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The Journal : News of the Churches of God

The latest issue of the Journal: December 31, 2017, is now online.

The lead article is about the 'big dig' in Jerusalem in the late 1960s/early 1970s.
Ian Boyne, who died on the 18th of December 2017, is remembered. He was pastor of the Church of God International in Jamaica, and very well known and respected there as a broadcaster and journalist.

Although this issue is dated December 31st, there is a front page report on the CGI & CoG Big Sandy combined service on the 6th of January 2018.

Hawaii's Nuclear Alert Disaster - Foretaste of Things to Come
(Standing Watch) video - 9 minutes.

Philadelphia Church of God

In the last issue of The Philadelphian for 2017, treasurer Andrew Lochner alludes to the heavy financial pressure placed upon the church by Gerald Flurry’s decision to buy a private jet, a photograph of which is displayed on the front page.

He says that God wants the brethren and co-workers to “continue to sacrifice and respond to His direction,” and so Lochner urges them to pray about how they might be able to send in even more money, and pray that more co-workers will be added.

About midway through 2017, Pastor General Gerald Flurry took a more aggressive approach to God’s finances to make sure we are putting to use the money God has provided to do the Work. That act of faith caused us to more closely monitor expenses, measure our results from various advertising and promotional campaigns, and to really work more efficiently to accomplish more with the money we spend.

There are plans in the works to expand our efforts to reach the cities of Judah (Isaiah 40). That will require additional resources, but God will provide. His response in 2017 has been very inspiring. God wants us to be active and aggressive. He wants us to continue to sacrifice and respond to His direction as we finish this Work.

As we near the end of the year, please continue to pray about your personal finances. Ask God to bless the brethren and co-workers so the income can continue increasing. We do need more co-workers, and Christ gave us the admonition to pray that God would add more laborers (Luke 10:2). We need them, and God expects us to ask for them. If we respond in faith, we can have full assurance that more will be added.”

The January 2018 issue of The Philadelphia Trumpet magazine is now online.
In the leading article, ‘America’s Greatest Defeat - Iran’s Victory’, Gerald Flurry claims: “If God labels Iran ‘king of the south’, that means it rules the Middle East! Most people haven’t recognized that - especially in earlier years, although more people see it now.”
Much of the remainder of the magazine is taken up with identifying ‘strongmen’ who might, or might not, comprise some of the ‘ten kings’.
“The five kings discussed in this article may not be the final five. These five countries may not be the ones in the eastern leg. Austria, especially, may fit better in the western leg. But however these events play out, we see clear movement toward something that looks remarkably like what biblical prophecy describes...” and yet despite all these reservations ...
“It appears we are watching these very kings emerge! The Bible is clear that these kings will wreak a lot of destruction. But at the same time, it is clear that during the days of these kings, Jesus Christ returns. We are getting incredibly close to that day.”

House of God

On leaving the House of God, Ron Harmon wrote: “I will be continuing the work in the ways I can from my home. I’m not sure at this time how that will manifest itself, but the fact is, I can’t stop serving God.”

He has decided to continue with the bible studies - which he has been broadcasting from his home in Temple, Texas, on Wednesday evenings - each Sabbath at 12 noon ET, under the title, Tomorrow's Church of God - looking to a future with God!

Ron Harmon presented a final video message on Wednesday, 13th December, as many brethren were confused as to his reasons for leaving right now, since the issue of whether or not it is an obligation to say “amen” in a public prayer was a topic of discussion years ago.
Fellow minister Mike Alewine argues that denying
“the Amen” (Rev.3:14) is denying Christ. In his e-mail response to Mike in July, Ron wrote:
“I did one sermon on this, and in that sermon I told everyone it wasn’t a doctrine or a edict of the church; they were free to use amen or any other phrase to end a prayer, or none at all ... As far as Frank was concerned, he took it to a level where I would never have, but that was Frank.”

Frank Scherich gave a video sermon back in 2014 : Amen Again.
(Frank was killed on 1st October 2015. He had been attending the Festival of Tabernacles in Galveston, Texas, where he was joint co-ordinator. He was hit by a car around 4.00pm, while trying to rescue his dog from traffic, and died in hospital that evening.)

This is Ron Harmon’s letter of resignation, dated Tuesday, 12th December 2017:
“To The Wonderful People of the
House of God
Unknown to most of you there has been a spiritual struggle occurring within our congregations. It was a battle not of my choosing, but it caused much tension in our home. This last Sunday at our annual meeting of the consul and ministers of the House of God, it all came to a conclusion.
This spiritual battle has been raging behind the scenes for many years bringing me to a final conclusion. I can’t work effectively when others I work with are so consumed by my different beliefs on ending prayers, not allowing camaraderie to exist.
As of Sunday, Virginia and I are no longer members of the House of God. I won’t get into the specifics for the sake of the church, only to say the following. I cannot go against my convictions and how I see the scriptures. There are some in the leadership of the church who seem to believe my salvation is lost because of what I believe on one issue. I can only say this, you might be careful how you judge others and their salvation.
I will be continuing the work in the ways I can from my home. I’m not sure at this time how that will manifest itself, but the fact is, I can’t stop serving God.
I wish everyone well and God’s blessings. I’ve always tried to help make everyone’s lives a little better at the House of God and we hope you remember us fondly. Virginia and I are deeply saddened by what has transpired over the last few months. We are saddened to not be a part of your lives any longer, but we no longer feel welcomed, and we don’t go where we’re not welcomed.
God Bless you all: Ron Harmon.”

Voice in the Wilderness Church of God
Bill Goff writes, January 12th: “A few years back we started an orphanage called Sengera House Orphanage in Kenya [Jan 8th update]. We have taken on a number of orphans (both boys and girls) from various COG groups who could no longer care for them after their parents died. We want to thank you for giving our web site exposure, because what you have done has benefited 'many' widows and orphans living in that impoverished part of the world.
Trying to make other members of the COG aware of the plight of their impoverished  brethren is difficult, because most of the larger Churches of God won't allow us to address their congregations with the dire situation in which these brethren of our are living. But the exposure you have given, has been heard by a number of brethren tuned into your site, and some have now been assisting these widows and orphans. So thank you for your good works.”
Thanks to all who have contributed.

Ronald L. Dart Evangelistic Association

The press release announcing the formation of ‘The Ronald L. Dart Evangelistic Association’ (RLDEA), created by Allie Dart, stated: “Mrs. Dart’s will prohibits the assets of her estate from going directly to Christian Educational Ministries.”

Lawyers appointed by CEM's board (now headed by Larry Watkins) are contesting her will.

Wes White has clarified the RLDEA's position regarding CEM's legal dispute. (Edited statement)

1. I have nothing to do with the estate of Allie Dart. What goes on with Allie's estate is none of my business, and I have no desire to get involved with it.

2. What goes on in CEM is none of my business either, and I have no desire to get involved in CEM's business. I have no ill will toward anyone in CEM, no animosity on my part. There were rumors that I was trying to get this or that done in CEM. Not true.

3. Any legal disputes that are going on right now between Allie's estate and CEM have absolutely nothing to do with me. I am completely uninvolved in the legal difficulties that are taking place right now between CEM and Allie's estate.

If Allie's estate ever gets settled, and if there's some money left over after the lawyers take big chunks out of it, and if some of her money ends up going to RLDEA, as dictated by her will, then at that time it will be my responsibility to help expedite those funds in the way that Allie asked us to. So, until that day comes, if it comes, because lawyers are really good at eating up estates with their legal fees. Until that day comes, I have nothing that I can further report regarding the RLDEA. Further, both sides have asked me not to comment on these matters of Allie's estate, and it is with great pleasure that I comply with that request.

4. Let's be really clear on another point. My commitment to refrain in commenting on these legal matters does not stop me from preaching the doctrines of the Church of God. Further, I will not stop preaching the following two doctrines. I have been preaching these two doctrines for decades, and I am not going to stop now.

The first doctrine is this: the Bible makes it very clear that it's wrong to take your brother to court. Those of you who follow this show remember that I talked about this at length on SOS #34.

The second doctrine is: stay out of the business of judging who is and who isn't a Christian. If someone says he is a Christian, it's not my job to say, oh, he's not a Christian. Only Jesus can make that determination. Many people want to get around the 1st Corinthians 6 prohibition of suing fellow Christians by using this cop out line, saying, this man's not my brother, and so I can sue him. And the way many a person makes this claim is to do it by saying things like, well, he's not in my alphabet soup CoG. I'm in the ABC CoG, and he's in the XYZ CoG, therefore he's not my brother, and I can sue him. Or they say, this guy's not even a Sabbath keeper. That means that he's definitely not my brother, because, if he doesn't even keep the Sabbath, he's not a Christian. Again, I'm not making a declaration that all Sunday keepers are Christians. That's not my call to make. Only Jesus can make that call.

If you want a really good teaching on this subject, I recommend you watch Ron Dart's sermon Curse Not The Deaf on YouTube.

On Friday evening, October 20th, Wes White talked about the possibility of Christian Educational Ministries suing the Ronald L Dart Evangelistic Association.
He began by recalling when the Church of God International, a breakaway group from the Worldwide Church of God, was formed in 1978, “a couple of these folks went down to the courthouses in Texas and California to reserve the name CGI. This was so they could set up new churches in those two states under that new church name.
And, before they had time to set up the name CGI in the other 48 states, the lawyers over in WCG ran out into those 48 states and reserved the name CGI in those 48 states. Now, did WCG have any desire to use the name CGI in those 48 states? Of course not. Their sneaky act was very clearly a dirty trick done to undermine CGI. That was their only reason. To hurt CGI.
And I’ve got a confession. Back then, I applauded WCG’s action to do this. And I was wrong. Today, I am embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I thought it was a good thing to undermine what my brothers and sisters were doing when they were setting up CGI back in 1978. I think it was around 1985 or 86 that God softened my hard heart and showed me that this is no way to treat a brother.” ...
“Ron Dart left CGI about 25 years ago and started CEM ... I have been told by church leaders of that time that Ron had a severance agreement with CGI ... there were some people who claimed that Ron violated that ...  And they said to these CGI leaders, “You need to sue Ron Dart.” And guess what? The leadership of CGI said – We are not going to sue Ron Dart. And these other people got mad.” ...
“I bring all this up to show you that there are at least some who have taken a Christian point of view when it comes to disputes such as church splits. There are at least some of our brethren who say – We’ve got to be nice to our brothers in the church.
That’s a little bit of history. Let’s talk about the here and now – what’s going on at this moment. A lot of you have been asking me for an update on how things are going in my attempts to reach out to the leadership of CEM so that we at the Ronald L Dart Evangelistic Association can have a harmonious relationship with CEM. Because we want to help them – we want to assist them -- in their efforts to promote Ron’s stuff ...
I met with one of the leaders of CEM on the third day of the Feast. Also present was a minister who’s not a part of CEM. It was just the three of us alone. At a table  overlooking the lake.
One of the important points that I hope we got across to these guys was that we in the RLDEA have no desire to remove board members from CEM. I hope I made it very clear that what they do at CEM is none of my business.
Second point of assurance I gave was related to the issue of Ron Dart’s intellectual property rights. I gave them assurances that, as far as I am concerned, Ron’s intellectual property belongs to CEM and not to the RLDEA. We don’t own them and we have no intention of trying to take them from CEM.
Now, there’s a back story to this IP issue. Before Allie went into her last round of surgery, she told me she didn’t believe that CEM should own Ron’s property rights. So she asked me to research this issue with an IP attorney. Not because she wanted to sue anyone. Suing was never an option in her mind. She just wanted to know what all her options were regarding Ron’s IPs.
So I found an IP attorney in Dallas and I talked to him about this. He told me that Allie had two options: Either Allie could accept the status quo that CEM owns Ron’s intellectual properties - or she could sue CEM. He said there was no third option. When I related this to Allie, she was a little disappointed, because she was hoping for some third option where there could be some kind of sharing agreement between her and CEM. Some kind of compromise. But, once she realized she only had two options, she immediately chose to accept the status quo, because she said there was no way she was going to take her brothers to court. Suing these people is NOT something that Ron would want.
Now, let’s get back to the meeting I had with a CEM board member and this other guy. I said to them near the end of this positive and productive meeting – I’d like to clear the air on two final issues. 
The first issue is that we at RLDEA attempted to reserve the domain name, and we were astounded to learn that one of the CEM employees in Whitehouse had already reserved it! Just recently. Like a week or so before we tried to get it. And I told these two guys that I thought this was underhanded, because CEM has no need for the domain name I told them that the action of reserving this particular domain name was too reminiscent of when WCG reserved the name of CGI in 48 states only for the purpose of keeping GTA from using it.
So I asked the leader from CEM if he knew that this had happened. “Were you aware of this action taken by one of your paid employees?” Well, he said, he couldn’t remember. He couldn’t even remember whether or not he got an email on this subject.  And he couldn’t remember whether or not he had approved it.
So then, I asked him if he would find out if he had been informed of this action and find out if he had approved of it. And I asked if he’d get back to me. Since he couldn’t remember. He said he would get back to me. I’m still waiting.
I then asked this leader in CEM if this action is something that he condones or condemns. And he refused to take a stance on it one way or another.
So then I brought up my second concern. I told these two fellows that I found out just the day before that CEM had hired a lawyer – a litigating lawyer – and that lawyer had attempted to contact the lawyer who represents Allie’s estate. At the moment of this meeting during the Feast, the two lawyers hadn’t made a connection yet, so I had no idea what the litigating lawyer for CEM wanted from Allie’s estate lawyer.
So, in this meeting, I asked a simple and direct question. I asked – Do you have some intention of suing us? And I thought they would say – “Oh no, we would never take a brother to court. We just want to clarify a few points.” That’s what I hoped to hear. But that’s not what they said. And let’s be clear. They did NOT say – “Oh yes. We are indeed going to sue you.” What they said was that a lawsuit against us was a possibility. Have I made that distinction really clear?
The other fellow in the room (a minister in the COGs) said that the CEM board members have what they call ‘fiduciary responsibilities’. He said that, if it’s determined that it’s in the best interests of CEM to sue us, then he said that’s what they should do. They would have to. Well then next, this minister turned the question back at me. He said -- Wouldn’t you do the same thing if you were in their situation? And my response was: No! I said -- No way ...
Brethren, I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when I left the meeting ... My disappointment stems from the fact that this meeting once again demonstrated to me that too many in the COGs are still dysfunctional and still know either nothing or next to nothing about Christian conflict resolution. And I know that, when I make that statement, some of you out there will get mad at me ...
If you’re gonna get mad, get mad at our collective ignorance of how to treat each other as brothers in the church.  
If you’re gonna get mad, get rid of the collective malevolence that exists between brothers in the church. 
If you’re gonna get mad, get mad at the collective inability or unwillingness that exists out there on matters of how to deal with each other in a Christian manner.
You want to do something about this? Then temper your disappointment - with prayer. Let’s all go before our heavenly Father and ask him to heal the dysfunctionality that currently exists in the COGs. Take it to God, because the last thing we need is for people to start getting mad and getting wars started. We don’t need that.
And I think it’s important that I relate the following to you. When our brethren in the CG7 movement look at us in the Armstrong COG movement, they’re kind of aghast. They don’t understand why there’s so much acrimony among our people.”
Wes White concluded the broadcast with a study of 1 Corinthians 6:1-7 and other scriptures on resolving disputes.
The above notes are a small part of the broadcast, which is available on YouTube - SOS#34 ‘Can you take your Christian Brother to court?’ You might also wish to view a related broadcast SOS#33 ‘Who is my brother?’

Church of God, a Worldwide Association

The January 2018 edition of One Accord is now online.

There are short reports on the Winter Family Weekends in Louisville, Kentucky, and Portland, Oregon. The Galt House is the largest hotel and conference center in Louisville, but it is becoming too small for the increasing number of people wanting to go to the WFW there (over 1000 in December 2017). The venue has been booked again for 2018 – December 21-25 – but a larger venue will be sought for 2019 onwards.

There will be a special registration process for the Festival of Tabernacles 2018 site in Tuscany, Italy, owing to the level of interest being well above the 300 capacity of the meeting room there. Registration for all festival sites will open on April 1st, except for Italy, which will open on February 11th at 10am CST - and is expected to close on the same day. The 300 successful applications will be notified on February 13th.
(There will be two other festival sites in Europe - France and England.)

The January-February 2018 edition of Discern Magazine is now online.

Clyde Kilough asks, in his article, ‘How to Spot a Counterfeit Church’:
“Fake Faith: What would you do, how would you feel, if you discovered your religion was counterfeit? Most of us have been “given” our religion by our parents, or maybe we “shopped” for one we liked. Is it possible that, in all innocence, we possess a fake belief? ...
Look at the thousands of denominations in the world today representing differing interpretations of what Christ did and said. Isn’t that a problem?”
Clyde Kilough was “given” his religion by his parents. He became a minister in that religion, the Worldwide Church of God.
After the founder died, his successor began to change its doctrines, starting with the nature of God (the Trinity). Clyde taught the “new truth” - which must have been a “fake faith” - since he has subsequently changed churches twice, each of these teaching revised versions of the previous “truth”. Isn’t that a problem?

United Church of God

The January-February 2018 issue of the Beyond Today magazine is now on-line.
The first feature article discusses the controversy surrounding the opening in Washington DC of 
The Museum of the Bible.

Absolute proof the UCG is going mainstream evangelical?

James Malm posted the following on The Shining Light:

4 Jan: UCG News- I see that UCG has removed their presentation after I posted a link on 2 Jan. This is very strange since they claim to be preaching to the world. I do not seek out such material but visited and posted the link after receiving the message below. Why they removed the sermon is very hard to understand since hundreds of people heard it at the WFW.

James: You were right. Here is absolute proof the UCG is going mainstream evangelical in order to attract new members. Bible Study given at their Winter Family Weekend.

On 5 Jan Banned by HWA posted on the same subject:
UCG: Are the fields no longer white for harvest?

Was it sensible to react to such allegations by restricting access to a sermon heard by hundreds of UCG members and heartily endorsed by UCG's president? (see below)

For those left wondering if Jay Ledbetters sermon could be “absolute proof the UCG is going mainstream evangelical”, this sermon is still available on UCGs website – on this link.

Victor Kubik writes, December 28: “What a week this was, with the Winter Family Weekend just ending here in the Cincinnati area! It was the largest gathering since we started using the Great Wolf Lodge in 2011. On the Sabbath, we had 1,232 attendees assembled for services.”
“Especially heartening for this event was seeing our emerging leadership. The Friday evening Bible Study was led by a newer pastor, Jay Ledbetter, and the Sabbath sermon by one of our newer elders, Andrew Lee. Messages were relevant and well-delivered.”

Church of God 7th Day
January-February 2018 issue of the Bible Advocate magazine is now on-line.

The General Conference celebrated the Annual World IMC Sabbath on November 4th. The IMC (International Ministerial Congress) is the worldwide organization of the Church of God (Seventh Day). It was established in 1978 with the purpose of uniting the international church, supporting doctrinal unity, and coordinating its evangelistic mission. It now has members in 44 nations and contacts in 100+ countries. 
Key aspects of this Sabbath included prayer for the international church and evangelistic mission. Congregations also received a generous offering earmarked ‘IMC’ to support leadership training, workers and missionaries, and planting of COG7 churches. Doors are open to COG7 to work in the Middle East and countries like Pakistan, Mozambique, and Bolivia.

Living Church of God

The January- February 2018 issue of Tomorrow’s World magazine is now on-line

Gerald Weston writes, December 28: “As mentioned earlier, Mr. Jonathan McNair will be moving to Charlotte to coordinate our educational programs for the ministry, for members, and for the next generation. Adam West will return from the United Kingdom and will replace Mr. McNair as Northeast Regional Pastor. Mr. Peter Nathan will be moving to the United Kingdom to replace Mr. West.”

Greater Phoenix Church of God
John Vonderhaar died in the early morning of December 22nd.
He was feeling bad stomach pains, and asked to go to the ER early in the morning on the 18th of November. After testing, it was discovered that he had stage 4 liver and colon cancer. The tumor in the colon made it very hard for John to eat much of anything. He lost a lot of weight rapidly. After two sessions of chemotherapy and drastically declining health, He decided to come home and receive hospice care. He passed away at home surrounded by his loving family on December 22nd at 4:43 am.
His wife Tonya wrote: “Joycelyn and I were singing softly to him as the rest of the family stood around to comfort John and pray. When we got to the final chorus of ‘Amazing Grace: My chains are gone’, he opened his eyes (which could no longer see), gave us that infectious ornery smile, and left this world behind ... From the moment I met him, John lived his whole life to the fullest. His family will miss him very much.”

Christian Biblical Church of God

CBCG in the UK has imploded.
In the early years of CBCG Fred Coulter referred to his then small group as “the no hassle, recycle, last resort, Church of God.” It still can be - but not if you have a disagreement with Fred Coulter over doctrine or policy.
David Obey, the UK ‘Office Manager’ (there was never an actual ‘office’) for the past decade has been described by someone who knew him well as “abrasive” and “easily offended”.
A parting of the ways at some point seemed inevitable. He resigned earlier this year, warning subscribers of ‘dangers’ of keeping their names and contact details on the mailing list.
His reluctant replacement found the situation so difficult that he soon resigned in frustration - much to the fury of Fred Coulter.

There was no Festival of Tabernacles site this year (and no prospect of one any time soon). The remaining subscribers to CBCG’s material are now receiving their regular mailings from Australia.

In the letters column of The Journal for November 30th, Fred Coulter, founder of the Christian Biblical Church of God, writes: “Congratulations on shutting down THE JOURNAL. It should have been done years ago.”

Fred’s bigotry is mainly directed at those who refuse to observe WCG’s version of the Hebrew Calendar (and particularly those who promote other biblical calendars in The Journals advertising section). If you don’t observe the annual holy days on the Hebrew Calendar dates, God’s judgement will be upon you!

Over the last two decades the CBCG has produced an enormous amount of material about the Calculated Hebrew Calendar- audio and video series by Fred Coulter (plus frequent references to it in his sermons), and numerous articles by Carl Franklin and Dwight Blevins.

In 2012 Fred Coulter stated in a Calendar Bible Study. “A lot of people don’t believe in the Calculated Hebrew Calendar because it’s not in the Bible.
It’s not in the Bible because God gave it to the priesthood. Was there a time when the calendar was in perfect synchronization?
Yes! We can deduce, because there’s no calendar in the Bible (Fred's emphasis), only reference to the calendar, and He gave it to the priests and the Levites to preserve.”
The Rabbinic Jews admit that they developed the
Calculated Hebrew Calendar gradually over the latter half of the 1st millennium AD, but Fred knows better.

CBCG’s obsession with the Calculated Hebrew Calendar has taken a bizarre new turn … ‘Hebrew Calendar – The Musical’.

The Music of the Appointed Times, by Dwight Blevins (with acknowledgements to Carl Franklin and Fred Coulter), provides proof, says the author, that music and the Hebrew Calendar are integrated in the Bible ...

No matter where you live, and no matter your place of birth on this earth, you have never read the full details of this story before. It is stunning! It is unbelievable, yet true. In these pages we are going to demonstrate that the plan of God has been scored in the melody sheets of Psalm, and that the scale pattern of the lyre harp forms the seven notes of prophecy. The opening lines of staff and song, in the New Testament age, began at the Sea of the Kinneret (harp sea), in the region of the octave name, Galilee.” (p.41)
The purpose of the postponement rule which disallows Rosh Hashana (1st of Tishri) from falling on a Sunday, Wednesday or Friday, says Dwight, is that it results in the other four days of the week forming a harmonious chord ...

Those familiar with musical terms may recall a chord, called the B7 chord, which overlays the other three musical-like pattern days of the lunar declarations of the first day of the seventh lunar month (Day of Trumpets). Occurring, as if in the key of C, by days of the week, these Tishri 1, seventh-month calendar dates fall on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Monday, or the CEG chord, overlaid with a B7 (Monday). And, just as the seven leap years of the Metonic cycle, by rhythm of placement, follow the cadence scale of the C major, it should be no great surprise that only those days of the week which form a chord harmonious to C major are allowed for declarations of the first day of the seventh month Appointed Time. Hence, even time has been chorded by four weekdays of the seven, so that the tones of time and season are harmonious in their days of declaration.

Therefore, the days CEGB (Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday/Monday) are allowed for Tishri 1, while DFA (Wednesday/Friday/Sunday) are voided as possible days. Thus, seven is overlaid upon seven, upon seven, so that all time-keeping maintains a flow of rhythm and harmony, falling on the very same day of the week at the B interval note of 247 years (12,888 weeks).” (p.8)
The rules and calculations of the Hebrew Calendar are not found in the Scriptures - nonetheless says Dwight, their presence is evident in the mathematics of music ...
Though the rules of the lunar calculations are not listed and catalogued in outline form in the Scriptures, nonetheless, as demonstrated in these writings, every part and piece of the Hebrew calendar, by implication of fact and pattern, has been coded and scripted within the text of the word of God. In fact, the calculations are a mirror reflection of Biblical flow and construct, portrayed in the mathematics of music. In these calculations we can see a hand-to-glove fit of how these marks of the times of the seven annual Sabbaths transfer from the lunar calendar to the tones of music.” (p.76)

Legacy Institute
Gloria Sexton writes: ‘On the 1st of December, JumSengPan, our Pastor’s wife from JawkTiang, wrote to me and said that they buried PweSay. Here is her message: “Hello Aj (teacher /Ajaan in Thai) Gloria, Yes we will be straight and narrow way. Sometimes we don’t know what's God ways. I believe this life will be trial and next life is NO suffering and live forever. In this life we don’t know when we die, but we need to be good example for the next generation. PweSay was good example for her children, even she cannot talk. The people said to heal with pagan, she shake her head to say no. She was in faith until she died. Today the PweSay body will bury. Our students don’t go to school today. I have responsibility for the children to teach God’s ways with love. We keep praying for you and Aj Leon. Every trial God will answer. I pray for you to have strength for everything. I know you are so tired. We love you and Aj Leon like parents.
With much love, Jum.”
Please keep praying for our brethren in JawkTaing. At the end of December they will visit our very small group in NaMawn, Kachinland. There is again ongoing fighting in various parts of Kachinland. Please pray for their safe travels and guidance. MoPalel, the assistant pastor will take care of matters while Seng Aung and family are away. I will write to you about their visit next time.
On early Friday afternoon, the 8th of December, Leon came home - and already over a week has gone by. Leon is progressing daily. Leon’s speech therapist calls Leon’s difficulty anomic and motor aphasia. His words are becoming slowly clearer and his memory is making progress. Please continue to pray for this difficulty that is so very frustrating to Leon and all of us who communicate with him.’

The Plain Truth Magazine
American readers of the magazine published by the Worldwide Church of God will know of its successor, Plain Truth Ministries, which has similar beliefs to Grace Communion International, but is no longer affiliated with it.
The UK equivalent is The Plain Truth, a registered charity with no set creed, which “produces a non-denominational magazine, aimed at readers of all faiths – or none – to inform and educate them on issues affecting our everyday lives from a Christian perspective. Our goal is to provide our subscribers with ‘food for thought’.”
Among the thought provoking articles in the latest issue (Autumn 2017) is one on Christmas - Is It Crackers? (pp.10-11), in which Father Christmas has an existential crisis, while trying to explain to the author’s two young children why Africa is a ‘no fly zone’ for his reindeer and sleigh.

