Witnesses resume in-person meetings, but won’t be knocking on your door
After two years of virtual worship, Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world are returning to in-person meetings.
Spokesman Alexander Mosley said there was much excitement among the local community about the resumption of face-to-face gatherings on Friday.
“The move back to in-person meetings coincides with two global events being held in all 120,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses,” he said. “The first is a special lecture scheduled here in Bermuda for April 3, 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, the very day he sacrificed his life 1,989 years ago. Both of these gatherings will be held in person at local Kingdom Halls with live speakers.”
Guidelines for reopening church buildings and hosting hybrid meetings have been sent to congregations across the United States and Bermuda.
“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,” Mr Mosley said.
Despite this return to a more traditional style of worship, there are no immediate plans to resume their in-person public ministry.
Jehovah Witnesses are perhaps best known for their door-to-door ministry; members visit the homes of their neighbours sharing their message of faith and hope. This ministry was suspended at the onset of the pandemic. Witnesses were forced to find other means of connecting with the community.
“We have started a phone and letter-writing ministry since the pandemic and have found this to be even more effective than our in-person outreach,” Mr Mosley said.
“We have been able to connect with so many more people – in Bermuda and around the world. Some are not comfortable bringing people into their homes and others may have such a busy schedule that they are rarely at home to receive us. Connecting through telephone, letter writing and Zoom has given us more access into people’s homes and hearts.”
While Jehovah’s Witnesses identify as part of the Christian faith, some of their beliefs differ from other Christian denominations. Jehovah’s Witnesses are known for some of the following alternative views:
• They do not believe in the Trinity, which is the belief that the Godhead is made of three unique beings – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
• Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays, citing the fact that these celebrations have pagan roots and early Christians did not observe them.
• They also do not celebrate Christmas. While they believe that Jesus is the son of God who was crucified for the sins of humanity, they do not celebrate his birth. Instead, they follow the instructions Jesus gave in Luke 22, which invites believers to commemorate his death instead.
• Witnesses do not participate in politics and matters of government. The denomination teaches that its members should remain politically neutral and abstain from voting or participating in electioneering.
• Their beliefs about heaven are also different from most denominations. Witnesses believe that only a few select believers – 144,000 to be exact – will be resurrected to serve alongside Jesus as kings and priests for 1,000 years. However, this does not mean that the rest of humanity will not have everlasting life. They believe that those who are saved will also be resurrected to live eternally in a new Earth where God’s Kingdom will be established.
These are just a few differences that are often highlighted when comparing Jehovah’s Witnesses to other Christian denominations. However, when you take a comprehensive look, there are several similarities in doctrine and belief.
Like all Christians, Witnesses believe in one God – whom they call Jehovah – as the creator of the universe. They also believe in the entire Bible as the inspired word of God and use it for history and advice.
They believe that salvation – deliverance from sin and death – is made possible through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who they believe died on a stake. They believe that the Kingdom of God is a real government and will replace human government and accomplish God’s purpose for the earth at the appointed time.
Participation in collective worship is also important. As such you will find Kingdom Hall buildings – which serve as community hubs – across the island.
Most importantly, Witnesses are committed to sharing the “good news of the Kingdom” as commanded to early believers in Matthew 24:14. They take this instruction from Jesus quite literally and have made it their mission to go out into the world sharing the message of hope of the Kingdom of Heaven with all the inhabited earth.
Reopening their buildings to worship is a welcomed step towards resuming their mission to share the gospel and continue Jehovah’s work here in Bermuda and around the world.