[Original publication date: October 9, 2000]
More details of the Watch Tower Society’s 2000 Annual Meeting
This week was an outstanding one, marked by some rather historic changes. You may already have heard some general comments (or rumors) about it, but I thought that at least I could outline some details or particulars, especially since so many points were read off quickly at the annual meeting that the heads of most were spinning.
As you know, for many decades the Governing Body was equated with the 7 directors of the Watch Tower Society (Pennsylvania corporation). Then in 1972 the Governing Body was expanded. But the directors remained all from the anointed and part of the GB. Now, however, things were changing. At talks on Saturday it was pointed out that the two groups (directors and GB)were not to be equated, and the Governing Body could exist without the other “legal society” even existing. At the private business meeting this time all 7 directors resigned, and the members of the corporation (337 in number) replaced them with 7 brothers of the “Other Sheep.” The new directors are:
- D. Adams (President)
- R. Abrahamson (Secretary-Treasurer)
- D. Bland
- W. Malenfont
- R. Wallen (Vice President)
- P. Wilcox
- J. Wischuk
Earlier in the week there were special meetings of the Pennsylvania and New York corporations, and some significant developments resulted. One was that members of Governing Body resigned from that corporation too, being replaced by “Other Sheep,” with the resulting directors being:
- G. Couch (VP)
- G. Grizzle
- M. Larson (P)
- R. Pevy
- G. Simonis (ST)
- D. Sinclair
- L, Schilling (VP)
Then a really new development was the establishment of three new legal corporations, with unique areas of special attention, according to their charters.
CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES:
specializes in matters dealing with appointments of elders, ministerial servants, and congregation matters. The seven directors are: M Campbell; H Jackson; W Nonkes (ST); W Vandewall (P); L Weaver (VP); S Weigel; and C Woody (V).
RELIGIOUS ORDER OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES:
gives particular attention to those in special full-time service: Bethelites; missionaries; traveling overseers;
special pioneers; and assembly halls. Directors: P. LaFranca (P); D. Mercante (ST); P. Molchan (VP); K. Pulcifer; E. Rosam; G. Smalley; and R. Walls.
KINGDOM SUPPORT SERVICES:
deals with construction, engineering, and vehicles. The directors: A. Browning; R. Butler (VP); H. Corkern (P); A. Jansen; T. Kalameris; J. Mantz; A. Reinmuller (ST).
Finally, there were some adjustments in the directors of three pre-existing legal corporations that have cared for property in designed locales—namely, New Jersey, Florida, and property near Wallkill.
By the time that all of this was outlined to the audience (present or connected in Brooklyn, Patterson, Wallkill, Canada) that totaled some 13,000, the heads of most [attendees] were really spinning. A clear effect of these adjustments is to separate the members of the Governing Body from the legal entities that exist to care for certain aspects of our work. Of course, it also was clear that all of these exist and function under the spiritual direction of the anointed members of the Governing Body.
Of course, there also was a talk that was centered on the new year text, which is the final phrase of Colossians 4:10. So it was an exciting and historic day.
From an Attendee at the Meeting
Subject: 2000 Annual Meeting Notes
Sent by: “zzzzzzz”
The biggest news involves the resignation of all the anointed brothers who had positions of responsibility with the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society of Pennsylvania. This will free those brothers to concentrate on “the ministry of the word” as members of the Governing Body. The Pennsylvania corporation, it was emphasized, is just one of the many legal entities, including the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., used under the direction of the Governing Body. Faithful Brothers–primarily or entirely of the Other Sheep class–have been appointed to fill the positions with the Pennsylvania corporation. For example, Bro. Don Adams will be the president, Bro. Richard Abrahamson will be the Secretary-Treasurer, and Bros. Wallen and Mallenfant (sp. ?) will be vice presidents.
Also with regard to the New York corporation, at least 5 of the previous officers/directors resigned and their positions have been taken by other brothers. Bro. Max Larson will serve as president. This frees up brothers including Bros. Swingle and Henschel of the governing body.
It was also announced that 3 new corporations have been formed:
1. The Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses: This corporation will function in the US with regard to religious, educational, and charitable activities relating to the congregations. Among the brothers serving as officers and/or directors are Merton Campbell and Bros. Chuck Woody, Weaver, and Weigel (sp. ?).
2. The Religious Order of Jehovah’s Witnesses: This will act as a legal entity on behalf of those, including Bethelites, under a vow of obedience and poverty who are devoting their full-time efforts to Jehovah’s service. Bro. Pat LaFranca will serve as president. Other officers and/or directors will be Bros. David Mercante, Eugene Rosam, Gene Smalley, and Ralph Walls.
3. Kingdom Support Services, Inc.: will be a legal entity involved in various engineering and design projects and will serve as the title holder for certain properties.
New officers and directors were also announced for three other previously existing corporations:
- Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New Jersey
- Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Florida; and
- Valley Farms Corporation.
A very fine talk was also given on the Yeartext chosen for 2001, which is taken from Col. 4:12: “Stand complete and with firm conviction in all the will of God.”
There were also many fine reports from various lands (including note of Ukraine’s 8% increase for the service year just concluded). But there were a couple of key points evident in many of the reports:
- The pressing need for many Kingdom Halls; and
- The clear benefits that have followed the instituting of the donation arrangement worldwide.
In Ukraine, 45 congregations in two of the largest cities (I believe Kiev was one of them) have no Kingdom Halls at all.
Some African countries do not have even one KH. Where even simple KH’s are built in Africa, they often stand out as the most dignified building in the area. Congregations often double in the year after a Kingdom Hall is built.
In Mexico, 19 KH’s were dedicated in September. There are plans to build 240 more this (service?) year, but even so, over 2000 MORE KH’s are needed in Mexico. [In South Africa (including, I believe, the lands looked after by the S.A. Branch) there is a need for 8,000 KH’s.]
Because of the institution of the donation arrangement, it was reported from Haiti that now they see everyone attending the meetings has their own Watchtower and literature. (Literature placements there have quadrupled.)
Also in South Africa, formerly many didn’t have their own copy of the Watchtower for the meetings. Now they all have their own copies and they also have their own study books. S.A. prints 55 different language editions and the demand for some of these has increased by 4 times.