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THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. - Two worship centers operated by the Jehovah's Witnesses were damaged by fire Monday morning, and arson is suspected in both blazes, fire officials said.
Olympia firefighters responded to the first blaze, a Kingdom Hall in the 225 Cain Road Southeast about 8:20 a.m.
A fire was breaching an interior wall in the building, which was unoccupied.
Firefighters quickly put out the blaze and determined that it started outside the building. There was a strong smell of petroleum similar to gasoline and other items that suggested arson, the Olympia Fire Department said.
About a half-hour later, another fire was then reported at a second Kingdom Hall in Tumwater. Crews from the Tumwater Fire Department responded to that scene and found smoke and fire inside and outside the building. They were able to extinguish the flames.
The Tumwater fire is likely related to the Olympia fire, officials said.
Officials from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to both fires
In the Olympia fire, video surveillance footage shows a person pouring a liquid on the exterior of the worship hall and lighting it on fire early in the morning before dawn, said Assistant Chief Rob Bradley of the Olympia Fire Department.
He said it appears the fire smoldered some time before it began spreading through the walls and was noticed.
In the Tumwater fire, evidence indicates two possible ignition points on the north side of the building, said Tumwater Fire Chief Scott LaVielle. It appears that an accelerant was used, he said.
ATF officials are now checking on similarities between the two fires.
By The Librarian
Beveridge Eric - Appreciating Jehovahs Organization and Our Kingdom Hall.mp3
DUANESBURG — The town's plan to purchase a former church in order to convert it into a new Town Hall is being disputed.
The Town Board voted in October to purchase the former Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall at 2240 Western Turnpike for $250,000, but a group of residents, including former town Supervisor William Park, has filed a petition for a public referendum on the matter.
Town Supervisor Roger Tidball, however, said the petition isn't valid because it was filed one day past the 30-day deadline for filing a referendum petition.
"The town will be taking it to court to get it dismissed," Tidball said.
Retired dairy farmer Richard Hoffman, a long-time resident who was one of the petition organizers, said he's been served papers to appear in state Supreme Court in Schenectady on Dec. 11.
"I'm not done with this. I'll fight it tooth and nail," he said Wednesday.
The Town Board voted Oct. 20 to sign a contract to purchase the former church, subject to permissive referendum — meaning a petition could force the public vote. The petition, which included 153 signatures — 19 more than the minimum needed — was filed Nov. 22. In seeking the referendum, opponents noted there is no money for the purchase included in the recently adopted 2018 town budget.
Tidball said the town has been looking for a location to build a new town hall for about a year and a half, and in that time, some proposed land purchases have fallen through. Then the Jehovah's Witnesses building, built in the 1990s, became available.
"The cost is good, so we thought we'd better jump on it," Tidball said. "We've totally done everything the way we're supposed to, and the attorney has approved it."
While the town contends that the petition was filed too late, Hoffman said the organizers were aware of the deadline, but believe they made it with two or three days to spare.
"I've been talked to a few people involved in commercial remodeling, and they thought it would take $250,000 to bring it up to code," he said. "It's not going to be $250,000 (to buy the building), it's going to be $400,000 to $500,000. Let the people of the town vote on that."
The former church comprises about 4,000 square feet of space, roughly twice the size of the current town hall, which is also located on Western Turnpike, about 4 miles west of the church.
"Our courtroom, which is also where the Town Board meets, is very small," Tidball said. "We have people waiting outside, and if we have a meeting where we're expecting more than about 40 or 50, we have to move it. That's really the main problem."
The church building would require some renovations, but Tidball doesn't believe they would be an expensive as opponents think, since the building is modern. He believes the renovations would cost around $100,000. The town will seek grant money, he said, but is likely to borrow the town's portion of funding for the purchase and renovations to protect its reserves.
The supervisor said the town hopes to hold a public forum on its plans for the building just after the first of the year.
"This will solve a lot of our issues for future expansion," Tidball said.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, firstname.lastname@example.org @gazettesteve on Twitter.
HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED... WHY DO JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES CALL THEIR MEETING PLACE A KINGDOM HALL RATHER THAN A CHURCH? 🏠⛪️🏠By Bible Speaks
HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED...
WHY DO JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES CALL THEIR MEETING PLACE A KINGDOM HALL RATHER THAN A CHURCH?
The bible answers....
In the Bible, the Greek term that is sometimes translated “church” refers to a group of worshippers, not to the building they meet in.
Note this example: When the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, he sent greetings to a couple named Aquila and Priscilla and added: “Greet the church that meets in their home.” (Romans 16:5, Contemporary English Version) Paul didn’t intend for his greetings to be conveyed to a building. Rather, he was sending his greetings to people—the congregation that met in that home.
So instead of calling our place of worship a church, we use the term “Kingdom Hall.”
Why “Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses”?
This term is fitting for a number of reasons:
> The building is a hall, or meeting place.
> We meet to worship Jehovah, the God of the Bible, and to witness, or testify, about him.—Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 43:12.
> We also meet to learn about God’s Kingdom, of which Jesus often spoke.—Matthew 6:9, 10; 24:14; Luke 4:43.
You are welcome to visit a Kingdom Hall near you and see for yourself how Jehovah’s Witnesses conduct their meetings.
