For Immediate Release
December 20, 1999
Jehovah’s Witnesses continued to grow in 1999
Jehovah’s Witnesses continued to see their membership grow in 1999, according to their annual report, which will be released in the January 1, 2000, issue of The Watchtower. The complete report will be available on-line after January 15, 2000, at www.jw-media.org.
Jehovah’s Witnesses experienced a 2 percent growth rate from September 1998 to August 1999, bringing their total number of participating members to 5,912,492. The rate of increase or decrease in membership varied from country to country. More than 14 million attended the 1999 annual commemoration of Christ’s death, the religion’s most sacred observance.
Other highlights of the past year include a surge in the number of volunteer ministers, the release of the New World Translation of the Bible in whole or in part in six languages, and the official opening of an international educational center in New York State.
All practicing members of the faith share in the Witnesses’ ministry to the public. During the past year, 738,343 Jehovah’s Witnesses agreed to spend from 50 to 70 hours a month in this ministry, a 5.7 percent increase over the previous year.
“We live in an age where many people are preoccupied with material rather than spiritual pursuits,” said Daniel Sydlik, a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. “How gratifying it is to see that more than three quarters of a million people are willing to devote a significant part of their week to teaching the Bible to others.”
The entire New World Translation was released in Indonesian, Korean, and Tsonga, and the New Testament was released in Croatian, Serbian, and Arabic, bringing the circulation of this translation of the Bible, in whole or in part, to more than 100 million copies in 34 languages. It was in 1950 that Jehovah’s Witnesses first released the New Testament portion of the New World Translation in English, and scholars have described it as “frank and vigorous,” “accurate,” and “the work of skilled and clever scholars.”
The Watchtower Educational Center in Patterson, New York, was officially dedicated on May 17-22, 1999. The 28-building complex, which is designed to promote global Bible education and to train missionaries, was constructed by volunteer labor. Almost 9,000 volunteers donated their labor for a few weeks or a few months at a time. More than 8,000 visitors, including representatives from 23 countries, toured the center in connection with the dedication.
Looking ahead, the Bible theme text for Jehovah’s Witnesses for the year 2000 will be: “We are not the sort that shrink back . . . but the sort that have faith.” (Hebrews 10:39) During the upcoming year, Jehovah’s Witnesses will focus on studying Bible examples of faith, attending and participating in Christian meetings and, through their ministry to the public, helping others to develop faith.
Contact: J. R. Brown, telephone: (718) 560-5600