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Passover & Festival of Unleavened Bread 2015

The festival will be celebrated at the following feast sites for the full seven days:

Kelowna, British Columbia       Venue : Camp Hatikvah
His Truth Seekers Ministry       3-11 April [7]
Blyth (North-East); Nottingham (Midlands); South-Eastern venues.
Congregation of Yahweh UK        3-10 April [1]       Festival Information

Norman, Arkansas       Venue : Ouachita National Forest
Lighted Way Ministries      
4-11 April [7]       Passover/U.B. Schedule

Yellville, Arkansas       Venue : ICoG, 7936 Highway 14S.
Independent Church of God 7th Day       3-10 April [1] 
Terra Bella, California       Venue : Terra Bella Campground
Bible Explorations (SDA)       4-11 April [7]       Festival & Campsite Information
Ocala, Florida       Venue : The Retreat at Silver Springs
Lightened By His Glory (SDA)       3-10 April [1]       Festival & Campsite Information
Sylvania, Georgia       Venue : Coastal Empire Christian Camp
True Words of Yahweh Yahshua Assembly       4-11 April [7]       Festival Information
Woodstock, Illinois       Venue : Home of Brian & Samantha Hoeck.
Truth on the Web Ministries       4-11 April [8]       Festival Information
Battle Creek, Michigan       Venue : Gull Lake       3-11 April [1]&[8]
Church of God Fellowship Lansing & Durand Michigan Fellowship       Festival Info
Jefferson City, Missouri       Venue : YRM, Holt's Summit.
Yahweh's Restoration Ministry       3-11 April [8]       Festival Information
Rocheport, Missouri       Venue : YAIM, 401 North Roby Farm Road.
Yahweh's Assembly in Messiah       3-11 April [8]       Festival Information
Billings, Montana       Venue : ECG in Billings.
Eternal Church of God        3-10 April [1]       Festival Information

Newport, Rhode Island       Venue : Wellington Resort
The Called Out of God      
3-11 April
[7]       Festival Information

Dandridge, Tennessee       Venue : Mountain Lake Ranch Christian Retreat

Now Is The Time Ministries       3-10 April [1]       Festival Information

Knoxville, Tennessee       Venue : Chilhowee Park & Exposition Center
7th Day Church of God       3-11 April
[7]       Festival Information

(The red number in brackets is the calendar system - please see Biblical Calendar 2015).

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.

On 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 traveling.”

Herbert Armstrong declared, on returning from Gladewater, Texas, in 1952, after observing Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread :

“God 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:

“Many Church 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 discontinued.

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.

Again, the 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.

Should the Festival Of Unleavened Bread be celebrated for 2 or 7 days?