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Our Kingdom Hall has been closed


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Earlier this year we were forced to have our evening meetings in a local hotel due to the amount of antisocial behaviour at our hall caused by the people in the area. As the evenings got longer it was decided that we could once again hold the meetings at the hall. It was necessary though for two brothers to stand outside in the yard to keep an eye on things throughout the meeting and different brothers would take half hour shifts at this. We also had to have CCTV installed.

Anyway last Sunday week there was a meeting at the hall where elders from all around the country, the district overseer and members of the RBC were present. The meeting was held in response to the antisocial behaviour at the hall. The decission was made to close the hall permanently with immediate effect as it was considered too dangerous to hold the meetings there any more as it would only be a matter of time before there would be a very serious incident.

The plans now are to build a new hall in time. We will have to try and sell our old one first though and find a site for a new one. The fears now are that the neighbours could burn down the old hall but I think it's insured in case that happens. At the moment we are having our meetings in a local hotel but the rent is fairly expensive so hopefully we might be able to find somewhere cheaper. We can't really go near the old hall anymore even just to maintain it as it is too dangerous.

Maybe you could keep our congregation in your prayers so that everything works out ...

Here's an article from a local newspaper from a few months ago just to give an idea of the kind of behaviour was happening at the hall.........

Church Under Attack

PEOPLE gathering to pray at the Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall in Portlaoise have urgently appealed for help following ongoing attacks, assaults and abuse against them.

The elders of the church have taken the unprecedented move of appealing to town councillors for help following a deliberate fire attempt on their hall two weeks ago.

In a detailed 14-page report to councillors, seen by the ***Laois Nationalist,*** church elders say that “the attacks on us and our property are dramatically increasing in frequency and severity.”

Because of the ongoing deliberate targeting of the congregation, the 50 or so active members have been forced to hire a room in a local hotel to carry out their prayer services.

Also included in the report are testimonies from church members who have come under assault and abuse when attending the hall, just off the Ballyfin Road, which was built over 25 years ago.

One said: “A large fire is ignited against a boundary wall. As cars are being moved away from the blaze, the youths who ignited the fire begin throwing stones at those moving the cars.”

Another member wrote that while another member was removing debris from the roof of the hall “people from Hepburn Court come out, hurling abuse and missiles of various sizes. A man from a house gets a sledgehammer from his jeep, climbs onto the adjoining wall, kicks the victim’s ladder away and threatens him with the sledgehammer.”

Details from more members included in the report also tell of windows being smashed in the meeting hall; bottles smashed across cars with children in them; cars broken into and damaged while parked in the car park of the hall; and roof tiles ripped off and drainpipes broken.

One member said that while at a pioneer meeting “a bike ended up on the gate. Last week, glass was shattered all over the parking area.”

When a number of members tried to videotape those causing the trouble, they were threatened with assault by youths swinging lengths of skirting board at them.

In another serous situation, a member wrote: “While cleaning the interior and exterior of the Kingdom Hall, youths and adults violently attacked a member of the congregation with stones and iron bars.”

Another church member wrote: “In the past months, more and more incidents have occurred that frighten us and make us wonder if these incidents are taking a more serious turn and could lead to the injury of someone or even the Kingdom Hall being burnt down.”

The most recent serious incident occurred last Monday. Two members who were attending the centre found an unignited homemade petrol bomb on the roof of the hall.

“The latest incident leaves us in no doubt that it is only a matter of time before something very serious occurs,” the elder said.

Town councillor Caroline Dwane said that she raised the issue of ant-social activity in the area along Ballyfin Road at the December Joint Policing Committee in Portlaoise. She called on the gardaí, Laois Co Council, the HSE and other relevant bodies to intervene to ensure the safety of the people attending the hall and also the local community.

Chief Supt John Scanlan said that gardaí have received reports about anti-social activities in the area and are at present carrying out an investigation into a recent serious occurrence at the hall.

He said that the gardaí “would be concerned if a religious group or any other group” is being targeted in such a way.

He said that gardaí will meet with church elders to see what assistance they can provide them.

He also called on the parents of those involved in the anti-social activities to “take their children in hand.”

A spokesperson for the Jehovah Witness congregation told the ***Laois Nationalist*** yesterday afternoon: “As Jehovah Witnesses we want to promote neighbourly love in the community. If there are issues and concerns we would like to resolve them through dialogue.”

“If there are criminal actions taken against ourselves or our property we will have to seek assistance from the gardaí.”

Source: www.laois-nationalist.ie


Edited by Faithful Witness
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My prayers are with you and your congregation. May Jehovah be with all of you. :pray:

 

http://www.laois-nationalist.ie/news/2013/01/24/church-under-attack/

 

Yikes...I didn't know Ireland was getting that rough...I need to read more news.


Edited by cricket246

I live in a temporary reality- awaiting the day I wake up to life in the real world!

