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October 10. 2013 11:15PM

Jehovah's Witnesses plan to build new Kingdom Hall in Manchester

MANCHESTER — Homeless for more than a year, Jehovah's Witnesses from Manchester plan to build a Kingdom Hall on outer Candia Road, at the intersection of Lake Shore Road, a church leader said.

The congregations have filed plans with the city for a single-story, 5,000-square foot building. The city Planning Board heard the proposal last week.

"To maintain our presence in Manchester is important to us," said Peter Scribner, an elder of the Manchester group. "It works out better when the Kingdom Hall is in the territory where you conduct your ministry."

For the past year, Manchester worshippers have been holding services and Bible study at the Kingdom Hall in Goffstown, Scribner said. In April 2012, the Jehovah's Witnesses announced the Kingdom Hall on Mammoth Road would be put up for sale because the handicapped could not easily access the building; it changed hands the following June.

The Manchester Kingdom Hall will house three separate congregations, Scribner said. One is Spanish speaking. The other two represent the northern and southern halves of the city. They each meet at a different time on Sunday, and hold Bible study and worship on a different night of the week.

Scribner said the land, which is east of the Goldenrod restaurant, is currently used as a staging area for construction equipment.

City ordinances allow a church on residential land if the planning board votes on a conditional use permit. According to the application, the Kingdom Hall will be used for education and worship, with an occasional wedding or funeral.

"We do not conduct dinners, bake sales, rummage sales, concerts of Bingo games," the application reads. Nor does it have day-care facilities, soup-kitchens, apartments or community pantries, the application said.

Because the land is close to Massabesic Lake, runoff water must be treated with swales and detention ponds, Scribner said. The city would also like the Kingdom Hall to reconsider its need for 94 parking spots, Scribner said.

He said he hopes construction will start in the spring. Kingdom Halls are built with volunteer labor. He said members who work in the building trades will come from New Hampshire and Vermont and take about two weeks to build the structure.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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