WARWICK — The new Jehovah’s Witnesses World Headquarters located in Sterling Forest will be completed in August, thanks to the help of more than 25,000 volunteers from across the country who contributed to its construction.
Some of the volunteers have stayed at the site since ground breaking three years ago, such as spokesperson for Jehovah’s Witnesses, Richard Devine, and his wife, while others have come for a week or a three-day weekend. With more than 1.2 million Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States, many of which own construction businesses or work in construction, there is a high skill level working on the project.
“As Jehovah’s Witnesses,” Devine said, “we feel it’s a real privilege to help with the building of the headquarters.”
The entire campus, which borders Sterling Forest Lake (Blue Lake), consists of eight buildings, including four residence buildings and a large office building, where the 800 to 850 Witnesses will live and work. There are also two maintenance buildings and a parking garage.
Those that will be living at the 1.6 million square-foot world headquarters will start moving in this September, with the entire Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society slowly moving out of Brooklyn, the organization’s location since 1909. Residents all have taken a vow to be members of a religious order, according to Devine, and as they accomplish their ministerial work in connection with the headquarters, the order in turn provides housing, meals, health care, and a small allowance each month to cover incidental expenses, like toothpaste and socks.
And as far as children, Devine said that even though Jehovah’s Witnesses in general are very family-oriented, the world headquarters staff is made up of only single or married adults. If any couples decide to have children, they would leave and settle down to a more traditional home life elsewhere. There is no stigma attached to deciding to have children and no longer living at the headquarters, he said, and it is considered to be a personal decision.
“It’s a way of life that’s different than most,” Devine said, “but it is very rewarding.”
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