Kingdom Hall labor of love

The main auditorium at the new Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Santa Clara is designed for learning. / Trevor Christensen / The Spectrum & Daily News

The main auditorium at the new Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Santa Clara is designed for learning. / Trevor Christensen / The Spectrum & Daily News

John Skurat, coordinator of the body of elders for the Snow Canyon Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, shows the library at the new Kingdom Hall in Santa Clara on Thursday. / Trevor Christensen / The Spectrum & Daily News

John Skurat, coordinator of the body of elders for the Snow Canyon Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, shows the library at the new Kingdom Hall in Santa Clara on Thursday. / Trevor Christensen / The Spectrum & Daily News

Kingdom Hall labor of love
Jehovah’s Witnesses prepare for district convention in area

Within five days last year, Washington County went from having two Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses to three.

In November the church’s local Regional Building Committee, which includes many Witnesses from Northern Utah, went to work on a Santa Clara lot, using funds raised by local members of the congregation. On Wednesday of that week they framed the structure. On Thursday they roofed it. By Sunday it was ready for worship services.
“It was a labor of love,” says John Skurat, coordinator for the body of elders at the Snow Canyon Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
In addition to being part of the body of elders, which leads the Santa Clara-based congregation, Skurat is also a member of the building committee, or RBC, which means he travels around the state and even into southwest Wyoming to help with similar projects, just as other RBC members traveled to Santa Clara for construction of the new Kingdom Hall in November.
Not all of the projects are new buildings. Some are remodeling projects. Just last week Skurat traveled to Pinedale and Rock Springs, Wyo., for two remodeling projects.
“Right now we have 17 projects on the books for the Utah RBC,” he says.
The Santa Clara building is now home to about 125 publishers, the active Witnesses who participate in the field ministry door-to-door throughout the area. Previously the Witnesses who now worship in Santa Clara shared a St. George Kingdom Hall with two other large congregations. That St. George building still houses two English-speaking congregations and one Spanish-speaking congregation while a Hurricane Kingdom Hall houses two congregations, one English and one Spanish.
The name Jehovah’s Witnesses use for their buildings — Kingdom Halls — is based in scriptures like Matthew 6:10 and 24:14, which refers to the kingdom of God.
“A person goes to a pool hall to play pool, a dance hall to learn to dance, a Kingdom Hall to learn about the Kingdom,” Skurat says.
The process of building the new Santa Clara Kingdom Hall took about five years from inception to completion, beginning with fundraising efforts. Eventually the Witnesses were able to raise $640,000 in voluntary contributions for the new building.

“They startled us,” Skurat says of the willingness to donate. “Once they got on board they were a juggernaut. We couldn’t stop them.”
In the Kingdom Hall, the principal meeting room is simply called the main auditorium. Skurat says it’s more like a classroom where the primary purpose is learning. Because of this, elements like lighting and sound are important.
Although it was ready to use by the end of November, congregation members gradually added additional elements to the décor at the Kingdom Hall through the following months. Now the main auditorium is filled with massive photographs of the Southwest landscape by local photographer Nathan Wotkyns.
“Since Earth will become a literal paradise under the Kingdom, the photos serve as a fore-gleam,” Skurat says.
Although windows are not always common in Kingdom Halls, the Santa Clara building is an exception. The inclusion of windows here also ties in with the beauty of the Southwest landscape, which can be seen through those windows, offering views of Red Mountain and Pine Valley Mountain.
The building also includes a library with church literature and a computer for accessing the church’s official website, http://www.jw.org. Church literature is also available on this website in 430 different languages.
A classroom also provides a place for Witnesses to teach each other and learn more about their faith. Some start at a younger age but Skurat says he didn’t give his first five-minute presentation until age 25 because he was not raised in the faith.
Meeting times include a public talk at 10 a.m. Sundays followed by a Watchtower study. Thursdays include a Bible study at 7:30 p.m. followed by Theocratic Ministry School and a service meeting. For questions about the congregation contact John Skurat at 669-3397.
July conventionOutside the new Kingdom Hall is a shed where they store, among other things, stage props for the faith’s annual district convention at Dixie State University every summer.

Jehovah’s Witnesses began holding the convention in St. George a few years ago and Skurat says it has been a good fit.
“Everybody’s happy,” he says.
The convention fills DSU’s Burns Arena for four consecutive weekends in July with 14,000 people attending either the English-language meetings the first two weekends or Spanish-language meetings the final two weekends. Attendees come from Utah, Nevada and Arizona to attend.
You don’t have to be a Jehovah’s Witness to attend, however. The convention, titled “God’s Word is Truth!” is open to all.
Les Houser, a news service overseer for the convention, says Witnesses are already going door-to-door throughout the district in an effort to personally invite all residents to join them at the convention.
“We’re all looking for truth and answers in life,” he says. “We feel the Bible is definitely a place where we can find the truth and get reasonable answers to our questions.”
This in not only happening here in the American Southwest. Houser says it’s a global campaign and similar conventions are happening throughout the world.
According to a press release for the event, the convention program this year will provide families and individuals with new resources for family and personal Bible study.
“Though lively discourses, dramatic Bible readings and presentations, and even two live plays, program parts will emphasize why Jehovah’s Witnesses embrace the Bible as the most trustworthy guide and source of advice in these troubled times,” the press release reads.
The first of the four convention events begins at 9:20 a.m. July 5 and runs through July 7. There is no admission fee since the convention is supported by voluntary contributions by Jehovah’s Witnesses. For information about the event visit http://www.jw.org. (…)

July convention
Outside the new Kingdom Hall is a shed where they store, among other things, stage props for the faith’s annual district convention at Dixie State University every summer.
Jehovah’s Witnesses began holding the convention in St. George a few years ago and Skurat says it has been a good fit.

“Everybody’s happy,” he says.
The convention fills DSU’s Burns Arena for four consecutive weekends in July with 14,000 people attending either the English-language meetings the first two weekends or Spanish-language meetings the final two weekends. Attendees come from Utah, Nevada and Arizona to attend.
You don’t have to be a Jehovah’s Witness to attend, however. The convention, titled “God’s Word is Truth!” is open to all.
Les Houser, a news service overseer for the convention, says Witnesses are already going door-to-door throughout the district in an effort to personally invite all residents to join them at the convention.
“We’re all looking for truth and answers in life,” he says. “We feel the Bible is definitely a place where we can find the truth and get reasonable answers to our questions.”
This in not only happening here in the American Southwest. Houser says it’s a global campaign and similar conventions are happening throughout the world.
According to a press release for the event, the convention program this year will provide families and individuals with new resources for family and personal Bible study.
“Though lively discourses, dramatic Bible readings and presentations, and even two live plays, program parts will emphasize why Jehovah’s Witnesses embrace the Bible as the most trustworthy guide and source of advice in these troubled times,” the press release reads.
The first of the four convention events begins at 9:20 a.m. July 5 and runs through July 7. There is no admission fee since the convention is supported by voluntary contributions by Jehovah’s Witnesses. For information about the event visit http://www.jw.org.

http://www.thespectrum.com/article/20130621/LIFESTYLE/306210018/Kingdom-Hall-labor-love?nclick_check=1

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