On February 1, 1943, the first class of a very special school began in upstate New York. That school, now known as the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead, has given specialized training to more than 8,000 men and women from all parts of the world.
Jonathan, who is a graduate of a recent class of Gilead, says: “The education we received, being based on God’s Word, will help us to be more effective in any territory or culture.” His wife, Marnie, adds: “More than ever before, I desire to help people see that there is no better way of life than the one our Creator purposes for us. I am convinced that helping others come to know Jehovah will improve their lives.”
Gilead school offers a tuition-free, five-month course. It focuses primarily on the Bible and the importance of the evangelizing work. The aim of the course is for its graduates to strengthen and stabilize God’s people and to help all to develop the spiritual qualities that they need to meet the challenges they encounter. During the course, students spend time in class discussing Scriptural principles that help them to strengthen their relationship with their God, Jehovah.
The married couples who attend Gilead are already full-time ministers. When they graduate, they may return to their assignment or receive an assignment in another country. Some are assigned to work at one of the more than 90 branch offices of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Most are assigned to serve in densely populated areas where they can have the most impact on the preaching activity.
Gilead School was first located at Kingdom Farm, in South Lansing, New York. In 1961, the school moved to the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn, New York. From 1988 until 1995, Watchtower Farms, in Wallkill, New York, hosted the school. Then, in 1995, the school was moved to its present location at the Watchtower Educational Center, in Patterson, New York. In March 2013, the 134th class graduated.
For 70 years the graduates of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead have established a towering record of faithfully witnessing about Jehovah.