WESTOVER — Jehovah’s Witnesses here at Kingdom Hall and other houses of worship across the ministry have this fall been able to resume their trademark door-to-door ministry after a two-and-a-half year suspension was officially lifted.
The resumption of all pre-pandemic in-person activities for the 1.3 million Jehovah’s Witnesses in the 13,000 congregations started April 1 when Kingdom Halls reopened, followed by witnessing in public places on May 31. The door-to-door ministry ban ended on Sept. 1 and next year in-person conventions will again be held.
“I am excited and ready to go,” said Gwendolyn Kenney, who will be heading out into neighborhoods together with other members of her congregation. “I am looking forward to having in-person conversations with my neighbors again and showing them how to use their Bible to answer questions they have.”
The suspension of the public ministry was a proactive response to the COVID-19 pandemic by the organization to keep communities and congregants safe. The move was also unprecedented. Jehovah’s Witnesses had been preaching from house to house without interruption for more than 100 years through an economic depression, two world wars and global unrest.
But COVID-19 demanded a different response. It forced Jehovah’s Witnesses to quickly pivot to virtual meetings and conventions, while conducting their ministry exclusively through letters, phone calls and virtual Bible studies.
Ironically this has led to a growth in meeting attendance and the number of congregants, with more than 400,000 newly baptized witnesses joining the ranks of 120,000 congregations globally in just the first two years of the pandemic.
“We believe that the early decision to shut down all in-person activities for more than two years has saved many lives,” said Robert Hendriks, U.S. spokesperson for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “We’re now ready and eager to reconnect with our neighbors once again — person to person, face to face. It’s not the only way that we preach, but it has historically been the most effective way to deliver our message of comfort and hope.”
The move coincides with a global campaign to distribute a new interactive Bible study program available in hundreds of languages at no cost. The program comes in the form of a book, online publication or as an embedded feature within the organization’s free mobile application, JW Library.
Released in late 2020, the interactive study platform combines text, video, illustrations and digital worksheets to help learners of all ages.
“This new study program is designed to match the learning needs of the 21st-century student,” said Hendriks. “We’re excited to begin sharing it with our neighbors as we return to making personal visits.”
For more information about Jehovah’s Witnesses, their history, beliefs and activities, visit their official website, jw.org, with content available in more than 1,000 languages.