Marshfield - Anyone driving along Furnace Street in Marshfield can see that a neighborhood landmark " the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses " is up for sale.
With local membership declining, the congregation has merged with the Kingdom Hall in Rockland.
About 7 million Jehovah's Witnesses are in 230 countries. The movement began in the Northeast in the 1870s when Charles Taze Russell started publishing the Watchtower magazine. Here are some tenets of
Member David Casoli of Whitman said the two congregations recently decided to combine to be "spiritually stronger ... so we can continue to do our preaching work, and take care of one another."
With the Marshfield merger, Rockland's Kingdom Hall now has a combined membership of about 110. It's located at 339 Summer St.
There are also active congregations in Hingham, Plymouth and Stoughton.
The Marshfield Kingdom Hall had operated at the Furnace Street site near the Route 3A intersection for more than 30 years. The property has been up for sale for two weeks.
Kingdom Hall closings are unusual for the Jehovah's Witnesses. They've had the highest growth rate of any U.S. denomination in recent years " more than 2 percent, according to a 2008 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. That's at a time when the Roman Catholic Church and large Protestant denominations are losing members.
But Jehovah's Witnesses remain a comparatively small sect. At Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, the Center for the Study of Global Christianity says the denomination counts 2.4 million members, including children and inactive adherents.
Of those, 1.1 million are "publishers," the most active members who distribute the Watchtower magazine and other material door-to-door and in other ways.
The Northeast has the fewest members " just 16 percent of the national total, according to the Pew Forum, or about 400,000. Worldwide, there are about 7 million active Jehovah's Witnesses.
About 7 million Jehovah's Witnesses are in 230 countries.
The movement began in the Northeast in the 1870s when Charles Taze Russell started publishing the Watchtower magazine.
Here are some tenets of Jehovah's Witnesses:
- Believe Jehovah (God) created his son Jesus in heaven, and Jesus helped Jehovah create the rest of the universe over a period of billions of years.
- Believe that God will reward the righteous with eternal life on Earth as perfect humans.
- Consider death to be a state of unconscious nonexistence. The dead are unconscious until they are resurrected to life on Earth in new bodies that resemble their former appearance.
- Do not celebrate birthdays or holidays, including Christmas.
- Baptize those "of a responsible age" who have made a conscious decision to join the faith.
- Primary duties expected of a Jehovah's Witness include regular attendance at Kingdom Hall meetings, and evangelism.
- Each Kingdom Hall has an assigned territory for which it is responsible to evangelize, mostly by going door to door.
- Do not accept blood transfusions.