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Jehovah's Witnesses new world HQ nearly complete

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Residents to move into a 'green' facility this September

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.”
 

'Going green'

One of the goals for the world headquarters campus was to make it efficient, both for workers getting around and energy efficiency. The first was accomplished through connecting the buildings with covered walkways, some of which are above ground while others are below. Devine said this helps workers easily get around the campus, especially elderly residents in the winter. 

Being an energy efficient campus was created in a number of ways, one of which was through storm water control.

“We're not allowed to release storm water at any faster rate than it was in it's natural setting,” Devine said, “so we've incorporated things like this permeable paving ... and there's a couple feet of gravel below this so as the rain comes, it will just immediately go back into groundwater and won't runoff into the streams.” 

There is also a large amount of underground water storage. Around the lake, there is a double row of black silt fencing, which keeps mud and dirt from flowing into the lake, and keeps the rattlesnakes out.

As far as the landscaping around the campus, Devine said they were not allowed to use any plants that are not native to Sterling Forest. And one of the most “green” additions to the headquarters is the installation of a growing medium on all of the flat roofs, containing little succulents and other similar plants.

“The whole idea is when it rains, the roof holds the moisture up here and then the plants can aspirate it over time,” Devine said. “By and large, we like to hold in as much water as we can and then that avoids having to discharge it into the streams or into our underground storage.”

There's also a geothermal field on site. Using about 125 wells, each 500 feet deep, in the wintertime, the system pulls heat from the ground used to heat the buildings and make hot water, and in the summertime, heat is put into the ground. With just one plant providing heating and air conditioning to all eight buildings, it is more energy efficient and requires less personnel. 

With all of this green technology installed, according to the headquarters' engineers, the site will most likely receive four green globes, the highest rating given by the Green Building Initiative, an organization similar to LEED. Aspects like the use of recycled materials, construction practices, the use of green roofs, landscaping and storm water retention are all taken into account.

 

Why Warwick?

The main features that drew the Watch Tower Society to the Warwick property were its size and location, according to Devine. The property is 253 acres but only between 40 and 50 acres were used to build. 

It's not too far from the city, so there's easy access for intrastate and international visitors. It's also in a scenic location near a lake, creating an aspect of privacy, Devine said, with shopping for the residents still close by. 

Traffic to and from the site will be minimal, since residents work on site, except for visitors, which Devine said they expect to have quite a few. 

Another important component is that there's a lot of local congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Northern New Jersey and Southern New York.

“All of our staff support local congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses,” Devine said. “So they'll travel quite a distance actually to worship with our neighbors. I go to a congregation up here in Monroe. But right here is kind of an ideal location because you have Northern Jersey with all the suburbs and we have many congregations nearby, so it just works out really well.”

With the group beginning to move out of Brooklyn, the Jehovah's Witnesses sold their longest-held building in Brooklyn, 124 Columbia Heights, with its iconic tower atop the roof, for $105 million in April, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. And according to the New York Post, the 733,000-square-foot world headquarters at 25-30 Columbia Heights and the 1.1-million square-foot as-of-right development site at 85 Jay St. were sold for $700 million. 

These were among the 16 properties the organization owned in Brooklyn, which will all eventually be sold. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society also has a location in the Ulster County hamlet of Wallkill, where many of their printing services are located. This large complex includes residence buildings as well. 
 

Neighbors

Even though the Watch Tower Society is a tax-exempt organization, Devine said, “We try to be good neighbors.”

And the response from the community has been positive, Devine said. 

“I think everybody was wondering who are these people and how can you build something like this using volunteers,” Devine said. “And I think everyone, including the building department, was skeptical. But we've won them over and the quality of the work, I feel, is very, very high.”

According to Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton, the group has been exceptional throughout the whole planning and building process. 

“They did everything the planning board asked them to do, they have been exemplary really in their construction activities,” Sweeton said. “We've had a monitor on site pretty much the entire time and our building inspector also visits a couple times a week. And everything that we've ever asked or wanted, they've done.”

