If God can create world in seven days, believers can build a church in four
When the Jehovah’s Witnesses set out to build a place of worship, they don’t mess around. Members of the church from Colorado and surrounding states began building their 4,000-square-foot Kingdom Hall Thursday morning and plan to have it completely finished – rugs, paint and all – by Sunday night.
“The way it’s set up across the nation, there are regional building committees,” said Jehovah’s Witness elder Tim Danner of Glenwood Springs. “It’s kind of like an old barn raising, but it’s not a barn, it’s a 4,000-square-foot Kingdom Hall.”About 300 people – mostly professional construction workers, all volunteers and all Jehovah’s Witnesses – descended on Airport Road in Glenwood Springs during the day Wednesday and on Thursday morning to get to the task of building the hall.
With all the volunteer work and donated materials, the total cost of the Kingdom Hall is expected to be around $200,000.
“The whole idea of building it in four days is, we feel our preaching is the main goal and we can get done with (building),” Danner said.
The hall will replace the group’s former home at the corner of 21st Street and Blake Avenue. The property was sold to Buzz Fairbanks, who plans to turn the hall into office space.
“We already called for a final inspection on Monday,” Danner said of the new church, anticipating a successful finish by Sunday.
Little more than eight hours into the project, the church was fully framed – inside and out – the walls were sheeted, the electric system was being installed, the trusses and roof plywood were set and the rough plumbing was finished, Danner said.
“I don’t think they’ll get the shingles on the roof today,” he said.
The Witnesses bought the property from Glenwood Meadows developer Robert Macgregor in May.
Volunteers have worked since Labor Day weekend to prepare the two-acre site, which is across Airport Road from the Cardiff Glen subdivision. Workers poured 400 cubic yards of concrete for the foundation and 53-space parking area preparing for the onslaught of workers.
Who are Jehovah’s
Jehovah is the personal name of God, as found in the Bible, members believe. Church members are Christians and they believe in Jesus Christ, Danner said.
“We feel without Jesus, what do you have?” Danner asked.
People in the religion are known for knocking on people’s doors. This is to try and “make disciples of people,” a Jehovah’s Witness Web site said.
“Our biggest goal is – there’s people who want to know what the Bible says,” Danner said.
As far as those door-to-door visits, Danner said if they’re asked to leave – which is what happens during the majority of visits – “we turn around and walk away.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses are also known for not celebrating holidays and birthdays. While they do commemorate the death of Christ, the Web site said, and have parties, picnics, weddings, anniversary celebrations and other events, they don’t celebrate holidays that have non-Christian religious origins or those that promote nationalism, the Web site said.
Witnesses are not opposed to celebrations in general or to the giving of gifts.
“It’s probably the fastest-growing religion,” Danner said, adding that the biggest benefit to its members is “everlasting life.”
The religion is growing, he explained, because with events such as the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the specter of war with Iraq, “people are more concerned about what’s going to happen in the future.”
“We believe we’re in the last days now – deep into them,” Danner said.
Services are held at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. every Sunday.
There was little resistance from neighbors because very few homes are near the site. But Heather McGregor, the managing editor of the Post Independent, and her husband, Steve Smith, who live next door to the hall, did make some requests.
“They changed some things for us,” Danner said. “They’re very into keeping the natural foliage. We actually gave up two parking spaces. What they asked was very good.”
McGregor said the church members were “very cooperative in preserving most of the native vegetation on their lot.”
“And we appreciate that,” she added.
Cathy Podest, a member of the Glenwood Springs congregation volunteering as part of the electric crew on Thursday, said that even with just four days to build the hall, the crews were ahead of schedule.
“It’s going great. It’s going to be so pretty,” she said. “Everybody’s psyched – we’re way ahead.”
The church parking lot was crammed with campers and recreational vehicles, tables, chairs, a bake truck, a cooking truck and a covered area where the volunteers will eat their meals. Thursday’s dinner was spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread, green beans and pumpkin pie.
“We did 340 meals for lunch. We’re doing everything right here,” said Fort Lupton congregation member Robert Vigil.
“We’re amazed with what’s going on here,” said John and Lois Sweetman, members of the church who were visiting to check out the progress of the hall and to visit some old friends.
The workers who came in from out of the area are staying at homes and in hotels in Glenwood Springs, Danner said.
“They do one a month as a rule,” he added.
The Kingdom Hall will still be under construction on Sunday, but it is expected to be open for services on Sunday, Oct. 27.
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