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Are these actions by gangs of hooligans? Just wondering because I know Britain and Ireland have a lot of trouble with these gangs.

 

Of course whatever the cause Jehovah will watch over his people and care for their spiritual needs. My prayers go out to Him for your congregation.

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Oh Bro PJ this is very sad and troubling to us all. Is Portlaoise the name of your congregation? I will certainly beg Jehovah that he protects and keeps safe and brave all in your area and worldwide.  


"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be pleasing to you, O Jehovah, my Rock and my Redeemer."

 
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When you mentioned this .. I did a tour of the neighbourhood with google maps.. I sort of expected a rough neighbourhood..

But what i see is Very nice well kept homes.. On the street .. Almost like a storey book setting .. Nice little Kingdom Hall ...

What is causing this spirit to rise up... ?

I noticed a very large prison in the community... Does that effect the attitude in the town?

Seems satan is stirring the pot .. Very strange...

Zeph 3:17 Jehovah your God is in the midst of you. As a mighty One, he will save. He will exult over you with rejoicing. He will become silent in his love. He will be joyful over you with happy cries....... Love it....a beautiful word picture.

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Most of the people in the area a fairly ok and mind their own business but unfortunately there are just a few "bad eggs" in the area that cause problems for everybody, not just the witnesses. You might see in the picture in the link that Cricket put up that there Is a very high fence around the hall... That had to be put up a few years ago to keep the hooligans out and help prevent them from vandalising the place.

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It is interesting how times change.. In Canada during the 70's to the 90's most of the Kingdom Halls were built without windows.. Due to vandalism .. In the last 15 years most halls now have windows and glass entrance doors ...

I am not sure what caused the change .. Maybe an influx of different nationalities which changed the mix in the cities and towns...

Diversity leads to more tolerance of differences.. I guess..

Zeph 3:17 Jehovah your God is in the midst of you. As a mighty One, he will save. He will exult over you with rejoicing. He will become silent in his love. He will be joyful over you with happy cries....... Love it....a beautiful word picture.

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It sounds like the authorities are very passive or lenient in their attitude toward the perpetrators of these crimes, as seen by this suggestion: He also called on the parents of those involved in the anti-social activities to “take their children in hand.” Give me a break! The parents are probably fully aware of what's happening and give tacit approval to their delinquent children's "anti-social" activities. Here in the U.S., these are called what they are: "hate crimes", and there is zero tolerance for them with heavy penalties, including fines and/or imprisonment. 

 

It's one thing when the persecution comes from the government officials themselves, as in certain eastern European countries, but it's another thing when the police and other law enforcement officials can't even control a small group of thugs and protect innocent citizens, requiring a Kingdom hall to be closed permanently. What a crying shame! 

"The future's uncertain and the end is always near" --- Jim Morrison

"The more I know, the less I understand. All the things I thought I knew, I'm learning again" --- Don Henley

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PJ ... is it travellers or gangs, or just a couple of neighbours causing the problem ?

It's such a shame as your KH is used for the RBC training etc... and didn't you have a refurb recently ? My daughter was up there working.

I hope that the brothers find a buyer soon so that the KH can be rebuilt somewhere else , thinking of you all and keeping you in our prayers :)

You can't walk with God while holding hands with the Devil.

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Why???

I know that trouble makers with nothing to do will attack buildings.  But when it comes to attacking people, members of the congregation, my mind cannot simply understand the mentality of such ones.  And why were this ones not arrested? 

And I thought it was only Northern Ireland that was the troubled part.

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“Happy are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them. 

 “Happy are YOU when people reproach YOU and persecute YOU and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against YOU for my sake.

 Rejoice and leap for joy, since YOUR reward is great in the heavens; for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to YOU.
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Prayers to our brothers and sisters and the challenges they face. They are truly an inspiration. 

 

It brings to mind an incident that occurred last night.  I was slightly late to our Tuesday meeting at the KH, and upon arrival the meeting was already in progress but the outside doors were locked.  When the brother let me in I asked why were the doors locked (they never were before). He shared its getting to be a rough neighborhood.

 

Wow....I never thought I'd hear those words ... nor see such a response here in middle-class suburbia.

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Often the Clergy ( with Satan pushing)........ are behind these uprisings . The Proclaimers's Book as some interesting experiences on this topic . I served where the need was Great in Ecuador where priests would incite mobs to chase us out of town it wouldn't take long to get the mobs ( usually from the local bar) stirred up ! We got very good at making a speedy get away!

I find it helpful and encouraging also to read Life Stories of our brothers through the years that remained steadfast under difficult circumstances..........It helps build our determination to do the same in the event when we are faced with adversities .

Try looking them up. One that is encouraging is W01 2/1 25-27 ( Br. James B Barry ) another G 93 5/8 5 - 12. YB 88 96-97

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