The Witnesses have also helped with certain public facilities in town. When Warwick needed some material to build one of last sports fields out at Union Corners Park, Sweeton said he contacted the Watch Tower Society.

The group responded by providing all of the material the town needed as well as hydroseeding the soil, which allowed the grass to come in very nicely and much more quickly than had the town done the work - all at no cost to taxpayers. 

Devine said that the group also has built a press box at the Little League field near the headquarters.

There are also basketball courts and picnic pavilions being built on the property because part of the group's agreement with the town was to have on site recreation, helping to avoid overloading the town's' parks with additional residents. 

Currently, the Watch Tower Society is working with a Greenwood Lake Boy Scout Troop to refurbish the east shore of Greenwood Lake, offering their assistance in terms of material and volunteer trade help.

As far as impact on the town economically, Sweeton said that because the site itself was tax-exempt already, tax-wise, the headquarters won't have a huge impact on the town. 

The Watch Tower Society also is providing some on site medical services and have made arrangements with the Greenwood Lake Fire District; it is also working with the Tuxedo Fire District. 

If any of the Headquarters residents decide to move off site to have children, they then would pay taxes and their children would likely go to the Tuxedo school district. 

“The town has been great to deal with,” Devine said. “They've been very open and honest with us, we've tried to be open and honest with them, and I think we've got a great relationship.” 

As soon as the facility is completely done and the bible museum, which will be part of the headquarters, is finished, Devine said they will begin giving free tours to visitors, probably next spring. The bible museum will feature a first edition King James Bible printed in 1611.

“We look forward to inviting the whole community to come,” Devine said, “and probably have a big invitation campaign that will welcome everybody.”

Who are the witnesses?

About 8 million Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide
1.2 million Jehovah's Witnesses in United States
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania is the nonprofit corporation formed in 1884 under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is used by Jehovah's Witnesses to support their worldwide work, which includes publishing bibles and bible-based literature.
Basic beliefs:
The Bible: All Scripture is inspired of God. 
The Creator: The true God has given himself a personal name—Jehovah—that distinguishes him from false gods
Jesus Christ: He is the Savior, “the Son of God,” and “the firstborn of all creation.” 
God's Kingdom: There is a heavenly government with a King—Jesus Christ—and 144,000 corulers, who are “bought from the earth.” They will rule over the earth, which will be cleansed of all wickedness and will be inhabited by many millions of God-fearing humans.
Bible prophecy: What God foretells always comes true, including the Bible prophecies concerning the end of the present world.
Preaching: It is an honor to share “the good news of the kingdom.” Whether people listen or not is their own choice. 
Secular authorities: Obey the laws of the land when these do not conflict with God's laws.
Source: jw.org

 

Source: http://www.chroniclenewspaper.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20160609/NEWS01/160609944

