Sidelights on Dunwoody Kingdom Hall
THE city of Atlanta could not have cooperated more fully. Mr. Gardner, director of inspections, heard of our schedule, but his inspectors do not work on Saturday and Sunday. So he allowed Witnesses licensed in their trades to be responsible for inspections. In addition, a registered and licensed architect visited the site periodically over the weekend to see that the structure more than met the county building codes.
The three network television stations had their filming crews at the building site. One of the newscasters was impressed, stayed long after his filming crew had left and concluded his program of the twenty-third with: “The brothers and sisters will be back tomorrow, and so will we.”
On the morning of the twenty-fourth, more than a hundred miles from Dunwoody, a Witness was going from door to door. At six different doors he was told: “Well, you’re the people that are on TV who are building the Kingdom Hall in just two days, down in Atlanta.”
A businessman in Atlanta had house guests that weekend. Early that Saturday morning they passed the site and saw the walls going up. They were amazed at the activity and returned every two hours that day and the next to check progress. Subsequently this businessman talked about this event in the Philippines, Mexico and many of the Western states.
On the twenty-third at the Dekalb County Police Department, a lieutenant was being assigned to monitor traffic near the Kingdom Hall. Her captain explained that a church was being built there, but she argued that no church was being built in that area. Still insisting that the captain was wrong, she went anyway. Upon her arrival she stopped in the middle of the road, blocking traffic, and exclaimed: “I don’t believe it! That wasn’t there yesterday!”
A Witness works as a waiter at the Perimeter Marriott Hotel in Atlanta. The restaurant manager was having dinner with his visiting parents, and he asked the Witness to tell them about the church that was built in two days. His father retorted: “It can’t be done! I’ve been in construction for years and I know it can’t be done!” He then asked, “What religion are you?” When told Jehovah’s Witnesses, he said: “They could do it!” He had managed a convention hall that the Witnesses had used and had seen how they worked together. “Any other religion couldn’t do it,” he said, “but Jehovah’s Witnesses could do it.”
Streams of cars passed the building site during the two days to see what was going on. Many stopped to visit. At times up to eight hundred curious neighbors and passersby were on the grounds. Some of them ate with the workers. The cafeteria department served thirty-five hundred free meals during the two days.
A few days after the hall construction, a salesman visited a Witness. He had heard about the hall on the TV news and was very much impressed. It reminded him of “ants on an anthill.” His family was religious, but he was disillusioned with religion. He then said: “If any religious group could work together so efficiently and produce a building in one weekend, they had to have something that other religions don’t offer.” Later he and a companion came to a meeting at the Kingdom Hall.
A father was very upset when his daughter became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and would not listen to her explanations at all. But he is now eager to discuss the construction of the Dunwoody Kingdom Hall and said to his daughter, “I’m proud that you were a part of that.”