After two years of mainly holding virtual services, Jehovah's Witnesses returned to in-person meetings this weekend.
Religious leaders suspended large gatherings on March 20, 2020 aligning with public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
According to Hubert Laigo, a local media representative for Jehovah's Witnesses, there are 48 congregations in both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.
Approximately 1,151 residents in Santa Maria attended services in person over the weekend while 363 people did so in San Luis Obispo.
“There is a collective shout of joy among Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world right now,” said Robert Hendriks, the U.S. Spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in a statement. “While we have prospered in many ways as individuals and congregations using technology to bring us together, nothing can adequately replace being together in person. We have longed for this moment for the better part of two years.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses leaders will continue to offer virtual meetings as well.