Over 1,000 Jehovah’s Witness congregations merged into the Kingdom Hall Trust this year, according to Charity Commission merger data.
One of the biggest charity mergers ever seen, the dates property was transferred range from 2020 to 2022, with all mergers registered with the Commission on 4 March this year.
At the same time, records show that Kingdom Hall Trust’s (KHT) income has risen significantly. In 2019, it was £6.66mn, jumping to £104.41mn in 2020, before reaching £133.23mn for the financial year ending 31 August 2021.
While there has been no public announcement or confirmation of the move, it appears to have first been mentioned to Jehovah’s Witness congregations in 2019. JW Watch reported in 2020 that a letter had gone out to congregation Elders, stating that the Governing Body had approved merging congregations in Britain into one entity – KHT. The proposal was for each congregation to dissolve its own charity status and become a branch of the national charity to simplify organisational operations.
An FAQ sheet and a letter to congregations explained that they were being invited to merge as part of a staged rollout and that Trustees of KHT would ultimately control the funds of the congregation with local donations collected by KHT and administered by KHT as part of its general funds. This, KHT said, could mean that its Trustees might decide to use a congregation’s donations to support the Kingdom work elsewhere in its branch territory and throughout the world. Local elders however would be able to request funds or payment for invoices when needed.
The Kingdom Hall Trust dates back to 1939 when it was established as the London Company of Kingdom Witnesses, and states its aims as being to advance the Christian religion as practised by Jehovah’s Witnesses.