Kingdom Proclaimers Report
In Just Nine Days!
“AWESOME!” That single word was the headline of an editorial in a Vancouver Island, Canada, newspaper on August 14, 1985. The editorial described the construction of a 25,000-square-foot (2,300 sq m) Assembly Hall in just nine days.
Over the past ten years, Jehovah’s Witnesses have developed a technique for the quick erection of local Kingdom Halls. And the Vancouver Island Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses is now the second such structure in Canada designed primarily for semiannual circuit assemblies of groups of congregations. The brand-new hall stands on an eight-acre (3 ha) site in Cassidy, British Columbia. Tall evergreens provide a handsome backdrop, while a pleasant creek runs through the lot behind the building. It includes a 900-seat auditorium, a 250-seat cafeteria, a refreshment area, a small tiled baptism pool, and a 200-seat Kingdom Hall used by local congregations. Even those who participated in its construction say it is difficult to believe that it was erected and finished in nine days.
Of course, before the nine-day construction, much preparatory work was done. The previous building on the site was dismantled and salvaged—in torrential rain. Volunteer workers braved wet, chilly October weather to harvest wood for cedar shakes—thick natural shingles made from the western red cedar. Plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, electrical, and other systems had to be designed. The site had to be prepared and a 25,000-square-foot concrete slab laid—among other things.
Finally, however, everything was in readiness. On Saturday, August 3, at 8:00 a.m., after consideration of a Bible text, volunteers with hammers stood at the ready around the concrete slab. “Brothers, start hammering!” came the call over the loudspeakers. Scores of hammers rang on nails as an estimated 4,500 volunteers got to work. Many volunteers and their families were from the United States and some from as far away as Newfoundland, Norway, and England. Sympathetic neighbors made their fields available for camping and parking, and tents, campers, trucks, and cars covered 35 acres (14 ha) around the site.
Onlookers were greatly impressed. A contractor brought his employees to observe the work and enjoy the atmosphere. Kindly neighbors donated vegetables to the food-preparation department, which prepared regular meals for the workers. Other neighbors pitched in to help with the actual work. One man, after visiting the site, said: “I can surely see that God is with you people.” This man is now making fine progress in studying the Bible with the Witnesses.
An editorial in The Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle commented: “Regardless of your religious persuasion, or lack of, you’ve got to hand it to the 4,500 Jehovah’s Witnesses who worked around the clock during the past week and a half to build a 25,000-square-foot Assembly Hall in Cassidy . . . To do this cheerfully without arguing, dissension or glory-grabbing is a mark of true Christianity.”
On Sunday, August 11, at 6:00 p.m., the first meeting was held in the finished, landscaped Assembly Hall!