Festival Sites announced so far :
Why did the Radio (Worldwide) Church of God observe the festival
for the full 7 days, and why was it later reduced to the 2 high days?
The late Richard Nickels compared Roderick Meredith's festival reports of 1962 and 2002 in Days of Zeal Gone By,
‘‘The Church of 1962
was dedicated, inspired to identify sin, to overcome sin, and to put out sin,
through the power of the Spirit of God made possible by the sacrifice of the
Messiah. The focus was Christ’s sacrifice and love. God’s people demonstrated
love, dedication, and zeal. There were outstanding, unusual, miracles of healing.
the other hand, in 2002, there was no mention of a Festival, the Feast
of Unleavened Bread; instead, Meredith referred to the First Day of
Unleavened Bread and the Last Day of Unleavened Bread. There were no
daily inspiring sermons during the Festival, no miraculous healings.
Instead, there were meals, site-seeing tours, and fellowship, mainly
minister to minister, instead of the whole Church together for the
entire eight days of scintillating spiritual feasting. The intervening
days between the first and last holy days of the Feast of Unleavened
Bread were filled with business, meals and entertainment, touring, and
Herbert Armstrong declared, on returning from Gladewater, Texas,
in 1952, after observing Passover and the
Festival of Unleavened Bread :
has made it plain we MUST HAVE an adequate place, the most centrally
located possible, so that the largest number can attend, for the
Festival of Unleavened Bread, and for those able or close enough, even
the Day of Pentecost...”
This location proved too small in 1953 for the numbers wishing to attend.
The 1954 Festival
was therefore celebrated at several regional sites in the USA — for the full seven days,
with services both in the morning and afternoon.
The festival continued to be celebrated for seven days, with increasing
attendances and extra venues. Evening Bible Studies replaced daytime services in some locations, for the benefit of those who
could not get time off work to attend both annual seven day festivals, or were
not paid if they could do so.
The 1967 Festival
(report begins on p.5) was the final seven day festival. This was the
year of the death of Herbert Armstrong's wife, Loma, after which Stanley
Rader, who was given control of the church's finances, became his main advisor.
Jon Brisby's article, ‘Days of Unleavened Bread – How Should
They Be Observed?’ [p.4] explains why the full seven-day observance was discontinued:
of God members remember
the marvellous spiritual sermons and exciting fellowship that went along with
this festival. But some time during the mid-sixties, the practice was
The reason was twofold. First, many of the members were being forced to use
personal savings to attend the Feast of Tabernacles, because of a shortage of
second tithe brought about by observing the full seven days in the Spring.
Second—and by far the primary reason for discontinuing the full seven-day
observance—the receipt of income for the ‘Work’ was appreciably reduced each
Spring, because most of the members did not receive any salary or wages during
the week they attended the seven Days of Unleavened Bread. Consequently, tithes
and offerings dropped off alarmingly in the Spring.
decision to discontinue the practice of observing the Days of Unleavened Bread
for the full seven days was a ministerial judgment, based on a need at the
time. While the reduced income for the ‘Work’ was the major consideration in
the decision, the financial strain placed upon the membership was also a
factor. It was felt by Mr. Armstrong that if the Gospel were to continue to go
forth with growth and power, the membership would have to be in a financial
position to contribute heavily. The observance of the Days of Unleavened Bread
for the full seven days was thwarting this effort.”
Festival Of Unleavened Bread be celebrated for 2 or 7 days?