Religion

Jehovah’s Witnesses return to door knocking

Decision to resume ministry marks the complete restoration of all the ministry’s pre-pandemic in-person activities

Jehovah’s Witnesses have restarted their door-to-door ministry after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Door-knocking is considered not just a core belief by Witnesses, but also an effective ministry. The trademark ministry began September 1.

Mark Taylor, spokesperson for Jehovah’s Witnesses in The Bahamas, said Witnesses are excited to get back out there.

“We are excited to share the wonderful message of hope with our neighbors,” he said.

James Bridgewater, a 55-year-believer, said he is excited about preaching door-to-door again.

“I miss interacting with individuals,” said Bridgewater. “One is able to discern people’s reactions, how they truly feel about what they are hearing, and they are better able to sense that we care for them. Our very presence in the neighborhood is a witness in itself.”

The decision to resume their door-to-door ministry marks the complete restoration of all pre-pandemic in-person activities.

Robert Hendriks, United States spokesperson for Jehovah’s Witnesses, said they are ready and eager to reconnect with their 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,” said Hendriks.

Vanessa Knowles, who was baptized during the pandemic, has never engaged in the house-to-house ministry. She is looking forward to it.

“We have all had an eventful two years and faced trials – my goal is to help people come to an accurate knowledge of what this all means for our future – according to God’s word, the Bible,” says Knowles.

Houses of worship (called Kingdom Halls) were reopened on April 1.

The return to in-person meetings coincided with two global events held in all 120,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Witnessing in public places resumed on May 31.

In-person conventions are planned for 2023.

The return to in-person ministry coincides with a global Jehovah’s Witnesses campaign to offer an interactive Bible study program. Released in late 2020, the interactive study platform combines text, video, illustrations and digital worksheets to help learners of all ages.

“This study program is designed to match the learning style of the 21st century,” said Hendriks. “We’re excited to begin sharing it with our neighbors as we return to making personal visits.”

The pandemic forced Witnesses to pivot to virtual meetings and conventions while conducting their ministry exclusively through letters, phone calls and virtual Bible studies.

Despite their virtual reality in the pandemic, Jehovah’s Witnesses report a growth in meeting attendance and congregants with more than 400,000 newly baptized Witnesses joining the ranks of 120,000 congregations globally in the first two years.

Jehovah’s Witnesses suspended door-knocking in March 2019, as much of society went into lockdown. The organization also ended all public meetings at its congregations and canceled 5,600 annual gatherings worldwide – an unprecedented move not taken even during the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1919, which killed 50 million people worldwide.

Witnesses continued their ministry by writing letters and making phone calls.

Hendriks said no time was wasted as their congregants remained busy and productive, helping each other and their neighbors through challenging times, which he said love and unity are all about, as they prepare to explore the topic of peace.

Jehovah’s Witnesses return to door-to-door, face-to-face ministry on the heels of a recent six-part virtual convention in July and August. Witnesses explored the topics of how love leads to inner peace and peace with others; why the Bible can be called the “road map” to family peace; how to attain peace even when suffering illness, economic problems, natural disasters or other difficulties; what people from around the world are doing to enjoy peace; and why friendship with God can lead to true peace.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have been holding global conventions for more than 100 years, the last three years featuring virtual events.

Prior to 2020, Jehovah’s Witnesses in The Bahamas held their annual convention at The Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses on Dolphin Drive.

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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