NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - About 40 miles northwest of a bustling New York City, a 45-acre complex sits on a tranquil lake in Warwick, New York.
"Our primary purpose is not to convert, but to give people an opportunity to see what the bible has to say," said Bryce Hemmelgarn, a spokesperson for Jehovah's Witnesses.
The new world headquarters, which opened last year, is home to about 800 Jehovah's Witnesses, who are volunteers that live, eat, and work here.
"I work here during the day but most people work from 8 to 5, too, I can go out shopping on the weekend if I like," said Iliana Markopoulos, 25, a computer programmer for the organization. "I can do what every normal person can—I just have the great opportunity to live and work so close to one another."
"It's first and foremost a religion, it's our faith, we identify as Christians, we look to Jesus as setting the pattern as their form of worship," Hemmelgarn said.
The main difference is that they believe Jehovah is the name of their god and creator. It is also the way they go about their outreach, knocking on doors and speaking to anyone who will listen.
Brooklyn was their home base for more than 100 years; 60 of those years inside the iconic Watchtower building in Brooklyn Heights. When they came to Warwick to build, the group tried to impact the natural environment as little as possible.
"We planted green roofs on every one of our buildings, we implemented rain water and storm water control to eliminate or conserve the amount of runoff from the rain that would affect the environment," said Ted Hoffman, facility manager. "We installed lighting controls, controls that also manage how much water we use."
At their new home, the Jehovah's Witnesses plan to keep spreading their beliefs and encouraging others to understand their religion just a little bit better. About 8 million people practice the religion worldwide.