Thanks slimboyfat - yes, a video would be good at some stage. Hopefully if the map shows the locations of former branches, it shouldn't be too difficult to see how widely-spread the organization was at its peak.
Is that only selected branches?
No, these are all the remaining 98 branches. I did consider including "country offices" on the map, but I've decided to disregard these because it is the branch offices figure as published in the worldwide report that is of interest in this exercise, and I don't want to muddy the waters.
I have also been informed that the Cyprus branch has been closed and "merged" with the Greek branch, so that takes us down to 97. If anyone can provide further information on similar branch closures, I would appreciate it! I will be updating the map today.
Another aspect of decline that might be interesting to chart is the worldwide bethel population. Is there any way to get that information? When did the number of bethelites worldwide peak? What was the peak number? What is the number now?
Another aspect of decline that might be interesting to chart is the worldwide bethel population. Is there any way to get that information?
There is actually a figure published for that. I will try to make up a chart later today.
On another note - does anyone out there know if there is still an official branch office in Italy? I noticed on another thread from a year ago that it was mentioned Italy would lose its branch to Germany. Can anyone confirm whether this has actually happened?
It always amused me when I was in that the Italian Branch address was in the Via Buffalotta, Buffo is the Italian for clown, I always thought that was appropriate, them being in a street that to my English ears meant a lot of clowns.
I am not sure if it still operates, so cannot be of use to your efforts Cedars, but well done, to have knowledge of the attrition is good, but I bet the WTdisclose less and less in the future, a lot of the R&F base their faith in the Organization on the increase, downsizing info will rattle their cage.
Most JWs do still consider numerical growth very important. That's despite the Watchtower attempting to downplay it in recent years by removing the report from the January Watchtower and ending the full monthy branch reports in the Kingdom Ministry. David Splane made a comment in the recent history DVD that is probably indicative when he said that only eight people survived the flood of Noah's day and therefore it is clear that God doesn't care about numbers. That attitude is a far cry from the days of "Hail the theocracy ever increasing, wondrous expansion is now taking place".
slimboyfat - well it says "branch facilities", but I know what you mean. I would be surprised if the "Worldwide Order" didn't include special pioneers, COs, etc - but I suppose you can only take things at face value. If it specifically mentions branch facilities, then that must be what it means.
In other news, my Italian friend has very kindly launched a thread on an Italian forum, so hopefully we'll soon get to the bottom of whether Italy still enjoys official branch status. I have a hunch that it does, but we shall see.
i'm trying to put together a comprehensive master list of watch tower society branch offices that corresponds roughly with the figure published in the worldwide report.. i feel it would be useful to monitor the number and location of existing branch offices, because i believe the distribution of branch offices worldwide is a good indicator of the society's financial wellbeing.
we now seem to be entering a period of branch office closures, with last year seeing an unprecendented 16% reduction in branch office numbers over the year before.
it will be interesting to see how things develop moving forward, but i'm hoping that by keeping a list of the offices we will be better placed to keep track of the "retreat" if branch office numbers continue to dwindle.. here we go.... .