Good news to report: Congregations merged because lack of attendance, publishers & field service
Out of curiosity, how many people are in these new merged congregations? Are the newly merged congregations far exceeding 100 people?
It's been said that the average is about 100 people that's why I'm using it. Merging a 25+75 is one thing. Merging an 80+50 is another.
This IS pretty exciting. :)
I've seen this as well, In my sisters congregation (english) they dissolved her congregation and made them merge with another congregation in another hall about 20 min away. This was because of lack of attendance. I also know of kids from the spanish congregations that are leaving in droves in my area, I think the younger spanish generation is more educated and are not easily manipulated as their predecessors.
Its a matter of time, the elderly will pass away and the young leave, this will leave them with a dilemma. Their biggest growth is in third world country's with limited incomes and minimal education, so how do you protect your assets? Mandatory contributions, liquidation of some assets and re branding yourself (jw.org). I believe all the changes we have seen is directly connected to their shrinking numbers in more affluent country's and all the lawsuits you can see the desperation in there eyes. That's why we are seeing new ones come here on a daily basis, we need to be mindful of there presence they might come off as apologetics but are battered and lost and are looking for answers.
Good news from the south Welsh borders of the U.K. here -
Sometimes they disband a cong. Sometimes they sell a hall and move a complete cong. into share with another.
Just heard that Abergavenny - south east Wales UK - has had its hall closed and they've had to bunk up (i.e. share k. hall) with Ebbw Vale 10 miles away. Lots of very unhappy bunnies there! This is fresh news to me although it may have happened in late 2015.
On the other hand also in 2015 late last year Cinderford on the Gloucestershire/south east Wales border has been disbanded and the publishers split up among nearby halls. (No KH sold in this case)
This means Lydney (now incorporating half of Cinderford) has the hall to itself. And Chepstow, ten miles down the road has a hall to itself as it lost it's sister congregation Caldicot who were moved to the Newport hall in 2014.
Chepstow is now rumoured to be on the hit-list and to be moved in to use Lydney's hall.
And of course it was reported on here that in September 2015, just over the Bristol Channel in England - Portishead and Clevedon lost their hall. Clevedon moved in its entirety to the Weston-super-Mare hall and shares with 3 other congregations. Portishead got disbanded among nearby congs.
Wonderous expansion is truly taking place!
If Britain branch reports an increase next year then I know they "lie like a carpet" in the publisher figures.
The more congregations that merge, the more KH's that can be sold.
This is likely part of the master plan to sell off kingdom halls. Then in several years, they will ask for additional donations since there are not enough kingdom halls.
Rub a Dub
Rural congregations are also being dissolved with the remaining Witnesses needing to travel much larger distances to go to the nearest congregations. I know of at least 3 in the middle to lower North Island of New Zealand: Shannon, Taihape and Ohakune - each had its own kingdom hall, all now sold off.
Of course, it could be argued that this reflects a population shift from rural to provincial regions.
But the annual numbers suggest stagnation, if not decline in publisher numbers.
@ NeverNew: We are about 72-76 publishers and merged with a congregation ( I believe they split it in two, half of it going to ours the other half going to another congregation) with 35-40 publishers.
This has happened to the last two congregations I have been involved with.
They are not even getting upset with studues wearing jeans to the kingdom hall.
Once merged the hall and land can be sold. What happens to the money, does it stay with the cong or go straight to the society's coffers?
2 long standing very traditional congs been around for decades shared a nice quick build erected in the early 1980's folded in the last few years in my circuit in London UK, would never have thought it, the few remaining members were assigned to one local cong and the others a few miles further away
I just found out that 2 congregations in lower Michigan closed recently...Morenci, which is near the Ohio border, and Coldwater. I asked if the reason was because of a shortage of elders and was told no, it was because neither one could afford to remodel. Now both congregations have to drive to Hillsdale, Michigan, for their meetings. The people in Morenci have a 45-minute drive and the people in Coldwater have a 33-minute drive. Too bad the WT can't afford to help them remodel! I understand that neither KH has been sold...yet. Just sitting empty.