Church of God International

The Jamaican Gleaner reports that Ian Boyne (pastor of CGI Jamaica), died on Monday, 18th December, at the University Hospital of the West Indies.

While recuperating in the hospital, after suffering a heart attack on Saturday, 2nd December, the Jamaica Information Service reported: “I am deeply touched by the outpouring of love from all sectors of the society,” Mr Boyne said, as he was updated on the concern expressed by many Jamaicans at home and abroad on social media and through calls to the JIS and radio stations. He was told that churches everywhere were in prayer for his recovery.

The Miracle of Ian Boyne, from The Gleaner.

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Minister of Culture Olivia Grange, and Minister of Education Ruel Reid, were among the first to pay tribute to Ian Boyne.

Continuing Church of God

Bob Thiel has given a warning message to independent churches that they must join the one true Philadelphian church, in order to avoid the wrath to come:
“Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O undesirable nation. (Zephaniah 2:1)
Although it has certain misunderstandings, the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary realized that the gathering together was intended for a religious group or assembly:
Zephaniah 2:1 ‘Gather yourselves together – to a religious assembly, to avert the judgment by prayers, (Joel 2:16, “Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders,” etc.)
When are they to gather together?
‘Before the decree is issued, Or the day passes like chaff, Before the Lord’s fierce anger comes upon you, Before the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you!’ (Zephaniah 2:2) ...
These are Philadelphian Christians who understand that church leaders need to have integrity and are willing to be humble enough to accept the authority of a church led by a low-level prophet (Bob Thiel) in the absence of a clear apostle (cf. 1  Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11-15). They are humble enough to not think that they should remain ‘independent,’ as many who once were part of the old Worldwide Church of God, during this Laodicean time, have done.
Why does God tell them they may wish to be gathered together? So … ‘It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the Lord’s anger.’ (Zephaniah 2:3b)
Most will discount this and many will scoff
- one prophecy that will be fulfilled.

Winter Family Weekend

There are many family weekend events during the year, but by far the largest gatherings are at the WFW over Christmas – this year December 22-26.

The 21st Lexington Winter Family Weekend, sponsored by the Cincinnati and Lexington churches, will be held at the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort in Lexington, Kentucky. The event is open to everyone.
Its Facebook page says,
The Winter Family Weekend in Lexington, Kentucky has helped change the culture of the Church of God. Twenty years ago God blessed us with an event without borders. People quickly learned that it is what you believe -- not the name on the church door that makes the difference. It’s an environment where friends can meet as equals to worship together and celebrate the Faith that is common to us all.

In 1997 these two churches were independent corporations affiliated with the United Church of God. By 2004 attendance had increased to 2000, up to 20% of whom were members of other ex-WCG groups.

Until the COGWA split in 2010, UCG’s governance was a strict hierarchy, and the Home Office did not look kindly on large scale local events not being under its control, or including non-members. Furthermore, any form of congregational authority, such as local boards and advisory councils, was regarded as contrary to its founding principles.

The local pastor, Jim O'Brien, was suspended for comments he made during Sabbath announcements at Lexington on 13th March 2004, and was summoned to the Home Office, where he was interrogated about the WFW and his difference of philosophies with UCG, by members of Ministerial Services. After breaking a demand not to discuss these matters, even with fellow ministers, his employment was terminated. The Lexington church voted to leave the UCG, while the Cincinnati church was split.

UCG President Roy Holladay said there was interest in a WFW sponsored by either United Church of God congregations or the Home Office, and he later formally announced the Eighth Annual Winter Family Weekend 2004 Sponsored by the United Church of God (even though it had not technically sponsored the previous seven).

There will be a UCG Northwest Family Weekend in Portland, Oregon, but the main UCG WFW will be held at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio.

All was not well for some at the 2016 event, one UCG Parent commenting:
“My family and I participated at winter family weekend this year in Ohio and was very disappointed when we found out that apparently people who are not in our church can participate in the sporting events, and these are people who are playing on Friday nights and are not even members or even go to UCG - they just show up for the perks!! This is very frustrating, because we try to raise our kids up that its not OK to play sports on Friday nights!! Our church is supporting people who do those things. I remember back in the WOU days, if you werent a regular church member, you didnt play!”
New statement on sports registration for 2017: “To provide as much playing time as possible, participation in the sports programs is restricted to people regularly attending a Sabbath-keeping church and their immediate family members.”
The Living Church of God
s WFW at the Renaissance Charlotte Suites Hotel, North Carolina, began at Christmas 2008 as an additional regional event to the Kansas City WFW, which takes place at the weekend after Christmas. The Christmas WFW is now a major event for LCG members - details for 2017 are on its Facebook page.

Since the Church of God a Worldwide Association split from the UCG, it has held an annual WFW for its members at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky.

Dynamic Christian Ministries
Wes White writes, November 2nd: “Ain’t prophecy fun? ??
The Church of God has spent a lot of time and resources to research and promote its prophetic ideas. And it has led to a lot of error as we have attempted to prove that Jesus’s return is going to happen in our lifetimes.
Based on what I have heard preached over the last several decades, I think we are missing an important component of understanding the purpose of prophecy.
Why don’t you join us
on Start Our Sabbath, this Friday evening, at 8:00pm Central time, as we examine this topic.
Since this is a live show, your comments and questions are welcome.”

Death of Gary Klar
As Bereans Did has learned of the passing of a true anomaly within Armstrongism - a genuine, kind, caring, giving, decent leader of a splinter group - Mr. Gary Klar.
Gary was attending the Feast of Tabernacles when he began experiencing respiratory issues. The next day he passed away. Next month he would have celebrated his 51st wedding anniversary.”
(Gary Klar started the Festival of Tabernacles site in Elkhart, Indiana, in 2010. Although the Pacific Church of God website has been updated since the 2017 FOT, there is no mention of Gary Klar’s death.)
Gary was given the rank of Elder in the old Worldwide Church of God. After the breakup of Worldwide, he attended the United Church of God with his family.
The Toledo congregation was deceived by the lying false prophet Ron Weinland into splitting from United and forming the Church of God - Toledo. When the despicable false prophet attempted to take sole control of the Toledo church and steal its entire bank account for himself, Gary was a key element working against Ron. The Toledo church split, with Ron going his way with the money and Terry Wrozek, and Gary remaining to head the large group of people who refused to leave with a petty dictator. Gary tried his best to make a genuinely better church. It’s quite remarkable, really, what he was able to accomplish with what he was given.”
(Posts by Don’t Drink the Flavor Aid and ‘Constance Dogood’, a former member, explain how Ronald Weinland seized personal control of COG-Toledo’s assets of $300,000. The legal devices he used to do this were shaky, but COG-Toledo did not take him to court. ‘Constance DoGood’ commented: “This is a person’s life we’re talking about here and, even though many see him as a source of pain, it is not for us to purposefully return hurt for hurt.”)

Church of God 7th Day
January-February 2018 issue of the Bible Advocate magazine is now on-line.

The General Conference celebrated the Annual World IMC Sabbath on November 4th. The IMC (International Ministerial Congress) is the worldwide organization of the Church of God (Seventh Day). It was established in 1978 with the purpose of uniting the international church, supporting doctrinal unity, and coordinating its evangelistic mission. It now has members in 44 nations and contacts in 100+ countries.
Key aspects of this Sabbath included prayer for the international church and evangelistic mission. Congregations also received a generous offering earmarked ‘IMC’ to support leadership training, workers and missionaries, and planting of COG7 churches. Doors are open to COG7 to work in the Middle East and countries like Pakistan, Mozambique, and Bolivia.

Church of God - Preparing for the Kingdom of God

Unlike other Church of God prophets whose prophecies include ifs and probablys, Ronald Weinland specified unconditionally that Christ would return at Pentecost in 2012, and he drew in thousands of followers and millions of dollars. God’s Final Witness would be 2008 (the start of the great tribulation) - but then the last apostle to Gods church was obliged to explain in his biography:

The Church originally had been given Pentecost of 2012 as the timing for Christ’s coming, and when he did not return, it was believed that Christ might instead return on Pentecost of 2013. During that year, however, God was not showing ‘why’ Jesus Christ had not returned, and it was not until some time later that God began to reveal the reasons why He had moved all prophetic end-time events forward by exactly seven years. That story is included in Ronald Weinland’s third book, entitled, Prophesy Against the Nations.

If Jesus Christ were to return at Pentecost in 2019, the great tribulation of 3½ years needed to begin in November 2015, which it clearly did not.
In a post on 17 November 2015, Weinland admitted to a massive reduction in members: “As of right now, there are less than 500 adults with whom God is currently working ...”
Since then he has lost hundreds more, after listening to him backtracking on end-time events leading up to Jesus Christ
s return, which he had previously declared to have happened, but now says have not.

Plimsol writes, on the False Prophet Ronald Weinland website, October 24th:

In saying that the sealing of the 144,000 is not yet complete, Ron is doing more than contradicting a previous sermon. He is contradicting the Truths of God.

Truth 45 and Truth 50 both state that the sealing has been completed. Truth 50, in particular, says it multiple times and at some length.

Ron currently teaches that at least three of the Truths are not true. 45, 49 (Ron says that God has put the Thunders on hold, which means they have not happened “precisely as foretold”) and 50.

50 is untrue for many reasons, including its statement that God has not yet revealed the date of Christ’s return, and its statement that we are currently awaiting the second year of the Eternal – a revelation from God that Ron now says was never revealed.

Also Truth 47 (I think it is) seems a bit dodgy, because it implies, without actually stating, that the great tribulation will begin in November 2015.

It’s worth pointing this out, because one of the things Ron will say, when nothing happens in 2019, is that we still know his is the one true Church, because it has the Truths (in fact he says that at the beginning of the LGD sermon).
But the Truths seem somewhat unreliable, to say the least.”

Christian Educational Ministries

Vance Stinson of Church of God International responded to this blog comment:
‘There is one reason and one reason only why CGI are all gooey eyed over the joining of CEM to them. MONEY MONEY MONEY’.
“Totally false! We don’t want anything from CEM ... except the friendship of its affiliates. Larry checked with Charles and me to make sure his decision to go back to work for CEM met our approval. It was simply a matter of courtesy.
I approved because that’s what Larry wanted to do and because it was simply a non-issue where Larry’s relationship with us is concerned. If he was offered a position with the newly formed RDEA or, for that matter, Samaritan’s Purse, it would be fine with me if he accepted. What Larry does in that regard will NOT affect our friendship or his standing with CGI. In fact, if Larry decided to change his mind about employment with CEM, that, too, would have my approval.
Let me be perfectly clear on this: We do not in any way anticipate any increase in numbers, whether dollars or members, from Larry’s involvement with CEM. It’s just not going to happen! Further, CEM is not ‘joining’ with us any more than it’s ‘joining’ with other groups. The CEM board’s intention is to help out with facilitating co-operation between groups.”

Larry Watkins announced, in the Church of God International’s Sabbath service on October 14th, that he is “un-retiring and un-resigning” from CEM, and going back there to work on a temporary basis as from Monday, October 16th.
He said that he had talked with Vance Stinson and Charles Groce of CGI, and with
Guy Swenson of Common Ground Christian Ministries and Jim O’Brien of the Church of God Cincinnati, two of the sponsors of Common Faith Network, about working more closely with them and other pastors of independent churches and ministries around the country.

A post on the Banned by HWA website (July 10th) stated:
“Those of us associated with CEM are very worried that once Allie Dart dies that Church of God Big Sandy will swoop in and take over. That is the last thing that needs to happen. While we love our friends in COGBS, we do not want the leaders of COGBS to have anything to do with us. There are more issues involved with the COGBS leadership than has been exposed here. I hope those on the board in CEM do not let any merger take place.”
David Havir, COGBS pastor and father of the man who has been fired by CEM, will surely not be seeking ties with CEM. He gave the sermon at CGI’s HQ in Tyler, Texas, on July 15th, at the beginning of which he expressed his desire for continued close relations between COGBS and CGI. (Sermon starts 13 mins. in.)
On the 15th there was a response to the above post: The Vultures Are Circling:
“The fate of CEM should indeed be of concern to CEM supporters at this time.  Ronald Dart passed away over a year ago.  Allie Dart has long been the number one, bulwark defender of Ron’s image and Ron’s works since his illness and death.  But she is not in good health at this time.
For this reason, it is important to keep an eye on organizations and individuals that could potentially be key players in this rapidly-evolving situation ...”
CEM is a ministry, not a church, so it has no members. If CEM were to merge with a church, non-members of that church would cease to contribute financially - so the idea that ‘vultures are circling’ to take over CEM is far fetched.

David Havir III (son of David Havir, pastor of the Church of God Big Sandy) was hired by CEM in September 2016 as vice president to assist Allie Dart, who described him as “a very capable, humble man, who grew up in the church, with his dad being a minister.”
He has been fired as a result of an inappropriate relationship with a teenage church member, Kyleigh Moody. The girl
s parents brought a petition against David Havir
in the family court, and the case was heard on Thursday, 6th of July.

Allie Darts funeral service, which was streamed live on the 14th of August from the funeral home’s website, continues to be available on Allie Dart’s tribute page.

Message from Allie Dart: Ronald L. Dart died peacefully in his sleep early this Sabbath morning, January 23rd (2016), from a prolonged battle with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. His remarkable gift of clarity and love and understanding of the Bible were devoted to teaching others.

Christian Educational Ministries, founded by Ron Dart in 1995, will continue to promote his timeless insights into God’s Word through the Born to Win program, his books, essays and audio messages. He was a gifted speaker and teacher who leaves a legacy of knowledge and understanding of the precious Word of God.
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Ronald L. Dart : The Unfinished Work
One of the truly great things about the Christian faith is the hope of living forever in the presence of God. But one of the most depressing thoughts, and one that sometimes comes right after the first, is that there are so many people we may never see again - people we have loved, lost, people we have cherished, spent most of our lives with. And now they’re gone ...”

Ronald L. Dart Evangelistic Association

On Friday evening, October 20th, Wes White talked about the possibility of Christian Educational Ministries suing the Ronald L Dart Evangelistic Association.
He began by recalling when the Church of God International, a breakaway group from the Worldwide Church of God, was formed in 1978, “a couple of these folks went down to the courthouses in Texas and California to reserve the name CGI. This was so they could set up new churches in those two states under that new church name.
And, before they had time to set up the name CGI in the other 48 states, the lawyers over in WCG ran out into those 48 states and reserved the name CGI in those 48 states. Now, did WCG have any desire to use the name CGI in those 48 states? Of course not. Their sneaky act was very clearly a dirty trick done to undermine CGI. That was their only reason. To hurt CGI.
And I’ve got a confession. Back then, I applauded WCG’s action to do this. And I was wrong. Today, I am embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I thought it was a good thing to undermine what my brothers and sisters were doing when they were setting up CGI back in 1978. I think it was around 1985 or 86 that God softened my hard heart and showed me that this is no way to treat a brother.” ...
“Ron Dart left CGI about 25 years ago and started CEM ... I have been told by church leaders of that time that Ron had a severance agreement with CGI ... there were some people who claimed that Ron violated that ...  And they said to these CGI leaders, “You need to sue Ron Dart.” And guess what? The leadership of CGI said – We are not going to sue Ron Dart. And these other people got mad.” ...
“I bring all this up to show you that there are at least some who have taken a Christian point of view when it comes to disputes such as church splits. There are at least some of our brethren who say – We’ve got to be nice to our brothers in the church.
That’s a little bit of history. Let’s talk about the here and now – what’s going on at this moment. A lot of you have been asking me for an update on how things are going in my attempts to reach out to the leadership of CEM so that we at the Ronald L Dart Evangelistic Association can have a harmonious relationship with CEM. Because we want to help them – we want to assist them -- in their efforts to promote Ron’s stuff ...
I met with one of the leaders of CEM on the third day of the Feast. Also present was a minister who’s not a part of CEM. It was just the three of us alone. At a table  overlooking the lake.
One of the important points that I hope we got across to these guys was that we in the RLDEA have no desire to remove board members from CEM. I hope I made it very clear that what they do at CEM is none of my business.
Second point of assurance I gave was related to the issue of Ron Dart’s intellectual property rights. I gave them assurances that, as far as I am concerned, Ron’s intellectual property belongs to CEM and not to the RLDEA. We don’t own them and we have no intention of trying to take them from CEM.
Now, there’s a back story to this IP issue. Before Allie went into her last round of surgery, she told me she didn’t believe that CEM should own Ron’s property rights. So she asked me to research this issue with an IP attorney. Not because she wanted to sue anyone. Suing was never an option in her mind. She just wanted to know what all her options were regarding Ron’s IPs.
So I found an IP attorney in Dallas and I talked to him about this. He told me that Allie had two options: Either Allie could accept the status quo that CEM owns Ron’s intellectual properties - or she could sue CEM. He said there was no third option. When I related this to Allie, she was a little disappointed, because she was hoping for some third option where there could be some kind of sharing agreement between her and CEM. Some kind of compromise. But, once she realized she only had two options, she immediately chose to accept the status quo, because she said there was no way she was going to take her brothers to court. Suing these people is NOT something that Ron would want.
Now, let’s get back to the meeting I had with a CEM board member and this other guy. I said to them near the end of this positive and productive meeting – I’d like to clear the air on two final issues. 
The first issue is that we at RLDEA attempted to reserve the domain name, and we were astounded to learn that one of the CEM employees in Whitehouse had already reserved it! Just recently. Like a week or so before we tried to get it. And I told these two guys that I thought this was underhanded, because CEM has no need for the domain name I told them that the action of reserving this particular domain name was too reminiscent of when WCG reserved the name of CGI in 48 states only for the purpose of keeping GTA from using it.
So I asked the leader from CEM if he knew that this had happened. “Were you aware of this action taken by one of your paid employees?” Well, he said, he couldn’t remember. He couldn’t even remember whether or not he got an email on this subject.  And he couldn’t remember whether or not he had approved it.
So then, I asked him if he would find out if he had been informed of this action and find out if he had approved of it. And I asked if he’d get back to me. Since he couldn’t remember. He said he would get back to me. I’m still waiting.
I then asked this leader in CEM if this action is something that he condones or condemns. And he refused to take a stance on it one way or another.
So then I brought up my second concern. I told these two fellows that I found out just the day before that CEM had hired a lawyer – a litigating lawyer – and that lawyer had attempted to contact the lawyer who represents Allie’s estate. At the moment of this meeting during the Feast, the two lawyers hadn’t made a connection yet, so I had no idea what the litigating lawyer for CEM wanted from Allie’s estate lawyer.
So, in this meeting, I asked a simple and direct question. I asked – Do you have some intention of suing us? And I thought they would say – “Oh no, we would never take a brother to court. We just want to clarify a few points.” That’s what I hoped to hear. But that’s not what they said. And let’s be clear. They did NOT say – “Oh yes. We are indeed going to sue you.” What they said was that a lawsuit against us was a possibility. Have I made that distinction really clear?
The other fellow in the room (a minister in the COGs) said that the CEM board members have what they call ‘fiduciary responsibilities’. He said that, if it’s determined that it’s in the best interests of CEM to sue us, then he said that’s what they should do. They would have to. Well then next, this minister turned the question back at me. He said -- Wouldn’t you do the same thing if you were in their situation? And my response was: No! I said -- No way ...
Brethren, I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when I left the meeting ... My disappointment stems from the fact that this meeting once again demonstrated to me that too many in the COGs are still dysfunctional and still know either nothing or next to nothing about Christian conflict resolution. And I know that, when I make that statement, some of you out there will get mad at me ...
If you’re gonna get mad, get mad at our collective ignorance of how to treat each other as brothers in the church.  
If you’re gonna get mad, get rid of the collective malevolence that exists between brothers in the church. 
If you’re gonna get mad, get mad at the collective inability or unwillingness that exists out there on matters of how to deal with each other in a Christian manner.
You want to do something about this? Then temper your disappointment - with prayer. Let’s all go before our heavenly Father and ask him to heal the dysfunctionality that currently exists in the COGs. Take it to God, because the last thing we need is for people to start getting mad and getting wars started. We don’t need that.
And I think it’s important that I relate the following to you. When our brethren in the CG7 movement look at us in the Armstrong COG movement, they’re kind of aghast. They don’t understand why there’s so much acrimony among our people.”
Wes White concluded the broadcast with a study of 1 Corinthians 6:1-7 and other scriptures on resolving disputes.
The above notes are a small part of the broadcast, which is available on Facebook and YouTube - SOS#34 ‘Can you take your Christian Brother to court?’ You might also wish to view a related broadcast SOS#33 ‘Who is my brother?’

Wes White announced on Start Our Sabbath 29 (September 8th): We’re getting ready to set up a website, an FB page, and go on ROKU.

On page 14 of the August 2017 issue of The Journal he provided its editor Dixon Cartwright with further explanation as to why Allie Dart decided to set up the Ronald L. Dart Evangelistic Association.

Press Release  -  Ronald L Dart Evangelistic Association  -  August 22, 2017
“We are pleased to announce the formation of a new religious entity called ‘The Ronald L. Dart Evangelistic Association’ (RLDEA). It is a non-profit 501c3 corporation that is not a church.
Before Allie Dart (widow of the late Ronald L. Dart) had her cancer surgeries, she arranged for the creation of the RLDEA. The RLDEA held its first meeting of the board of trustees on June 29, 2017. At the time of that board meeting, the RLDEA board of trustees was composed of Mrs. Dart, Wes White, Gary Gibbons, and Cathy Gibbons.
Mrs. Dart, over the last year of her life, decided to use a portion of the assets from her estate to fund RLDEA.
Mrs. Dart stipulated that the RLDEA’s mission statement should be the preaching of the Gospel by promoting the works of her late husband, Ronald L. Dart. And, while Mrs. Dart’s will prohibits the assets of her estate from going directly to Christian Educational Ministries (CEM), the mission of the RLDEA allows and encourages this new ministry to assist CEM as long as CEM properly and efficiently promotes Mr. Dart’s works.
The proposed assistance of the RLDEA can only be to the extent that CEM will allow it. The directors of the RLDEA have requested a meeting with the leadership of CEM so that together they can explore areas where CEM will permit the RLDEA to assist it.
The current composition of the RLDEA board of trustees is: Wes White, president; Gary Gibbons, vice president; Cathy Gibbons, secretary-treasurer.
Wes White is currently the president of Dynamic Christian Ministries, a non-profit ministry which already promotes the works of Ron Dart thru his live Friday night show called ‘Start Our Sabbath’. He is a graduate of Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, where he served on the Ambassador faculty from 1976 to 1981. His original ordination into the ministry came from United Christian Ministries which, at the time, was headed by the late Ray Wooten.
The Gibbons are owners of GG Media, a respected, long time advertising agency and production studio in the Tyler area. Mr. Gibbon’s voice is heard on radio stations across the US. Since the inception of CEM, GG Media has produced and distributed Mr. Dart’s ‘Born To Win’ radio program and CEM’s Friday night Bible study. GG Media has also done many gratis services for CEM.
For more information about the Ronald L. Dart Evangelistic Association, contact Wes White at or at 214/714-0356.”

Restored Church of God
4 months ago (in part 78 of his latest sermon series) David Pack revealed that he would be having heart surgery:
“I’m having my faith tested. I guess, in some ways, it’s testing your faith that ... my health. I regret that, but if God is putting us all through a little bit of a fire because of my health, my heart, you can see I’m preaching, I don’t fear. I don’t! I remind myself of Paul preaching on the island ... Was it Melita? ... and a viper bit him and he just shook it off into the fire and kept going. That’s the way I feel about it. I remind myself, and talk to my wife about that verse. We’ll see how it all plays out. If God for His own reason does not choose to heal me any more than He chose to heal Paul or Mr. Armstrong, I’m in good company. We’ll see.
But whether it heals naturally or ... regarding these problems. I am told that with a simple procedure ... I could possibly walk out and never have a problem again. So I’ve got an interesting two weeks ahead of me. I trust God, not men, but I’m going to go ahead with it. So I’m living by faith and I know we’re all in the saddle together.”
He uploaded 4 more sermons, and in the last of these, no. 82, he
predicted a surge of people wanting to join the RCG. Since then there has been nothing - and no update on his health. His sermon series has clearly been a failure at drawing new people, as he has now restricted it to members only.

Dale Schurter was sidelined 18 months ago, but he has now been restored to the fold. David Pack began part 82 of his latest sermon series by announcing that:
“Mr. Dale Schurter is actively serving in the ministry again; doing much better and that’s wonderful - at the young age of 80, about two weeks ago today ... So he’s serving as the Associate Pastor with Mr. McElroy in Dayton, Ohio.”
Both Dale Schurter and Larry McElroy moved to RCG from the United Church of God.
Pack then talked once more about the surge of people who will be wanting to join RCG ... “it should be obvious if you think this through, that it becomes exponential. The people who are excited enough to get others to come and who come, are therefore, going to react, logically, the same way that the excited people who urged them did, and they’re going to go out and do the same thing. And then, that’s going to double and so forth.”
Using the concept of a penny doubling every day and becoming $11 billion after 40 days, he muses ... “here in Ezekiel 33 we’re talking about people. So if one tells two and then two tell four and four tell eight ... it would be on about Day 36 when you get to almost 700 million ... and then if you went four more days, you would go way beyond the total population of Earth.
Now obviously, God has to bless that process...” Is that where his analogy fails?

David Pack’s heart trouble will have been eased by the response to his renewed urging for members to sell all their assets, and send the money to him, because the Great Tribulation is very near.
He opened part 80 of his latest sermon series, “to say thank you very, very much, yet again, after another week, for the Pentecost offering. It continued to go up. We had hoped, in our wildest dreams, maybe we would get to 20%, and it went over 27% and it’s still coming in. So what that means is we added another 10% to this month’s media budget ...
Our total media budget is now 60% over what it was in May, on a daily basis ...
You know, we’re coming up on 150 million items distributed and we’re about, I mean, we’re starting to take off again. You can imagine with our budget. And staggering numbers. I would anticipate within 2, 3, 4 months at the most, over 2,000 households are going to ask to come to church. An awful lot of them are going to stay 12 weeks, or they don’t come at all the vast majority. Low, single digits will be the only ones that come, and then how many even stay?”
Before being allowed to come to church, each household must be visited by an RCG minister, and that interview is enough to put most people off attending.

