By KAREN TALLEN
Special to The Tribune
Jul 13 2006
Many neighbors are wondering what on earth is going on at the Kingdom Hall? Members from the Central Cariboo Congregation, the Chilcotin Congregation and the Borland Valley Congregation, all of which share the Kingdom Hall on Latin Avenue, are busy doing the preparation work for a major renovation scheduled for the weekends of July 15-16 and July 29-30.
The Williams Lake Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses was officially established on November 5, 1952. At the time the original four members met at a private home on Yorston Street. In the late 1950’s a lot on Fourth Avenue was purchased and the building which most local residents refer to as ‘the old chiropractor’s office’ was built by volunteers from the congregation and used as a Kingdom Hall for 15 years. During that time the small congregations at Horsefly and MacAlister melded with the Williams Lake group.
Long-time Jehovah’s Witnesses in Williams Lake recall how “the Kingdom Hall on Fourth Avenue was literally busting at the seams.” There was a definite need for a new meeting place and there was a lot of excitement when the Kingdom Hall at 1180 Latin Avenue was built in 1973. With a lot of hard work the local congregation was able to get the work done over a period of many months. As the congregation grew it became necessary to divide into two groups in the early 80s, and again into three in the 90s.
Today, however, things are done differently. There are over 98,000 congregations around the globe. Specialized building committees have been established regionally and worldwide to accommodate the rapid growth and need for Kingdom Halls. Over 12,000 Kingdom Halls have been built in the last six years alone, and many thousands more have been renovated.
In our area, the Regional Building Committee (RBC) for Northern BC consists of representatives from 100 Mile House, Williams Lake, Quesnel and Houston. “We look after all the inspections and keeping the 27 Kingdom Halls north of Cache Creek up to date,” said Dennis Anderson, the RBC representative from Williams Lake. “Anytime help is needed from another congregation the RBC is involved.”
The most significant way help is provided from outside congregations is by the skilled tradesmen who volunteer to assist their “spiritual family” in other areas. Skilled workers from any congregation may apply to be used by the RBC on large projects in their region and Williams Lake will benefit from their expertise this summer.
Some of the renovations will include: new stucco, landscaping, a fence and a covered drop off at the front door, and on the inside: a new handicap bathroom, a mother’s room, and new chairs, furniture and decor. There will also be new video security installed to protect against vandalism. RBC crews slated to come include: a stucco crew from Ft. St. John, a dry-wall crew and painters from Terrace, framers from Dawson Creek, carpet layers, roofers and plumbers from Prince George, tile layers from 100 Mile House, and electricians and cement finishers from Quesnel. These crews will work along with the carpenters and tradesmen who are already volunteering from within the local congregations. All “unskilled” workers are also volunteering locally.
The first “Kingdom Hall” was built in 1935 in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was suggested that the building be called a Kingdom Hall, since “that is what we are doing, preaching the good news of the Kingdom.”
Although the meetings will be held in private homes for the weeks of July 15-31, the Kingdom Hall will be open again for public meetings on Sunday, August 6 at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Anyone is welcome to attend and no collections are taken.
The 250 local Jehovah’s Witnesses invite you to drive by and see the progress over the next three weekends. They would also like to “thank their neighbors for their patience and to assure them that they will be pleased with the results.”
Computer generated picture of finished project