An army of God

A new life springs forth from former fitness center through efforts of regional volunteers to make JW Kingdom Hall a reality


ABOVE: Volunteers from throughout Southwest Ohio work on electric wiring in the auditorium of the new Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall during a workday Saturday. BELOW: This kitchen setup inside a semi-trailer feeds the hundreds of volunteers who have been on hand weekends to help convert a former gym into the Bellefontaine Congregation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ new Kingdom Hall. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Volunteers put up siding on the main entrance to the new Kingdom Hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses during a workday Saturday. (EXAMINER PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)


Turning a former gym into a place of religious worship is no easy feat. That is unless you have a veritable army of volunteers ready and willing to devote their weekends to the project.

Such is the case for the Bellefontaine Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses that is turning the 1801 Wright St. property that formerly housed the New Life Fitness Center into a Kingdom Hall. The congregation currently meets at 440 S. St. Paris St.

“We can have as many as 300 to 400 people on a heavy weekend,” local building coordinator Tom Taylor said. “And the reason it isn’t so difficult is because we have so many talented brothers in the trade who come in and know what they are doing.”

The project, which will transform the approximately 6,000-square-foot building into the worship hall, is one of five major construction or renovation projects the Southwestern Ohio Region 3 Building Committee undertook this year, said Mark Johnson, who oversees the region’s volunteer service department.

“If local people have the burden of shouldering a project all by themselves or hiring it out, it would be very difficult and costly,” Mr. Johnson said. “We lighten up the load and help out.”

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