Jehovah’s Witnesses return to in-person meetings | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

Jehovah’s Witnesses across the world are being encouraged to begin holding in-person meetings beginning April 1.

For most of the last two years, buildings for worship have remained closed globally due to the risks associated with meeting in person amid the COVID pandemic.

Jehovah’s Witnesses in Jamaica also suspended their public ministry on March 20, 2020. Since then, they have carried on their ministry through letters and phone calls while holding twice-weekly meetings in a virtual format.

“While I appreciated the zoom meetings, nothing can replace the gathering of ourselves together in person, to sing, pray and greet each other under the same roof is a joy, I am excited at the prospect come April 3rd,” Jehovah’s Witnesses’ spokesman for Jamaica Peter Scudamore commented.

According to the organisation, average attendance at these meetings exceeded 16,500 each week in Jamaica, even though there are fewer than 12,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses in some 152 congregations.

Ninety-two-year-old Clarissa Bennett from Montego Bay, who has been an active witness for six decades, echoed the sentiments of all Jehovah’s Witnesses locally.

“It’s just a wonderful feeling to be together again. This is something I longed for during the pandemic. It is now a reality,” a delighted Bennett said.

The move back to in-person meetings coincides with two global events in all 120,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The first is a special lecture scheduled for April 10, 2022, entitled: “Where Can You Find Real Hope?” Additionally, the annual commemoration of the death of Jesus Christ will be held on April 15, 2022.

These gatherings will be held in person at local Kingdom Halls with live speakers.

“The timing of resuming in-person meetings could not be better,” said Robert Hendriks, Branch Wide Spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Bringing everyone back together for these special events will have a powerful effect on the worldwide congregation.”

Guidelines for holding hybrid meetings have been communicated with all congregations in Jamaica.

Over the past six months, many Kingdom Halls have been equipped with the required technology to hold a productive meeting that allows for in-person and remote attendees, all of whom can participate in the discussions.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have no immediate plans to resume their door-to-door ministry, though their alternative ministry continues.

From the start of the pandemic through November 2021 in Jamaica alone, Jehovah’s Witnesses spent more than two million hours in virtual Bible studies, writing letters, sending WhatsApp messages of comfort to their neighbours and making phone calls.

Globally they have released 77 new language translations of the Bible and held two global virtual conventions in more than 500 languages.

“No time was wasted in the past two years,” said Hendriks. “Our congregants have been busy and productive helping each other and their neighbours through this most challenging time. That’s what love and unity are all about.”