Biblical Calendar 2017
The 19th of September 2017 is the Day of Trumpets in the calendar of the Church of God in Truth. It is alone in declaring that the “true new moon” is the time of the disappearance of the waning moon.
James Russell writes
in Which New Moon Do You Keep?
 “We will begin by distinguishing the difference between two phases of the moon. One is called the true new moon and the other is the astronomical new moon - the one the Hebrew calendar calls ‘molad’ - the one the Jews postpone until the crescent moon can be seen.”
That’s not what the Jewish calendar does - but it is what the Radio/Worldwide Church of God always taught - until shortly before Herbert Armstrong’s death.
(The timing of the ‘molad’ is slightly different to the astronomical new moon - which anciently could not be calculated.)
Mr Armstrong wrote 1940: “The New moon occurs, IN JERUSALEM, (World Almanac [i.e. astronomical new moon]
), at exactly 10:18 P.M., the night of April 7th, which is the eve of April 8th.
However, God had the new moon observed by the naked eye and by this method the first day of the 1st month begins the following sunset, April 8th.”
Mr Armstrong’s article, How Often Should We Partake of the Lord's Supper? (1952) stated: “The first day of the new year always begins with the day nearest the Spring equinox when the new moon is first visible to the naked eye AT JERUSALEM (not in the United States). The Jewish calendar as used by Jews today is correct.”
The Jewish calendar utilizes a 19 year cycle - not the equinox.
His article was reprinted in the March 1971 issue of Tomorrow's World.
Kenneth Herrmann wrote, in Prove God’s Calendar Correct! (Good News, October 1957):
“What are God’s instructions? If the people of Jerusalem, where God’s permanent headquarters are to be, cannot see this crescent of the moon following sunset, then the entire world east and west of that city must delay beginning the month till the following sunset. This is the ordinance as it was given by God. We are not free to begin earlier because of the way we see it.”
The Jewish new year usually begins before the new moon could become visible in Jerusalem, and when this situation became clear to many people in the WCG, Herman Hoeh had to overturn this doctrine in order to defend the observance of the Hebrew calendar.
In The Hebrew Calendar - Authoritative for God’s Church Today! (1981) he wrote:
“The Pharisees put major emphasis on precise visual observation of the first faint crescent of the new moon. They overlooked Leviticus 23:26-32. So whenever the first faint crescent of the seventh new moon of the year was seen just above the western horizon after sunset on Tuesday evening, for example, they declared that day, Wednesday (which begins the previous evening), to be the new moon. Consequently that new moon became the first day of the month and the Day of Trumpets. The result was the 10th day of the month - Atonement - would fall on a Friday in such a year.
They were more concerned with the visual appearance of the moon’s first crescent than they were with the spiritual requirements of the Day of Atonement ... “It is not required that the first faint crescent visible in Jerusalem always be declared the new moon.”

Astronomical conjunction : 20th of September.
Day of Trumpets in the Hebrew calendar : 21st of September.
The new moon was not visible until the following evening.
The new moon charts show where and when the new moon might first be sighted. If you are utilizing local observation, please refer to USNO's website.

Death of Lois Chapman
Her son, Richard Armstrong, writes:
“In Loving memory, Lois Chapman (Lois Lee Lemon Armstrong Chapman) 7/11/1936 - 9/7/2017: Our mother, Lois Chapman, passed away peacefully today, with her family present in her beloved cottage here in Tyler, Texas. We were able to read her all your comments, and we passed on your prayers and best wishes from people here on Facebook and friends who are not on social media. Our family wants to thank everyone for their wonderful messages, support, prayers and for reaching out to comfort and encourage our mom and our family. I will try to make Mom’s Facebook page a memorial over the next few days.”
Michael Armstrong (grandson of Garner Ted Armstrong) writes:
“All who knew her can attest to what a tremendous lady she was and she will certainly be dearly missed. Her example of steadfast faith and courage, especially as she suffered serious and often dire health problems during these last couple years, is not one we will soon forget. Her family has expressed their gratitude for all the support and comfort they received and all the prayers on Lois’s behalf.”
Lois married Richard Armstrong (GTA’s elder brother) in June 1957. Their son Richard was born in May 1958, but two months later her husband died from injuries sustained in a car crash. She was then ‘adopted’ by Herbert and Loma Armstrong, and in April 1961 married Ben Chapman, who was ordained by Herbert Armstrong in May 1963.
Reminiscing with Bill Watson in 2013 on 50 years in the ministry, Lois recalled that, “... we left Bricket Wood in July 1963 and lived in Texas from 1963 to 1973. From there we moved back to California and remained there until we were terminated from the employ of the WWCG in 1979.”
This resulted from a lawsuit calling
for an accounting of all funds and financial transactions, especially of Herbert Armstrong and Stanley Rader.
One of the plaintiffs, John Tuit, wrote: “Ben Chapman ... was able to verify and authenticate financial statements that were included as part of the court filing. As a result of his verification of those documents, he was considered to be a traitor.”
At the conclusion of the discussion with Bill Watson, Lois commented:
“I would like to add that I’m just so thankful for all the things we have had opportunity to experience. We have had a very good life. It’s so sad there are people who are just so bitter, angry, and remorseful about their ‘church’ experience. They have problems, whether with church policy, HWA, GTA, or something else, and they just cannot find it in themselves to forgive. Love and forgiveness is the beginning of healing - if we don’t do that, we’ll never heal. I think Ben and I - yes, we have had our differences - but we’ve learned to work through it all. Love and forgiveness are the tools we used to come to terms with so much of the turmoil the church finds itself contending with today - the world really does need more love and forgiveness.”

Church of God Ministries International
A special livestream re Hurricane Irma was broadcast at 8.00pm EST Friday.
“Here in New Orleans we have lived through the ravages of Hurricane Katrina and know what it’s like for what the people of Florida are about to encounter.
We intend to open our doors for the brethren and families as an evacuation shelter as needed. This program will provide as much information to keep God’s people connected, hopeful, and cared for.
Gal.6:10 “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
If you need assistance for refuge, please call 504-367-2005.
Over these next few days, like you, we at God’s Unchanging Word will be praying fervently about protection for those in path of Irma, as we continue to pray for all the victims from the catastrophic damage from Hurricane Irma.
Tom Kerry recorded a broadcast earlier this week on Hurricane Irma and other current world news events.

William Dankenbring (Triumph Prophetic Ministries)
William Dankenbring died on the 28th of August 2017.
An ‘In Memoriam’ message is on the Triumph Prophetic Ministries website.
After graduating from Ambassador College in 1963, he became a prolific writer for the Worldwide Church of God’s Plain Truth, Good News and Tomorrow
s World magazines, and was appointed as an Associate Editor. His articles didn’t always meet with the approval of senior staff, and in 1974 he was fired - although a few more of his articles were published later.
(To read his WCG articles, click on this link and enter keyword
He remained a member of WCG, but he founded Triumph Publishing, and started writing independently on a commercial basis, marketing his books during WCG
s Festival of Tabernacles. Many were astonished that he was not prevented from doing this, especially as his material was not entirely in harmony with WCG’s teachings. Triumph continued to grow until 1980, when he published an article that proposed a new explanation of the 2300 days prophecy of Daniel. ‘New truth’ could come only from one source - Herbert W. Armstrong - and so he was disfellowshipped. He then established Triumph Prophetic Ministries, and has been publishing a monthly magazine, Prophecy Flash.
He had been suffering from heart and kidney problems for some time, but he continued to broadcast on the Sabbath, his final one being on the 12th of August - when he gave a Bible Study on the 2017 Signs of the Apocalypse and Daniel’s Last Week.

Mark Biltz: Blood Moons & Solar Eclipses

UPDATE: Mark Biltz has received many complaints from his followers and TV interviewers that the 1st of Elul in the Hebrew calendar is on the 23rd of August, not the 21st, thus his statements connecting biblical prophecies with the total eclipse in the USA on the 21st have no validity. (Notice, for example, the printed statements added to Paul Begley's interview at 4½-5½ minutes in.)

Mark Biltz has published a 3-minute video that clarifies his statements regarding the eclipse being on Elul 1” - “for people who are all upset - we don’t want to get your panties in a bunch.”

In plagiarizing Emmett O’Regan’s work, he needed a Jewish tradition to replace the Roman Catholic tradition that O’Regan used to link to the total eclipse on August 21st. In this video he quotes from an article in Breaking Israel News, and by doing so discloses how he came to think that the total solar eclipse on the 21st of August was also the 1st of Elul in the Hebrew calendar:
The total solar eclipses timing is meaningful according to the Jewish calendar. Incredibly, it comes precisely at the beginning of a Hebrew month Elul ...

The prophecy states that when a solar eclipse occurs exactly as it will next week, in the beginning of the month of Elul, kings of the East will suffer great loss, Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, revealed of the century-old text Yalkut Moshe ('Collection of Moses').”

Biltz emphasized the importance of the Hebrew calendar in his recent book, God’s Day Timer, The Believers Guide to Divine Appointments, but having now messed up, he says that “it really doesn't matter” whether you use the astronomical conjunction, the Hebrew calendar, or the sighting of the new moon – it's still the new moon, the beginning of the month of Elul.

Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the interpreters of the heavens, the observers of the stars, who predict according to the new moons what shall come upon thee, stand up, and save thee.” (Isaiah 47:13)

Does the total solar eclipse on August 21st have any prophetic significance?
Large numbers attend El Shaddai Ministries in Tacoma, Washington, earnestly listening to prognostications on heavenly signs by Mark Biltz, who rose to fame (and some fortune) in 2014 with the publication of
Blood Moons - Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs
Joseph & Elizabeth Farah, the founders of WND, and supporters of his work, interviewed him on April 10th, 2017, regarding his latest book, God’s Day Timer, and is the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21st a sign from God?.
Irish Roman Catholic author Emmett O’Regan wrote to WND, accusing “the famed ‘blood moons Pastor’ Mark Biltz” of plagiarism. O’Regan substantiated this accusation in the comments section of his 1 June blog (2 June 2017 at 07:30):
“I’m fairly confident that he based his presentation on my blog post. He quotes blocks of my text verbatim and follows my line of reasoning to the letter. I know the sound of my own words being read back to me aloud. Also, some of the NASA images he uses in the presentation were some of those I cropped myself, which you can tell down to the millimetre. If he had cropped his own images, you would expect them to be completely different. The Bur-Sagale eclipse in relation to the timing of the ministry of Jonah hasn’t been on anyone’s radar for a very long time. The fact that the First World War eclipse crossed the site of Nineveh was discovered by me personally, and the date of 21st August jumped out at me because of Our Lady of Knock, which of course is the date of the upcoming eclipse.

[21st August is the anniversary of a vision of the Virgin Mary at Knock in Ireland, similar to the more famous Our Lady of Fatima and the Miracle of the Sun, the centenary of which is on
the 13th of October 2017.]
Of course, there is also the fact that none of this material is present in his book God's Day Timer, which was published just two months previously to his presentation. If he was already aware of all of this in November 2016, why didn’t he include it in his book which was published in September 2016? Obviously he only came across this information after his book was published. It is quite likely that he came across my blog post on Spirit Daily and decided to make a presentation on it. I pointed all this out to his publisher, Joseph Farah of WND, and he updated the WND article to acknowledge that I have been writing on this exact subject for years previously.”
WND’s article added the following remarks from O’Regan: “I think he [Biltz] has made an important contribution to my discoveries, in that he highlights the  importance of the timing of the eclipse on 21st August 2017 in relation to the 1st Elul, which marks a 40-day countdown to Yom Kippur.”
“The path of totality of the Bur-Sagle Eclipse, which is one of the most famous solar eclipses in ancient history, occurred just north of Nineveh on 14th June, 763BC ... it has prompted many theologians to suggest that the occurrence of the Bur-Sagle eclipse was the primary reason why the Ninevites were so keen to repent upon hearing Jonah’s message of doom – a curious reaction which is left unexplained in the book of Jonah itself.”
WND’s article continued: “Biltz argued signs of this kind also occurred during the modern era just before cataclysmic events.”
“Now fast-forward to another solar eclipse on August 21, but this time in 1914,” he said. “This is the first day of the month of Elul, which begins the month of repentance in ‘God’s Day Timer’. The first of Elul is when Jonah began prophesying for 40 days. Just before the eclipse, we see on June 28th, 1914, through the month of August, the events of World War 1 begin!”
The 1st of Elul in 1914 on the Jewish Calendar (which Biltz observes) was on the 23rd of August - not the 21st.
Also, it’s not 40 days from the 1st of Elul to Yom Kippur (Atonement), the 10th of the following month -  the month of Elul has 29 days (not 30).
“Now, this Aug 21, 2017, we have a total solar eclipse going over the United States,” he noted. “This is again at the beginning the month of repentance on the first of Elul! Could God be giving us a warning that we need to repent or judgment will be coming to the United States? The timing couldn’t be clearer!”
Biltz’s timing is again in error - the 1st of Elul in 2017 on the Jewish Calendar is on the 23rd of August - not the 21st.
“We also find seven years later there will be another total solar eclipse running from south to the northeast across the United States on April 8, 2024, with St. Louis in the crosshairs between the two eclipses. April 8 is significant because it is the anniversary of the dedication of Moses’ tabernacle.”
How does he know that this event happened on the 8th of April in the Gregorian calendar? In what year B.C. did it occur? How reliable are his calculations?

A Voice in the Wilderness
Update from Bill Goff:
“Hope this update finds all of you well, both physically and spiritually, as we patiently await the return of our Lord and Savior.
As stated in our last update, we have been quite busy working on the improvements at the Sengera House Orphanage. Most of what we are doing are requirements imposed on us by the Kenyan Government which include the installation of a metal gate at the main entrance, tiling the bathrooms, and most importantly building a cafeteria for the children to take their meals.
We have been busy for the entire month of November right up through today, Friday, the 22nd of December, and we have accomplished much.” [read more]
“All of our orphans came to us in the past few years from various COG church groups scattered around Kenya, church groups who could no longer care for these precious children after their parents died. They arrive at different times, but all arrived in the same condition, hungry (starving actually) wearing only the worn out clothes on their backs, scared, and out of school.”

In his report for November 11th Bill Goff reveals that:
All 17 children at the orphanage want to thank all of you who have been helping them. They are saying Thank You very, very much, not only for easing the suffering that they were all enduring (they literally came to Sengera House from various COG groups scattered around Kenya where they were literally starving...”
Why are these other COG groups failing to provide this most basic need?

It has been another busy month here in Kenya with a lot of activity at the Sengera orphanage. The school year has ended and the children are off until January. They have been busy digging the garden, planting more crops. Once again we have divided the field into separate portions so each child can tend and grow his own garden of vegetables. The children love gardening. That is a good thing, because for most Kenyans, if they don't work hard in their gardens and get blessed from God with a good harvest, they will starve.

Planting: kale, water melon, onions, peppers, tomatoes, black night shade, carrots, spinach, beetroot, spider plant and cabbage.

The children are very energetic. Not only have they been busy in the garden, but last week the boys painted the interior walls of their house. And they were quite meticulous, doing quite a professional job.

All 17 children at the orphanage want to thank all of you who have been helping them. They are saying Thank You very, very much, not only for easing the suffering that they were all enduring (they literally came to Sengera House from various COG groups scattered around Kenya where they were literally starving), but they also want to thank you who have been supporting for giving them the opportunity to know and learn more about our Creator, and how loving He is. They also say Asanti Sana (thank you very much) to you supporters also, for the schooling and teachings they are receiving, it has given them so much hope for a brighter tomorrow. They say May the Almighty Father Bless you.

In other news, at the coast we had three baptisms this past week. The following was received from Elijah Mutie, the coast overseer: Greetings from Mombasa. Have just returned home. We had good ceremony where three were baptized. We thank God, and KHOFH for your contribution, which enabled us to travel to the remote village of Kilibasi to conduct the baptisms.

Bill Goff writes, October 22nd: “We hope everyone had a Joyous, Prosperous and Spiritual Feast of Tabernacles. All eight Feast sites in Kenya report a successful feast, and the brethren thank those of you who have assisted them with food to eat and water to drink during the feast. One thing that stood out in the Kenya feast reports was where the brethren mention that the color of their skin had changed during the feast. The color change was due to eating nutritional foods. For most of them their normal diet consist of ‘ugali’ (made from maize flour) and rice. But during the feast they ate potatoes, beans, sliced bread, vegetables, and even some beef ...”

John Ogada writes from Ramula: “As I told you, in Kenya there is no peace. Pray for Kenya and for God’s Kingdom to come. The opposition are saying they will not participate in the 26/10/2017 election. But the ruling party says they must vote that day. We don’t know what will happen, riots have already begun.”
(The presidential election on 8th August was corrupt, so was re-run on Thursday, 26th October. The main opposition boycotted the new election, saying that insufficient safeguards had been put in place since August to ensure a fair election.)

September update from Bill Goff:
“Kenya is a rough place to live. The country continues to be plagued with famine and disease. About a month ago a new hospital opened up just outside the village of Ogembo - not far from the orphanage. A week later a carpenter open up a coffin shop directly across the street from the hospital. And a few days after that, a second coffin shop opened up right next to the first one. The fact is, when you travel around the villages here, coffin shops are quite plentiful. It’s sad to see so many dying from curable illnesses like malaria, typhoid, pneumonia and more, just because they don’t have the little funds necessary to be diagnosed and treated. Free clinics, food banks and homeless shelters are non-existent here, as far as I can tell. I have traveled around Kenya and Tanzania for years, and have seen none. But I have seen plenty of starvation (even amongst our brethren) and plenty of homeless children living on the street. One of the saddest things is to see so many homeless street kids high on the glue that they sniff to ease their hunger pains. This world needs God’s Kingdom to come, so many are suffering (some horrendously.)
Even this past week a young boy (18 yrs old) came by the orphanage with his two young sisters (age 6 and 8). He told that us their parents had recently died, and was requesting us to take the two girls, because he was unable to feed them, and feared seeing them die from starvation. We had to turn his request down, because we are already full here at the orphanage, and have had previous requests from other Church of God groups to care for more of their church orphans.
I have been in Kenya for about two months now, assisting at the orphanage and visiting various church groups, trying to encourage them with ‘assurance’ that The Kingdom of God ‘IS’ coming, and that the suffering that they are currently experiencing (and it is much) will eventually end. How I wish we could make others in the Churches of God aware of the need here. I am sure others would chip in and help if we could only make them aware of the suffering their impoverished brethren are enduring.
But getting past the hierarchy that continues to flourish in the various Churches of God, and exposing the suffering of our brethren here, is difficult to do. I was again refused by another church group leader to address their congregation. My only request was to make others aware of how difficult life is here for these brethren of ours, and how just a little assistance can help so many more of our brethren.
Look at what has been accomplished by the few of you who have already been assisting. So many widows and orphans have been helped, and that is the core of our obligation as members of God’s true church, according to ‘James 1:27' isn’t it?”

Update from Bill Goff, 18th of August:
“Hope all of you are well. As some may be aware, the Kenyan authorities visited our orphanage recently and made a number of demands that we had to conform to, from having running water throughout the camp with sinks in sitting rooms, and an indoor toilet in the girls’ house, a fire extinguisher in every room, and additional outside lighting. Also a vehicle. I am happy to inform you that, thanks to your donations, we were able to comply to almost everything they required, and hope to soon accomplish the few remaining. We have also completed the construction of a car port for the car. We expedited that project due to recent ice storms we have been experiencing, fearing a cracked or destroyed windshield (also the intense equator sunlight required shade for the car.) We also built a small see-saw next to the swing set for the younger children to play on. What a pleasure it is to see these children so happy here at the orphanage, it is thanks to you donors for that.
I also want to inform you that your donations have also helped a number of others here in Kenya. The rain has come and it’s time to plant, but many had no seeds. We were able to purchase seeds for a number of widows in various Church of God groups here.
Your donations also helped a young boy who lives near the orphanage. We found him shaking all over earlier this week, he was so sick but his parents had no funds to take him to the local clinic. We were able to fund his treatment. Turned out he had strong malaria and was given injection and meds. His mother visited us a few days later, thanking, telling us he was getting better, and that he would have died if we hadn’t helped. We also completed the construction of a toilet for the church widow in Ogembo, and have assisted her with two beds. (Previously her children were sleeping on the ground, and with no mattresses.) So again, we thank you donors for supporting the work we are involved in here.
We have also been asked for assistance from church groups in Narok and Bomet. Some of the church families there have been going without food due to famine. We haven’t been able to assist yet, but hope to soon. Currently our funds are depleted due to the unexpected requirements the authorities imposed on us. We are hoping to get back on track soon, because the children’s school fees are due soon. Also the Sabbath meeting hall at the Ikenye church group has collapsed due to heavy rain. They have enough funds to fix the walls, but are requesting assistance to purchase metal sheets for the roof. I told them, if funds become available, we will assist.
We thank you donors from the bottom of our heart for assisting these impoverished brethren of ours, and we thank our Almighty Father for continuing to stretch the funds that come in. May He bless each and every one of you for caring for these widows and orphans.”

Update: The Kenyan presidential election was expected to be close but, with counting nearly completed, current president Uhuru Kenyatta has 8.2 million votes to main rival Raila Odinga’s 6.8 million.
A week ago the body of Chris Msando, the election commission’s head of IT, was found, strangled and tortured, in a forest on the outskirts of Nairobi.
Odinga has produced logs, which he says are evidence of how and when the database was hacked. The election committee is investigating the matter.

“Kenya is scheduled for presidential elections on the 8th of August. Many are anticipating rioting. This past Thursday I was in Nairobi and witnessed many trying to flee the City before any trouble begins. The bus booking offices were completely booked and turning people away. So please keep our impoverished brethren in your prayers, asking for Our Heavenly Father’s protection. (During the riots following the 2007 election, much blood was shed here in Kenya, as some put it back then that “people were dying like hens”.) But most of all, let’s us pray, “Thy Kingdom Come” - because His coming kingdom is the only solution to the monumental problems of this untoward world.
Last Sabbath, the 5th of August, I visited our brethren in Nyamaruma church group. After services we discussed how they are currently suffering from a lack of food. They requested if we could supply them with some maize seeds, because the time of planting is now, but they have no seeds. I told them yes, that we will purchase them some seeds tomorrow. We also promised an elderly widow there some rice (she hadn’t eaten in over a day.) Upon returning to Sengera, I found Bernard, whose Mom and siblings did not attend services. When I inquired why, he replied that they also had no food, and were too weak to trek on foot the multiple kilometer distance to church. We sent Bernard home with some potatoes, rice, sugar, a few oranges, and some tea leaves.
Brethren, our Kenyan brethren are really suffering. There is not only much famine here, but also an outbreak of cholera. Please keep them in your prayers.

Your brother in Christ, Bill Goff.

Art Mokarow

The Church of God Big Sandy’s announcements for August 5th include:
“Although the Mokarow family has been reluctant to confirm the news, Dave Havir believes that Art Mokarow of Montgomery died on July 27. Please remember his wife, Claudia, and the rest of the family in your prayers.”
Art Mokarow’s Facebook page provides the following information concerning his involvement with the Worldwide Church of God:
“After 6 years [1966] the WCG recruited Art for the ministry. Art really didn’t want to leave the insurance business because he loved his job, not to mention his family who lived nearby. But the ministers kept giving sermons about individuals who didn’t want to serve God when being called. He eventually built churches in Ohio, Canada and Michigan and later became The Worldwide Director of Ministerial Training at their headquarters.
After almost 19 years [1979] a whistle blower in The Headquarters Building informed the government that the 280 Million Dollars they received each year was being misappropriated. When the District Attorney and the judge came to investigate the accounting books, the employees arm-chained themselves and created a blockade, so they could not do an inspection of the books. Both Art and his wife, who worked at Headquarters, saw this display and gave them their two weeks notice that day.
During the thirty or so years after leaving the ministry Art did not affiliate himself with any church or denomination and studied the Bible on his own. He didn’t communicate with anyone in WCG and they spread the word he had died. In fact, many members who left WCG (on principle) were rumored to have died also.
After the company [that he had formed] was sold, Art began writing books. The sale afforded him to send The Word of God, free of charge, without accepting any donations.
Art has now [2011] written 61 books. Almost 51 books (10 are on their way to the printer) have been printed and the rest are in various stages of editing. Art’s aim is to write about subjects in the Bible that reveal some of the clues to The Mystery of God (“Christ - In You”) and The Gift of Salvation.
1 million copies have been downloaded or sent to 90 different countries free of charge. Please avail yourself of this small gift of books.”

The Shining Light
James Malm reported
(July 18th) a pornographic spam attack to one of the websites: “I never use site email, but somehow someone found a way to access it and began a spam attack, filling our disk space with hundreds of thousands of porn spam emails. The host cleaned out over 21 Gigabytes of this garbage and blocked further incoming messages.
Health Update: My cataracts have been successfully removed, but the high hopes have been let down. It seems that cataracts hid other issues, which are now observable after the cataracts were removed. With cataracts my vision was about 10-15% and after their removal my vision is about 40%, so there is a real improvement, but macular swelling and retinal problems prevent the restoration of full eyesight.  
This is fine with me. How can I say that? Because in my youth I was extremely wicked and God’s grace [forgiveness] is enough for me. I KNOW how much I have been forgiven, I KNOW what a fool and loser I have been; I KNOW that I deserve whatever comes my way and I KNOW that I do not deserve God’s mercy. If anything I have said is true, it is not my saying it which makes it true, it is true only because it is consistent with the Word of God. The same goes for the words of any other man.”

Church of God 7th Day (Salem)
The July 2017 edition of The Advocate of Truth is now online.
The lead article discusses the question, ‘Is the Battle of Gog and Magog from Ezekiel the same as the Battle of Armageddon from Revelation?’


Beverley Kubik writes: We are greatly saddened by the death of Mark Rorem of San Francisco, California, faithful LifeNets board member for nearly 15 years.
He died on May 31 and the memorial service was held on June 10th. He faithfully attended every quarterly LifeNets board, maybe missing one in those 15 years. He also served on the Malawi LifeNets board. Mark had been ill for a few weeks and then succumbed to a coma and died. He was a man of great humility and service. He is survived by his wife Linda, son Gregory and daughters Stephanie and Jessica. 

Mark Rorem
Mark grew up in Mexico City and was fluent in Spanish. He traveled to Mexico and Guatemala to care for congregations, as he was also an elder in the United Church of God.
By profession Mark was an attorney.  
His son Gregory. who is talented in several languages, went on two LifeNets Youth Corps trips to Ukraine and led the last one two summers ago.  Greg also traveled to other youth camps around the world. 
All of us who knew Mark are greatly saddened and shocked at this great loss.
We will greatly miss this wonderful servant who loved God, his family, his Church and LifeNets.

Church of God an International Community

In 2016 David Hulme was no longer able to afford to print his high quality quarterly magazine Vision, and so, beginning with the Fall 2016 issue, it was reduced to a website version only - which is simply a list of 5 or 6 articles.
The trend of Vision
s Alexa traffic ranking indicates that many of those who used to receive the print magazine are now reading the articles on the website. 

Vision is the church’s only form of outreach to the world, but the secular content of the print magazine meant that it was an expensive and utter failure in attracting people to COGIC..
One of COGIC
s ministers, Stephen Elliott, wrote, in his resignation letter to David Hulme in December 2013: “In the Feast film, the media team told us that we must find words that the world will like so they will listen to us. Jesus said that the world would hate us and not listen to our word, just as it hated Him and did not hear His word - but that was the commission He gave His disciples (John 15:18-20). Seeking to be accepted by the world is seeking to become friends with the world, and scripture says that makes us God’s enemy (James 4:4).
In August I mentioned to you that the fruit of this organization is bad. Our membership has declined, not grown. After 15 years and an estimated expense for Vision of $3+ million dollars for salaries, advertising, publishing, design, shipping, PR, video, travel and whatever, there has been no fruit from Vision or the Vision website. The only new members, other than children of members, have come because of a personal relationship with a member -  not because of Vision.”

Counting to Shavuot (Pentecost)
In The Truth About Shavuot (May 31),
Nehemia Gordon (a Karaite Jew) discusses the scriptural issues arising from a historical debate:
“In late Second Temple times there was a famous debate between three different Jewish factions about when to begin counting to Shavuot ...”

Herbert Armstrong originally observed Pentecost on Sivan 6, in accordance with the Hebrew Calendar, as stated on p.61 of the Pentecost Study Material :
“After learning of God's Sabbaths from the Bible (in the late 1920s), Mr. Armstrong turned to the Jews for basic knowledge of the Sacred Calendar – a calendar which he felt was included in the “oracles of God” (Rom. 3:1-2) ...
Traditionally, Jews have counted the 50 days of Pentecost inclusively, and modern Jewish practice derives from the Pharisees, who counted from the annual Sabbath of Unleavened Bread (16 Nisan). Therefore Jews now keep it on a fixed calendar date, Sivan 6.”

