Many years ago I started a thread entitled 'A religion with nothing to Celebrate' (https://www.jehovahs-witness.com/topic/80630/religion-nothing-celebrate).
Prior to about the year 2000, our congregation met in what had previously been an old church. We purchased it and even though we had little cash, made the place beautiful. It had real character, with beautiful wood work and we even managed to keep some of the stained glass windows as they weren't religious in nature. When we had finished the work, we had an open day for the public and many came to admire the restoration of such a building. I remember one couple close to tears as they had been married in the church years previously and had seen the previous owners use it as a carpet warehouse.
Of course, eventually the CO decided the upkeep was too much, we should spend our weekends in the ministry, not working on the hall, and so a quick build hall was commissioned and the congregation moved out.
That was one congregation, in one hall and I think that at the last memorial in the old hall, at which I gave the talk, there were about 180 in attendance. There was a real buzz about the place as people lingered and chatted after the meeting was closed.
Fast forward nearly twenty years. Now three congregations shared the same hall - part of the consolidation and downsizing - as a few congregations in the area merged. This becomes a big problem at memorial time in terms of time slots.
Now the memorial is the one meeting that I always accompany my very active wife to and so this year we went to the early memorial. This was for two congregation together, with the third meeting directly after.
The first problem; parking in a parking lot designed for just one congregation. Next finding a seat, 220 in attendance (compared with 180 for just one congregation years ago but that said the congregations have bee rearranged) in hall designed to hold about 200 max. Then afterwards, every one is asked to leave more or less immediately, as cars are double parked and besides which the next congregation and their cars are due to arrive.
I wanted to to have a chat with one or two old friends, including an elder who struggle since losing his wife about 3 years back, but with the crowd and being directed to the nearest exit, I didn't get a chance.
I am sure they all go home and say what a fantastic memorial it was but as a bystander I found the whole affair total uninspiring. How sad.