Volunteers put talents to work at Kingdom Hall expansion project.

From The Morning Call
July 30, 2006
Gathering together with a common goal
Volunteers put talents to work at Kingdom Hall expansion project.
By Joe Nixon Of The Morning Call
LOU MANDIC of Quakertown is reflected in the mirror as he works a lift raising plywood to the roof at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Forks Township on Saturday. Volunteers from all over the region are expanding the hall to accommodate the three congregations that use the building.

Rich Schultz

Special to The Morning Call

Three Easton area Jehovah’s Witness congregations will soon have a bigger Kingdom Hall, thanks to hundreds of friends.

At the end of residential Lieb Road in Forks Township, in a scene that parallels an Amish barn raising, scores of Jehovah’s Witness volunteers this weekend are completing much of the basic work — including roofing, plumbing and electrical — to enlarge the hall, built in 1977. The finish work is scheduled to be done next weekend.

Currently, the Easton English, Forks, and Easton Spanish congregations use the Forks Kingdom Hall. The expansion, which will increase the building’s size by about a third, to 5,000 square feet, will provide for a bigger auditorium and additional classrooms and offices. The building also will be made more handicap accessible, said Don Dreibelbies, a Palmer Township resident and elder in the Easton English congregation.

”In addition to friends from the three local congregations, we literally have volunteers from all over the eastern Pennsylvania area, from Phillipsburg to Wilkes-Barre. All told, there may be 1,000 people in and out of here during the build at different times, depending on their trade,” Dreibelbies said. ”This is an educational center that lets us take care of what we need to do to be skilled to do, what we feel Jesus has told us in the Bible is the most important work, that is preaching the good news of the Kingdom.”

Many of the volunteers helping in the Forks project are part of a regional building committee that also helps in other Jehovah’s Witness building projects. The committee also has done disaster relief work outside the region in places such as Jamaica, Mississippi and Florida.

The three congregations using the Forks facility have been sharing space with other Jehovah’s Witness congregations during construction. Dreibelbies said there are about 300 members among the three congregations who regularly work in preaching and teaching.

On Saturday at the work site, volunteers were busy in an array of jobs. While some installed wiring, others worked on air-conditioning and heating ducts. Some nailed down roof shingles, others made sure the work area was clean. Others prepared lunch.

”For our local congregations, it’s really a great experience,” said Jonathan Grew of Palmer, a longtime regional building committee volunteer. ”The expansion of the building is going to make our use of the building much better.”

Each day’s work begins with breakfast, discussion of a Bible text, and discussions on work safety. Dreibelbies said the project is meant to both put up a new building and be a ”spiritually upbuilding experience.”

Tom Lynar of Easton, an elder in the Easton Spanish congregation and a carpenter by trade, is also a member of the regional building group. He said the volunteer support at the Forks site helps local congregation members see what happens at other construction sites.

”They get to see the unity that we have as an organization,” he said. ”Everyone is volunteering their time, they are bringing their tools and their equipment to help out locally. Everyone sees how much everyone is sharing with what they have and it brings a good joy.”

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