Pages 61 onward explain how he came to change observance to Monday, and how in 1974 leading ministers persuaded him to change to Sunday.
The WCG did not address the doctrine of a Wednesday crucifixion and Saturday resurrection, which is based on the assumption that biblical counting is exclusive.

Biblical Calendar 2017

Tuesday, March 28th, was the 1st day of the biblical year in the Church of God Hebrew and the Equinox/Conjunction calendars [1] [2] [4].

The crescent new moon maps show that the new moon would be visible on Tuesday evening over the Pacific and part of the American continent. Sightings of the new moon were confirmed as far east as South Carolina.

Among many witnesses to the appearance of the new moon on Wednesday evening were members
of the nascent Sanhedrin, at Mount Scopus in Jerusalem. Changes to the Jewish calendar may only be made by an authorized Sanhedrin - see Sanhedrin, Its History & Reinstatement Attempts.

New years day for calendars [3] [5] [6] are therefore March 29th for the earliest visibility, and March 30th for Jerusalem.

Rebecca Biderman has been monitoring fields of barley in the north of Israel - fields located in agricultural areas with deep rich soils and no rocks and stones, and has sent many pictures. There is a large amount of wild barley at the minimum standard for a first of the first fruits wave sheaf offering.
A few people, such as James Malm, insist that such barley must be found in the Jerusalem area.

Brian Convery writes, March 27th: “It was brought up that there are folks saying there is no barley in dough in Jerusalem. Let me assist here for those who only use the Jerusalem area for their barley criteria. If you are to walk down the hill from the Old City to the intersection at the base of the Mount of Olives, and look up onto the slopes from the Temple Mount under the olive trees on the side of the hill, you will find lots of barley in the dough stages for your use, if you are so inclined to do. This is the case in every intercalated year such as the one we are now in.

This is not acceptable barley for our uses, because it grows on rocky/stony hillsides, but others use such things, so we try to be helpful in their beliefs regardless. However, the sheep and goats love it, for it was designed for their use.”
The Karaite Jews pay no heed to the connection between Jesus Christ and the wave sheaf offering on the Sunday after Passover, so this ‘goat grass’ would be acceptable to them - but they don
t limit their search to Jerusalem.

Legacy Institute

First of all Bronson, Jib, and I, as well as our other family members, are overwhelmed with the love you have shown by sending so many messages in numerous ways from all parts of the world. Your heartfelt prayers and touching thoughts of encouragement have so moved us. Thank you so very much and please keep on praying. Leon and I know that many of you are also suffering with trials – or as a dear friend called trials “adventures”. Know that we too continue to beseech God for you, our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Before I give you an update on Leon, I want to update you on NawPweSay in JawkTiang, Burma. She is MoPalel’s auntie. Seng Aung and MoPalel keep us informed. You can see pictures in our last Legacy Letter. She had a stroke about 8 years ago which left her right side paralyzed. She slowly recovered just to be able to walk and do a few things. This year right after the Feast of Tabernacles she suffered another stroke which has left her immobile and also is not able to talk or swallow. She knows those around her and can understand what they are saying, but she cannot respond. The hospital sent her home with a feeding tube. Her son quit school to help his mother. So please continue to beseech God for NawPweSay, and her husband SawNohNohPoh, and all their children.
Sunday, 19th November: Leon still has fever and phlegm, which needs to be suctioned out of his mouth. He slept much and talked in his sleep – some is dreaming and some is just confusing. When he knows I am there, he calls me very loudly – mostly when I am talking to the doctor. They are to take cultures of his blood, wound, and phlegm (a 3 day process). At this time I am there at the allowed hours: from about 9:30am to 2pm and back again from 6 to 8pm. I do not want to miss the
doctors when they come.
Monday, 20th: Today Leon still has fever, and there is still the phlegm which has lightened in color. He has not moved so much and does not always need to be tied down as much. The
doctor said that he wanted to start Physical Therapy – which did not start today. Leon really needs it. He desperately wants to get out of bed and get out of the hospital entirely. His mind is not clear and many words are unintelligible, though he can say some more words very clear. He can be very loud, and demanding. Please pray that God gives Leon peace, and peaceful thoughts, and that he can think and pray to God through this ordeal, which at this time I don’t think he is comprehending.Every employee came in tonight to see Leon. He recognized everyone. He was more than animated and even got angry because he wanted to tell them what to do after they updated him a bit. He did speak a bit of Thai with them and we could get the idea of what he was saying. When he saw AhJar, he said: “Hi AhJar” very clear! Then the repair for the computers (2) were discussed and he wanted it taken care of “right now”. But it was 7pm.
Tuesday, 21st: Leon was talking away when I arrived with closed eyes. “We have to go to the Embassy and ... then go the country.” Those words were clear. But his head is so full of everything and goes from one thing to the other and it is inarticulate for me to understand.
When I tell him that he is in ICU with a stroke, I don’t think he really knows it for a long time. It doesn’t stick. I do remind him of the serious condition and that he is in ICU. He is clear about wanting to get up and out. He thinks he can walk.
The Head Cardiologist said he was encouraged that he is conscious and recognizes us and knows what we are saying. He said that it will take time.
I have not seen any physical therapy yet. His heart monitor does not stop beating. His blood pressure is high and very irregular.
I always say good-bye and tell him when I am coming back. He really lit up when I said that Bronson and maybe some of the kids will come. Leon said, “OK then, 6pm”. I confirmed.
Wednesday 22nd: I read some parts of your e-mails to Leon this evening. I could tell he was intently listening. He recognized all of your names and nodded affirmative and then nodded off to sleep. Bronson will copy me on your Facebook messages.
He is getting some form of physical therapy with one person. They also beat his chest to release more of the phlegm – which is quite a bit still.
Today he is saying more words clearly and is trying to give orders and becomes angry when we cannot comply, especially with leaving the bed, and desiring to drink cold water. Every time I return they have tied him up quite tightly, because he has become quite strong with his legs and arms. He calls my name very loudly and shakes up the whole of the ICU. He is still confused and many words are still not clear to understand.
Thursday 23rd: Last night I waited for the Neurologist until midnight and she never came. The nurses tried many times to call her. But she did not answer. So went home and was told I could talk to her on the phone at 1pm. But she was still “too busy”. I think the staff felt quit badly and later that afternoon a neuro surgeon came to see Leon. This was very encouraging to me. The
doctor asked Leon what his name was and he answered “Thurston Sexton”. Then asked him to lift his right arm, show 2 fingers, and squeeze his hand. Leon did all! The doctor said that it was good. He also said that it was better Leon was talking and moving and getting loud, because the results are better than just lying in bed and doing nothing. The cultures came back with nothing to show.
Tonight he was just totally exhausted and tired. His heart is working hard and performs at 40%. They plan to move him out of ICU in the next couple of days.
We know God has and is hearing your prayers for Leon, me, and Bronson’s family. I can feel them and see it in Leon’s progress over this week. God has opened a parking spot every day twice this last week! And please remember NawPweSay and her family as they also wait for a miracle – as does Herb Vierra and his wife Ann. He is still bedridden and can’t walk – though he can talk. We pray for all of you, our dear brothers and sisters.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for! Our Father and His Son Jesus the Christ will never leave or forsake us as we take the road less travelled.
In Christian love, Gloria.

Dear Brethren and Fellow Laborers,
This is Gloria (Sexton) writing to you for prayers on behalf of Leon.
Thursday, the 16th of November: Around 7pm Leon had a stroke while sitting in his chair in front of the computer. I was on my way out to go get some groceries when I called Leon to say goodbye. He did not answer and then I heard a gurgling sound - and I knew it was serious. Bronson and family got here a few minutes before the ambulance.
We are not yet sure of all the details. It does not seem to be a hemorrhagic stroke. There seems to be an infarction (blockage). Leon moved too much for a better CT scan. He has a very irregular heartbeat. His blood pressure is ok, but up a bit since this ordeal. It seems to be neurological and we are waiting for that diagnosis.
He is in ICU and they are bringing the sugar down slowly and checking every hour. The last time (around 2am) it was down to 280 from 400.
Leon has diabetes and his sugar has been too high for months, and that the doctors say is a probable cause. He also has a diabetic sore that has not healed (also for months). The meds he was taking were no longer working and insulin was the last option the doctor desired for him to do. Leon is insulin resistant and has wanted to do things naturally - and still the sugar did not ever come down for any length of time.
When we left our home Leon was not reacting with his left arm and leg and he was not able to speak. He is tongue tied and struggles to say words. After we arrived at the hospital and some time went by, some things did improve. He was able to lift his arm and even later squeeze my hand. He was also able to lift his leg. His left side is very weak though. Leon could also say clearly the first three words of asentence, and then the rest of the sentences were garbled. Neither Bronson nor I could understand.
Leon does know who we are and is able to understand most all we are saying. He really perked up after midnight when he saw his little grandson Eamon (1 year). Leon said his name and then said “Are you a good boy?” which all of us could understand.
From emergency to ICU, Jib and Bronson were by our side and took care of so much in every detail, until we left around 2am.
Friday the 17th: Things are about the same. He is fighting all the tubes and they have to tie his hands and feet to the bed railing, which is even more aggravating. He wants to use the bathroom which is not allowed. He wants to drink water so badly and that is not allowed - not even a few drops due to possible water getting into his lungs and then getting into a more serious condition such as pneumonia. His sugar is down to 135. The neuro doctor still has not come from another hospital (Chiang Mai Ram) for her evaluation. She will come late, after visiting hours.
Sabbath the 18th: Leon has been sleeping a lot during the hours that Bronson, Jib, and I are allowed to be there. He is a bit more awake today and is conscious of me talking to him. He answers - but mostly in garbles. Some of his words (more than yesterday) are becoming clearer. When he sleeps he dreams and is very vocal - but very garbled and confusing.
The neurological assessment was made last night and this morning the heart doctor told me that they basically can do nothing, and that it’s up to Leon’s body. They will try to prevent a future stroke. His sugar was at 135 and then up to 157. They might let him eat soon, but did not say when. They have given him a feeding tube for medicine. He also has a bit of a fever but no sign of infection.
I have given details because I am asking all of you to beseech God and His Son Jesus Christ to intervene once again to take away all the above difficulties - and even the ones we don’t know. Please pray for God’s mercy for Leon so that he will be able to get back on a regimen to help himself in ways he could not do before, and to continue God’s purpose for Leon here in Asia.
Two days ago our 10-year old granddaughter Norah asked her BawBaw (Leon) “when, and if we move to the U.S. someday, will you come to the U.S. too?”
Leon’s response was: “No Norah, God put me here to do His Work and this is where I must stay.”
Leon and all the rest of God’s people are in God’s hands. He is perfect and all-knowing. May God continue to bless all of you in all we go through in this life, always growing into a more mature likeness and oneness with God, and looking forward to our Great Hope - then our suffering will be over.
In Christian love, Gloria.

Report from Leon Sexton on the Festival of Tabernacles in Myanmar (Burma):
Gloria and I, accompanied by Uthaiwan Han, flew to Yangon, and were met at the airport by COG deacon Myo Zaw and his wife Tumar. After one night in Yangon, we traveled in Myo Zaw’s Honda van north on a modern highway to Taungoo (70 miles) near the new capital, NayPyidaw. Since it would be difficult for me to trek in the heat into the mountains to the village called Jawk Taing (where the church compound is located), we decided to hold the first and last Holy Days, as well as the Sabbath in between, in a local hotel in Taungoo and have the brethren come down the mountain by truck. Our brethren—especially the children—were so excited to leave their village and come to the small city of Taungoo. Services on the days in between were held in the church building in Jawk Taing, about 30 minutes by vehicle and a 10-minute walk away. It gets very hot during the jungle trek, so the shifting of locations was done to make sure my health could be sustained the entire Feast in Myanmar.
It was all a great success. The local members and visitors from Thailand were provided worship services and a special feast meal and goodies every day. The Church of God members in Myanmar would have a great deal of difficulty trying to attend the FOT in Thailand, though it is just next door. Even if they could all get visas, it would prove to be cost prohibitive for our brethren. Those of us from Thailand had it much easier traveling across the border to Myanmar.
Our brethren have now become more faithful in tithing. Sometimes the total amount of tithes for a month is $34. This year members came to Seng Aung and gave all their second tithe so it would help with food during the Feast. I was truly moved to hear that. They do not have the same concept of going to a Feast like we in the West do. One cannot even compare the two (Taungoo/Jawk Taing and the Western feast sites). No one in Myanmar is going hungry. Many glean the jungle, while some raise chickens, ducks, and even goats. And once again our brethren were blessed to have another cow from one of our former Kachin Legacy students (Seng Htun), on which all feasted heartily throughout all eight days! God always provides for His people.
Proverbs 10:3 says: “The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.”
The sermons by me in Taungoo were given in English with Burmese translation. Those given by our Legacy graduates Seng Aung (church pastor), and Moe Palel (Assistant Pastor), were in the Burmese language and translated into English (also by them). We are blessed to have Legacy graduates there who help translate into either English or Burmese so we can communicate with our brethren. Our Karen and Kachin members in Myanmar love to sing, so we had many special music performances. Each day we had special music performed by the young children and young adults, led by their music teacher, Seng Pan. On the Last Day of the Feast even the elderly performed with beautiful harmony.
The local brethren are very excited because we plan to invite foreign guests to the Feast of Tabernacles in Taungoo, Myanmar, in 2018. It is very encouraging for our tribal brethren in Myanmar to receive COG members from Western countries as special guests. It lets them know that they are part of a bigger Church of God family of believers and provides them with spiritual moral support that sustains them through the trials and tribulations they face in a country ruled by a military dictatorship.
It was very interesting that not just church brethren joined in the Feast. Local children who attend Seng Aung and Seng Pan’s Legacy school for children in Jawk Taing also joined in the festivities. Some of their non-COG parents also came to services and special events. Several neighbors came to visit as well. The Legacy graduates who stay in Jawk Taing make it a point to invite local children to join in Bible and English classes as a public service to the local village. The local villagers, who are mostly Buddhist or traditional Christian, appreciate this as a positive force in their village. The Legacy people are letting their light shine.
On another note; there was a Buddhist one-time-a-year Full-Moon festival that coincided exactly with the Feast of Tabernacles. The students of the SDA schools did not have school time off. They did take off for the first holy day and a huge VIP wedding was planned at the SDA school on the Last Great Day—so all got off. The rest of the days we changed our worship services to start at 3 p.m. so all the school children could come to services daily.”

Update from Leon Sexton:
Name Change to ‘Legacy Teaching Institute’
Several years ago, totally unknown to us, a form was not filed properly with the Secretary of State of Texas. This started a bureaucratic chain reaction that caused the removal of our name from the rolls of active Texas non-profit corporations. As a result, the name Legacy Institute was taken by another party. Again, this all happened totally unbeknownst to us. We just recently found out (nine years later) and were told we had to change our corporate name. We chose Legacy Teaching Institute to reflect our goal to teach teachers, so that they can teach others.
This changes nothing concerning our tax-exempt status, so all donations are still tax deductible. We appreciate your continued financial support to spread the gospel and teach teachers in Southeast Asia.
2017 Festival in Chiang Mai Cancelled
We did not receive enough interest to hold a Festival of Tabernacles in Chiang Mai this year. There are always a certain amount of rooms we must guarantee in order to receive favorable rates. We failed to reach that quota by the deadline. I sent out reminders and special requests to let us know if anyone was still interested in attending in Chiang Mai, but with little response.
Gloria and I, along with members living here in Thailand, will attend the festival in Myanmar, at our Taungoo festival site.
It is very interesting that God seems to be moving the festival site over the border into Myanmar. That is where the Holy Spirit is active and where our efforts to preach the Gospel and build churches are now concentrated. We are slowly developing our Legacy School there by utilizing young men and women as teachers who graduated from Legacy Thailand. Most church members and all potential students are in Myanmar. Myanmar is where fruit is being born. We will always follow the lead of our Lord Jesus the Christ. It is His Work and He leads us.
We need help to finance the Taungoo festival site. The members in Myanmar make little income. Their tithes are not even close to being able to finance a festival site. Legacy must always sponsor the Festival of Tabernacles and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The budget is usually around the equivalent of 3,500 U.S. Dollars. If you or your congregation can help, it will be much appreciated.

Leon Sexton writes, August 4th:
With the help of Legacy graduate AhJar Shan, we have translated two new booklets: “Is This the Only Day of Salvation?” and “What Is the Second Death?” We are presently working on “What is the Kingdom of God?”
It is important to understand that we cannot just translate a booklet by one of the COGs in English directly into Burmese. The COG booklets are written by American writers for an American readership. COG authors also take for granted that certain doctrines are already understood. We do not have that luxury. I must first edit any booklet written by an American author into English that is readily translatable by our translator, who is NOT American. I must also explain concepts that are automatically understood by an American reader but will not be readily understood by a Burmese reader. The two cultures are quite different. Sometimes I marvel at the idea many Americans have: that the whole world thinks like Americans and has the same cultural background. Frankly, sometimes it is better for me to just rewrite the whole thing.
I remember one very important lesson Herbert Armstrong taught me. He said, “Know your audience.” There were times on trips overseas to Sri Lanka, Thailand, and other Asian areas that he would have me read the local newspaper to him while he was getting dressed before one of his speeches to leaders, so that he would understand the things that were happening in their country and were important to them. He would then address those issues important to them. He studied his audience. We must do the same thing.
How does one write to a former Buddhist or traditional Christian audience? Even those who come from a supposedly Christian background have only heard a few well know scriptures and learned to sing nice songs in church services. Knowing your audience is a must in order to get the Gospel across to people who do not speak or understand English. At Legacy school in Thailand, we always emphasized learning English, so that they could much better understand the Bible classes and other classes all taught in English. We will continue to teach English in Burma.
More booklets are needed. Plus, we need to produce a children’s Bible lesson series so the young ones in Burma can also learn. Gloria is working on this. She runs into the same problem I have. She must simplify and edit the English to be translated for a young Burmese reader. So Gloria just started over.
There seems to be no end to the work we must do here. Sometimes Gloria and I become totally exhausted. But we do not complain. It is a great honor to serve Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We just ask God for more strength to keep going.

Leon Sextons letter, May 2017: “I studied Thai language at Ambassador College for three years. I went to a summer program at Chiang Mai University as part of that educational program. After graduation, I became a community worker with the Thai community in Los Angeles, and later taught English at Chiang Mai University. I helped organize a project teaching English or French to refugees of various tribal groups from Laos while they stayed temporarily in refugee camps in Thailand. Ambassador student volunteers taught the refugees to help prepare them for a new life in a third country. In 1989, I also helped arrange for Ambassador College students to teach English at the palace in Bangkok.
It seems my entire education has been designed to prepare me (and, by extension, my wife Gloria) for service in this part of the world. From about 1982 to 1987, I worked for the Ambassador Foundation as the liaison for Thailand and Southeast Asia. In 1995, I was discharged from the WCG field ministry and came to Thailand. It was then I reconnected with the Karen tribal brethren I had worked with during the WCG days. One thing led to another and Gloria and I, along with Al Garrett of Dallas, Texas, and my sister Anita Showers, founded Legacy Institute to help the Karen tribal brethren along the border of Myanmar and Thailand. At that time I used to write what we called the “Karen Letter.”
After traveling to Myanmar (formerly called Burma) on evangelistic trips, it became clear that we needed a school to train young people, mainly from Myanmar, to become church leaders. We opened Legacy Foundation Leadership Training Center in Chiang Mai in 2002. Volunteer teachers from USA, Canada, England, and Australia have spent at least a year teaching young people from Myanmar and Thailand the English language, Bible classes, computer, leadership training, music, sports, and other subjects.
The school has been a great success. After three years, graduates of Legacy have moved on to further education, teaching positions in both Thailand and Myanmar, and other jobs using their English language skills. We have successfully been teaching teachers! God has chosen a few for His Work out of the many that have come to Legacy. Others have been witnessed to and one day will remember what they heard. Only God can put the truth into the hearts of man.
We were able to train a young couple called by God (SengAung and SengPan) to lead a church congregation in Myanmar and start a small Sabbath school for young children and teenagers. They have since been joined by four other Legacy graduates who are helping teach.
Since the fall of last year, we have not been able to get visas to bring students over from Myanmar to Thailand for training. It has also become harder to extend Thailand visas for volunteer teachers from the West. It is clear to me that the Holy Spirit is active in Myanmar, but not yet in Thailand; so training young men and women from Myanmar is critical. But now we have hit a brick wall. Thailand immigration policy has become very strict. We will have no such visa problems for students to attend a school in their own country.
I have experienced this kind of thing before. It is as if God closes every door but the one He wants you to go through! We now see we must expand our fledgling school in Myanmar in order to educate young people in God’s true way since we can no longer bring them to Thailand. Our efforts must now shift into a new phase of the Work of God in Southeast Asia. We have teachers, we have students, and we have church-owned buildings in Myanmar to use as classrooms. We have two more Legacy graduates who will be graduating from the SDA University in Myanmar in a couple of years. We hope they will decide to help teach at our Legacy School in Kyawk Taing, Myammar. This is all happening very quickly and important decisions must be made. All plans for the new Legacy school in Myanmar will be discussed during Gloria’s and my trip to Myanmar for Pentecost.
Gloria and I will not be moving to Myanmar. That would mean another visa issue, as Myanmar only permits us 28 days at this time. It is not necessary to live there and my health would not permit it. We will stay in Thailand and travel to Myanmar periodically. I will also make training videos for Bible classes that will be translated by AhJar Shan, a Legacy graduate who helps us here in Thailand.
Please pray for us. There are a lot of decisions to be made and we want to follow the lead of Our Lord and King, Jesus the Messiah, who directs our every step.
My head is swimming we have so much to do. We will have more details after our trip to Myanmar.”

Leon Sexton writes: This year Legacy helped sponsor three Passover ceremonies in Thailand and Myanmar (Burma). Two took place in Myanmar and one in Thailand. It has been our usual practice to travel to Myanmar for the Spring Festivals; but this year, Gloria and I needed to stay in Thailand to take care of our local Chiang Mai brethren. 
There is a small group of Church of God believers who meet in what is known as the Delta region of Myanmar, south of Yangon (Rangoon). Last year most of them traveled north to join with the COG members near Taungoo in central Burma. This year they decided to keep the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread in their own village of Sakangyi.
On the Sabbath just before Passover, Legacy graduates HtooGay and NeyBlooHtoo were baptized by Pastor SengAung. All of the church members took part in this very special ceremony. We all praise God and rejoice with the angels in heaven! Our church family continues to grow.
Passover in the Taungoo area was held in the church-owned property in Jawk Taing, in the mountains east of Taungoo, where Pastor Seng Aung and his wife Seng Pan are overseers. There were 24 who took the Passover in Jawk Taing and a great feast was held on each of the high days, when 50 attended.
SengHtun, a 2004 Legacy graduate, came all the way from Myitkyina, the capital city of Kachinland. We have not met with him for a long time, and SengAung said SengHtun was so happy to be with the brethren for Passover in JawkTaing. He was able to stay for four days and three nights. SengHtun paid for a very special gift - a cow - for the Days of Unleavened Bread. The meat lasted the whole week, and the brethren even dried some to keep until Pentecost.
In Thailand we were eight people taking the Passover symbols of bread and wine. This year, I particularly emphasized the importance of being a member “in good standing,” meaning that, as a member, one cannot be working on the Sabbath or otherwise breaking God’s main doctrines of the Church. It is a great temptation to take a job where it is required to work on the Sabbath in order to earn a living. Jobs are scarce, especially for hill tribes. God tells us we are to take the Passover symbols in a worthy manner.
We are thrilled that we have now six graduates of Legacy teaching at the Sabbath School in JawkTaing. The Youth Education Project is led by Seng Aung and Seng Pan. Recently they completed a once-a-year, ten-day Out Reach Youth Program with a total of 23 young children, 16 in their teens, and six teachers.
We wish to thank again the brethren of the Tulsa, Oklahoma, congregation for helping to sponsor these educational programs. We have received great feedback from the youth who attended. Soon our scholarship students (seven) in Burma will again be starting high school and also university.
Please keep praying for all of us here in Southeast Asia. Our grain of a mustard seed is beginning to sprout in Burma. Gloria and I are planning to visit Myanmar at Pentecost. Please keep praying for our health and safety. We thank all of you - our Fellow Laborers - for your continued support and prayers.

Leon Sexton’s report on the Education Program in Jawk Taing, Burma:
“Right now our pastor, SengAung, and his wife, SengPan are holding a Youth Education Program. She just wrote to Gloria that they have 45 attendees as follows: Children Class: 23, Youth Class: 16, Teachers: 6.
The six teachers are SengAung, SengPan, and their helpers, HserNayPaw, HtooGay, MoPalel, and NayBlooHtoo. All of them are Legacy graduates and are helping to teach this two-week program. They are teaching Bible first and foremost. English is also being taught. They are learning new songs - some in English. There are various sports activities, special outings, and, of course, the SNACKS!

Please pray for them so that everything will go smoothly and that God will put His truth into the young minds and open them to learning and living His way of life. Pray also that the weather will not get too hot at this time. Now is the perfect time when school is out - but it can get quite hot during this season. We do not have any photos yet, but will try to send a few in our next letter.
Thanks to the Tulsa Church of God for making this possible and for the youth connection between Tulsa and Jawk Taing.
May all of you have a blessed and spiritually rejuvenating Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread.”

Leon Sexton writes: “Gloria and I have returned from Myanmar (Burma) and have great things to report. First of all, I would like to relay that the Church of God is continuing to better organize in Burma. Burma has been a backwater for the Church of God for many years; indeed, it has been an adjunct to Australia and continues to be for some COG organizations. Part of the problem has been a lack of trained leadership for the fledgling churches that have sprung up over the years in many parts of Burma.
The Church of God Seventh Day has evangelized in Burma and small church congregations have sprung up as a result. The Worldwide Church of God had two congregations in Burma, both pastured by a faithful Karen tribal church elder called Saw Ley Bey (now deceased). Living Church of God has at least one small congregation in the Delta region. There have been other COGs who have done some evangelism in Burma over the last 80 years or so. There may even be current COG affiliated small congregations of which I am unaware.
The problem has always been sustainability. Many times outside evangelists have blown into town, preached and baptized, and then have blown back to Australia, the U.S., Malaysia, India, or wherever they came from. Who feeds the sheep? They certainly cannot be fed and nurtured with tapes and CDs in English. Very few can understand English. Booklets in English do no good since few read English. What the new churches need is trained leadership to pastor them. You cannot pastor them from New York or Melbourne or Madras. They need trained onsite pastors and pastors’ wives. This is something Legacy school has tried to provide by teaching leadership skills over the past 15 years.
At the moment we are at a crossroads in Thailand and Myanmar. We are increasing our booklet production in the Burmese language. Two new booklets in the Burmese language that we took with us last week were: ‘The Tithes of God’ and ‘What is the Second Death’. We also took along our first Children’s Bible Lesson - Level 1 about creation (from the ages of five to eleven). We will add these to our Legacy website. We are also making video tape CDs to send them with translation into their own language.
Gloria and I want to visit more often as my health permits. At this time, Thailand Immigration is making it very difficult to obtain visas for any young Myanmar nationals we might want to bring to Thailand for training. Until we get this visa issue resolved, we cannot bring young people to Thailand from Myanmar. Please pray that God opens the door to once again allow visas to Thailand.

