Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witness (JWO) was demolished on July 29 after standing at the corner of McBride and Third Ave. East for just less than 35 years. A new house of worship will be completed in less than three months just down the street.
The original building was constructed on the site in 1988 when JWO completed “quick builds.” The structural facilities were built in a blink of an eye when more than several hundred church members from around the province arrived in the city to construct the house of worship in just three days, said Max Correia, spokesperson from the Public Information Department of JWO.
Similar to the “quick build” days, construction of the new facility will be completed quickly. However, this time it will be over a few weeks by skilled JWO volunteers travelling in from as far away as Edmonton, Quesnel, Vancouver and Whitehorse, including local congregants.
“[For the] new Kingdom Hall at the corner of McBride and Ninth Ave. West digging starts next month on September 13. It’s scheduled to be complete at the end of November. So, it’s going to go really quick, considering we’re starting with an empty site …” Correia said.
“It’s the type of event that when you’re involved in it, you never forget it decades later. You can still remember what that was like and the happy spirit of working on a job site like that,” Correia said.
The Kingdom Hall was demolished as part of a relocation land swap deal with the City of Prince Rupert so that the new RCMP station could be built there. The church entered into a partial exchange agreement with the city for a portion of land close to the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre for the new worship place.
The whole situation worked out well for both parties, Correia said.
“So the process took quite some time — a number of years,” he explained, adding he wasn’t part of the real estate deal at the outset. “But it did come together wonderfully because we were looking for a suitable new home that would be appropriate to the local congregation and we understood the city was also looking for a new site for the RCMP needs.”
The land swap was first announced in October 2020 and required a $2 million city budget amendment to be concluded so land for the new police station could be secured.
Plans for the future church facilities include a smaller modest building including assembly hall and parking lot. The 56 local congregants, who are part of a global church family of more than 8.8 million with 23,500 in B.C., are currently being accommodated in the hall of the Moose Lodge which they are grateful for, said Correia.
“Always a highlight for us is it’s not just a building project, but the end product is a Kingdom Hall that’s going to be open to the public. And it’s going to provide a beautiful, comfortable setting for the local community of Prince Rupert to learn about the Bible. So that makes us excited.”
K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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