LITTLE CURRENT—The Little Current congregation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses will soon say goodbye to their former place of worship and welcome a new Kingdom Hall at its Wilson Street property.
In the next few weeks, residents will see the former Kingdom Hall demolished and a new one built in its stead.
“The Little Current congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses certainly had a small beginning,” said Garry Whyte, a Little Current elder Witness.
Mr. Whyte, along with his wife Betty, have been members of the Kingdom Hall since the congregation was officially established in June 1965.
“At that time, less than a dozen people made up the congregation and we met in the living room of an old house which they rented at 27 Vankoughnet Street West,” Mr. Whyte explained of those early days. “This small group kept busy sharing the Bible’s truths with many in the community and as a result, outgrew their meeting facilities within five years.”
By 1970-71, the group had grown to upwards of 35 and so began to look for a property that would allow them to build a new Kingdom Hall in Little Current. Lot 34 on the south side of Wilson Street East was purchased and plans were made to build the 24 foot by 48 foot building that will soon be demolished.
Mr. Whyte explained that part of the materials for the Kingdom Hall were obtained from the old Dawson house, known locally as ‘the castle,’ then owned by the late B.G. Turner and located near the Turner family home on Robinson Street. The castle, before its demolition, had most recently been used as a youth gathering place.
“Arrangements were made to obtain some of the material from the building being demolished,” Mr. Whyte continued. “The small group of witnesses made up of women, children and men worked many hours pulling nails and cleaning the material to make it reusable to build their new Kingdom Hall. Some of those materials are still used in the current Kingdom Hall such as a set of French doors.”
As a result of their hard work, they completed the building in the summer of 1971.
“The present Kingdom Hall at 51 Wilson Street East has served us well over the last 46 years,” Mr. Whyte said. “It has given the congregation a suitable place to study the Bible and worship Jehovah God in a dignified manner. Several small renovations and one larger one over the years have helped to keep the property in respectable shape. However, the building codes for public buildings have changed considerably since it was originally built, including such things as wheelchair accessibility, handicap parking and fire codes.”
“These factors, along with the fact that our attendance can range from 50 to 60 people, have led us to believe that a new Kingdom Hall will better fit our present needs as well as our future anticipated needs,” Mr. Whyte added.
The new Kingdom Hall will include more parking, wheelchair accessible bathrooms, more seating and a special Odawa room.
Mr. Whyte noted that some members of the congregation are busy learning the Odawa language, taking classes, and translating Jehovah’s Witnesses materials into the language as well with the help of First Nation elders and a computer program. Each week, one meeting is conducted in Odawa too, to the best of their ability.
Mr. Whyte explained that this decision came about following a visit from some Blackfoot witnesses from Alberta who gave a talk at the Kingdom Hall.
“For someone to read something in their mother tongue touches their heart,” he said. “If we can touch their heart and improve their lives, that’s what we’re trying to do—with everyone.” Jehovah’s Witnesses materials have been translated into 720 languages.
While the new Kingdom Hall is under construction, the Witnesses will meet at the Little Current Curling Club lounge beginning Sunday, June 4; all are welcome to attend.
“The meetings are all study and learning oriented,” Mr. Whyte continued.
Gone are the days of dozens of Witnesses from various communities descending on a community and quickly erecting a new Kingdom Hall, he said. “Now it’s a core group of skilled Witnesses, tradespeople, that build the Kingdom Halls.”
“As expected, the congregation’s excitement is building as we look forward to this event and reflect how far the congregation has come from the small beginnings in 1965,” Mr. Whyte said.
The Little Current congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses meets Sundays from 10 am to noon followed by a service conducted in the Odawa language from noon to 1 pm and also on Tuesday evenings at 7 pm.