Our whole congregation was excited as we stood in front of our brand new KH and smiled for the photographer from the local newspaper.
For years we had been travelling 30 mins each way to attend the meetings and now, after a big effort of donations and hard work we finally had our own KH in our own town.
In the picture, there were 45 smiling faces of all ages, from the newborn to the old brother that had turned 100 and everyone in between. The year was 1978.
The congregation grew and shrank over the years, probably hitting its peak during the 80's and 90's, there was even a renovation in the early 90's that the local brothers donated towards, for the benefit of the local town to hear the good news about the imminent arrival of the end. Some new families moved in, some moved out but overall the expectations were only good for the little congregation in rural Australia.
Then, around 2012, the C.O. told the brothers that their little hall was going to be sold and all the brothers would have to once again merge with the same congregation they used to merge with back in 1978, and drive the I hr return trip to attend the meetings. Some of the brothers were a little hurt and complained to the C.O. but he assured them that the money was to the worldwide work and it would help anyone that the ORG decided needed it.
As I look at the picture taken in 1978, I remember all the names and faces like it was yesterday, when I was only 6.
Of the original 45;
10 have passed away.
22 left the org.
Of the remaining 13, some are very old and the others are a part of the same family.
So there you have it- a brief snapshot of what is probably an average congregation. Over 40 years, only 13 people left out of 45 that were expecting the end to arrive long before now and gave their time and resources for no reward.