From slab to ceiling, Witnesses build hall
Jehovah's Witnesses raised the roof in Moorhead Thursday. Where only a slab of concrete stood earlier in the day, men were hoisting rafters on top of walls by mid-afternoon. On Sunday the Jehovah's Witnesses congregation in Moorhead will ...
Jehovah's Witnesses raised the roof in Moorhead Thursday.
Where only a slab of concrete stood earlier in the day, men were hoisting rafters on top of walls by mid-afternoon.
On Sunday the Jehovah's Witnesses congregation in Moorhead will have a new Kingdom Hall.
Jehovah's Witnesses from across the region -- including licensed contractors and professionals -- are donating their time to complete the project. More than 100 worked on-site Thursday. By Saturday more than 400 volunteers are expected, said Wes Hagensen, a member of the Moorhead congregation, who is overseeing the project.
Thousands of Kingdom Halls across the world are built in a similar fashion, which cuts costs and brings other benefits as well.
"With all the help, it doesn't take too long," Hagensen said. "I'd call it a ministry, a service to the people."
Materials for the building cost about $270,000, Hagensen said.
The Kingdom Hall, a house of worship, is more functional than ornate. The building will hold an auditorium, a speaker's platform and small meeting rooms. When finished there will be no religious symbols such as crosses or other images.
The hall is located north of the Moorhead Kmart which is on U.S. Highway 10 East.
Both the English-speaking and Spanish-speaking congregations in Moorhead will share the building. The English-speaking congregation has about 85 people; the Spanish one about 35. They had been sharing space with two Fargo congregations.
An intercom system helped keep things organized on the construction site where dozens wearing hardhats bustled about.
"Attention brothers and sisters," a voice said. "We need eight brothers to help with rafters."
"The effort it takes to do this project brings unity to people," said Roberto Alvear, one of the overseers of the Spanish-speaking congregation. "They see friends they've met at conventions. It's like a family reunion."
Jessica Fix drove from Albert Lea, Minn., to help for that reason.
"You're working side-by-side with your friends, joking around," she said as she helped direct people to the proper building materials. "You work next to people who have the same hope and background as you do."
Volunteers stay in the homes of local Jehovah's Witnesses. On Sunday all are invited to a short Bible study. By that time the carpet will have been laid, the Sheetrock painted, the doorknobs in place.
"People gain the ability to work together and work under pressure," said Chuck Wells, the presiding overseer of the English-speaking congregation. "The Bible speaks of the fruits of the spirit being peace, patience, goodness and self-control. (A construction site) is excellent space to practice all of those."'
Readers can reach Forum reporter Erin Hemme Froslie at (701) 241-5534