Some people might ask, “Why don’t you just move to Burma?” Good question. The answer is multi-faceted. First of all, we can only get a 30-day visa. Secondly, there is no real freedom of religion. All non-Buddhist religions are severely restricted. Non-registered religious organizations cannot own land, build a church building, or gather for worship services without permission. Known Christian evangelists have had their applications for permanent residency denied. It is very problematic for a foreign religious worker to reside in Myanmar.

Others might ask, “How are the Anglicans, Baptists, Catholics, and Seventh Day Adventists able to have such large churches, schools, and universities?” The answer is that those religious organizations have been registered with the Myanmar government for a very long time.
We have been able to acquire local permission to build a church building and hold worship services in Jawk Taing, Burma, because it is remote and not located in or near a large metropolitan area. The church there is pastured by Seng Aung and his wife Seng Pan, both Legacy graduates. They both came to meet with us in Yangon (Rangoon). For five days we discussed so many important topics, such as visiting outlying areas (some very dangerous because of military fighting in the north), the booklet topics, church steeples and bells, prophecy and world events, health, Sabbath school, etc. Seng Aung had to return on Friday so he could take care of Sabbath services in Jawk Taing.
Gloria and I were able to discuss Passover and Unleavened Bread plans with them, as well as developments in their local church area. Church members are faced with sickness and with no nearby hospitals. The closest is 45 minutes away and cannot even compare to the standards we know, even in Thailand. Food is not always adequate either. Government schools operate from Monday through Sabbath (which is mandatory) - so the Seventh Day Adventist schools are a good option, but more expensive. Pastor Seng Aung helps out where lack of funds are needed. Legacy Institute sponsors education for a number of young people so they can later acquire good jobs.
Seng Pan holds Sabbath school during church time for the small children; and from 4-6pm for the older youth. Seng Aung and Seng Pan will also hold a Summer Youth Program from March 10th to 25th for Church of God and other local children that love to join in for the activities - and at the same time learn the Truth. They will learn Bible, leadership, English, music and sport. She is assisted by Ney Bloo Htoo, Hser Ney Paw, and Htoo Gay (all Legacy graduates that have returned to Myanmar.)

The Tulsa Church of God has a program of correspondence between the youth group of Tulsa and the young students in Jawk Taing. The Tulsa church also sends monthly funds to help with this wonderful project. Now they are able to get the needed writing materials, Bible books, CDs, and other needed items - plus the special Sabbath school snacks.
Gloria and I had the chance to meet the lay leader of a non-aligned COG group in the Sakangyi area of southern Burma. They attended this last Feast of Tabernacles with the Jawk Taing brethren. Their leader, Saw Hla Eh, traveled all the way by boat and bus to Yangon to meet with us.
The Sakangi group of about 20-30 people are subsistence farmers and day laborers who are faithful Sabbath and holy day keepers. This year they have decided to stay in their local area, to observe the Passover, two high days of Unleavened Bread, and the Sabbath in between. The travel all the way across Burma takes a heavy toll, especially on the children and elderly. All get carsick as they are not used to traveling by bus or car. The day laborers lose work time because it takes at least two or three days travel time, as well as four days of labor lost for days between holy days. They cannot afford to lose the pay they would receive. They also risk thieves stealing their chickens and other livestock while they are gone. The United Church of God has provided them with some funds to get extra special food for the holy days.

Our translator, AhJar Shan, is already translating the Passover instructions into Burmese to send to Saw Hla Eh. Seng Aung will lead the Passover in Jawk Taing. I will be staying in Chiang Mai and lead the Passover here.”

Dynamic Christian Ministries
At around 37-38 minutes into the broadcast of ‘Start Our Sabbath’ no. 27 (available on Facebook until Sept. 2nd, and YouTube in archive), Wes White said, “After last week’s show, it was suggested to me that I study an article that was written by HWA back in 1963” - The Real Cause of the Race Crisis ... “much of what’s taught in the article is part of our church history.  And it’s still influencing a lot of thinking in the COGs today ... we’re not going to judge HWA ... we judge teachings and doctrines.”
Prior to this
(around 13 minutes in) he responded to “a little bit of flak" over the formation of the Ronald L Dart Evangelistic Association (see press release below).
“One guy said that their estate contains a bunch of tithe money. And nothing could be further from the truth ... Then where did the money come from that’s in their estate? It came from Allie’s work in real estate. Allie was a real estate agent for decades. I don’t know how many times Allie would get the monthly award for Tyler’s biggest producer of sales. She worked hard. She earned a lot of money in real estate. And, while she was earning all that money in real estate, she was also volunteering her time at CEM. For free ...
Second issue ... a few folks ... are blaming Cathy Gibbons for Allie’s decision to set up a new 501c3 church ministry [RLDEA]. Now. I was there when it happened. I saw how this all played out.
I got a call from Allie one day to come visit with her. We sat down in her office and she said -- I’ve got to start having some major surgeries. I’ve got to set my house in order because I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be around. And I’m unhappy with the board of CEM. So I’ve made a decision to NOT leave any of my estate to CEM. What church group can I leave money to? -- So we sat there and went over the names of group after group. She declined on every one of them ... I was the one who told of the option of creating a 501c3 ... She gave it some thought and a few days later said -- This is a great idea --
Cathy Gibbons was not part of that conversation ... never even knew what a 501c3 corporation was - until I told her about it later ...
Allie Dart was a strong-willed, type A personality who was not going to be manipulated by anyone ... You don’t make Allie do what she doesn’t want to do ...
Cathy has been looking after Allie since Ron had his accident.  Cathy has sacrificed a lot for Allie. So I take exception to anyone who says - or even implies - that Cathy had some kind of bad influence over Allie ...
And, just to be clear, the RLDEA is NOT going to be in the distribution business. We’re not going to reproduce Ron’s books or sermons or recordings ... We’re in the business of sending people to CEM to find Ron’s stuff.”

In SOS broadcast 23, July 21st, [Facebook] [YouTube] - starting at 25 minutes - Wes White discussed an e-mail which said that we shouldn’t be going out to eat on the Sabbath.

“You’ve heard me tell the story of the little Sabbath keeping church in Louisiana that Nancy and I visited years ago... we really loved it.  Wonderful people. Wonderful service ... Then, about a year later ... we asked someone if we could pop in and visit that group again, and we were told they broke up the church because of a debate they got into regarding eating out on the Sabbath ...
Now, let’s be clear. How we conduct ourselves on the Sabbath is important. Obeying God in what He tells us to do is important. So please don’t let any of this discussion be wrongly perceived as our attempting to minimize the importance of being zealous for God’s Law. But ... in our zeal for the Law, we should never break up a church over something like eating out on the Sabbath.”

The e-mail quoted two scriptures:
Nehemiah 10:31 When the neighboring peoples bring merchandise or grain to sell on the Sabbath, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day.
Nehemiah 13:15 In those days I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day.
Wes White quoted from a Bible Sabbath Assocation article by Randy Rondeau:
“One brother recalls that during the Feast of Trumpets in 1969 in Craftsman Hall, San Diego, as people were filing in that morning, carrying covered dishes, the serving tables were filling up with food that had been prepared the day before. After the morning service, the congregation enjoyed a potluck meal together before assembling for the afternoon service.
I’m told that such was the norm during the 50s, 60s, and early 70s. Obedient Church members never went out to a restaurant for a meal on a Holy Day or on the Sabbath.
So what has changed things? Are the Scriptures that were once used to demonstrate that purchasing food on the Sabbath is sin, no longer valid? Are people following people, the example of men, and not Christ? ... I understand that Mr. Herbert Armstrong even began to eat out on the Sabbath, he said due to his continual travelling. An old saying comes to mind, ‘As goes the leadership, so goes the church’!”
Wes White quoted from a COGWA study paper, which included a letter by the Letter Answering Department of the WCG in 1988, explaining its practice:
“The Church has long taught that it is not wrong to eat out on the weekly Sabbath occasionally or on the annual Holy Days, depending upon one’s circumstances and preferences.
Those waiters, waitresses, chefs, and the like, who may serve in a restaurant, are not our “servants” in the way described in the Fourth commandment. They are the employees of the owner of the restaurant. They would be working regardless of whether or not we ate there. God does not hold us responsible for their working on the Sabbath just because we use their services - unless we were the only ones who ever ate in that restaurant on the Sabbath. Obviously, we make up a very small portion of the customers served in restaurants on the Sabbath or Holy Days.
Further, eating out occasionally on the Sabbath can enhance spiritual fellowship with brethren and allow family members more time to be with one another.”

In Start Our Sabbath, Friday, 7th of July (starting at 50 minutes) Wes White discussed the general topic of Scandals in the Church :

Tonight we need to address a piece of news that happened in the Churches of God this past week ... thats going to negatively impact one, maybe even two Church of God groups. Some say it may end up involving a third group. It involves some really, really bad and disgusting accusations, that will ultimately have to be sorted out within the leadership of the Churches of God.”

“Any time you talk about tithing, someone is going to disagree! Some are even going to get mad. Nevertheless, we need to talk about it.”
In Start Our Sabbath. Friday, 23rd of June,
(starting at 39 minutes) Wes White discussedthe verses used by the Worldwide Church of God and its corporate offshoots to justify the payment to the ministry of 2nd and 3rd tithes, plus a tithe of a tithe.
“2nd Tithe: Deut.14:22-26, Deut.12:5-7, Deut.12:17-18.
These verses discuss the eating of the tithe at the feast(s) every year.
3rd Tithe: Deut.14:27-29, Deut 26:12-14.
These so-called third tithe verses call for the feeding of the Levite, stranger, fatherless, and widow; apparently every three years out of a seven year cycle.
Also, Amos 4:4 is usually translated to confirm some kind of tithe after 3 years.”
(He discussed 1st tithe in no.#17
(starting at 20 minutes).

Wes and Nancy White have launched Dynamic Christian Ministries, with a mission “to preach the gospel, feed the flock, and to help the needy and the poor. DCM does not accept donations. We hope that you will be inspired to give to the church or charity of your choice. However, we do ask for your support via prayer.” DCM is producing a Friday night broadcast, ‘Start Our Sabbath’.

In the SOS program on February 10th, Wes White remarked (27 mins.):
“In their antiquated ways of doing things, too many of the current leaders of the Churches of God are stuck in the mode of competition with each other. They’re in the mode of having animosity for each other. They’re in the mode of trying to be successful by tearing down men that they call their competitors, but they’re actually their brothers, brothers in Christ.”
He then alluded to why he is no longer doing ‘Bring on the Sabbath’:
“Back in December when I was on BOTS ... you would not believe the push-back that I got for saying ‘too many nice things about the Church of God 7th Day’ ... There are things that get said by ministers, servants of the Most High, that are appalling ... It’s important that different groups within the ekklesia raise each other up. We need to encourage each other. When another group does something good, we need to compliment them that they did it. That’s what Christian brothers and sisters do.”

Following his article in The Journal on the Church and Politics (Aug.31, p.3), Wes White joked at the start of the September 16th edition of ‘Bring on the Sabbath’, Im sure were going to get cancelled...” and then (at 17 minutes) he talked positively about the Ambassador Review/Report, which exposed abuses by leaders of the Worldwide Church of God in the 1970s and 1980s, and he also welcomed todays anti-Armstrongism blog sites, as they are performing the same function on the Internet today.

Owing to ministerial criticism of the program on December 16th, Wes White resigned from the show, which has not subsequently been broadcast.

Jeff Reed commented on December 23rd: “Please be assured that the CGI does not believe in censoring or being politically correct. That is demonstrated by the diversity in approaches we present on our website ... And be assured if Wes ever decides to rejoin BOTS, it will still be his decision..”

He announced on December 30th that the Friday evening show would resume in February, when “we will have other ministry and members participate.”

Brandy Webb’s blog on Armstrongism prompted Jeff Reed and Wes White to discuss the meaning of Armstrongism on December 16th (starting at 19 minutes).
Wes White listed some of the doctrines that Herbert Armstrong learnt from the Church of God 7th Day (of which he was a member from the late 1920s to the early 1940s, and a salaried minister 1932-37):
Seventh Day Sabbath                       
Clean and unclean meats
Rejection of Christmas and Easter
Passover/Lord’s Supper
Annual High Days of Leviticus 23
He might also have mentioned:
Baptism by Immersion
The ceremonial laws were ‘nailed to the cross’, not the Ten Commandments
The 1st and 2nd resurrections - ‘no man has ascended to heaven’
He then listed some of the doctrines that Herbert Armstrong added:
Authoritarian Church Government
End-time Apostleship
The One True Church
Setting dates for the return of Jesus Christ
Condemnation of non-Sabbath keeping Christians
Racist teachings against inter-racial marriage
2nd and 3rd tithes, tithe of a tithe
He might also have mentioned:
British Israelism
Seven Successive Church of God Eras
The 3rd Resurrection
Learning of the death of Gavin Rumney of Ambassador Watch, Wes White expressed his regret that he never opened a dialogue with him, as Ian Boyne did - see the Ambassador Watch posting below.

Ambassador Watch ... The Last Post

Gavin Rumney died on the 16th of December, only 17 days after writing:

“This is likely, highly likely, to be the final Ambassador Watch or Otagosh posting. Those who know me as more than a cantankerous blogger also know that I’ve been fighting, without great success, a serious health situation. In the time I have left there are clearly other priorities, and I commend Gary’s blog as a great place to keep ‘in the loop’.
I guess I want to say that there’s very little I regret. If I’ve horribly offended anyone unjustly, I apologize. There are a lot of good people in the COGs, battling on, as we all do, according to our best insights. The blogs will stay up, for what they’re worth, even if only curiosity value.”

The targets of Gavin’s well crafted exposé of corruption and abuse in the leadership of the corporate offshoots of the Worldwide Church of God will not be saddened by his passing. One exception is Ian Boyne, Pastor of the Church of God International in Jamaica, who commented:
“I feel a great sense of loss at Gavin’s passing. I am not one of the ‘thousands’ who have freed themselves from Armstrongism as a result of Gavin’s prodigious work, but I have benefitted from his fine intellect, penetrating analyses and sharp wit (of which I have been a victim!)
Gavin wrote, in my estimation, without malice. As someone still involved in Armstrongism, I disagreed, of course, with his conclusion that our theological system was hopelessly flawed, but had no disagreement with him about the corruption, immorality, and oppression which have characterized our movement. Gavin was like the Old Testament prophets who inveighed against the debauchery corruption and sins of God’s people, ancient Israel. We must not slay messengers, but heed them.
Gavin was well-read, theologically sophisticated and philosophically aware. He was generally fair. He believed in giving voice to all. Little did I know when he wrote his last blog and mentioned his health challenge that the end was so imminent. I shall miss him and mourn him.”

Ken Westby - Godward

Dixon Cartwright, editor of The Journal, reports:
“Our good friend Ken Westby died this morning, Thursday, December 8, 2016, at 3:50am Pacific time. He had been under hospice care at home for about a week. He passed peacefully with JoAn and their two daughters there with him.
There will be a private committal service for the family within a few days.

Then JoAn is planning a celebration-of-life service for sometime in March.”

Restored Church of God

Church Inquiries suddenly exploded overnight,” exclaimed David Pack.

In part 36 of a series of sermons, The Greatest Untold Story, he announced that many people, including ex-Worldwiders, were asking about attending.

“... a little after July began, our Church Inquiries suddenly exploded overnight and have stayed that way. We are currently projecting 56.5% more Church Inquiries for July than we had for the average of May and June ...

We sometimes, like yesterday, will get many families in a single day asking about attending ... but what is maybe more exciting in many regards ... And I’ve asked a lot of the other ministers, have you noticed that the quality of them? The sincerity, the depth of the inquiry, as well as, the background of the people who’ve been reading more, and maybe more of them with a Worldwide Church of God background have been appearing.

This explosion of interest in his new booklet, How God’s Kingdom Will Come - The Untold Story! and end-time sermons (which declare that Jesus Christ will soon return and begin his reign on Earth in secret, as a man, at David Packs home in Wadsworth, Ohio) is the result of an expensive Internet campaign.

I continue to be asked when will the series end, and people who I ask will invariably say they don’t want it to end. I know that, at some point, it will! ... I don’t know. I really don’t. I can speculate ... but I’ve always been wrong. So it’s sort of like setting a date for Christ’s Return. If I give you a number, you’ll know it will be anything but that number.”
So even David Pack doesn’t know when Jesus Christ will be returning.

David Pack's new booklet, How God’s Kingdom Will Come - The Untold Story! reveals the distressing denouement for his remaining followers.

Jesus Christ will return, eventually to Jerusalem, but initially he will rule secretly - in the form of a man – at the RCG in Wadsworth, Ohio.

The almost universally believed destination of Christ’s Return is Jerusalem. But is this what God’s Word says? Christ will of course ultimately rule from there - countless scriptures show this - but is this where His tiny mustard-seed Kingdom begins?”

A basic summary. Christ first comes to His people - His Temple - in good times, bringing His Kingdom “without observation.” It begins in microscopic fashion and is hidden! It is also initially led by a little flock under Christ.”

These two men, actually angels, asked, “…why stand you gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus [a man, not a Spirit Being in glorified form], which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

The angels were emphasizing that Jesus would return in the identical human form He had when He ascended.

Zechariah 6 ... “Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the MAN [again, not a Spirit Being in glorified form] whose name is the Branch [sprout]; and He shall grow up [sprout] out of His place [where He resided away from Jerusalem], and He shall build the temple of the Lord: even He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne [at a later time]; and He shall be a priest upon His throne…” (vs. 12-13). This last part obviously involves Christ ruling in glory from a physical temple that would have to be in Jerusalem.”

Zechariah 6:12 pictures Christ growing out of an undisclosed location - “His place” - to ultimately build two Temples.

The first half of the verse describes building the spiritual Temple, which we will see is the Church. This fits perfectly with Malachi 3:1, which describes Christ returning to Earth to His Temple. Notice: “Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in: behold, He shall come, says the Lord of hosts.”

David Pack has published a bizarre prophetic timeline, which “provides a grand overview that makes plain the sequence of coming major world events - including the very next things God’s people should watch for, no matter their organization. It visually shows how and when the Kingdom of God arrives, and thoroughly details the correct placement of every large prophecy, and many others ... It brings to light long overlooked and previously unknown elements of Bible prophecy and the Kingdom of God.”
According to his timeline, we are now in the “Last Brief Period Brethren Can Escape the Man of Sin & Wizards - Two Wizards appear claiming to be Two Witnesses, and for a short time point to ‘I AM’, saying ‘The time draws near’ for Christ’s coming (Luke 21:8; Mark 13:6).”
“Splinters become one organization (40,000-60,000?)”
He prophesied - with many proofs - that all the Church of God splinter groups would join his church in August 2013.
This timeline includes “TWO all-important points that were not seen before (explained in 50+ sermons):
(1) The Kingdom comes as a ‘mustard seed’ and ‘leaven’ that is ‘hid’, with Christ reigning, away from Jerusalem, on David’s throne and restoring the Kingdom to Israel during the time of Jacob’s trouble, all before relocating to Jerusalem to establish a world government from His own throne.
(Matthew 24:26, “If you are told that the Messiah is out in the desert, don’t go there! And if you are told that he is in some secret place, don’t believe it!”)
(2) Revelation 4 through Chapter 22, verse 6 describes punishment (destruction) and testing on all nations centuries after the Kingdom arrived, and just before Christ’s 1,000-year reign. This is an early parallel of what happens when Satan is ‘loosed’ again after the 1,000 years for a ‘little season’. God tests who will remain loyal to Him and destroys all those who do not.”

Where will Christ be ‘hid’, when He restores the Kingdom, but reigns away from Jerusalem? Will 40,000-60,000 finally flock to Davids throne in Wadsworth, Ohio, where Jesus is conversing with David Pack - though hidden from view to others?

In August 2013 Michael Venish, who knew him well, published a short video on David Packs declaration to be the ‘Joshua to come’, a type of Jesus Christ, holding the office of high priest, also his prophecy of a fiery death for three Church of God leaders, and his reaction to a letter from Ronald Weinland explaining who are the Two Witnesses.

The religion inside David Packs head might be approaching crisis point, both for himself and for his remaining followers.

David Pack has been very subdued since the abject failure of his prophecy that most ex-Worldwide Church of God members would be reunified in the Restored Church of God on 31st August 2013 - or lose the holy spirit. With his tithe payers falling below 1000 and his HQ campus still not complete, he has announced, in a 7 minute video The Coming Signal to God’s People that thousands from other Churches of God will be flocking soon (no date setting this time) to his “one church” and then “a work of absolutely immense proportion will follow.”

David Pack declares that he is the ‘Elijah to come’ (Malachi 4:4-6) and also the ‘Joshua to come’. The Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 will arise from within the RCG, and will be trained by him for their commission in Jerusalem.

He gave this prophetic warning about himself in December 1998:

“I want to make a statement about me now. If I became deceived, I will never tell you what I’m going to tell you now. I am telling you, if I go off into strange ideas, misconduct, rebellion, you name it, don’t follow me. I want to tell you that now, because if I start doing that, I’m gonna try to get you to follow me! I’m gonna come to you and tell you it doesn’t apply, it doesn’t mean me. No, no, no, no, no, no, it’s ok to follow me, because ABCD and XY and Z. Do you understand what I’m saying? Listen to me now, when I tell you, don’t follow me if I go off into weird ideas, or if I get off into other things that are total absolutely unscriptural conduct, because if I do, I’m gonna paint it with a different face and try to get you to follow me. Do you understand what I’m saying, brethren? Please remember that, because I promise you that, if I become deceived, I’ll forget it, and I’ll want you to forget it. And I hope you’ll remember it well enough to quote it right back to me.”

Church of God Faithful Flock

CGFF’s Pastor Don Billingsley, declared in the July-Sept 2016 issue of its Philadelphia Remnant magazine: “President Hillary will be executed in her sixth year ... Just before famine and the diseases reaches their most severe point in 2023, Hillary’s sixth year, God’s elect will flee to the first part of their departure to the Place of Safety.”

Has his prophecy failed? Not at all. Following in the long tradition of ex-WCG end-time prophets, he explains in the latest edition of The Journal (p.13) that his prophecy “will yet come to pass, but not as soon as I had believed ... Presently it would appear a few more years were needed to fit within God’s Timetable ... prophecy does make known a woman will be the last president before its demise. (Isaiah 3:12; Nahum 3:12-13)”

Yahwehs Restoration Ministry

“After 18 years in the ‘wilderness’ in ten different camps and looking at hundreds of other camps around the country, we have decided to observe next year’s Feast of Tabernacles at YRM in Holts Summit, MO. Due to our recent expansion, this is now possible. It also alleviates constant searching for an impossible camp that fits our needs and growth.
Even though we have many of the needed facilities, we still lack enough simple lodging, and extra RV/tent sites and room for activities. After research we have concluded that a basic metal structure is the most economical solution. While we will be unable to fully develop the property by next Feast, we hope to have at least an enclosed building with concrete floors, additional RV sites and several tent sites. We will be building this structure in our existing campground area, near our front sign. This growth will also require us to enlarge our current septic drain field.
Shown is a preliminary image of the 130'x60'x20' building and plans for the interior, which would be used for multiple purposes, including activities for the children, youth, and young at heart, along with additional meeting and lodging space (28 total lodging rooms). We are already beyond capacity in our meeting hall for Tabernacles. This building would help with overflow and logistics. Total building square feet is: 11,128.”

Church of God - Preparing for the Kingdom

In part 5 of Be Encouraged, Ronald Weinlands sermon for the 19th of November, he was “very sobered” by the number of members who have been leaving God’s Church, and he has decided to give up prophesying the date of Christs return.

He read from his new book (not yet completed), but spent the first part of the sermon bemoaning the number of people who have left, likening it to the WCG in the 1970s. (He mentioned the doctrinal changes, but not the failed prophecies.)
“In this series God has been showing us that we should be encouraged after all the battles that we have gone through, and that each of us are still here and have the opportunity that we have in order to continue into the final stages of all that is yet to occur before Jesus Christ returns. And we should be encouraged by that, because a lot of people have gone by the wayside. And that’s the way it’s been for a long, long time. We’ve gone through a lot of things in God’s Church ...
I’ve been preparing some of that, been very sobered by going back and looking at some of the statistics of things that have happened throughout a long period of time here and seeing the different ministers who have gone by the wayside, considering the numbers of people in the Church who continue to go by the wayside, and I think back at the time of Mr. Armstrong and seeing some of those ripples take place...
And so many, so many have gone by the wayside. Several since the Feast as well, several more in different areas. By several I mean probably six or seven. That's far too many people. Either disfellowshipped or suspended from services for a period of time ...
A lot of people that I never would have dreamed of that have gone by the wayside over the last 8,9,10,11,12 years is quite amazing; individuals that I just wouldn’t have thought it of. And that should be sobering...
I hope they're able to come back, and I feel that some will. Others, I don’t know! Are there more? I believe there are. We’re not fully cleansed yet... Some are not doing what they need to be doing. Some are not battling like they should be. And I know that’s true. I hate to see that. I hate to see individuals, for whatever reasons ... This is not a free ride.”
(No, you need to tithe regularly to Ronald’s church - or “get cut off immediately from the flow of God's spirit.”)
“How often do I cry out, ‘Be faithful in your offerings seven times in a year?’ How often do I cry out, ‘Be faithful in your tithing before God?’ Because, you see, the point of that is, if we’re not, we get cut off immediately from the flow of God’s spirit ... I realize if there is not a quick change, there are some going by the wayside - more. Every Feast of Tabernacles - and here we are just barely past it, had to deal with several situations already. Incredible!”
Ronald then backtracks on his latest prophecy for the return of Jesus Christ - at Pentecost in 2019 ... “how much do we really believe that we see a world headed towards WW3? I don’t care if it doesn’t happen until the beginning of 2019 - which I hope and pray is the case, and see why there would be wisdom in not doing it until then. But I don’t care if it goes on to 2020 or 2021.”
Yet another prophetic failure would lead to even more people leaving ...
“I'm crying out, brethren, because of where we are and what I see some not doing. And if we go down to a hundred, if we go down to fifty, so be it.”
Ronald has not had much success with his end-time prophesying - well none at all actually - so he is not going to put any more end-time prophecies in his new book, until he is sure that they are about to happen.
“We’re not going to advertise. We're not going to do diddly right now. We’re putting a full stop on everything until God reveals, “Now is the time!” And we're not there. We’re not even close yet, which is encouraging too ...
We’re not going to do anything as far as the book is concerned until certain events take place, and only then. I don’t care if that’s a year from now or two years from now. And then we’ll throw the kitchen sink - is that the right word? - at it ... So how much time God gives the world? How much times God gives this nation? I don't know.”

