formation of the Coleman Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses came about
quite slowly. In the early years of this century there was no formal
congregation, only a few local people reading their Bibles along with the
publications of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society which they looked
to for research and help in understanding. Soon there were several
families getting together quite often to discuss the things they were learning
from the scriptures. Among these were the Swans, Parkers and Lynch
family. Between 1910 and 1920 various travelling representatives
of the Watchtower Society came through and spent time helping these families
and encouraging them in their Bible study. Among those who visited
during this time was Milton C. Henschel, who has been a member of the governing
body of Jehovah’s Witnesses for a number of years. It was in the
late 1920’s that meetings began to be held on a regular basis in the home
of Jett Parker, Sr.
the early 1940’s, attendance at these meetings was running at about twenty
persons. Even though Jehovah’s Witnesses have always made it a practice
not to take up collections or solicit funds, voluntary donations were available
to purchase a badly needed meeting place. The congregation obtained
a barracks building from Brownwood, which they had moved to the site of
their current Kingdom Hall on Santa Anna Avenue. Then, with the volunteer
help of nearby congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they remodeled the
barracks for use as a place of worship. These were designed with
the purpose of helping those associated with the congregation to be better
able to talk to others informatively about God’s Kingdom, following the
example of Jesus and his early disciples.
was also about this time that the congregation began to experience difficulties.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have long been known for their active evangelism.
From their study of the Bible, they understand God’s Kingdom to be a real
government in the heavens with Jesus Christ as king. Jehovah’s Witnesses
are convinced that involving themselves in any political activity would
be contrary to the love and unity that Jesus said should exist among his
followers. Therefore, they take a completely neutral stand in political
affairs of any nation. You may he able to see why Jehovah’s Witnesses
were not well liked during the second world war. Coleman County was
no exception. Some members of the congregation were arrested for
speaking to others about their beliefs. Perhaps they felt the witnesses
were opposing the war effort and being subversive. Eventually a court
ordered injunction issued in Fort Worth brought an end to the arrests in
Coleman and surrounding counties. Of course this brought a certain
amount of relief from anxiety to members of the congregation.
the years different ones have moved to Coleman to work with the congregation,
such as the Myers, Youngs, Fienstags and Taylors, to mention a few.
Nearly everyone who was living here at the time remembers the tornado of
1975 that destroyed the Kingdom Hall and killed Caither and Wilma Taylor
who were living in a small trailer next to the Kingdom Hall at that time.
The Taylors were well liked by many, and the loss was a shock to more than
just those associated with the congregation.
American Legion was kind enough to let the congregation meet in their hall
while in the process of reconstructing a new meeting place. Around
this time the Hernandezes and Youngbloods moved in to help the congregation.
With the much appreciated volunteer help of surrounding congregations,
a new Kingdom Hall was built within a few months. In November 1976,
John C. Booth, a member of the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, came
to Coleman to deliver a special address and dedicate the new building to
the worship of Jehovah God.