OCTOBER 23, 2019
The Italy branch is relocating their facilities from Rome to the cities of Bologna and Imola. Bologna is located about 370 kilometers (230 mi) north of Rome, and Imola is about 48 kilometers (30 mi) from Bologna. Renovations have already begun on a nine-story building in Bologna that will serve as offices for the branch. As of 2018, more than 60 Bethel volunteers working with translation and related support activities have been operating in a newly renovated building in Imola.
As part of the efforts to address the housing needs of the Bethelites relocating to Bologna, a seven-story apartment building with three levels of underground parking is currently being constructed about one and a half kilometers (1 mi) from the office building. Additional housing will eventually be located in the same vicinity.
In 1948, Jehovah’s Witnesses purchased their first branch property in Rome and moved operations there from a previous facility in Milan. Since then, Italy has experienced extraordinary growth. In the mid-1940s, there were fewer than 200 publishers in the country. Today, there are over 250,000 publishers, the largest number for any branch territory in Europe. As the number of publishers in the branch territory increased, so did the number of Bethel volunteers and branch properties. At its peak in 2006, the Italy branch office included 99 different buildings. Once the consolidation is complete, the branch will have a reduced number of Bethel family members and consist of only five buildings.
Our prayer is that Jehovah will continue to bless this project and that these new facilities will be a support for the work being done in Italy, a field that is “white for harvesting.”—John 4:35.