False Prophet Ronald Weinland has announced that he will be going to the Netherlands for the Festival of Tabernacles, the first time that he has been able to travel to a festival since 2011. In 2012 he held the festival in a large room at his mansion, whilst awaiting sentencing for tax evasion, and 2013, 2014 and 2015 were spent in Terre Haute prison - which he likened to the exile in Patmos of the apostle John:

“John was imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos by the Roman government, and it is there that he was given the Book of Revelation to write. In like manner, and as his counterpart, Ronald Weinland was falsely imprisoned by the government of the United States for evading to pay taxes.”
He remains angry that a judge should give him 3½ years of great tribulation for not paying taxes on legitimate church expenses such as jewelry, BMWs, cruises etc. The money which he deposited in a Swiss bank account in his own name did not prove to be a “safe haven” - so Switzerland will suffer God’s wrath.
“This movement of money to Switzerland was due to the prophetic belief that the U.S. Dollar will collapse during those final years, and that this meager amount of funds ($300,000!) could then be used to continue doing a ‘religious work’ that could be aided by those funds deposited in Switzerland. Due to events that transpired in large part during WW2, the nation of Switzerland had been believed to be a location that would once again be considered a ‘safe zone’ for securing deposits during another world war. However, since late 2015, and the fact that God moved all end-time catastrophic events and WW III forward by exactly seven years (Jesus Christ
’s return has been re-scheduled from 2012 to 2019), God has also revealed that the prophetic outcome for many nations has also been changed. This includes Switzerland, which will now suffer far more mightily in this final end-time period, and will not be: a safe haven for any finances in the world.”
“Just as John was in prison when given the Book of Revelation to write, God has given Ronald to write a third and final book that is entitled, Prophesy Against the Nations.”
“The last apostle to write scripture was John, who was also a prophet, and while imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos, it was revealed to him what was to be written in the Book of Revelation. Ronald Weinland is the only other apostle who has also been made a prophet by God and Jesus Christ. He is the counterpart to John, in that John was given knowledge to record the Book of Revelation for the end-time, and Ronald Weinland was given the ‘meaning’ and the responsibility to declare that ‘meaning’ in these books, other writings, and in a vast number of recorded speeches (sermons) and interviews.”

Ronald Weiland plans to travel to Australia for the Festival of Unleavened Bread 2017, but there is no news yet as to when he and his wife Laura will be going to Jerusalem, where they, being the Two Witnesses, must be martyred before the prophesied return of Christ at Pentecost 2019.
Originally, God’s Final Witness was 2008, but as he explains in his biography:
“The Church originally had been given Pentecost of 2012 as the timing for Christ’s coming, and when he did not return, it was believed that Christ might instead return on Pentecost of 2013. During that year, however, God was not showing ‘why’ Jesus Christ had not returned, and it was not until some time later that God began to reveal the reasons why He had moved all prophetic end-time events forward by exactly seven years.”

The Shining Light

James Malm was the first off the blocks after the election with his version of the end-time prophetic meaning of the election result.
“The mainstream ‘Christians’, including the COG entities, believe that this will bring a resurgence of America for the immediate future:  nothing could be further from the truth!
For those who don’t know; Trump claims to be a Presbyterian who was initially educated at Fordham University, a Jesuit school in the Bronx, and sent his children to the Jesuit [Georgetown University] and won because of overwhelming backing by the Catholic mobilized ‘Christian’ denominations including the Catholic Church, Evangelicals and Protestants [also supported by the COG organizations]. Trump is the choice of the Roman Catholic Church [particularly the Jesuits] to bring about the New World Order of a New Federal Catholic Europe.
In reality Donald Trump – an establishment insider claiming to have no establishment connections – is dedicated to fulfilling the Neocon and Jesuit New World Order agenda [just as wholeheartedly as Hillary Clinton], of establishing a New Federal Europe. There has been no change to that Neocon agenda!
1. Watch for the Neocons to now redouble efforts to take down the Islamic State and bring a confrontation with Russia as soon as they can; to set the conditions for the rise of a New Federal Europe.
2. Watch for the fall of the Israeli government and a broader Mideast war involving Israel against Hamas and Hezbollah and a contrived confrontation between East and West.
3. Watch for crises in Europe which will open the way for the setting up of a pope doing miracles in the Vatican, who will call for a New Federal Europe.
4. Watch for Trump and the Senate to jump on the bandwagon of this pope and his call for a New Federal Europe, being eager to extricate America from the heavy obligations and expense of NATO.
5. Once Trump has aided the miracle worker in creating the coming New Federal Europe by giving it the assets of NATO; watch for a peace deal to be declared and for this miracle worker to go to the holy place about 75 days after being empowered; triggering the immediate occupation of Jerusalem and invasion of Judea.  
The 2,300 Day Prophecy reveals that these things could be fulfilled in 2017 or shortly thereafter!

Death of Church of God Pastor, Tony Steel

John Evans has forwarded a link to the BBC News report of the inquest which ruled that, “A two-car crash in Denbighshire, which killed four people, was likely to have been caused by an under-inflated tyre.”

John, who was the only survivor, suffering multiple injuries, writes: “The Inquest re this accident was held at Ruthin Coroners Office last Friday, 14th October. Hope you are all well. I am going away for a few days to Portsmouth. Many thanks for all your Prayers and concern for my well-being. Take care. God bless. John.”

He and Tony Steel were travelling to a Sabbath meeting in North Wales, when their car was hit by another car, whose three young occupants were all killed.

The Liverpool Echo issued this tribute to Tony.

Tony was the pastor of Maranatha Ministry (formerly the North West Church of God), a small, scattered group of brethren, who meet in North Wales and North West England,on the Sabbath. He also gave sermons at the Tulsa Church of God, Oklahoma, whenever he and his wife were able to visit their son and daughter-in-law, Matthew & Renee Steel.

Biblical Calendar 2016

Nehemiah Gordon, a Karaite Jew, sent this e-mail on Sept. 11:

I need to share with you an important message regarding the New Moon Report I released this month. Information has come to my attention, which after extensive examination and prayer, has caused me to call into question the testimony I received of the new moon being sighted, by the naked eye from Israel, on September 2, 2016.”

Rebecca Biderman and Cassandra Conroy sighted the new moon on Friday evening in Jerusalem. Their testimony was accepted by Roy Hoffman of the Israeli New Moon Society, but Nehemiah Gordon doubts their testimony, without stating his reasons. Rebecca Biderman has responded by posting a video - her account of the actual sighting and reporting begins at the 17 minute mark.

Devorah Gordon is the moderator of New Moon and Aviv Barley in Israel, a new Facebook website, whose rules are: “Posts unrelated to the topic of this group, promoting other calendar systems, referencing the New Testament/Yeshua/Jesus, or containing reports from outside the Land of Israel, will result in the member being banned without further warning.” (emphasis ours)

The churches beginning the year with the new moon nearest the vernal equinox are now in the 7th month, the largest being the Church of God 7th Day Salem.

Some observing the aviv barley method [6] are also now in the 7th month, but for others the September new moon begins the 6th month.

Interest in the ‘aviv barley’ calendar is increasing substantially, judging by Brian Converys comment that he had received hundreds of e-mails, and his website had 10,000 hits in 6 days.

The division arose from two search reports saying the barley was aviv in March, but the third report, by Nehemia Gordon disagreed. Here is his audio report.

His article Aviv Barley in the Biblical Calendar states: “... barley which is in the state of Aviv has not completely ripened, but has ripened enough so that its seeds can be eaten parched in fire … The month of the Aviv is the month which commences after the barley has reached the stage of Aviv. 2-3 weeks after the beginning of the month the barley has moved beyond the stage of Aviv and is ready to be brought as the wave-sheaf offering.”

i.e. He teaches that the grain must reach the stage of aviv – when it can be parched in fire – by the time of the new moon.

The positive reports of the other two – Brian Convery and Solomon Meyer (hear also his abib dating audio) – are based on the grain being harvestable by the time of the wave sheaf offering, 2-3 weeks later.

The grain was not aviv at the time of the new moon, but was aviv in most of Israel before the wave-sheaf offering’ on Sunday, March 27.

The following published explanations for their decision, based on consideration of all 3 reports:

Truth on the Web Ministries: in the video, Abib Factor, Brian Hoeck begins to discuss when the grain must reach the stage of aviv at the 50 minute mark.

Yahweh's Restoration Ministry: E-news article, March 18.

(Yahweh's Assembly in Messiah simply state that, The proper-stage barley has been confirmed by Elder Solomon Meyer.”)

Norman Willis of Nazarene Israel has an article on his website, dated March 10, Why I use the Karaite Calendar Data (provided by Nehemia Gordon). On March 13 he reversed his position, declaring in a newsletter to all on his mailing list that the barley is aviv, so that it is now the 1st month of the biblical year.

A secondary point of contention is referred to by Brian Convery in his report for March 9th, remarking that a certain location (17 miles from Jerusalem) is “less than a day's journey from the Temple Mount via donkey.”

Tom Martincic of Eliyah, in explaining his decision, comments that, “some believe that the harvestable barley needs to be within a day's journey (by donkey) to Jerusalem to qualify.”

James Malm of The Shining Light argues that the harvestable barley must be from within Jerusalem. In support he quotes from Alfred Edersheim’s book, The Temple - Its Ministry and Services, p.142-3, which states:
“Though, for obvious reasons, it was customary to choose for this purpose the sheltered Ashes-valley across Kedron, there was no restriction on that point, provided the barley had grown in an ordinary field—of course in Palestine itself—and not in garden or orchard land, and that the soil had not been manured nor yet artificially watered (Mishnah, Menach. viii.1,2).”
James Malm disagrees with Edersheim that “there was no restriction on that point” and changes this part of Edersheim’s quote to read: “It was customary to choose for this purpose the sheltered Ashes-valley across Kedron, because of its proximity to the temple.”

Earlier on p.142, Alfred Edersheim writes: “The expression, ‘the morrow after the Sabbath’ (Lev 23:11), has sometimes been misunderstood as implying that the presentation of the so-called ‘first sheaf’ was to be always made on the day following the weekly Sabbath of the Passover-week. This view, adopted by the ‘Boethusians’ and the Sadducees in the time of Christ, and by the Karaite Jews and certain modern interpreters, rests on a misinterpretation of the word ‘Sabbath’.” (Lev 23:24, 32, 39)
He then describes the Pharisaical wave sheaf practice
- but James observes Pentecost always on a Sunday, so he disagrees on that point too.

The grain was not aviv in Jerusalem by Sunday, March 27.

The Assemblies of Yahweh search for ‘green ears’ of corn - which is based on the translation of ‘aviv’ in Leviticus 2:14 in some bible versions as ‘green ears’:

And if you bring a food offering of your firstfruits to Jehovah, green ears roasted by fire, grains of a garden, you shall bring near for a food offering your firstfruits.’ (Modern KJV) Green grain is immature and too soft to be roasted by fire. Please refer to the University of Minnesota’s article on the growth stages of barley. Their report can be dismissed.

Division in the timing of the annual holy days is not limited to the 7th Day Sabbath churches. This year the Roman Catholic (and Protestant) churches will celebrate Easter in March, but the Eastern churches – Russian and Greek Orthodox – will celebrate it in April.

After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70AD, the Sanhedrin in Palestine continued to declare the timing of the new year - the day of the new moon and whether or not a 13th month was to be added - and great efforts were made to transmit this information to the main Jewish community in Babylonia before Passover, often unsuccessfully - resulting in the gradual development of a fixed calendar.

How then could Christians in Europe determine the start of the new year and the date for Passover? Was there not confusion?

Emperor Constantine wrote: “For we could never tolerate celebrating the Passover twice in one year. But even if all these facts did not exist, your own sagacity would prompt you to watch with diligence and with prayer, lest your pure minds should appear to share in the customs of a people (the Jews) so utterly depraved. It must also be borne in mind, that upon so important a point as the celebration of a feast of such sanctity, discord is wrong. One day has our Saviour set apart for a commemoration of our deliverance, namely, of His most holy Passion.” (Theodoret of Cyrus. Ecclesiastical History (Book I), Chapter IX.)

A report to the Church in Alexandria, following the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, stated: We also send you the good news of the settlement concerning the holy pasch, namely that in answer to your prayers this question also has been resolved. All the brethren in the East who have hitherto followed the Jewish practice will henceforth observe the custom of the Romans and of yourselves and of all of us who from ancient times have kept Easter together with you.”

There was no agreement, however, as to how to calculate the date for Easter.

We do not know how early the Easter cycles were used in practice by Christian communities, but by the early 4th century, and certainly by the Council of Nicea (325CE), the Roman cycle of 8 or 84 years had become standard in the West, and the Alexandrian cycle of 19 years in the East.” (Sacha Stern, Calendar and Community, A History of the Jewish Calendar, 2nd-10th CE, p.225)

In the 6th century AD the Catholic church adopted the paschal table devised in 525AD by Dyonysius Exiguus (who also invented the Anno Domini method of numbering years). His table utilizes the 19 year Alexandrian cycle, with intercalations in years 3,6,8,11,14,17&19, and is linked to the vernal equinox.

The 19 year cycle is inaccurate by 1 day every 216 years, so in 1582 the Roman church, under Pope Gregory, adjusted the calendar authorized by Julius Caesar. The Eastern churches – Russian and Greek Orthodox – refused to switch to the Gregorian calendar and continued to use the Julian calendar, in which the vernal equinox falls later and later, therefore Easter can be a month later – as happens this year.

The calculated Hebrew calendar, which uses the Alexandrian cycle, may only be amended by an official Sanhedrin, so this also can be a month later - as it is this year. When the 19 year cycle was introduced, the vernal equinox became irrelevant to the Hebrew calendar - except for the ritual “blessing of the sun ... on the day of Tekufah Nisan in the first year of the 28 year sun cycle.” (Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar, Arthur Spier, 3rd ed., p.19)

In a recorded interview in Israel, Dr. Roy Hoffman, an Orthodox Jew, explained to Nehemiah Gordon why he has been sighting and studying new moons for the past 18 years, while continuing to keep the calculated Jewish Calendar, which is based on the conjunction.
At the 30 minutes mark, Roy Hoffman says of the current unofficial Sanhedrin (no major authority in Judaism has recognized it): “on a day when the observed calendar matched the calculated calendar, they took testimony (of new moon sightings) and declared the ‘rosh chodesh’.

What if the dates dont match, Nehemiah Gordon asked?

“I hope they won’t try that, because they could cause a breach within the unity ... It’s very important for Orthodox Judaism that there be unity in the calendar.”
Orthodox Jews must abide by the traditions laid down by their elders, which may only be changed by a recognized Sanhedrin.

How is unity in the calendar to be achieved in the Churches of God?
Norbert Link of the Church of the Eternal God says that the Orthodox Jews hold the authority for the calendar, and only its Sanhedrin may make changes to it.

“If and when a legitimate court (Sanhedrin) is formed and active in Jerusalem, sitting in Moses’ seat, and IF they were to make changes to the current Hebrew calendar, then this would indeed be applicable for God’s Church.

Roderick Meredith of the Living Church of God, who has regularly emphasized the importance of unity, says that all authority lies with his church’s leadership.

In discussing Colossians 2:16-17 (‘Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink, or in respect of a feast, or of the new moon, or of the sabbaths. For these are a shadow of things to come, but the body of Christ.’) he says:
“Who judges you? The body of Christ. Who leads the body of Christ? ... The ministry leads the body, and so the Church makes decisions ... about when they’re held and where they’re held ... and how we observe these Holy Days. So don’t let any man judge you, but the body ... the body of Christ does have that authority and they are given that authority by God.”
In his view, the ‘body of Christ’ is not the congregation, but he himself and the ministers whom he appoints, therefore they are the judges over the calendar (and indeed over all issues).

Church of God International

Church of God International

In the current issue of CGI’s newspaper, The International News, there is a news item on p.12 concerning the re-launch of CGI in the UK:
“Pentecost, June 4, 2017, will become a significant historical date in the calendar of the Church of God International as marking the resumption of regular Sabbath services of the CGI in the United Kingdom.”
CGI imploded there in 1997 in the wake of a sex scandal involving its leader, Garner Ted Armstrong. A few members went with his new organization, the Intercontinental Church of God, a few tried to continue with the
CGI, some left altogether. The majority, wanting no more of hierarchical church government, chose to associate as independent assemblies - ‘Churches of God UK’ - within the newly formed Church of God Outreach Ministries.
(CGI’s Charles Groce stated in March 2011: “We realized our perspectives were skewed because of decades-long exposure to controlling church authority. Unfortunately, in a hierarchical structure the ability of deacons and elders to complement each other as they serve the church demands one be above the other. Our leadership is learning there is no elevated status to serving.”)
Unfortunately, by 2001 all these assemblies had left COGUK, owing to strained relations with COGUK
s pastor, James McBride.
(Although COGUK continues to exist as a member of CGOM, it’s in name only, as no assembly has subsequently joined.) The news item continues:
“George Ramocan, an elder of the CGI, and his wife Lola, arrived in the UK on December 22, 2016, along with Luzette Ramie, a member of the CGI in Jamaica. The work began in earnest with prayer, and planning is being done within the framework of the CGI’s Manual for Field Churches. An assessment of what’s being done by other sections of the church here on the ground was carried out.

We attended services with the United Church of God and COGWA in Bricket Wood and London. It was difficult to visit with the LCG because of a closed-door policy. Elder Ramocan was invited by the UCG to present the sermon at their Bricket Wood congregation on Sabbath, February 4.
In November 2016 UCG President, Viktor Kubik, presented the sermon at the Church of God International congregation in Medina, Ohio.)
A warm brotherly relationship has been established with the leadership of both sections of the church with which we interacted. During this period, work was done to establish the basic outlines of a website, to do Internet promotion of planned weekly Bible Studies and to identify and secure a suitable place for weekly worship.
Sabbath Bible Studies began on March 4. Attendees ranged from 10 to 20 persons. Presentations were mostly doctrinal, followed by discussions. We also addressed sensitive topics such as ‘speaking in tongues’, as some visitors displayed this trait during prayer. Attendees were allowed to request presentations on topics of interest to them.
Our present attendance consists of 10 core members and upward of 10 floating visitors. We do not promote our services to the members of other COG congregations, and we dissuade members of other congregations from attending with us beyond a mere visit. Weekly Bible Studies have now grown into weekly Sabbath services. Hymnals and taped music have been supplied by Tyler, with the help of Bill Watson. Adrian Davis paid us a visit early in the year while we were still carrying out an assessment. Services begin at 1:00 PM, and sermons are live streamed via Facebook at 2:00 PM, UK time.”

Jeff Reed, pastor of the Tyler church, spoke in his Sabbath announcements on April 2nd about his attendance at the Quality Church Retreat in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where there were representatives of many independent churches and ministries, meeting to discuss how they could work together, build bridges and heal breaches. That’s the future that we’re a part of, he said, not a future of more church splinters.

There have been guest speakers from various small independent churches on the CGI webcast. On September 3 the guest speaker was Peter Youngs (grandson of A.N. Dugger) of the Church of God 7th Day.

CGI and the Tulsa Church of God (part of the CGOM network) sponsored a Super Sabbath Weekend April 29 - May 1 in Sequoyah State Park, Oklahoma. Several co-sponsorships for the Festival of Tabernacles have been arranged: First Century Church of God and Feast Keepers Church of God in Baltimore; Church of God Miami and Church of the Sovereign God in St Petersburg Fl; Common Faith Network in Fort Walton Beach Fl; and Christian Educational Ministries in Kentucky Dam State Resort Park.

Continuing Church of God
Bob Thiel announced in August that the CCOG had increased its membership in Africa to around 3000. Most of them are in East Africa, where they live at a basic subsistence level.
The group photographs from the 2017 Festival of Tabernacles show that a total of around 80 people attended the 6 festival sites outside Africa. A membership of, say, 90 outside Africa would mean that 3% of the membership are called upon to support an increasing number of African members.
Pastor Koang Deng reported from the festival in Ethiopia: “Yes, three people (came) from South Sudan, but now live in Refugee Camp. Because Pagak (is) now under both Government and Rebel (control). They are always engaged in wars. All civilians leaved Pagak to Ethiopia border/Refugee camp.”
Pastor Sawek reported from the Rift Valley in Kenya: “The people were filled not only Spiritually but also with the bodily satisfaction of food. They were also happy with the services and support we gave them ... They experience starvation and hardships in terms of conquering drought and availability of water. But we thank God that the last 2 days when the meeting was supposed to come to an end we were blessed with Rain. But there was no Water Tank for storage, but with your prayers we believe we will get one soon.”
In answer to Bob Thiel’s query as to why the attendances in Kenya were lower this year, Pastor Evans Ochieng responded:
“It is true that people were less than last year at the feast. Pastor, there is a big problem in Kenya and some brethren feared to travel. Kenya is in a big problem, especially Luos and Kikuyu and Kalenjins. And part of Kisii. People are dying badly. So many people were afraid to travel. Transportation was also a big problem. The owners of the vehicles were afraid to move. Pray for the brethren in Kenya. Kenya is not safe.”

Will Bob Thiel “restore all things” and declare himself to be the ‘Elijah to Come’?
In a post on 22 Sept 2017 he quotes from on an LCG article, ‘Special Gifts’, by Dexter Wakefield: “Prophets in the sense of Elijah are rare, and when we encounter a man who declares himself a prophet, we had better be sure of his fruits before we listen to him. Most self-proclaimed ‘prophets’ are deceived, or are cunning deceivers - or both - and those who have God’s Spirit have the ability, and the responsibility, to discern their fruits and their genuineness.”
Bob Thiel considers himself to be the only true
COG prophet, since:
“Now that I am not in LCG, it seems obvious that LCG does not have any prophets. As far as LCG and other COGs go, they have at least 38 prophetic errors, which are cited in the article The Laodicean Church Era.”
Is he a “prophet in the sense of Elijah”? Not yet.
He writes: “As far as “Elijah” goes, he is to “restore all things” (Matthew 17:11) ... Although I have not “restored all things,” nor am I insisting that I personally must be the prophesied Elijah, like RCG’s David Pack falsely claims about himself, the reality is that I and CCOG have restored what Dr. Meredith repeatedly wrote needed to be.”

On the 17th of August Bob Thiel announced that the CCOG now has around 3000 members in Africa, which is the fulfillment of another dream - “a two-part dream preceded the start of the old Radio Church of God and some dreams preceded the start of the Continuing Church of God.
A while back, when I was last in Kenya, I was told that Frederick Ochieng had a dream related to the Continuing Church of God. He sent me an email on it that somehow never made to me, so he again sent information about it yesterday.”
‘Greetings pastor, I had two dreams.
1. Before our family joined CCOG, my father was then working with Voice in the Wilderness Church of God. When I was sleeping I had a dream, and in my dream I saw a light and the light was not normal. The one who was standing by there was you pastor Bob according to my dream. Then I had voice shouting, “Arise you who are sleeping, for the Lord is near.” I again I heard another voice shouting, “Come up Evans [Ochieng], and let us do the work we are called to do.” I then saw a man dressed in white clothes join hands with my father walking together towards a very big lake, then I woke up.
2: In my second dream ... I saw almost the same dream and now this was in New Zealand. I did not know about the CCOG group in New Zealand before I had the dream.’ Fred.
Bob Thiel comments: “His father, Evans Ochieng, came with the Continuing Church of God in March of 2014 - with him, etc. we had about 260 people in Africa. His father told me in 2017 that Frederick also said his dream showed that we would have much growth in Africa. As of late 2017, we have around 3000 in Africa. So, that part of the dream was confirmed.
The first congregation that came with the CCOG was the group in New Zealand... While we have not have much membership growth in New Zealand itself, those in New Zealand have been heavily involved in doing the work to reach people around the world ... His dream may have been telling him that I (Bob Thiel) was working with those in New Zealand to help fulfill Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20 to reach the world.”
Are these dreams truly from God? As he admits: “few dreams are from God (cf. Ecclesiastes 5:7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.)”

Robert Thiel declared (July 19th) that the final phase of the work continues to move ahead.About a decade ago, the late evangelist R.C. Meredith and I were talking and he agreed with various points I was raising about the end time work ...

and I had other meetings, discussions, and emails related to that with the other Charlotte evangelists through December 14, 2012. Yet, even though he and others in his church agreed to take many steps related to the final phase of the work, few, if any, of the promised steps were taken by his group ...”

A bolder, yet truthful, willingness to “name names” and call out what is happening will need to happen than the official COG groups formed between 1986 and 2011 have done ...

(Are the “official” COG groups the ones formed by ex-WCG ministers?)

I have emails from one or more LCG evangelists where they objected to doing parts of this themselves, as well as notes from a meeting where they told me, and one was Dr. Meredith, that they were afraid that I could become too bold and that they did not want to take bold proclamation steps that could trigger the persecution that they teach is biblically prophesied.”

If Robert Thiel has emails and meeting notes showing that the top men in LCG have been refusing to take “bold proclamation steps” because they fear persecution, will he be bold and truthful, “name names”, and call out what has been happening in LCG?

Bob Thiel posted the following news item on May 31:

The infamous Bildeberg meeting is about to start:

Sierra City, CA - The annual private meeting of North American and European elites known as the Bilderberg Group announced this week that they will be holding their annual conference at Herrington’s Sierra Pines Resort in June of 2017.”

Herrington's home page features a very large fish pond. Shouldn't the statement that “it’s also the final resting place of Adolf Hitler” have alerted Bob Thiel that the this news item from was a little bit fishy?

The Nevada County Scooper, “In its early days” - says its website - “did not own a printing press, nor did they have the courage to borrow one. And frankly they didn’t have the funds either. So the Scooper relied solely on shouting at people on the street to circulate the news.”

At the foot of this 'news' item is a link to Bilderberg's press release, which states that the 2017 meeting will take place in Chantilly, Virginia.

Bob Thiel also reported on the 2016 meeting of this “infamous” organization for his Bible News Prophecy video channel.

Bob Thiel reports, May 25, on Persecution in Uganda.
We have had a report of problems between the local government and the people newly with us in Uganda. Although we immediately worked to register the Continuing Church of God in Uganda, apparently some felt that for the time being attending Sabbath was a crime.
Here are two emails I received (from David MUHIRE):
“On my way to the refugee camp of Kyaka to visit our new CCOG brethren, as I have been instructed by our minister Evans Ochieng, I received a call telling me the bad news that the Police invaded into my house today in the morning during the Sabbath meeting, and they arrested some of our CCOG members who were meeting in my house for Sabbath services.
I immediately cancelled my trip and I came back to Kampala, reaching in Kampala town at evening, I tried to call my wife and she told me the bad news.
Please pray for our three brothers who have been arrested and are now detained, one at police post of my sub county. Now I am hidden in the capital for the fear of being arrested too.”
“I come from to the Crime Intelligence Old Kampala Police Station.
Things are not easy even if I escaped jail. Truly the jail is related to our Sabbath fellowship without licence. We have been accused by the Inspector General of Police to be criminals and terrorists. After responding him he accused us that we are practicing “illegal religious activities” and “spreading illegal religious doctrines” - which is a sect!” And that we are recruiting people for activism.
Our case still under investigations, we shall appear again on Wednesday. Our brethren still in jail at Crime Intelligence Old Kampala Police Post.
Please don’t give up, keep praying for us.”
We are trying to get more details. Kennedy Wafula and Evangelist Evans Ochieng are also looking into this and trying to assist. Please pray for our brethren in Uganda.

Robert Thiel reported, February 9th, on the African Ministers Conference.

Many leaders were ordained, including Evans Ochieng as Evangelist.

Robert Thiel had himself re-anointed, this time as Worldwide Overseer.

