The Jehovah’s Witnesses
Coleman, Texas
by the congregation 

from A History of Coleman County and Its People, 1985 
edited by Judia and Ralph Terry, and Vena Bob Gates - used by permission
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The 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.

By 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.

It 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.

Through 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.

The 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.

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This page updated June 18, 2005
 
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