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      In an opinion written by Judge Kenton D. Jones, the appellate court concluded that the question of whether the lower court had jurisdiction to OK emergency medical treatment was one "of significant statewide importance."
      Jones noted that Arizona law allows a Juvenile Court that has jurisdiction over a child to order a parent or guardian to get medical treatment for a child. However, the appellate court did not find any such jurisdiction for a Superior Court emergency hotline.
      "Our review of Arizona statutes and rules of procedure reveals no provision ... authorizing the superior court to maintain an emergency hotline for the purpose of ordering medical treatment for a non-consenting minor," Jones wrote. 
      Therefore, the lower court's order authorizing medical treatment on behalf of the boy is void, the appellate court said. 
      The parents filed the appellate-court action in November but did not request a stay of the lower court's order. The boy received blood transfusions on Dec. 1 and Dec. 5 before his parents relocated his care to a medical facility in Portland, Oregon. 
      Banner Health officials said the health-care provider has not yet decided whether to appeal the appellate court's decision.
      Representatives of Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, which filed a legal brief on behalf of the parents, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
      A Jehovah's Witnesses website said the religion considers blood transfusions a "religious issue rather than a medical one," citing multiple biblical passages.
      Patients who develop certain types of cancer, such as leukemia, often require blood transfusions as a part of treatment.
      https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/health/2018/04/04/heres-why-parents-filed-legal-case-prevent-their-child-cancer-getting-blood-transfusion/483577002/
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      (CNN)Getting work emails from your boss when you're off the clock? There ought to be a law against that.
      Well, in New York City, there just might be.
      Rafael Espinal, a city council member from Brooklyn, introduced a bill last week that would make it illegal for businesses to contact employees via email or instant message when employees are off work.
      The "Disconnecting From Work" bill would only apply to businesses with 10 or more employees and forbid communication when workers are off duty, on vacation, using personal days or off sick.
      Read more: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/28/us/new-york-law-against-email-after-work-trnd/index.html
    • By Queen Esther
      World Headquarters of Jehovah Witnesses, Warwick NY.  ~~~~
      Different  GB  Brother's  and  many  JW  telling  us....    Enjoy !
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    • Wouldn't a core doctrine be one in which we put "unwavering" faith. This is the whole reason I mention "core" or "key" doctrines. If we were to be killed unless we publicly renounced our faith in Jehovah God as the Creator, and Jesus Christ as the one through whom the Ransom comes, we should be willing to die for that doctrine. I would not be willing to die over my certainty that Jesus was only using hyperbole when he said that the men of Sodom would do better in a resurrection of the unrighteous on Judgment Day, than persons in towns that rejected Jesus during his earthly ministry. (Only the most diabolical of inquisitors would ask such a question anyway. I think I would go for "theocratic war strategy. 😉 )
    • I like that. It's an excellent explanation of one of the points made in the day's text and commentary. Perhaps. And so were all the 1 year old babies destroyed in the Flood. And so were the 185,000 of Senacherib's troops. I used that one because it's one for which most of us would be the least surprised if we discovered that the WT changed the teaching again.  Not sure what you mean. I already believe that the primary core doctrine is God's value through his Son's ransom sacrifice. Other doctrines are also just as necessary, though.  There actually is a contradiction between the Bible and AD 1914. And we don't need any independent understanding not supported by Scripture, such as the independent understanding of John Aquila Brown, or more specifically, that of Nelson H Barbour, neither of which were supported by Scripture. It should ALWAYS be the exploit of any faithful Witness to uncover truth and try to resolve any contradictions that can be resolved by Scripture itself, not anything independent of Scriptural support.  On the matter of the 1914 doctrine, an easier explanation with human controversy --but no scriptural controversy-- has already been posted. Easier isn't proof that it's better, but it's definitely easier. Here it is: Jesus came to earth to preach about a God's Kingdom through Christ and give himself over to death as a perfect ransom for sin, to fulfill the Law, and SIT AT GOD'S RIGHT HAND and therefore RULES AS KING since the time of his resurrection in 33 CE. That's it. Simple. No contradictions with any Scripture. From that point on, in 33 CE he SITS AT GOD'S RIGHT HAND and therefore RULES AS KING ruling in the midst of enemies, including war, famine, sickness, and will continue ruling as king until God has put all enemies under his feet, including the last enemy: death.  