Rain Miracle in Kenya?
Aleksandar (Sasha) Vilic e-mailed on February 1st:
“I arrived to Kenya last Friday evening, just about the beginning of the Sabbath ...
The greatest miracle for which I prayed in this country is - rain. I began to cry and pray to God for that miracle because there was nothing I could do about it, nor there is anyone who could have done anything about it. I asked God to intervene for our members have not been able to grow crops, many remained without seeds and some were facing starvation to death. So I began to pray for rain. And the first word that was on my mouth ever since I arrived in Kenya, the word that I so often mentioned was only one word - rain. On the Sabbath, I prayed with the small local congregation in Kitangala, nearby Nairobi, for the rain. On Sunday, as we were asking blessing for a meal, I mentioned rain. Ten minutes afterwards there came rain over the city we were staying in - Narok. In the following days it was raining everywhere. Even tonight, here where we are staying (Kissi town) we had a downpour of rain. Exactly what I asked God, everything happened when it comes to rain. I have tens of witnesses that it is true.”
January and February are the driest months of the year for the Narok area, with a total average rainfall for the two months of only 1.8 inches.
In December 2016 even lower rainfall and a worsening of the drought were being forecast for early 2017: “People and animals’ lives are at risk because they have not had a chance to recover from drought in 2014, as rains were also poor in 2015 and 2016,” the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.
“We really are concerned that the situation is going to deteriorate rapidly early into next year,” Piers Simpkin, a livestock expert with FAO in Kenya, told a news conference. “There is serious drought looming in early 2017.”
“Kenya’s long rains season, from March to May ... are also likely to be poor, with a delayed start and below average rainfall,” Joseph Matere said.

Report from Pastor Evans Ochieng, January 12th, about his trip to Tanzania:
“I was happy to hear that our brethren in Tanzania are getting it right that there is a great difference between Continuing Church of God and the churches of God that were in that country before ...

Martin and Andrew will go to meet some old members of Community International Church of God who called them to go and meet on next sabbath. This people were discouraged by the work which that church was doing. But they are happy with the work of CCOG.”
“Community International Church of God” is David Hulme’s group, Church of God an International Community, which no longer sponsors any sites for the Festival of Tabernacles in East Africa, so appears to be losing interest in the area.

Will the Great Tribulation Start in 2017? is Robert Thiels latest prophecy video, discussing “various theories, signs, and opinions of ones who believe that the Great Tribulation will start in 2017. Some point to Nostradamus ... Fatima ... solar eclipse ... Donald Trump ... Jubilee cycles ... rebirth of the nation of Israel ... Shemitah year ...” and there is “somebody who claims to be in the Church of God, who’s talking about the 2300 days prophecy.”
He’s referring to James Malm, whose article stated originally (30 October 2014):

“There is an extremely high probability [at least 90%] that Christ will come in early 2020 and that the abomination will be set up in the Vatican in early Oct 2016 with the tribulation beginning by the end of 2016.”
The article has since been updated to read:

“this final beast emperor will occupy Jerusalem, beginning in the winter of 2017-2018:  IF the starting date for the count is correct ... These events could easily unfold in line with a date of winter 2017-2018  for the start of the tribulation; followed by the coming of Messiah 42 months later; in 2021 AD!

Brethren, the writing is on the wall!”

As many others in the Church of God are also in error, Robert Thiel has drawn up “a list of three dozen prophetic errors that various claimed COG groups hold.”

We may, however, be confident that Robert Thiel himself is a true prophet of God – we have his word on it:

“Although the position of groups like LCG is that it has NO prophets (which is likely the case, as I stopped attending late on 12/28/12), it should be noted that its top leader had repeatedly taught in the past that God may consider Bob Thiel to be a prophet (see How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God).”

“Some will come up with their preferred rational as why not to agree with the position of the Continuing Church of God on these matters. Yet not only are they biblical, on most of those points, the old WCG taught what I believe that the Bible teaches on them (on the few that it did not, one is consistent with a November 1979 HWA writing and on the others, a former adviser to HWA told me that HWA would have agreed with me on those as well, as one he had not investigated and some others were not issues when he was alive).”

If the prophecies of Herbert Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God are essential for a correct biblical understanding – why was their prophetic record so poor?

Robert Thiel writes: “We are planning on holding a conference in Nairobi, Kenya, in February 2017. We had a similar conference in 2014. The main difference this time is that we hope to have leaders from more countries. In 2014, we had leaders from Kenya and Tanzania. For the 2017 conference, we hope to have leaders from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Tanzania. We may also have some from other countries. In addition to my own attendance from the USA, we hope that Aleksandar ‘Sasha’ Veljic from Serbia, will also be able to attend.
Back in 2014 we only had about 270 people in Africa who were part of the Continuing Church of God. We now have over 2000. Because of that, this will be a more expensive conference to put on, as we will have more leaders attend via bus, plus have leaders who attend via air. And cost is the reason that we have waited nearly three years to have this conference. The famines in Tanzania, Kenya, and other parts of Africa have taxed our funds - and still are.
Yet, we really do need to get the leaders together to give them a chance to meet, discuss their needs and concerns, and go over various teachings and priorities of the Continuing Church of God.”

Robert Thiel  reports:

We had 1900 people attend the Feast of Tabernacles' sites of the Continuing Church of God this year, which is up over 30% from last year. For details and photographs, here is a link to a series of reports titled: 2016 Feast of Tabernacles Report. We also have others that claim affiliation, but were unable to attend because of financial limitations. Currently, we have over 2000 (including children) declaring they are in the Continuing Church of God.”

This is the highest festival attendance of any church group not started by former ministers of the Worldwide Church of God.

Robert Thiel quotes an article by John Ritenbaugh in The Berean (September 18) on modern day prophets of future events:

“All of us desire to know the future so we can be prepared for it. We want to be in control of our destinies and not at the mercy of events. However, some have this desire so strongly that they set themselves up as channels through which the future is revealed. Such people have misled many.

At other times, simply following a church tradition regarding a prophecy can also mislead a person. This occurs because someone in the past, sincerely believing he understood a particular prophecy, began preaching his belief, and many in his audience then believed without the resources to prove the interpretation wrong. Due to frequent repetition, it came to be accepted as truth.”

In his comment Robert Thiel makes “a list of three dozen prophetic errors that various claimed COG groups hold.”

Who then, in his opinion, may be considered to be a true prophet of God?

Although the position of groups like LCG is that it has NO prophets (which is likely the case, as I stopped attending late on 12/28/12), it should be noted that its top leader had repeatedly taught in the past that God may consider Bob Thiel to be a prophet (see How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God).”

Some will come up with their preferred rational as why not to agree with the position of the Continuing Church of God on these matters. Yet not only are they biblical, on most of those points, the old WCG taught what I believe that the Bible teaches on them (on the few that it did not, one is consistent with a November 1979 HWA writing and on the others, a former adviser to HWA told me that HWA would have agreed with me on those as well, as one he had not investigated and some others were not issues when he was alive).”

Is Robert Thiel wise in basing his prophecies on what was taught by the WCG and Herbert Armstrong? How good was WCGs - and HWAs - prophetic record?

Robert Thiel writes, August 18: “In order to reduce risk from governmental authorities, the last video I recorded is not ‘official’, no CCOG funds were spent to produce it, it contains my personal opinions, and it does not have the Bible News Prophecy start or end screens on it. But it is hoped to be of interest.

In a future sermon, I hope to discuss matters like why I did this.”
His latest sermon is
10 Reasons Not to Vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Only 10?

African Pastor Evans Ochieng reports that there are now 26 active congregations in Kenya, with a total of 721 members.
“Since Kenyans do not have big rooms to accommodate brethren on Sabbath services, many congregations were gathered under trees on services, and it is a total problem when it is raining or when the sun is hot. The Church has done a great work to help in building 9 halls to help the congregations of Eberege, Ndhiwa, Nyakach, Nyabiore, Sengera, Oriang, Tackitech, Chilani and Nyakach lower - one is permanent and 8 semi-permanent.
CCOG has done a great work to help 5 widows to get houses in Kenya and  one widow in Tanzania. This is also a big problem in Kenya simply because of poverty ... We also have 4 orphans whom we are helping to pay school fees in higher education level. Also we have 6 orphans that the church is looking after their daily living, schooling, clothes ...
CCOG is building a feast of tabernacles camp in Tanzania. It was a big problem for our brethren in Tanzania when they were crossing the border to come to keep the feast in Kenya. They were being arrested every time.
We have members in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria and Mozambique, also one family in Uganda.
We are publishing 300 magazines in Kenya. I talked with the publisher that we are going add more and produce 600 now. We also published the booklet entitled “GOD’S HOLY DAYS OR DEMONIC HOLIDAYS. So many people really interested in this book. I published 300, but it will force us to add more because of the demand. There is also a great work that church has done in giving out laptops to brethren and some schools to eradicate computer illiteracy. No church has done such wonderful works.
I am planning to travel to Malawi and Ethiopia this August. After that I will go back to Tanzania also in August. In September I will travel  to Ghana ... I am also planning to go to Nigeria if possible in September.”
Bob Thiel comments: “Overall, in Africa, we have over 1,400 affiliated with the Continuing Church of God. Another part of the reason for that growth has been our literature in English as well as several other African languages. We also have a YouTube channel called CCOGAfrica, which has messages by African leaders in several African languages. While many Africans do not have the ability to watch them, some can, as can some leaders there.”

Robert Thiel writes: “We are pleased to announce that a group from Serbia has declared that it wants to be part of the Continuing Church of God.”

The leader of the Serbian group is Aleksandar (Sasha) Veljic, who has had articles published both about him and by him since the days of In Transition. Alignment with the CCG will fulfill his ‘zeal to translate’.
In the October 1996 issue, editor John Robinson writes: “In its second issue (May 26, 1995), In Transition ran Mr. Veljic's account of Sabbath-keepers in Ukraine and the hardships they endure to keep the faith. Mr. Veljic had been part of the pioneer group, then sponsored by the Ambassador Foundation, that taught English fellow Sabbatarians in Ukraine in July and August 1994...
Before enrolling at AU he had learned of the WCG through an aunt he was visiting in England. He was baptized in March 1992 by two ministers based in England. ‘As they were counseling me for baptism,’ Mr. Veljic said, ‘they dwelled on counting the costs. They asked me if I was willing to die for my beliefs. Both of these men have now rejected the truths they asked me if I was willing to die for’...
Mr. Veljic speaks his native Serbian, Russian, English and Spanish and is hard at work on Italian...
‘I’ve translated some things into Serbian, and Croatian is very similar. I feel a passion to get the truth out. There are 15 to 20 million living in the former Yugoslavia. The gospel hasn’t gone out in my native language. Some have told me the work is finished; it’s been done. But I don’t believe it. I believe God’s greatest still work lies ahead.’ Mr. Veljic said he has a ‘zeal to translate,’ but he isn’t interested in being a leader. ‘I have no ministerial aspirations.’
Sasha Veljic writes in his recent e-mail to CCG’s Robert Thiel:
[full text here]

“In the beginning of 1995, the apostasy set in and I organized a student underground at Ambassador College. Later, I survived the United Church of God mess and joined David Hulme as I believed he was going to be the one to lead God’s people faithfully. In the course of time it became apparent that he was rather interested in his own career and was planning to change various doctrines. Thus, I was gradually pushed out of Church of God - an International Community in 2005, because I wasn’t going to give up on prophecy, identity of Israel and relations with friends in various COGs. In 2014, some of my friends felt compelled to leave COG-IC and called for reconciliation [The Father’s Call].

I renewed my contact with them as I responded to their call for reconciliation. I was offered a contact with a minister in Europe, but I had no plans to join that group. I wanted to see where it was heading to. This year I established cordial relations with you based on the end-time Work you have been doing. In spite of all my earlier disappointing results in cooperation with some COG leaders, I decided to give it again a chance, because I realize that I cannot really achieve anything worthwhile on my own, nor do I want to be a ‘lone wolf’...
So far I didn’t feel I could really trust any COG leadership to the point of cooperating with them and joining their groups. And sadly, mostly to their shame I would say, my translation talent was not used, and the Work in Serbia, however small, could not pick up the pace due to their lack of interest ...

Since you have entrusted me to do what I can do well (translation/editing), my experience with you is different. It is especially refreshing to see your commitment to virtually reach all the nations!”

Murder of Rhode Island Pastor

On Monday, June 13, John Cloud was shot dead by fellow church member, Edward Acquisto, who was then tracked down and shot dead by police officers.
John Cloud lived in Kingston, a suburb of Boston, but for many years he hosted a festival site in Newport, Rhode Island, where The Called Out of God celebrated all three of God’s annual festivals, owing to the area’s Christian history.
‘Rich’ commented at the time:
“I attended WCG in Rhode Island and rode to services with John Cloud for many years. He certainly was a very kind, intelligent, and hard working individual. Some of the fondest memories I have of John is his helping those with no money or family in the church attend the Feast. He truly cared for the least of those around him. It was very painful for me, even after all these years, to see John's blood stained clothes at the spot he died in the cemetery.”
Rich has now sent us this link to a story by Marcia Pobzeznik, correspondent of the Newport Daily News : Money was motive for killing, Tiverton Police say.
‘Edward Acquisto was given a “significant” loan in 2011, Police Chief Thomas Blakey said, and an argument about paying it back led Acquisto to shoot and kill John Cloud ... Blakey would not say how much Acquisto “legally” borrowed from the congregational church he and Cloud belonged to, but did say Acquisto apparently reneged on the agreement to pay it back.

“It does not seem that there was anything substantial paid back,” Blakey said. Blakey also could not say what Acquisto did with the money.

“It is unknown what became of the money,” Blakey said.
Acquisto, 80, formerly of Woonsocket, is a convicted felon who moved to an apartment on State Avenue Street in North Tiverton in 2003 after being released from prison for serving time for manslaughter and rape. He arranged to meet Cloud in the cemetery on Main Road on June 13 about 7 p.m., police said.
Acquisto was known to have spent time in the cemetery praying with his Bible in hand, and the two had met there in the past to pray together, Blakey said. They belonged to the same church in Kingston, Mass.

(Correction: John’s wife, Nancy, attends the Mayflower Congregational Church, but neither man was a member - so almost certainly this was a personal loan. Edward Acquisto could afford to run a car, yet he would not repay the loan.)
The night of June 13, Acquisto shot Cloud twice in the torso with a .22-caliber handgun, Blakey said. People who were in the cemetery at the time called police to report that a black Kia drove out of the cemetery, and a man lay dying near gravestones.
Cloud, 81, was a graduate of Tufts University who was a mechanical engineer and working for a medical equipment company in Dedham, Mass., at the time of his death, according to his obituary.
Acquisto was shot and killed by police after emerging from his car with a gun in hand. That part of the investigation is still ongoing, Blakey said. Asked about the gun Acquisto used and how he obtained it, seeing he was a convicted felon who should not have been in possession of a gun, Blakey only said that it was “not reported stolen”.’

The 2016 Festival of Tabernacles in Rhode Island is listed with John Clouds contact details, so please tell us if you know whether or not it will take place, and if so, the contact details of the new organizer.

The ‘European Union’ Referendum

On the 23rd of June the UK voted to leave the ‘European Union’, by 52% to 48%, 41 years after voting to remain in the ‘European Economic Community’. Wales and all the English regions voted to leave, except London - 60% to remain. Scotland voted to remain - 62%, prompting calls for another referendum on independence from the UK. Northern Ireland (56%) and Gibraltar (96%) voted to remain. The overall vote to leave raises border issues for them.

Frances Fitzgerald, the Republic of Ireland’s deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister, wrote: “The land border between north and south will become an external border of the European Union ... We will do everything in our power to ensure the Common Travel Area remains in place ... A decision to leave is inevitably a leap into the unknown.”

The Spanish government is hostile toward British sovereignty of Gibraltar, and will no longer be required to keep the border open.

The exit of the UK from the European Union was immediately declared by many ex-WCG splinter groups to be a fulfilment of biblical prophecy, prefacing the final revival of the Holy Roman Empire by the Pope and 10 Catholic EU nations.
Jamie McNab spent the first 20 minutes of his Sabbath bible study questioning the validity of the traditional ‘proof’ texts.

Ambassador Christian College

In 2004 Keith Slough founded Ambassador Christian College in Kannapolis, North Carolina - three years before LCG launched its ‘Living University’ in Charlotte. Unfortunately, his desire to build a working relationship with LCG was met with hostility.

Responding to our request for background information on ACC, he writes:
“I myself am a graduate of Ambassador College, Pasadena in 1978 having gone to Big Sandy the first three years until HWA closed it. They stopped using the name ‘Ambassador College’ in 1991, and so when I was looking for a name to use for our college -- and having been an alumnus of Ambassador -- I chose that name -- as we are a continuation of the Church of God in our Ministry -- however our church is NOT a split-off from the WCG, CGI, or any other Sabbath-keeping group.
I started alone after being ordained through the Church of God, Evangelistic Association, in 1983 -- and determined to only reach new people. I made no attempt to contact current or former members of the Church of God. We have not grown large as a result of starting with new people, but also have a different ‘spirit’ amongst our members than we would have had, had we started with former WCG members. We do not have the Armstrong idolatry, as many of the split-off groups have.
The reason for founding the college was to train new people for a new work and ministry to reach new people with the true Gospel and the true Religion of Jesus Christ. We have been on radio stations, both AM and Shortwave, reaching 100 nations worldwide at one time. Currently, we are concentrating, however, on the college itself to train new leadership. The college was founded 13 years ago in 2003 and to date we have ordained no Elders, as few have become supportive members of the Church as yet.
As to the extent that we differ from HWA’s college or Rod Meredith’s ‘Living’ university -- we are not attempting to have a liberal arts college, but ONLY and always -- a BIBLE college. I see no reason to duplicate what secular schools are doing in the way of mathematics and science, etc.

Our ‘AMBASSADOR CHRISTIAN COLLEGE’ is 100% a Bible college and is accredited as a theological institution. We teach ALL the commandments, statutes, and judgments of the Law of Moses are still in force, without a single commandment having been abolished or passed away.  Nothing of God’s Law has ‘passed away’.
Concerning what contacts have been made with the Living Church of God and how they view our ministry and college has an interesting answer. Quite infrequently I would visit their services over the last several years, until about a year ago when their pastor, ROD MCNAIR, told me I was no longer allowed to attend after learning I was an ordained Elder. He gave me one reason
-- Because we have our own congregation of the Church of God (which apparently is a problem, because I was told by Richard Ames that I was not under their authority). The Armstrong spirit is still apparent. Those not connected with their group and therefore not under their authority are watched and -- as I was -- eventually disfellowshipped. No co-operation or brotherly love there at all. I had hoped we could work together.
Doctrinally, our Ministry does have one major difference with other Church of God groups. We believe the true Gospel is the Gospel of Grace (Galatians 1:6-8), which is the Gospel of Salvation (Ephesians 1:13), and that its primary focus is the PERSON of Jesus Christ (I Cor.15:1-4) and what He has done for us. It is NOT a message about a ‘coming’ kingdom -- but the good news of how to enter that kingdom through faith in our Lord and Saviour -- a Gospel of the Kingdom that deals with how we may ENTER it through Jesus.
However, I emphasize, I was not asked about any doctrines and was not disfellowshipped due to ANY doctrinal differences -- except for the fact that I was not a member of their split-off group and therefore not under their authority. Rod McNair made this very clear to me.
We are not ashamed to preach about, lift up, exalt the name of, and WORSHIP our Lord and Saviour who died for us -- and therefore are not ashamed of the NAME of JESUS -- as was HWA and the split-off groups, who continue to ignore Jesus, who IS the Gospel.”
Sincerely, KEITH SLOUGH, minister,
Christian Fellowship Ministries of The Church of God, Inc.

(Sabbath and holy day services in Kannapolis are normally at 10.30am ET.)

Ambassador Christian College

ONLINE classes are available.

If Pentecost is on a Sundaythe Crucifixion was not on a Wednesday

According to Leviticus 23:15-16, the 50 days count to Pentecost is complete on the Sunday after the 7th Sabbath – but the count from a Sunday to a Sunday seems to be only 49 days, so until 1974 the Worldwide Church of God observed Pentecost on Monday. In 1973/74 the church's leadership undertook a comprehensive study to resolve the meaning of these verses, and presented to Herbert Armstrong the Pentecost Study Material, which persuaded Herbert Armstrong to change observance to Sunday.

Mr Armstrong wrote in his introductory note: “The crux of the matter (changing to Sunday) is in the statement, also page 1: “... when it [the Hebrew 'mi' or 'Min'] is translated as 'from' [instead of on] and is used in conjunction with the element of time, it is always used inclusively, and never exclusively.

The predominant modern way of counting is cardinal (exclusive) – 0, 1, 2, 3 etc.

The secondary way is ordinal (inclusive) counting – 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc.

The change from exclusive to inclusive counting means that, instead of counting: 1st Sunday = day 0, 1st Monday = day 1 ... 8th Monday = day 50 – count: 1st Sunday = 1st day, 1st Monday = 2nd day ... 8th Sunday = 50th day.

The Church of God 7th Day developed the doctrine of a Wednesday crucifixion and a Saturday resurrection on the assumption that counting is exclusive.

Richard Nickels, one of those who refused to accept the change from Monday to Sunday, responded in his article, Why I Believe in a Monday Pentecost: “Jesus was not mathematically illiterate. He said repeatedly that he would rise ‘the third day’, i.e. ‘after three days’, Matthew 16:21, 17:23, 20:19, 27:63; Mark 9:31, 10:34; Luke 9:22, 13:32, 18:33, 24:7, 46. See also Acts 10:40, 1 Corinthians 15:4.

The Church of God has contended that this means after 72 hours, after three full days. Those who keep a Sunday Pentecost have a tough hurdle to cross with these statements. For them, ‘the fiftieth day’ is the day when seven weeks (49 days) have been counted. If this is so, then ‘the third day’ is the day when two days have been counted. So then Jesus couldn’t have been in the grave for a full three days and three nights, as He said He would, in Matthew 12:40.”

The discussion between Jesus and Cleopas on the road to Emmaus on the Sunday after Passover highlights the problem that Richard Nickels raised.

Luke 24:18,20,21 And one of them, named Cleopas, answering said ... “and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we hoped that it was he who should redeem Israel. Yea and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things came to pass.”

Counting back three days – exclusively – brings us to Thursday – but Herbert Armstrong taught that the crucifixion was on a Wednesday. He reconciled this discrepancy in his 1952/1972 booklet, The Resurrection was not on Sunday by including in “these things” events on the day following the crucifixion which Cleopas did not mention:

(pp.12-13) “Another passage that might confuse is Luke 24:21:

“ ... And beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done.”

“These things” included all the events pertaining to the resurrection – the seizing of Jesus, delivering Him to be tried, the actual crucifixion, and, finally, the setting of the seal and the watch over the tomb the following day, or Thursday.”

If counting in the Hebrew scriptures was always inclusive, as Mr Armstrong states, we must count back three days inclusively to Friday – and it is impossible to find two extra days in order to reach a Wednesday crucifixion.

(For a detailed analysis of counting to Pentecost, please go to the Pentecost 2016 page.)

Matthew 28:19 and the Trinity

Bible Explorations, a group within the Seventh Day Adventist movement, observes God’s annual appointed times, and has been skeptical of the Trinitarian doctrine.

The SDA was originally non-Trinitarian, and It was not until 1931 that its Fundamental Beliefs included a clear Trinitarian statement:-

“That the Godhead, or Trinity, consists of the Eternal Father ... the Lord Jesus Christ ... the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead ...”

During its Unleavened Bread festival, held in Terra Bella, California, for the full 7 days, Lem Ramirez gave a video message, A Closer Look at Matthew 28:19. The message starts 15 minutes in, ends at the 1 hour mark (and seems to be based on Brian Hoecks article, The Great Commission of Matthew 28).

After this presentation, John VanDenburgh, the founder of Bible Explorations, declared, “Now we know better, dont we?”

Herbert Armstrong Library

The Herbert W. Armstrong Library has recreated on its website the format of Sabbath and Holy Day services in the Worldwide Church of God - 3 hymns (from the on-line Purple Hymnal of course), recorded Sermonette, 4th hymn, recorded Sermon and a final hymn.
A database is being built, so that local video groups can be formed, who can then provide their own opening and closing prayers - and select their own recordings if they wish.
To complete the nostalgia, a Feast of Tabernacles is being organized for Branson, Missouri, one of the locations where ‘God placed His name’ via Herbert Armstrong. All the services throughout the Feast will be selected from the website.

Church of God an International Community

David Hulme can no longer afford his popular, but expensive, videos filmed on location, such as Quest for the Real Paul (71 minutes). Instead, the latest videos are 5-10 minutes long and filmed in a studio.

It has also been unable to continue financing the print version of its quarterly magazine Vision. The Internet version has been re-designed, entailing a complete overhaul of the website, which now embodies every issue - from 1999 to the current issue - Fall 2016 - in English, French, German and Spanish.

Vision magazine has been an utter failure as the church’s only form of outreach to the world in print form. When a number of ministers left to found the Church of God, The Father’s Call, one of those ministers, Stephen Elliott, wrote, in his resignation letter to David Hulme on 28 December 2013:
“In the Feast film, the media team told us that we must find words that the world will like so they will listen to us. Jesus said that the world would hate us and not listen to our word, just as it hated Him and did not hear His word - but that was the commission He gave His disciples (John 15:18-20). Seeking to be accepted by the world is seeking to become friends with the world, and scripture says that makes us God’s enemy (James 4:4).
In August I mentioned to you that the fruit of this organization is bad. Our membership has declined, not grown. After 15 years and an estimated expense for Vision of $3+ million dollars for salaries, advertising, publishing, design, shipping, PR, video, travel and whatever, there has been no fruit from Vision or the Vision website. The only new members, other than children of members, have come because of a personal relationship with a member -  not because of Vision.”

The Vision website admits that “The Church does not intend this site to convert readers to its beliefs, nor do we use it to solicit membership.” What are the church’s beliefs? The church’s website is accessible only to church members.
A number of years ago David Hulme produced and distributed two 2-hour DVDs, but nowadays only the occasional short video is uploaded onto YouTube.

On the Sabbath of the 4th of June 2016, Warren Zehrung devoted his sermon to the (recently deceased) Karl Beyersdorfer I Knew - in which “I’ll try to lay out some answers.”

At the 8 minute mark he talked about his discussions on the trinitarian doctrine with Karl Beyersdorfer, and later at the United Church of God’s founding conference in 1995, when Viktor Kubik asked him of the whereabouts of Karl Beyersdorfer who did not attend.

“The new head of the United Church of God” (David Hulme) had confirmed to Karl his belief in the “threeness when it came to the trinity and to the nature of God.”

Warren Zehrung urged Viktor Kubik to have the trinitarian doctrine repudiated at the conference, but Viktor responded, “We’re not going to repudiate anything, we’re going forward from here” and walked off.
David Hulme was elected as UCG’s first president at the conference.
UCG’s leaders realized that the “threeness of God” would be unacceptable to most brethren, so when the statement of beliefs was published some time later, it included a non-trinitarian doctrine.

Attendances at the Church’s 2015 Festival of Tabernacles have come to hand, which provide an interesting comparison with David Hulme’s Feast of Tabernacles 2008 Progress Report:-
“In some parts of the world you will find that there are a lot of people coming into the Church. You find quite a multiplying going on in Africa at the moment. You don’t find it very much in the UK, but it’s not true of everywhere in the UK. You don’t find it everywhere in the US...
What has been happening in the Church? In the US and Canada we have 1150 people in regular attendance and we have 53 churches. If you do your maths, you realize that a lot of these churches are rather small...
At the Feast last year we had about 1300 people in attendance. Let’s go to other parts of the world. In Australia we have 68 people and six churches. In the Philippines we have 156 people and seven churches. In addition we have 11 members in six countries, remote areas all around Southeast Asia who are looked after by Australia. Last year we had 77 people at the Feast in Bright, in Australia, and 132 in Iloilo, in the Philippines.
In Africa we have an interesting situation. We have English and French speaking brethren there numbering 700! So they are a sizable portion of our total numbers. They are scattered through 38 congregations. A recent report I saw has congregations in places that even I was not aware we had people! So there are some small groups forming in countries where hitherto we have not had anybody.
In the UK we have about 300 people in 14 congregations. The Feast there is one of our larger ones, about 320 there last year. In Germany we have two congregations and 20 people. We have people of the German language background in Switzerland as well. We have France and Switzerland represented in the French language: 21 people in two congregations. In Scandinavia we have about 10 people, mostly in Denmark and Norway and Sweden, I believe.”

