside and out, ready for “meetings” in the coming weeks.
Local Pacifica resident and noted surf photographer Don Montgomery, also a member of the local congregation, documented the entire process of renovating the building.
It ultimately became a labor of love and worship for all involved as “brothers” and “sisters” from throughout the Bay Area refurbished the well-worn Kingdom Hall.