MOLINE -- It reminded a Moline building inspector of an "old-fashioned barn-raising."|
People driving by construction of a new Kingdom Hall for the Jehovah's Witnesses in Moline also were curious, said Jay Weimer, who is in charge of construction of the 5,100-square-foot building that will accommodate two English-speaking groups and one Spanish-speaking group, each 80 to 100 members.
He said construction began in October and is expected to be finished by the first week of May. Congregants have been meeting in other local Kingdom Halls, including ones in Rock Island, Davenport, Bettendorf and Geneseo.
The new Kingdom Hall sits atop a hill at the 70th Street and John Deere Parkway in Moline, overlooking John Deere Road and Zimmerman Honda.
Because there are no signs yet, "people have been wondering what's going on here, especially on weekends when we have 200 to 300 people seen working on it at a time," Mr. Weimer said.
As many as 700 Jehovah's Witness volunteers have loaned a hand."An integral part of being a Jehovah's Witness is service to Jehovah," Mr. Weimer said. "Construction and maintenance of our buildings is part of our service to Him.
"It's not so much about the building," he said. "It's more about the why -- what makes us do this."
Volunteers have come from as far away as Springfield, Danville and Iowa, including professional, skilled tradesmen such as electricians and plumbers.
"That's what else makes this so remarkable, the unity of all the people involved in this," Mr. Weimer said, adding that hundreds of people have spent a lot of time on the project, while balancing family and professional responsibilities.
They've also been working closely with city officials to ensure everything is done properly, Mr. Weimer said. It was during one visit that a city inspector compared the project to a barn-raising.
Mr. Weimer agreed, adding they also had all the pies anyone might expect at such an old-fashioned social gathering.
Dessert wasn't all, though. The volunteers also were fed meals."We have our own kitchen set up that prepares and provides those meals," Mr. Weimer said.
The new Kingdom Hall will have an auditorium that seats about 160 people, as well as three other meeting rooms, a library, conference room and theocratic school where people can practice preaching, Mr. Weimer said.
Mr. Weimer wore a hard hat embossed with the letters RBC, standing for Regional Building Committee, of which there are hundreds across the country overseeing construction of places of worship for Jehovah's Witnesses.
He didn't want anyone to focus their attention on him, alone.Unlike churches who put plaques or signs up on walls crediting specific people for work that was done or money raised for a building project, Jehovah's Witnesses do not, he said.
He cited Matthew 6: 1-4 of the New World Translation, which reads: "Take good care not to practice your righteousness in front of men in order to be observed by them; otherwise you will have no reward with your Father who is in the heavens. Hence, when you go making gifts of mercy, do not blow a trumpet ahead of you, just as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be glorified by men.
"Truly I say to you, they are having their reward in full. But you, when making gifts of mercy, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, that your gifts of mercy may be in secret; then your Father who is looking on in secret will repay you."
"If we expect any reward," Mr. Weimer said, "it will be from Him."