The current belief in 1914 creates a contradiction with this very point, because we are currently forced to ignore 1 Cor 15:25, which indicates that "sitting at God's right hand" is the same as "ruling as King." Right now, our current teaching is that Jesus sat at God's right hand in 33, and THEN LATER began ruling as king in 1914. Paul says that Jesus began ruling as king WHEN he sat at God's right hand. I'm swapping them because they mean exactly the same thing to me. No difference. Doctrine means teaching. True but notice the words that Paul used instead of "sit at my right hand" here: (1 Corinthians 15:25) 25 For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. Turns out that when a king sits on a throne, this is actually an expression meaning rule as king. Just like when we say that a man "sat on the throne" starting in AD 1066, for example. Turns out that a king does not have to stand up from a throne to begin ruling as king. Turns out that sitting on a throne is not a synonym for just waiting around. By that logic, Jesus is not even NOW ruling as king, because God has not yet put the last enemy Death beneath his feet. (1 Corinthians 15:25,26) 25 For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. 26 And the last enemy, death, is to be brought to nothing.
    • If only you would stop quoting outside sources, and just be more basic with your comments, then i may understand them . Yes I understand 'if your throw out all the good, only the bad is left.  But the reverse is, if you only see the good, you are not being honest with yourself or others.  @Arauna is a case in point.  
    • @JW Insider Quote " The day's text is about the resurrection, and the commentary speaks of the importance of including this among our key doctrines, as if it might not have been "up there" with the rest. " That seems rather strange to me. But then they are getting short of things to say.  However, i would have thought every Christian, no matter what ever 'sect' or  pigeon hole you put them in, would definitely believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and put it up near the top of important beliefs.  However making Bible Facts, doctrines, seems unfair to God and to the Bible itself.  doctrine a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a Church, political party, or other group.   It's as if the JW Org tries to 'own' such things. @TrueTomHarley quite often goes on about the things that the JW Org teaches. As if those things 'belonged to the JW Org'.  Whereas a lot of the same beliefs are held by thousands of people, and they not all being of the same organisation.     Quote " The Teaching about Christ's Kingdom -  Of course that final one might be a nod to "1914" as a key teaching, but it is worded here in such a way that no one could dismiss Christ's Kingdom as a key teaching. "   Now here we see a difference between Bible truth and JW doctrine.    Christ's Kingdom is Bible truth.   1914 is JW Org doctrine.   (This would bring us back to. Would a person be d/fed or 'watched' if they did not believe the 1914 doctrine?)    Matthew 22 v 44    ‘Jehovah said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies beneath your feet”’? So if Jesus was to sit at Gods right hand, until God had put Jesus' enemies beneath Jesus' feet.  Then Jesus could not have had the power to do it himself. Therefore surely Jesus was not ruling as King immediately ?    As for 1914, we know that no one of the Bible Students or JW leaders, were or are inspired of Holy Spirit. So maybe 1914 is just another guess or misuse of scriptures.    What is your view of the difference between 'Core doctrines' and Key teachings ?    And you seem to keep swapping expressions from Core doctrines, to Core teachings, to Key teachings.  Can you explain the difference please ?    
    • I confess that I am falling well short of the 100 times a day that I ought. I ask your forgiveness. Human limitations is the only excuse I have to offer. If you negate the upside, then all there is left to look at is the downside, and that is the case with many here.  I keep coming back to a line from The Scarlet Letter: “It is remarkable, that persons who speculate the most boldly often conform with the most perfect quietude to the external regulations of society.” Nobody speculates more boldly, departing from the herd-like thinking of this world, than Jehovah’s Witnesses. True to that Hawthorn line, they have no difficulty conforming to the “external regulations of their society.” Though Hawthorn does not say it, the reverse is also true. Those who cannot “conform to the external regulations of that society” and so leave it, perhaps guys like Shiwiiiii, are the most non-bold thinkers of all. They are individualistic in superfluous ways, but conformist in all the ways that matter.
    • Perhaps you are reading something into the book of Jude that I haven't been able to see. To me, the reason for the letter was this: Jude 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. This was similar to the problem in Corinth, where certain brothers were PROUD that they could put up with a notorious case of incest, due to a misunderstanding and misuse of "undeserved kindness." (1 Corinthians 5:1, 2) . . .Actually sexual immorality is reported among you, and such immorality as is not even found among the nations—of a man living with his father’s wife. 2 And are you proud of it? Should you not rather mourn, so that the man who committed this deed should be taken away from your midst? Such persons who used the idea of forgiveness, mercy, and undeserved kindness (grace), as an excuse for loose/brazen conduct were not blowing the whistle on wrongdoing, but were PROMOTING wrongdoing. It was the same as dismissing and speaking abusively against things that Jesus himself had said to "prove false to our only owner and Lord, Jesus Christ." Michael wouldn't even speak abusively of the Devil and yet these people are going to go further than that and think it's OK to speak abusively of Jesus and the angels? It's also possible that the leaders (elders) are considered the "glorious ones" but this makes less sense to me. Perhaps a topic for further discussion?
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