Kingdom Hall Renovation Question: Who Pays?

by breakfast of champions 22 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • Listener

    Going by that chart, maintenance and repair works are the responsibility of the congregation and IF renovations are approved the org. has developed a clever system. They say they will pay but the congregation must set up a contribution box. Therefore many will consider the onus is on them to finance the project (effectively paying twice).

  • LevelThePlayingField

    Thanks for posting that letter Wifi. After reading it, it seems clear to me that the GB is so rapped up in itself. They want to control everything they can. Not so with the general churches. So sad. No autonomy.

  • Brokeback Watchtower
    Brokeback Watchtower

    From the letter it seems they need some type of approval and need to save up funds in advance if cash not available from congregation account. So it looks like no money is being given out by the WT to a needy congregation and a modest KH with bare necessities is encouraged. Yes it is looking real bad for congregations expecting any real substantial help WT Crooks living in the boonies.

    With the big sell off KH in the works they don't want money slipping out the back door into congregation up keep and remodeling that won't generate some good returns in the immediate future$$$$.

    Stopping all building project around the world you can bet they are eyeing every penny that they spend on a building against soon to be realized returns with a sale of the property.

  • Anony Mous
    Anony Mous

    A few years ago, it was set up that an individual congregation no longer keeps savings in a bank but sends it to the WT. In that sense, they have already received the money.

    Having been the congregation's accounting servant, the congregation is also obligated to send a specific amount of money to the KH fund for maintenance (it used to be something like $15/publisher/month).

    From what I remember being on the RBC though, the congregation is still expected to pony up the money for anything but 'major repairs and new construction'. If your congregation does want a major repair or new construction though, they have to request it by sending a form, the circuit overseer is supposed to sign off on it, the RBC does a cost analysis. Then this information is sent back to the congregation where people are asked to make a 'special' donation "according to what's in their heart", you usually get a letter saying "it's going to cost $125k" and then a special box is set up in the back and elders are instructed to call on people privately that they know have "a little more than others".

    Based on the collection they make through that the decision regarding the project gets made, the branch sends a "budget" back to the RBC that's significantly less than what they collected, the RBC then adjusts the project. In case there is an actual need (eg. the roof blew off in a tornado) the project may also be put on a credit card which has a 3% cash back for the branch and the local congregation has to pay it off.

    In my instance, I was both on the RBC and the local congregation doing accounting, I saw the interplay of funds and one of the many reasons I started leaving, I published some of the procedures and documents a long time ago, I think I still have a database of discounts they get from various vendors.

  • breakfast of champions
    breakfast of champions

    Thanks for the letter and chart WIFI.

    It seems like this congregation falls into the "congregation should be given the opportunity to care for the expenses first" class.

    Just some background on the congregation: Although located in a fairly well-off area, pretty much everyone in the cong. is broke (big surprise). Also, about a year before the LDC arrangement was instituted, an elderly brother passed away leaving $250K to the congregation. At the time, this was viewed as a "blessing from Jehovah" because it was just the amount needed to get the new KH project started. I think few if any of "the friends" know that all of that money went to the society under the "new arrangement."

    Here's my prediction as to what will happen: The congregation will be told that they are responsible for the entire cost of the project and that the $250K they thought they had in the bank is GONE. There will be no way this congregation will be able to ante up 100s of thousands of dollars required for the project. The LDC will then proclaim that "Jehovah's will" has been revealed by the congregations lack of interest in the project. The congregations using the hall will be disbanded and sent to nearby halls, and the hall and property will be sold off.

    I'll keep you all informed on what actually happens. . . .

  • StephaneLaliberte

    Breakfast of Champion, this story is quite interesting. I have to ask: How do you know that the brother did leave 250k to the congregation and not the org?

    If that brother did indeed give that money to the congregation, it is evident that he did so, hoping to fund a new kingdom hall. Hence, if the watchtower simply took it, though it is legal, it is completely immoral.

    Anyways, that type of maneuver sounds like something that could make it into a news article in a local newspaper. If I were you, I'd inform a journalist who could investigate further.

