Open House on the “Rock”
Around the world, Jehovah’s Witnesses operate 15 printing branches. One of them, the Central Europe branch, is located in Selters, Germany, in an area called the Steinfels, which in German means “Stone Rock.”
On May 23-25, 2014, the Central Europe branch invited neighbors, business people, and local officials to an open house. The event was entitled “30 Years in Selters” because on April 21, 1984, the branch facility was officially inaugurated.
During the open house, more than 3,000 guests explored the facilities. “Visiting the branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses is always a special event,” said the mayor, who has been working with the local government for nearly 30 years. He said: “I am still fascinated by how quickly, from 1979 to 1984, the branch office in the Steinfels was set up.”
One exhibit was entitled “Jehovah’s People in Central Europe.” Visitors explored about 120 years of the history of the Witnesses in this region. The historical exhibit is now on permanent display at the branch office.
Another exhibit featured a display of rare and significant Bibles. For example, it included an early edition of the complete German Bible from 1534 and part of Elias Hutter’s Polyglot Bible from 1599, which contains text in 12 languages. Additionally, displays, charts, and video presentations highlighted the practical value of Bible principles for modern-day living.
In two self-guided tours, visitors learned about the daily routine of the more than 1,000 men and women who live and work at the branch office. In the first tour, with the theme “How We Live,” guests had a look at some of the residents’ rooms. They also ate in the dining room and roamed about the parklike premises. “The site is unbelievably beautiful,” said one visitor.
The second tour, entitled “Production,” featured the Pressroom, the Bindery, and the Shipping Department. Visitors saw firsthand how Bible literature is printed, bound, and then shipped to more than 50 countries. One man commented: “I had never imagined Jehovah’s Witnesses to be global players. Their publications reach every corner of the earth. Accomplishing this with volunteers is a miracle.”
A special highlight was the jw.org stand featuring the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Both young and old viewed presentations and watched videos, and they had their numerous questions answered.
With new insight into the worldwide work of Jehovah’s Witnesses, many visitors finished the tour with admiration for the work and a smile on their faces. One man commented: “I had so many misconceptions about the Witnesses. I really need to reconsider my opinion.” One woman repeatedly said: “This day truly breaks down prejudices.”