Massive Plunge in Number of New JW Congregations from 1990 to 2014
The increase in congregations would be nowhere near as large if it wasn't for the foreign language congregations. Every ASL congregation around us is down to ~30 publishers. They keep creating new congregations and new circuits of smaller and smaller sizes and call it "growth".
And don't forget meeting attendance is down.
One congregation I know well in the UK was formed from two in 1989. The totals were about 140 publishers and they split into two congregations - one of 65 and the other of 75. At the split Meeting attendance was about the 135/140 mark for the Public Talk, 130 for the WT and mid week. (forgetting the book study of course)
The elders were not sure they were ready to split but with a fairly small hall and 16 elders the CO said they should for "the future expansion" and he got the London branch to go for it.
Anyway 25 years on where were they.
The Cong that was 65 is now 50; the congregation that was 75 is still about 75 now. Meeting attendance for the first congregation (taken at the WT now of course) is about 40/45. The other is about 55/60.
The waters are drying up.
When I left in 1987 there were four KH in my area, today there are still four but
there have been an increase from JW's from Central America. The strange thing
about this, no new KH. Pasadena Calif. area....Yes merging KH.
a few in London have merged and disbanded in recent years, old traditional congs that have been around since the Russell era, of course they are the fastest and biggest growing religious group on the planet though
Same in Poland, we had a 25% reduction in congregations (from ~1800 to ~1350 over the course of 2 years), smaller sub-70 congregations merging into bigger ones.
Welcome WTS Archive! Sounds as if you are in Poland, close to where my sister-in-law came from (Romania) She was never a JW, and a couple of weeks ago she was sharing her perspective of living under Communism, and my life as a JW (In the U.S.) ... Maybe you could start a thread, and give us some insight into life over there? I hope so, and wish you well on your journey!
Yes, SBF: Correct. Unlike the Awake! referencing, however, it is a stroll in the park to find out who was the source of the quote (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).
You make a valid point - I had meant to make it clear the OP was a reduction, not in the absolute number of congregations but in the total number of new congregations - something that is easily missed if annual reports are examined mainly for their grand annual totals and little else.
My aunt and uncle were JW since 1950's and my mom joined after 1968. I do not remember that neither had problems with the communist regime for being JW. My aunt and uncle were also well off within the limits of the political and economic system. There was a difference between countries in Eastern block in the term of freedom and economic performance and between decades (brutal oppressive 1950's to liberal 1960's and stagnant 1970's). In the 1960's when communist regime started to disintegrate in Czechoslovakia, JWs even had assemblies and School of Gilead outside Prague, but everything reversed after Soviet invasion. Hungary was the freest country there between 1970-1990 and most of the publications originated there. I knew a guy who used to bring literature from Hungary and they translated into Czech or Slovak language and printed publication underground (however, communist regime knew about it and put blind eye).
After the collapse of the communist regime in 1989 I had requested files the regime had on my family, and to my surprise, they did not care about my JW mom. However, they had file on my dad who was victim of purges in 1968 and never was JW. I also seen a file on elderette snitching everyone in KH to state police. Her name with address, DOB, and names she reported was all recorded in that file. I was surprised, but my mom said she suspected and many knew about it.
If you never lived under Communist rule, you will never understand how this life was. After people experienced relative freedom in 1966-1968 and subsequent hostile Soviet occupation, society experienced significant deterioration. People lacked hope that something could change. Many joined WT because they believed that only mighty Jehovah can smash Soviet empire. I knew one elder who could not wait to see Red Army to be destroyed at Armageddon and repeated it all the time. Of course there were also shortage, but I associate them with the late 1980' when centrally planned economy collapsed, versus in 1970's when we pretty much had everything (we had car, cottage, all household appliances, and yearly vacations somewhere on the beach).
Thanks kaik. Very interesting context indeed. Some of the Russian immigrants who came to New Zealand to live in the 1960s had a very similar outlook. Utterly overwhelmed by the Communist regime and seeing no solution other thst divine intervention. Most of the ones I knew are long dead. There was no divine intervention but Communism collapsed. Who'd have thought?
Londo111 - "...the circuit boundaries also changed."
Don't they call that "gerrymandering" in political parlance?
Pretty sure it's done for the similar reasons.