Selling and buying property seems to be an ongoing angle for Jehovah’s Witnesses. Last year the Watchtower’s Brooklyn HQ was sold off for billions of dollars, allowing the area to revitalise and receive much needed tax dollars from new businesses.
It is not just at the top end of the market that property deals are taking place. Wales Online is reporting that a landmark chapel and ex-Kingdom Hall in Merthyr Tydfil can now be snapped up for about £40.000.
The South Wales Property Auction House director Tim Parker told Wales Online:
“We are selling it on behalf of the Jehovah’s Witnesses as it has become surplus to their requirements.”
“It has been well looked after but finding someone else who wants it for the same use, as a chapel or meeting hall, is a bit difficult.”
“We sell a few a year, and we are now doing work for the Jehovah’s Witness. They are going through a programme of building new halls so this is the first of a few that will start to come up for sale.”
The Auction House description of Lot 3 states:
“A mainly two storey end terraced building. Access to original Chapel via double doors from Newcastle Street with several additional rooms leading from the main Chapel and separate entrance also from Newcastle Street.”
There is no mention on the Auction House website that this building is a Kingdom Hall. Given the current spotlight on Jehovah’s Witnesses in Wales due to cases of historic child abuse and coverup in Barry – now prompting a compliance investigation by the Charity Commission – that may be an astute decision.
A couple of factors may be behind such sales. The decrease in the numbers becoming Jehovah’s Witnesses especially in educated countries has had an impact on the number of Kingdom Halls that need to be maintained.
Another factor maybe the need for some ready money.
What is disturbing and significant about such sales is that the congregations will no doubt be paying for the new Kingdom Halls in pledged payments.
Indeed, in May 2014, JW survey and others reported that any surplus money above $5,000 held in congregation bank accounts should be identified and nodded through for relocation to the Branch Office coffers.
Outstanding loans are to be wiped, but cash sums are to be pledged indefinitely by congregation members.
So what will happen to the money from the current sales? Will the congregations be allowed to keep this money and use it as a down payment for a new Kingdom Hall?
One thing is for certain; the “faithful” will pay for all of the property deals in return for empty promises of everlasting life.
Wales Online – Landmark Merthyr Tydfil Chapel to go under the hammer Link
JWSurvey – You can keep $5000 plus expenses, send the rest to us Link
South Wales Auction House Link