    For the very least, this would shame the behavior of Watchtower while stirring up the feelings of the local parishioners.

  • Lostandfound

    If the brother left $250,000 in a will he presumably directed what the money was for. As such the money would be for the dedicated fund he indicated, if he left it generally to the x cong of Jw,s then elders could donate it to WT

    pPoint is people leaving funds to local congregations or the WT society should stipulate what money is for. The funds could only then be used for that purpose. So, get the older ones to check that their Wills are specific about any do ation

  • breakfast of champions
    breakfast of champions

    STEPHANELALIBERTE - Good question! Quite a story. . . .

    So, right after this guy dies, I'm talking to a "brother" neighbor of mine who actually goes to a different cong. He tells me that he was out in service and ran into a "worldly" friend of the deceased brother who is PISSED (angry, not drunk) at the local congregation. Why?

    Evidently this deceased brother originally wanted his $250K to go to THE SOCIETY. Before his death, though, he was visited by two elders from the hall who had been working on the new kingdom hall project. According to this "worldly" friend, the elders pressured the elderly brother to leave the money to the local congregation rather than the society. Their reasoning was that if he left the money to the society, the congregation wouldn't see a DIME of it. However, if he left it to the cong, they would be able to use the $$ for the new hall. Evidently, the elderly bro was rather peeved about being "strongarmed" by the elders and complained to his worldly pal.

    However he did end up leaving the money to the local cong. The donation was announced to the congregation with quite a flourish after the brother's death. The elder making the announcement (one of the ones who pressured the elderly bro) described how for in order for the new KH project to go forward, we needed just about $250k in cash and -- VOILA! --- Jehovah provided by killing off this elderly brother, and we're moving ahead with site work.

    As to how I know the money was taken by the society under the new LDC arrangement: My BIL is an elder in the neighboring cong and he says that's exactly what happened. It's GONE. Of course no special announcement was made about that. . . . ..

  • Tech49

    I know, firsthand, of 2 perfect examples of the latest "arrangement" for remodel and larger expenses. 1 KH needed a complete new HVAC (furnace and AC unit) system, as the current one was over 30 years old and no longer cost effective to repair. Another KH needed new carpet and chairs....same scenario. Both KH's sent request to the LDC to do the projects. Well over the $5000 funds-on-hand, mind you. Request was sent to LDC for funding. LDC came back and said..... if you raise at least 50%, then WT will fund the remaining amount, but you must repay via extra "contributions".

    Thinking of the carpet and chairs situation, as it is most recent. No total funding amount was ever disclosed to the congregation, just a "large cost". No other accounting information, no "funds on hand" figures, or "this is how much we need to come up with". Just..... "we need more, if this project is to go forward". Then a letter was read recently from the LDC. Basically it said "congratulations, you have reached at least 50% of the cost, and WT will cover the rest. Please make your continued contributions to cover the remaining balance in the NEW box to be located at the rear of the KH." No one knows what said "balance" is however..... all the figures and numbers are a mystery. Even the elders dont know... they say "the LDC is handling all that, so not too worry!".

    On the HVAC project at the other KH, funding was delayed until the congregation could come up with more than $15,000, then no further updates were given, just "remember brothers, we need to keep contributing, so that there might be an equalizing"!!

    So the congregations and the elders are completely in the dark as to the actual total amount that has been contributed toward each project, or when the contributions have been sufficient to cover them, and when the flock should stop making donations. The money just keeps on coming, and no one tells them to stop. Pretty convenient, right?!

    Complete and utter trust is given to this new LDC arrangement, to just keep funneling money to momma.

  • Brokeback Watchtower
    Brokeback Watchtower

    Transparency of Charities should be a must. These guys i'm sure must have broken some laws for charities in all this darkness in which they operate. Anyway I see trouble a brewing for these guys as the KH sell-a-thon gains momentum, with a lot of disgruntled elders failing to 'listen, obey, and be blessed' when forking over assets.

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