A cannabis factory with almost 800 plants has been discovered inside an iconic Merthyr Tydfil chapel.
Unbeknown to nearby residents, the building on Newcastle Street - a prominent landmark in the town since it was built in 1856 - was housing 769 cannabis plants.
Officers only discovered the huge operation after conducting a spot check on someone acting suspiciously.
From the information obtained they discovered the unbelievable haul brazenly being grown in the town centre.
The former Kingdom Hall for Jehovahs Witnesses, on Newcastle Street in Merthyr Tydfil
Police also found another haul of plants in a property on Pontmorlais High Street.
A man has been arrested and charged with producing cannabis.
The Salem Chapel was once a congregation church used by the Salvation Army and Merthyr Council.
Since 1986, the chapel has been the Kingdom Hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Fargo, ND (WDAY-TV) A stolen vehicle has caused lots of damage in the South Fargo area.
Tara Kohn says she and her husband were doing fence repair at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses when they realized their blue pickup truck had been stolen.
They called 911 immediately.
A witness on 23rd Street in South Fargo says he saw the truck run a stop sign, swerve off the road, hit an electrical box, and then hit a parked car on the street.
He says the car then fled.
Police found the pickup at 1519 36 ½ Avenue South in Fargo, in an un-drivable condition.
The person who stole the vehicle fled on foot, and Kohn says police told her they were searching for the suspect with the help of police K-9s.
“So sad to not only lose our pickup truck of many years, but the damage that someone did with this. It's one thing to steal something... but to hurt so many other people. He didn't hurt people but their vehicles and their property,” said Kohn.
If you have any information, you can contact Fargo Police at 701-235-4493.
By Bible Speaks
Kingdom Hall in Jaboatéo dos Guararapes, Pernambuco, Brazil. Photo shared by @wendell_wsm
The Stornoway congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses plan to build a new church.
The proposed Kingdom Hall would be sited on Perceval Road, facing the rear of the Dun Eisdean care home.
The new place of worship would be close to the Culregrein Mission House where the Stornoway Reformed Presbyterian Church meet.
The present Kingdom Hall is located above a block of shops in Church Street. The group has met there since 1958.
A bid for full planning permission for the new hall plus carpark has been lodged to Western Isles Council.
Four people have made representations supporting the development while one objection has been submitted.
The Comhairle's environmental health department expresses concerns over the potential for noise and dust during the construction phase though it is understood this could be managed by imposing conditions.
The council is considering the planning application.
By The Librarian
No tongue have I, nor mouth, nor lip, a speech I cannot make
But if I could, the things I'd say, would long, long hours take!
For I was born to fill a need, in answer to a callAnd those who brought me forth to live, have named me Kingdom Hall.
So I've a royal name you see, and royal was my birthI'm here for service to a King, I hope I prove my worth!
I want so much to be just right. To suit the need I fillTo aid in service of Kingdom Truth, to people of good will
Oh give me lips and mouth and tongue, and let me tell to all,The reason why I'm standing here, why I'm called a Kingdom Hall
But what's a Kingdom Hall you ask? You mean you haven't heard?Why I'm the place where all may come, and freely learn God's word
No, I'm no church, don't get me wrong, I have no pews or steepleAnd never will collection plates be used to milk the people
The things you'll hear within my walls will not be false traditionYou'll never hear that Hell is hot, for that's a contradiction!
Nor will the pagan idea of God, who's three in oneEver be preached beneath my roof; such doctrines you should shun
But rather, here inside my doors you'll learn things reliableBecause they'll be taken from a truthful source, God's word, the Holy Bible!
You'll learn how Jehovah God intends to rid the earth of all it's woes;Destroy it's sorrow, sin and death; all mankind's deadly foes
Then in their place will blossom forth, a world of truth and loveAn earth where God's will shall be done; just as in heaven above
There'll be no sickness, pain or death, no tear to mar the smileNo one will then bring grief and strife; no Devil will beguile
But those who live in the new system will humbly bow the kneeBefore Jehovah God who reigns in Grand Supremacy
This is part of what you'll hear within these walls of mineBut more than that you'll learn just how to make this light to shine!
And that's the point I want to stress, which may seem rather oddThat I'm not built just as a place in which to worship God
So here it is you'll learn of Jehovah God; to know what is his willTo learn what he requires of you, his laws how to fulfill
To worship God means more than sit and listen to God's wordIt means to act; to serve; to preach, to all who have not heard
Outside my doors, amidst the world, you must hold forth the lightYou must apply what you here learn, to worship God aright
How great my joy I want to shout; My privelege is so rareYou other buildings of the earth, cannot with me compare
If I could speak, I'd raise my voice and make all buildings knowThat my importance excels theirs, for from me truth will flow
So listen, All you structures proud, you giants of steel and stoneYour tops may scrape a scuddling cloud or soar where Eagles have flown
Your cornerstone may have been laid by worldly men of fameBut you can not boast, That you've been made to praise Jehovah's name!!!
The recent hailstorm in Del Rio Monday night caused many to reevaluate the safety of their homes and their current living situations. Window, roof and electrical damages have citizens wishing they were more prepared for this natural disaster.
However, the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ completion of its replacement roof was finished just in time for the damaging weather.
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