ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Jehovah’s Witnesses will resume their trademark door-to-door ministry on Sept. 1, after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus. The work will return just in time for the launch of a global campaign featuring an interactive program for Bible study.

The decision to resume their door-to-door ministry marks the complete restoration of all pre-pandemic in-person activities for nearly 1.3 million Jehovah’s Witnesses in the 12,000 congregations in the United States. Houses of worship, called Kingdom Halls, were reopened on April 1, witnessing in public places resumed on May 31, and in-person conventions are again being planned for 2023.

“We are so excited for the door-to-door ministry to resume. My wife and I love our neighbors and we love people,” said Lucas Quinones Jr., of Cohoes. He and his wife Janai have fond memories of talking with people at their homes. “There is nothing like seeing a person’s face light up when you share a positive thought from the Bible with them.” He continued, “As we reflect on the state of the world today and the challenges that people are facing, this is a great time for us to return to knocking on people’s doors and sharing a message of hope with them.”

The suspension of the public ministry was a response by the organization to keep communities and congregants safe, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The move was also unprecedented. Jehovah’s Witnesses had been preaching from house to house without interruption for more than 100 years through an economic depression, two world wars, and global unrest, but COVID demanded a different response.

“We believe that the early decision to shut down all in-person activities for more than two years has saved many lives,” said Robert Hendriks, U.S. spokesperson for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “We’re now ready and eager to reconnect with our neighbors once again – person-to-person, face-to-face. It’s not the only way that we preach, but it has historically been the most effective way to deliver our message of comfort and hope.”

The return to an in-person ministry coincides with a global campaign to offer an interactive Bible study program, available in hundreds of languages and offered at no cost. The course comes in the form of a printed book, online publication, or as an embedded feature within the organization’s free mobile app, JW Library. Released in late 2020, the interactive study platform combines text, video, illustrations, and digital worksheets to help learners of all ages.

“This study program is designed to match the learning style of the 21st-century student,” said Hendriks. “We’re excited to begin sharing it with our neighbors as we return to making personal visits.”

The pandemic forced Jehovah’s Witnesses to quickly pivot to virtual meetings and conventions while conducting their ministry exclusively through letters, phone calls, and virtual Bible studies. This has led to growth in meeting attendance and the number of congregants, with more than 400,000 newly-baptized Witnesses joining the ranks of 120,000 congregations globally in just the first two years of the pandemic.