The old saying that Rome wasn't built in a day doesn't seem to discourage Jehovah's Witnesses. They recently put up a church building here in four days - one of hundreds that have been so constructed nationally during the past 10 years.
Construction on the Utah County building, located on U-91 between Salem and Spanish Fork, was begun Thursday, Sept. 14. The finishing touches went into the structure on Sunday, Sept. 17, when the congregation met there for the first time.Jim Wray of Spanish Fork, one of the leaders of the 131-member congregation that will use the building, served as one of six overseers for the construction project. He said the 3700-square-foot building, which contains both a chapel for 155 and adjoining rooms, was built with proceeds from the sale of a similar hall in Payson and local member contributions.
Nearly 500 volunteers from Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Idaho donated their time and labor to finish the project. Wray said one Utah volunteer, retired highway worker Chet Crum, has volunteered for construction of some 28 "Kingdom Halls of the Jehovah's Witnesses," as the structures are called.
Why build it in four days? "It's a tradition of the last 10 years," Wray said. "Kingdom Halls are being developed in quick fashion so a lot of time is not taken away from families and preaching."
Construction plans and concrete foundations were prepared for three weeks before construction took place, Wray said. Congregational boundaries run from south Provo to Nephi. He said they chose Salem as a central location so two congregations could meet in the building should membership grow to the point that a division needs to be made.
Headquarters for the faith are located in New York City, with the official title as "The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society." Wray said their message to the world is the preaching of the good news of the kingdom of God, or God's rulership over the earth. "We are strict believers in the Bible. Our entire message is Bible-based."
The church has some 55,000 congregations worldwide with about 3.5 million members.