Are the halls of the Kingdom filling up, are they the same as before the pandemic or are they emptying?

by LaFrancia 33 Replies latest jw experiences

  • LV101

    Kaleb - are the halls full of JWs in LV? I know there was a new one built couple yrs. ago in the Southwest part of town but read here on they're built to accommodate smaller groups of adherents. I've not heard of any halls being sold in LV but noticed fewer congregations listed online couple yrs. ago -- maybe they've grown the nos. since then.

    There was a topic here about the JWs at Super Bowl -- unreal.

    I think Vegas could be an unusual area and recall an elder mentioning yrs. ago how many new JWs move to the territory, join a hall, and shortly, thereafter, move on.

  • hoser

    Where I’m at they did mergers a year ago and took away one congregation and sent the publishers to different congregations. The Kingdom Hall is still empty when I attend.

    I think the higher ups are wondering where everyone went.

  • LV101

    hoser: lol/hilarious! "I think the higher ups are wondering where everyone went."

    The mucky-muck old hall here had one very thick, prominent, clique - since high school - couple college drop outs with wild fabricated stories of only one unit left to graduate - most likely early 70s when they were swept away to WT land. I continually heard so and so studied/baptized (late 80s/early 90s) and fell away which seemed odd yet at same time I knew why.

  • Journeyman
    I'm surprised so many people are still on "zoom." The elders have been given instructions to vet each request to see if valid reason and there is some "password" you have to get from them. Like they did when there were phone connections.

    To my knowledge, that's not what's happened at all, and certainly not in the Britain branch area.

    I remember it was speculated for some time on here that restrictions would be brought back once the COVID pandemic had subsided, but perhaps surprisingly, the GB has not gone down that route. Then again, as was also discussed here at length, there are good reasons why they would go softly, softly. They know that if they came down hard on it, attendance figures would almost certainly fall dramatically. Better to have a small but significant % still on Zoom than lose those numbers altogether. Maintaining Zoom also gives them backup options if some governments get tougher on them (restricting meeting or confiscating halls) and/or if the Org decides to sell off or scale down more halls in some countries or regions.

    From my observations, in my part of the UK things are much as LaFrancia and St George stated:

    A small but significant proportion of the congregation stay on Zoom, many of whom do not actually need to be on there for chronic health reasons. I'd estimate it varies between 25-40% of total attendance, depending on if it's the weekend or midweek meeting, what the weather's like, etc.

    Attendance in person had been gradually increasing (and Zoom attendance gradually falling), but seems to have stabilised now. However, as others have noted, barely anyone on Zoom has their camera on during the meeting. There have been a few local needs talks about returning to meetings in person but they don't seem to have significantly shifted the balance, and it's not a major source of contention in the cong, so I get the impression those items are just put on there by the prompting of the branch or CO who would prefer to see higher attendance numbers across the territory. What does tend to get people back in numbers is the CO visit - then they go back to Zoom again the week after!

    Overall attendance is down, but only slightly. Pre-pandemic, the congregations in my immediate area each averaged a bit over 100 attendance. Since the return to meetings, combined attendance (online and in person) has risen to the 80s+. And all those attending in person generally seem more engaged with the meetings than prior to the return. Again, not to the extent of the "old" pre-COVID days, but close to it.

    So overall, a slight decline is observed in my area, but no sign of any panic collapse in numbers or significant decline in engagement. No recent hall closures in this circuit either, but I am in a major city. Attendance at the circuit assemblies and the last regional convention were similarly down - noticeable but not dramatically so. Last Memorial attendance was about the same as pre-COVID.

    Ministry support is different though. Group numbers are more significantly down, I'd say about 50% across the board. As some have noted, people's ministry - if they do it at all now, with no need to report hours - seems much more fragmented and casual. Those that are keen to do it come to the group with "their own arrangements" already agreed and leave with their partner(s) - the rest you just don't really see at all. 🤣

  • KalebOutWest

    LV101: I have no idea what JW attendance us like. I have not attended a meeting in some 30 years. I've never ever seen a Las Vegas or Henderson (suburban) Kingdom Hall, but I do know they are here. Where? Not on major roads of any type.

