A NONPROFIT CORPORATION
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF PENNSYLVANIA
PRIVATE BAG WG-5001, WESTGATE, ZIMBABWE TELEPHONE 08677 004 012; 0772 472 403/4
October 7, 2017
TO ALL CONGREGATIONS
Re: Annual Meeting Announcements
In order to put more emphasis on starting Bible studies and to reduce the amount of material that our brothers must read, the Governing Body recently made a number of exciting decisions. These were announced at the annual meeting of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania held on Saturday, October 7, 2017.
Beginning January 2018, the public edition of The Watchtower will be published three times a year instead of six times a year. The same will be true for the Awake! For example, the first issue of The Watchtower for 2018 will be distributed during January and February. The first issue of Awake! will be distributed during March and April. Each is-sue will focus on just one main subject that will have broad appeal.
The number of books, brochures, tracts, contact cards, and videos that will be featured in the field ministry is being reduced. Essential literature items and videos that have proved to be effective in the ministry will remain in our Teaching Toolbox.
Beginning January 2018, specific monthly literature offers will be discontinued. More emphasis will be placed on starting and continuing conversations. Publishers will be encouraged to use good judgement in deciding which item from the Teaching Toolbox to offer and when. Periodic campaigns to distribute Memorial and convention invitations will continue as in the past.
If the book What Can the Bible Teach Us?, which is the simplified edition of the Bible Teach book, is available in a particular language, then production of the Bible Teach book will be discontinued. Publishers may decide whether to transition Bible students to the Teach Us book now or to complete the Bible Teach book with the student. Until sup-plies of the Bible Teach book are depleted, publishers should continue to offer it to interested persons who show appreciation for the Bible’s message.
A simplified edition of the book “Keep Yourselves in God’s Love” is being prepared. The new book will be entitled How to Remain in God’s Love. Once this new book is available in a particular language, production of the “God’s Love” book will be discontinued. Publishers may decide whether to transition Bible students to the new book or to complete the “God’s Love” book with the student.
Encouraging reports about the activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses in other lands are now provided regularly by means of JW Broadcasting and jw.org. Therefore, the Yearbook will no longer be published. When the worldwide field service report for the 2017 service year becomes available, this information will be published in the “About Us” section of jw.org.
Re: Annual Meeting Announcements October 7, 2017 Page 2
The website will continue to publish the features “Activities,” “Bible Questions Answered,” “Frequently Asked Questions,” and “Young People Ask.” In addition, the web-site will regularly publish the features “Help for the Family,” “Imitate Their Faith,” “The Bible Changes Lives,” and “Was It Designed?”
No new content will be added to the following features on jw.org: “Bible Character Cards,” “Family Worship Projects,” “Illustrated Bible Stories,” “My Bible Lessons,” “Picture Activities,” “Study Activities for Children,” study guides for What Does the Bible Really Teach?, Young People Ask worksheets, and the video series What Your Peers Say. However, the existing content will remain for now on jw.org.
It is hoped that these organizational refinements will help us to focus on our goal of teaching “all those who [are] rightly disposed for everlasting life.”—Acts 13:48.
We send our warm Christian love.
c: Circuit overseers
Convention Committees Re: Annual Meeting Announcements October 7, 2017 Page 3
PS to bodies of elders:
Please arrange for this letter to be read to the congregation at the conclusion of the next congregation meeting. If the circuit overseer is visiting your congregation, he should read this letter at the conclusion of the meeting. At circuit assemblies and conventions, the letter should be read by the last speaker on the program at the conclusion of his talk. Thereafter, the letter should be posted on the information board. This postscript should neither be read to the congregation nor be posted on the information board.
Congregations will soon receive their supply of issue No. 1 of the 2018 public edition of The Watchtower. As noted above, each magazine for the public will be distributed for a two-month period. Therefore, we have automatically increased your standing requests for these magazines. The service overseer and magazine coordinator (or magazine servant) should carefully monitor the distribution of magazines and adjust the congregation’s standing request to match actual needs.—See the October 20, 2015, letter to all congregations.
When the congregation’s supply of Bible Teach books runs out, additional supplies should be re-quested from the branch office until you are notified that the supply is depleted. To make good use of remaining supplies of that book, the service overseer may choose to feature it in the congregation’s public witnessing activity. He may also direct well-qualified publishers to distribute copies of the book to institutions such as libraries, schools, universities, retirement communities, and nursing homes.—See the October 14, 2016, letter to all bodies of elders.