A city’s religious diversity is expressed in quite different ways. Knowing and recognising this rich diversity in beliefs, along with incorporating them into the cultural expression, social life, and associations in the city’s neighbourhoods and districts is necessary to create spaces where coexistence, interaction, and cooperation feature and which are truly open to everyone. This way, awareness of the importance of the right to religious freedom can be raised and it can be framed within the reality of a society where people with all sorts of beliefs, religious or otherwise, live side by side.
“A Sea of Beliefs” is a video series made by theOffice of Religious Affairs at the Barcelona City Council with two objectives: to increase awareness about aspects of the religious and spiritual traditions that coexist in the city of Barcelona, and to affirm that these traditions have existed in our city and region for many years, even though they are sometimes invisible or not well-known. Viewers will be guided by the voices and stories of the religious protagonists themselves, highlighting unique features of each creed that contribute not only to life in Barcelona, but also to that beyond the city. The first video in the series explains the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
When we speak of Jehovah’s Witnesses, we are talking about baptised believers, people who study the Bible, and followers who attend weekly gatherings. According to the data available, in Catalonia we would be talking about approximately 40,000 people who go to congregations and meet weekly at Kingdom Halls: in Catalonia there are 148 of these (where 358 congregations that speak 14 different languages meet) and, specifically, in Barcelona we find 16 (with 52 congregations).
In our city, the first Jehovah’s Witnesses’ congress was held in 1925; in 1941, the first Kingdom Hall was inaugurated, and the Palau Sant Jordi has been the site of the Regional Annual Congress, which they celebrate each year. The congresses that are held in Catalonia happen at the same time as the rest of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ meetings worldwide: these are held in 180 countries and bring out 15 million people.
They publish two of the most widely distributed magazines in the world, The Watchtower and Awake! (a version of which is also available in Catalan, entitled Desperta’t!), and their official website is available in 976 languages.