For Immediate Release
January 1, 2002
The Watchtower and Awake! look back and ahead in first issues of 2002
Jehovah’s Witnesses saw their membership grow further in 2001, according to their annual report published in the January 1, 2002, issue of The Watchtower.* More than 15 million attended the 2001 annual commemoration of the death of Christ, the religion’s most sacred observance. An average of over 5,000 persons a week were baptized as new members of the faith.
That same issue of The Watchtower discusses the important question “Will All Men Ever Be Equal?” The companion magazine Awake! begins 2002 with the timely theme “Courage in the Face of Disaster,” recounting survivor accounts and examples of support and compassion that came from all directions following the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11.
Looking back to the weeks immediately following the catastrophe, this message of courage and comfort was elaborated on by two members of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses in a discourse to some 6,000 of the organization’s members. John Barr observed: “Many are asking, ‘Why did this disaster occur? Why has God permitted this suffering?’ The Bible has answers, and it has help that’s not available elsewhere. This was not an act of God, ‘for with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone,’ says the Bible book of James. Cruelty and evil are not from God. Rather, he is ‘the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation.’ (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4) This information in the Scriptures is so needed right now to help people sort out what’s happened and who is really to blame. They are saddened and shocked by recent events.”
Theodore Jaracz continued the discussion, adding: “We have a comforting work to do, similar to what is described at Isaiah 61:1, 2. We seek to tell good news, as did Jesus, who applied these words to himself and to those who would follow his example: ‘He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted . . . to comfort all the mourning ones.’ In bringing a Bible message to communities around the world, Jehovah’s Witnesses spread hope in troubled times. The Bible exerts power and reaches the heart.”
Looking ahead, the Bible theme text for Jehovah’s Witnesses for the year 2002 quotes the invitation of Jesus: “Come to me . . . and I will refresh you.” (Matthew 11:28) During the upcoming year, Jehovah’s Witnesses will focus on expanding the use of comforting and practical Bible texts in their ministry to the public.
Contact: J. R. Brown, telephone: (718) 560-5600