    But Las Vegas is a very religious area, oddly. It was founded by Mormon missionaries. While at one time the majority of locals was Mormon, the majority religion became Roman Catholic. The Las Vegas Guardian Angel Cathedral on the Las Vegas Strip is one if the most beautiful pieces of modern architecture in the US.

    There are so many Catholics in Las Vegas that it has recently become an archdiocese and a second bishop to assist the archbishop had to be assigned.

    I don't know what condition the Las Vegas JWs are in, but the local Witnesses have to be quite numerous to have hosted the influx of visiting JWs that came to assist for the Superbowl as there were JWs from all over the world here on that Sunday alone.

  • LV101

    KalebOutWest -- I agree there are many Catholics in LV and an incredible Catholic high school. I know all about the Mormans here. At one time more Morman wards in LV than anywhere other than Salt Lake. Many professionals - Morman dentists/doctors/lawyers but it's changed much the past 20 yrs. All the teachers many moons ago were Mormans - all changed today which is a good thing. LV has a Morman temple.

    The LV Guardian Angel Cathedral is definitely beautiful. Have attended many weddings there. Catholic tourists (high rollers, celebs) visit/attend mass and contribute generously!! They're doing something right.

    There's nothing beautiful or outstanding about the JW halls here. I know where a couple are and that's enough - I like the new modern, style, of the recently constructed one but clearly doesn't look like a place of worship. Looks out of place in the area it's built - actually, more upscale property (compared to others) for a hall. Property was most likely donated. Some halls might be full with the influx of new residents to LV -- I'll try to find out. An older hall on east side of LV has only elderly w/one teenager and I don't think it's more than 60-70 people but I'll try to confirm.

  • Balaamsass2

    No idea about local physical attendance (I enjoy sleeping in on Sundays now too much to check parking lots. lol)

    I have POMO and PIMO friends that tell me their US West Coast KH attendance seems down by about 30% for most meetings.

    Interestingly one single POMO friend finds 90% of seemingly PIMI single JW sisters he meets on JW online dating sites have ZERO issues dating him even though he is upfront telling

    them he is POMO and thinks the governing Body is full of s#!#t !!! lol.

    He has been outspoken with elders about his new "woke" views,...and so far, almost a dozen elders have agreed with him. Not one JC meeting so far!

    Could the big change be more PIMO JWs who stick around for fellowship and a tribe? Fewer "true believers" ? Will JWs become more like rank-and-file Catholics..or the Elks Club or Moose Club? lol. :)

  • LV101

    Balaamsass2 - Very interesting. Guess Bob Dylan's 'The Times They Are a-Changin' is true. They must be losing key members/cash for positive change.

  • DesirousOfChange
    Could the big change be more PIMO JWs who stick around for fellowship and a tribe? Fewer "true believers" ? Will JWs become more like rank-and-file Catholics . . .

    I'm convinced there are a lot of JWs as you describe here. There are many who have doubts about the "nearness" of Armageddon which is quite evident by how they are living. There are no JWs making huge sacrifices to pioneer and "save" people. Over 50% of the JW families which whom we are acquainted are taking cruises and international vacations -- quite a few to Europe vs Caribbean locations, which are much less expensive and are "easy" flights (3 hrs vs 8-10 hrs).

    It's 10 years ago, but I recall two 40-something JW elders discussing how they were strategizing their 401(k) retirement plans. Clearly not thinking that Armageddon is "very, very near" nor fearing that money will be "thrown into the streets". (I hear that one of them is now "inactive". I don't know if he is a "stumbled believer" or if he has become "awakened" (not to be confused with "woke") of all the JW BS.

    One of my longtime closest JW friends is 100% "mentally out" but still is dogmatic about being "physically in" (PIMO) as the best course of action. He thinks JW doctrine is total BS, but that JWs are the best group of people to have as friends and as a "network".

  • Riley

    Our hall is growing through immigration , as is all of Canada. The majority are still very old and the majority of younger ones are still unmarried and childless. People in there late 20s to mid 30s think they have all this time, to establish themselves with a career and family. Sadly they are mistaken.

    I guess this isn't a problem unique to the JWs. Our hall although growing somewhat is still a demograhics nightmare.

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