Many hands help put up new Kingdom Hall
Clarence Stinson of Yazoo City, a Jehovah’s Witnesses construction team member, installs ceiling tiles in the new Greenwood Kingdom Hall on Saturday.
A devoted group of more than 450 Jehovah’s Witnesses from as far away as Canada came to town this week to help complete Greenwood’s new Kingdom Hall.
“This is all volunteer work,” said Walter Turner of Greenwood, a member of the Greenwood Kingdom Hall and one of the supervisors on the project.
A service will be held at 11 a.m. today at the hall, which is located at the intersection of Humphrey Highway and Meadowbrook Road.
The final bricking of the hall’s facade will be completed later today.
The hall’s interior carpeting should be installed by next Saturday, Turner said.
When completed, the 4,400-square-foot hall will have a seating capacity of between 200 and 220 and be fully handicapped accessible.
Since Wednesday, crews of Jehovah’s Witnesses from across north Mississippi have been working on the hall. There were 250 volunteers on Friday alone, Turner said.
“We have 30 different departments, like electrical, cabinetry and brick; they have their own crews,” he said.
The church’s members are skilled in a variety of tasks associated with the building trades and don’t mind lending a hand.
“When a framing crew comes in, they’ll finish their job, and either they’ll help on something else or go home,” Turner said.
The existing Kingdom Hall just outside Greenwood, on U.S. 82 East, was built in 1974 by church members. Turner said the facility was simply not adequate for the congregation without major structural renovations.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses help train each other in the specific skills needed for hall construction, Turner said.
“We’ve got some skilled people. Some we’ve trained. Like bricklayers – we’ll take a good one and put a new one beside him. We’ll train them over the years. We’ve done that with several departments,” he said.
As a result of the trained Jehovah’s Witness labor force, Turner said, the cost of building the new hall is less than half of that of a contractor-built structure.
Turner himself is an expert at installing carpets.
When a hall goes up, he will look at its blueprint and order the appropriate amount of carpet and padding. Then he will supervise and assist in its installation.
Tyrone Keyes of Brandon, one of five members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses building committee for north Mississippi, has been building halls since 1982.
“We still try to do everything in one weekend. The sheet rock will be up, all the fittings will be done, and the doors will be in,” he said.
According to Keyes, congregations have a number of basic design plans to choose from for their particular hall.
Once a hall’s basic design is chosen, individual changes can be incorporated into the design, he said.
Gary Green of Beckley, WVa., lived in Greenwood in the 1950s and 1960s and was a member of the Greenwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, which is building the new hall.
Green helped build the existing hall back in 1974. He says he has worked on about 40 such projects across the country, he said.
Turner said new halls will be constructed in Corinth and Yazoo City in December.
Keyes said he’s proud of his fellow church members and their selflessness.
“Nobody receives a dime for anything they’ve done here,” he said.
Almost all of the volunteers, no matter where they live, will be attending the first service at the hall this morning.
David Aldridge, who lives near Houston, and who is another member of the regional building committee, said the church members coming together for a common task is rewarding.
“The work that we’re doing helps people here. Not only our group, but the entire town,” he said.