Reaching the completion of a nearly year-long construction, members of the local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Riverview are poised to dedicate their brand new, double Kingdom Hall, designed to serve multiple congregations made up of residents from the Ruskin, Sun City, Riverview and Apollo Beach communities.
According to Riverview resident, Ted Gerran, who also served as one of several project managers, work began five years ago after a unanimous decision that it was time to find a new place of worship in order to meet the need of the rapidly-increasing number of followers.
“Jehovah’s Witnesses are quickly growing in number, requiring congregations to be split and for us to form new ones,” Gerran said. “This meant we needed a larger dual-auditorium facility.”
The new 10,400 sq. ft. building located at 11725 Symmes Rd. in Riverview, will accommodate six congregations (three English and three Spanish) with room for two more and sits on a 3.5-acre property the Witnesses purchased in the spring of 2008.
The new Hall replaces the former place of worship which was used since 1974, also built by the Witnesses on a double lot on U.S. 301 just south of Big Bend Rd. in Riverview.
Project design, planning and construction of the Hall were all done by more than 1,150 Witness volunteers, including 600 members of the six congregations who will soon officially occupy the new building.
Gerran said that while the project faced a number of challenges, including finding skilled workers available at the right time, the job was well done, on time and with a positive spirit.
“We couldn’t have asked for more,” Gerran said. “All our volunteers experienced a great deal of joy, had a lot of fun and enjoyed the food that was prepared and served each day throughout the duration of the project, not to mention the wonderful association which provided an interchange of encouragement to serve our Heavenly Father Jehovah God.”
Fellow volunteer, Barry Barbas, who was involved with all the concrete work on the project, agreed when he said, “Thanks to the volunteer spirit we had, it took us only two weeks to accomplish what normally takes four months to do.”
Gerran emphasized the importance of the new Kingdom hall and what it does for the community, which includes a number of functions.
“First and foremost, our new Kingdom Hall is a center of pure worship in the community and we invite all to come and learn what the Bible really teaches” Gerran said. “But we are also here for disaster relief and are an asset to the community.”
The Witnesses’ first official meeting is scheduled for early March and it will be hosting an open house sometime in April.
There will also be a spiritually-festive dedication program in May, 2014.
For more information, residents can call the Kingdom Hall at 672-2737, or visit www.JW.org.
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