The numbers attending the 2015 Festival of Tabernacles were as follows:
USA : Klamath Falls, Oregon 166; Lake Arrowhead, California 190; Springdale, Arkansas 190; Deep Creek Lake, Maryland - not stated. Total 700+.

Total attendance almost halved - mostly accounted for by the loss of members to the Church of God, The Father’s Call, in January 2014.
Australia : Bright - attendance not stated
Philippines : Talisay 138.
Africa : Accra, Ghana & Benin City, Nigeria - 70; Scottsburgh, South Africa 19; Gokwe, Zimbabwe 77; Harare, Zimbabwe 111; Cotonou, Benin 123; Busa, Cameroon 45. Total 445.

The substantial fall in numbers is probably due to a discontinuation of financial support for some areas - no festival site in East Africa for example.
Europe : Llandudno, Wales, 260 from 12 countries; Les Rousses, France, over 60 from 10 countries. Total 320+

Total 2015 festival attendance : c.1600-1700.

Total 2008 church attendance : c.2400-2500.

2008 : no.
in church
2008 : no. of

USA & Canada700
UK 260 320300

John Meakin, UK minister and writer for the Church of God, an International Community (COGIC), resigned in September 2008, following undisclosed 'differences of opinion' with its president, David Hulme. After discussing rejoining the United Church of God, who were unable to offer him a salary (all United's UK ministers are unpaid), he joined the Living Church of God.
The number of LCG's congregations in the UK soon increased from 7 to 15, prompting Douglas Winnail, Director of Church Administration, to declare in May 2009: "It is certainly encouraging to see the Church growth in that area of the world—especially in light of social trends that seem to be moving in an increasingly secular and anti-Christian direction." All these new congregations were, however, in areas where COGIC had congregations.
Some indication of the unhappiness of John Meakin and ex-COGIC members can be garnered from studying David Hulme's church and personal websites.
 There is no attempt to preach the gospel to the world (Mark 16:15), even within the church's quarterly Vision magazine, which is the public's only access to the church's teachings. In the Fall 2011 issue, a reader writes: "I have seen a recurrent theme presented and most recently stated .... that the church today as we know it bears very little resemblance to the church Jesus established. I have read this same basic statement many times .... I have yet to read any solid definition of how the church today should look and act according to Vision's writers."
Contact with members of other church groups is actively discouraged.

Only church members and other financial supporters can gain access to the church web site.
David Hulme promotes himself, and not the church, posting his personal profile on various websites dedicated to business professionals. David Hulme's profile on Linkedin (shown below in red) lists his recent work experience as:

1977 — 1979

Circulation Manager (Africa) of Quest Magazine

(Writing & Editing Industry)
David Hulme added this entry in 2010. Although Quest was owned by the Worldwide Church of God, TIME magazine described it as: "nonetheless thoroughly secular. [Herbert] Armstrong gave editorial control to Robert Shnayerson, 55, a former TIME senior editor and Harper's editor in chief, who dedicated the magazine to what he called 'the pursuit of excellence' in fields as diverse as mountain climbing and genetic research."
1986 — 1995

Vice-President of Ambassador Foundation

(Non-Profit Organization, Management industry)

Supervision of Ambassador Auditorium's performing arts program

This foundation was also a secular part of the Worldwide Church of God.
David Hulme's highest profile role was as a presenter of the church's religious TV program, The World Tomorrow, but he seems not to want to admit having worked for this church.

Joseph Tkach,  leader of the Worldwide Church of God after the death of Herbert Armstrong in 1986, soon began to transform its fundamental doctrines.

David Hulme was a leading advocate for the doctrinal changes,  as the Director of Public Relations. However, growing opposition to these changes by the majority of members, and their desire for a new church that would retain the former doctrines, prompted him to attend the conference that would form the United Church of God in 1995. Despite knowing David Hulme's belief in the “threeness when it came to the trinity and to the nature of God”, he was elected as United's first President.

1995 — 1998

President of the United Church of God.

Again, he prefers not to have a church association in his personal profile.

In 1998 he was removed as President by United's Council of Elders for excessive and unauthorized spending, which had plunged United into serious debt.

He then left United, drawing away many members to his new church, the Church of God, an International Community, where he would have the full control that he felt he ought to have had as President of United.

But is it a church? Not according to his personal profile.

1998 - Present

President of Vision Media

(Writing & Editing)

 He changed this entry in 2010 to Marketing and Advertising - but has reverted to Writing & Editing.
Although the very large outlay necessary to publish the lavish quarterly journal Vision is provided by the tithes and offerings of members and other financial supporters of COGIC, David Hulme considers Vision to be his magazine
- his personal website link in the Linkedin profile page will take you to the Vision magazine website.
1990 — 2003

Education: University of Southern California

MA, Ph.D International Relations

Specialized in Middle East and Foreign Policy

His earlier education at the Worldwide Church of God's Ambassador College in Bricket Wood, England, is not mentioned.

The web site proclaims as its purpose: "Vision examines the historical and philosophical origins of current social issues and explores ways to restore peace of mind to our daily lives."

Vision Foundation International was launched in 2010, ostensibly with the mission to assist communities in developing countries to find practical solutions "to improve their physical, mental and spiritual resources, by supporting sustainable humanitarian and educational programs."

However, Vision Foundation International states that donations will be used for:

providing support for Vision Media Publishing, which publishes the international quarterly journal Vision—Insights and New Horizons;

providing support to Vision Media Productions, an independent TV production company, to produce documentaries on historical, social and environmental issues;

providing funding for documentaries which examine the historical and philosophical origins of current issues;

supporting and producing conferences which examine complex issues from a cross-disciplinary viewpoint by bringing together scholars and experts from various fields of study.
In response to unrest within the church membership, the number of biblical articles in Vision magazine were gradually been increased to being a majority by 2013, when there also appeared an acknowledgement that the magazine is funded by a church.

These changes were, however, insufficient to dissuade a number of ministers in the USA from leaving to establish The Father's Call in early January 2014. These included Brian Orchard, Steve Andrews, Bill Hutchison, Cliff Veal, Marshall Stiver, Matt King, Ted Budge, Peter Nathan, Bob Rodzaj, Stephen Elliott.

In his resignation letter to David Hulme on 28 December 2013, Stephen Elliott wrote: “In the Feast film, the media team told us that we must find words that the world will like so they will listen to us. Jesus said that the world would hate us and not listen to our word, just as it hated Him and did not hear His word - but that was the commission He gave His disciples (John 15:18-20). Seeking to be accepted by the world is seeking to become friends with the world, and scripture says that makes us God’s enemy (James 4:4).

In August I mentioned to you that the fruit of this organization is bad. Our membership has declined, not grown. After 15 years and an estimated expense for Vision of $3+ million dollars for salaries, advertising, publishing, design, shipping, PR, video, travel and whatever, there has been no fruit from Vision or the Vision website. The only new members, other than children of members, have come because of a personal relationship with a member -  not because of Vision.”

Grace Communion International

GCI employees have received a letter, informing them that their pension fund will be dissolved with effect from March 1st.
Joe Tkach Jr., having liquidated all of the Worldwide Church of God’s major assets, is now planning his retirement, and will be leaving GCI in such a parlous financial position that GCI itself might be dissolved.
Joe Tkach has expected all church areas to send in 10% of their receipts, but many have apparently been so unhappy with his governance that they have not been doing so.
GCI might be held together as an association of churches, each with its own board.

Congregation of YHWH (Jerusalem)

Don Esposito writes, January 15: “I just returned from a most amazing and historic trip to Africa that truly is a changing point to the Congregation of Yahweh Jerusalem African Chapter. This is the very first time ever that we had elders come from so many different countries on one continent in our history. We had around 100 elders/deacons/leaders attend the conference from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, S Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo, Tanzania, S Africa, Liberia and Nigeria. We also have new congregations starting in several other African countries who were not able to make the conference due to either finances or not having proper travel documents.
The work in Africa is growing mightily with several thousand new believers joining the Congregation of Yahweh Jerusalem just in the past year. Our congregations are growing quickly in Burundi, Rwanda, Congo and Nigeria, and many of these brethren risk persecution and even imprisonment due to restriction of freedom of religion in some of these areas.
34 brethren were baptized and 7 elders ordained and also 5 deacons. The work of Yahweh is moving in force in the whole of the African continent.
We are planning an African unity  conference in 2017 with other sacred name Assembly groups.”

Rome or Islam?

BBC News reported last Sabbath, January 2:

‘Saudi Arabia has executed the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, the interior ministry said. He was among 47 people put to death after being convicted of terrorism offences, it said in a statement.
Sheikh Nimr was a vocal supporter of the mass anti-government protests that erupted in Eastern Province in 2011, where a Shia majority have long complained of marginalisation.
Shia-led Iran said Saudi Arabia would pay a “high price” for the execution. A foreign ministry spokesman said Riyadh “supports terrorists ... while executing and suppressing critics inside the country.”
Iranian state TV reported that the Saudi charge d’affaires in Iran had been summoned to the foreign ministry.
Iran is the main regional rival of Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia.’
On that Sabbath, Jamie McNab gave the third in a series of messages on Islam in Prophecy, in which he has questioned the general view, held for many centuries, that Rome qualifies scripturally as the fourth kingdom in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2.

His series of messages continues at 10am Eastern Time this Sabbath.

Recorded messages and bible study notes are on this link.

United Church of God
The November-December 2017 issue of United News has reports and photos from the Festival of Tabernacles sites around the world. The total attendance was 13,941.

Winter Family Weekend 2017 brochure cover. Winter Family Weekend 2017 brochure cover

President Victor Kubik writes, December 21st, about “the largest gathering of United Church of God members in one place ... larger than any Feast site.”

“One of the biggest weeks of the year for us here in Cincinnati begins Friday evening with the annual Winter Family Weekend. It is the largest gathering of United Church of God members in one place. It will be larger than any Feast site.

The theme this year is “In the world, but not of the world” based on Jesus Christ’s final prayer for His disciples in John 17.

This year, we have 300 more players registered for basketball and volleyball with about a dozen more teams. All available rooms at the Great Wolf Lodge were immediately sold out.

We have just posted the brochure for all the events. You can see the diverse activities for all ages. They range from seminars to Young Adult Professional Networking to games and dances. Of course, the many sports activities will be ongoing in two separate venues.”

“In the world, but not of the world”?

Aren’t these holiday activities similar to those who are “of the world”?

Media Director, Peter Eddington, writes, December 22nd, that a “massive print ad campaign will feature two study aids which have proved highly successful in previous advertising efforts. These include “How to Understand the Bible” and “Heaven and Hell: What Does the Bible Really Teach?
Both of these study aids have generated very good cost-per-response in previous efforts compared to other study aids that had also been tested.

This newest promotional effort will take place using three separate coupon venues: 1) Valassis Sunday newspaper inserts will be placed in 70 million households in nearly every state. 2) M-Spark postal mail wraps, which are delivered directly into mailboxes by the postal carriers, will reach 5 million homes located mostly in the South and Midwest. 3) Parade Magazine’s Sunday newspaper insert edition will reach 5 million households in a variety of states.”

Gerald Weston, Presiding Evangelist of the Living Church of God, reported in his December 14th update that, “Mr. Jim Meredith returned ... from the funeral of Mr. Burk McNair, who died recently. He was a long-time Evangelist in another Church of God, but well-known to many of us, and part of the McNair clan. Jim’s mother was a McNair and sister of Burk.”
Jim’s mother was Margie McNair, wife of Roderick Meredith, who presided over the funeral of Carl McNair, Burk’s brother, in 2004.
Jonathan McNair and Rod McNair were pall-bearers at Carl’s funeral - but Burk McNair’s funeral was not an LCG event - he was in “another” Church of God.

Burk McNair died on December 5th, aged 85.
He attained the ‘rank’ of evangelist in the Worldwide Church of God (as did his brother Raymond), and he was a pastor with UCG until his retirement in 2002.
Two other brothers, Marion and Carl, were also WCG ministers.

Victor Kubik writes: “He is the last survivor of the McNair brothers, who many of us have known over the years. He was preceded in death by his wife, Billie Sue, earlier this year. Gary Petty will officiate at his funeral this coming Sunday.
Burk McNair has a full history of faithfulness and service in the ministry. Many of us had the privilege of knowing and working with him. I had gotten to know him best in the early days of the Council of Elders and appreciated his generous and merciful spirit. He will be remembered for his love and study of God’s Word.”

Lifenets update from Beverly Kubik:
“Our LifeNets Business Center in Lilongwe, Malawi is providing a valuable service to the community as well as providing a few jobs. Rolling blackouts throughout the poorer countries of Africa can be extremely frustrating, so the solar panels are proving a valuable service when there is no electricity.
The third shop has just opened as a beauty salon and barber. Your prayers and support are appreciated in all that we do. Two additional areas are also using solar now as the need becomes greater and greater.
E&M Ladies Smart Salon and Barbershop opened December 12, 2017 in Lilongwe, Malawi. This is a LifeNets livelihood development project that will serve a community and provide an income to the Mitimoni family, whose chief breadwinner is unable to work because of health.The salon will provide haircuts, hairstyling, and any related services. It is located in the LifeNets Business Center in Mchesi area in Lilongwe. It has potential to provide services in the neighborhood that may not otherwise be offered, especially considering the recent frequent power outages. The LifeNets Business Center is powered by solar. Esther Mitimoni and her sister Miriam will operate the salon. Esther was previously assisted by LifeNets to obtain a certification for working in a salon.
LifeNets has provided Latin American students more than $25,000 annually in scholarship support. This program here have been ongoing since 2001 when we started in El Salvador and Guatemala. Over these years, we have been happy to see many happy outcomes in their lives as they have become responsible citizens, and pillars in their churches as they trained for lifetime careers. Overall, we help more than 100 students a year.”
On April 17, 2017 we personally delivered two sewing machines to two ladies in Solwezi, Zambia. Solwezi is located in northwest Zambia on the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
Double Your LifeNets Donation : Many companies will match their employees’ and retirees’ charitable contributions. Check with your personnel office to see if your company will do so. They will provide the necessary forms and instructions. Then send LifeNets the completed form. Thank you very much! Donations to LifeNets are tax-deductible in the United States.

Council of Elders Meeting Report, 4-7 December 2017, includes the following
Operation Manager Reports:
Media and Communications Services—Peter Eddington
• United News circulation is the highest it’s ever been—at 16,134.
• Co-worker count is now the highest it’s ever been—6,446.
• The donor list now 8,386 people (all-time high is 9,564 from June of last year).

• Total Beyond Today (BT) magazine subscribers are the highest they’ve been since March of 2013 at 324,738.
BT YouTube channel has had 6.3 million video views since November 2006, has 21,895 subscribers (a 30% increase since August of this year), and hosts more than 1,650 videos.
The average number of videos viewed per day for the past 12 months is 3,724.
• Top 3 Beyond Today video views on YouTube (1 Nov. 2016-31 Oct.31, 2017): The Moment After You Die—199,992 views, Moving Beyond Tragedy—49,320, The Lost Tribes of Israel: Why They Matter—45,400.
Doctrine Committee—John Elliott
Since the August meetings the Doctrine Committee (DC) and its sub-committees have been reviewing submitted papers on the following topics:
• Calendar postponements
• God and Jesus Christ in Scripture
• Alignment of Passover and NTBMO
• Tattoos
• Appropriateness of the term ‘mister’
• Sardis Church Era

The main part of the President’s update on December 7th concerned “... the need for more working space and video recording facilities. The project called for a separate video studio to be added to the south side of the current building.”
The total cost will be around 1 million dollars.
“Architectural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and site drawings have now been completed. From these drawings, costs have been more accurately estimated to be $750,000 for construction of the building. Above and beyond the cost of construction has already been an outlay of about $35,500 for these design and architectural drawings, plus various permits.
Our members have been very generous, and the video recording studio fund now stands at just over $700,000! Thank you! So, while the amount currently in that fund is getting close to what is needed for construction, it still is not sufficient.
We have also discussed with the Council the need for contributions to equip the new recording studio with the needed lighting, cameras, audio gear and other incidental equipment. While we plan as much as possible to use existing equipment in the expanded studio, there is still the need for some updated equipment that keeps pace with new technology fitted to the new space. We calculate this to be about $200,000.”

Announcements from Charles Melear re future festival sites:
“For the fifth time Anchorage (Alaska) is being sponsored as a ‘specialty site’. Although nobody is expected to be turned down there are special instructions for applying to this Feast site. The 200 to 300 expected attendees will again be hosted by the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel and Spa for both housing and meeting space.”

For 2018 the British Isles Feast site will return to the coastal town of Llandudno in North Wales. This was announced in the June 2017 British Isles member newsletter. Feast sites for 2019 and beyond are undetermined. We are aware of the interest overseas visitors have in Feast sites in both Scotland and Ireland, but the challenge is that most of the local members live in the south-east of England.” UCG has a small congregation in Stirling, Scotland, where the festival was held in 2008, 2010 and 2012, in preference to Edinburgh, which has an airport.

A COG member comments, 18/11/2017:
Trouble may be brewing with UCG in northern Brazil.

President Kubik went with Jorge de Campos, for a visit there this Sabbath.
Mr. de Campos told a service in Oklahoma last Sabbath there’s some sort of “witchcraft” issue there. He did not explain whether he means rebelliousness or literal witchcraft. We’ll see.

Viktor Kubik reported, October 19th, on the deaths of UCG elders:
“Allan and Joey Levitt (ordained into the ministry this past April) from the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, congregation, were killed in a tragic car accident on their way to the Feast of Tabernacles in Cochrane, Alberta, on Wednesday morning, Oct. 4. They had been assigned many duties with speaking and music at the Feast.
The Levitts were 81 and 80, respectively, and long-time members of the Church, starting to attend back in the mid-1960s. They were highly regarded and greatly loved. The Saskatoon congregation is small and the loss of both an elder and his wife will affect all the members there greatly.
Al and Joey began attending the Radio Church of God in the mid-1960s, when the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, church began. They were always there from those early days, front and center in their service to the church in general as well as serving their spiritual brothers and sisters one-on-one. They were always one of the first to volunteer for special music, both choir and duets, and Joey played the piano for hymns for the 50-plus years they attended church. Al was never short of one-liners and groaner jokes to lighten up everyone.
Even though they suffered many trials and heartaches, they always had big smiles and hugs for everyone around them. Despite being in their 80s, both Al and Joey still served their brethren with all their loving hearts and had a stabilizing, calming influence on those all around them.

We sadly announce the death of our brother and fellow pastor John Cafourek, 70, on Oct. 12. Earlier in August he had a heart attack but had been recovering well. I spoke to John just before the Feast and he was optimistic about returning back to work before the end of the year.
John and Sandy went to the Feast of Tabernacles in Bend, Oregon. While there, he experienced congestive heart failure symptoms and they both went back to Salem, where John had an echocardiogram. An unexpected situation was uncovered. He has had a pseudoaneurysm, a hole in the wall/muscle tissue of the heart. Immediate surgery was needed and John underwent nine and a half hours of surgery on the seventh day of the Feast. He made it through the surgery successfully, and the initial prognosis looked good. As the night continued, however, his condition deteriorated. The doctors struggled to control the bleeding, but his body would not respond to efforts to warm him up. His heart finally gave out a little after 1 a.m. Pacific time on Oct. 12.
Salem, Oregon, elder Ben Light who was keeping the Feast in Mexico at the time notified us as follows:
“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I notify you of the death of John Cafourek. John has served God’s people for many years, in many different congregations and was a shepherd in its truest sense. The sheep always came first. We’re going to miss him terribly, but we praise and thank God for the example he set and for the time that we had with him. Precious in the eyes of God is the death of His saints. We all look forward to the fulfillment of God’s plan, and the resurrection of His saints - when we will see him again.”
John Cafourek was born in South Dakota. He attended Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, from 1965 to 1969, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He received a Master’s degree in psychological counseling from Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, in 1978. John pastored churches in Nebraska, North Dakota, Missouri, Mississippi, Washington and Oregon.
He directed speech clubs for men, gave seminars on abuse and addictions, and traveled as an international speaker in Canada, England, New Zealand, Jamaica, Australia, Estonia and other areas. He also directed a United Church of God preteen camp for children ages 6 to 12. He married his wife, Sandy, in 1969, and they have two daughters and eight grandchildren.
Over the years, John used his Master’s degree in conjunction with his pastoral work to help many with unique issues within the body of Christ. John had a very kind, patient, and caring way about him that sincerely helped many.
In July of 2004, John Cafourek became chair of the United Church of God’s Focused Education Program which involved providing support for addictive behaviors, dysfunctional marriage/family issues, abuse and many other dysfunctions. He authored many articles on addiction for our publications, including Breaking Free.
John Cafourek and I graduated from Ambassador College the same year and our ministerial careers paralleled one another. He started in Nebraska as a trainee and I in South Dakota. We saw each other often at ministerial conferences. Later in the 1970s, we were neighboring pastors in Missouri and Kentucky and we combined church services regularly for holy days. In 2011, we both kept the Feast together in Estonia, where he gave a particularly enlightening sermon “The Rest of the Dead” that was well received by Eastern European attendees who had never heard this truth before.
John was a principled and honest person. He is described by friends and acquaintances as a person without guile and deeply converted. He was respected as a good listener and understanding counselor. He was well-studied in the scriptures. We consulted with him from time to time when referring brethren to competent sources of help for addictions and abuse.
I will greatly miss John’s laugh and good humor, as well as his signature “C4X” on memos and e-mails.

Update from President Viktor Kubik, August 24th: “The Council of Elders has just concluded its first quarterly meeting of the current 2017-2018 fiscal year. The Council maintains an air of transparency and some of the meetings are recorded and can be viewed by all. This helps everyone understand how we come to some of the thinking behind the main pillars of the Church, which is the proclamation of the gospel to the world and the care of congregations.”
“Full written summary reports of the meetings will be posted online at  as well as video reports.
A review of the recent member survey was summarized by Julie Zutz Brown, a professional in the field of survey management and interpretation ... The conclusions from this survey will be very helpful in modifying our strategic plan for the next fiscal year.”
Some of the members
views, particularly from young adults, might make uncomfortable listening for ministers, explaining why this “air of transparency” is not prevalent in the other main ex-WCG church groups.
There are also updates from Malawi, Zimbabwe
, Brazil and Angola.

Viktor Kubik writes that Jorge and Kathy de Campos left for Angola on July 26thto visit the Church of God in Angola (Igreja de Deus Mundial em Angola), which is formally working together with United Church of God, an International Association , to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God around the world.

The Church of God in Angola is Portuguese-speaking, has approximately 6000 brethren (3000 baptized members) and 31 ordained elders ....
You can follow their travels
on their travel blog at”

The Worldwide Church of God in Angola will not become part of UCG, which does not share the WCG's fundamental belief that the Church of God was restored by the Apostle of Christ, Pastor Herbert W. Armstrong.

The UCG leadership has followed up their letter of June 29th by posting two articles on the members website re the Nature of God doctrine:
Who Was Jesus Christ Before His Human Birth?
by Scott Ashley (July 7th), and Who Is Our Creator? by Tom Robinson (July 11th). Both of these articles had also been published in the July/August 2017 issue of United News.

Church President Viktor Kubik and Chairman Donald Ward wrote, on June 28th, a letter to members on the Nature of God, because ...

“From time to time some brethren have become troubled by sermons or conversations in which they get the idea that the Church is going to change doctrine ...

Some congregations are not as vigilant as they could be in monitoring sermons placed on their local church website. And some few sermons do not properly reflect the official doctrines of the Church …

The nature of God and Christ was one of the topics of controversy that led to the formation of the United Church of God.”

James Malm commented in on the above letter, June 28th:
“The UCG Chairman and President have finally come out with a lightly veiled rebuke of Mark Mickelson and the heresy he is openly teaching; that the God of the Old Testament known to Israel was exclusively God the Father ...
There are other elders with other different issues, some teaching the trinity etc.
The UCG leaders are suddenly realizing that Mark’s teaching is a very large threat to UCG, because Mark’s teaching is very close to the Ken Westby ‘One God Movement’ so often featured in The Journal.

Warren Zehrung talked about his discussions on the nature of God at the formation of UCG in 1995 in his Sabbath message of the 4th of June 2016 (starting at the 8 miniutes mark). His sermon concerned the (recently deceased) Karl Beyersdorfer I Knew - in which “I’ll try to lay out some answers.”

At the conference, Viktor Kubik asked him of the whereabouts of Karl Beyersdorfer who did not attend. Warren Zehrung explained to him that this was because, The new head of the United Church of God” (David Hulme) had confirmed to Karl his belief in the “threeness when it came to the trinity and to the nature of God.”

He urged Viktor Kubik to have the trinitarian doctrine repudiated at the conference, but Viktor responded, “We’re not going to repudiate anything, we’re going forward from here” and walked away.

Joseph Tkach, leader of the Worldwide Church of God after the death of Herbert Armstrong in 1986, soon began to water down and then transform its fundamental doctrines.

Change to the Nature of God doctrine began in 1990, and then in 1992 the God Is’ booklet was published, which stated that: “The Worldwide Church of God does not teach that the Holy Spirit is a person, because we believe Scripture is not explicit on this point, and human language cannot be. We believe the Bible portrays the Holy Spirit as the presence of God in action, distinct from the Father and the Son, yet one with them ... The church affirms the oneness of God and the full divinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Expressing doubt over the personage of the Holy Spirit, but declaring it to be distinct from, yet one with, the Father and the Son, was a ‘halfway stage point’ toward the transformation to a trinitarian doctrine in 1994.

David Hulme, the Director of Public Relations, was WCGs leading advocate for the doctrinal changes. Despite his advocacy for the ‘new understanding’, including the “threeness when it came to the trinity and to the nature of God”, he was elected as United's first President.

UCG’s leaders soon realized that it would be essential to satisfy the desire of the vast majority of potential members for a new church that would retain the former doctrines, and so its Fundamental Beliefs published later reflected this.

Public access to Viktor Kubik’s 2016 Pentecost sermon has been blocked, but you can read a transcript on, under ‘A Spirit of Remembrance’.
begins by confirming that “the holy spirit is not a person” - and calling it “the force of creation.”

At the 11 minute mark he says, “The Father was not the father of Jesus - the holy spirit conceived Jesus.”

Then at 24 minutes, “the holy spirit does so many things, everything from creating the universe, creating the earth ...”

Viktor Kubik subsequently retracted the above statements, which are contrary to the Fundamental Beliefs of UCG, but are in line with what was taught in the booklet God Is’.

Other ministers in the Tkach era went beyond this ‘halfway stage’.
David Pack, in sermon no.58 a few months ago, recalled a guy (Clyde Kilough) “who had bought into and taught the trinity. I had his sermon - The TRINITY - and 200 people followed him. He went on to be the President of United. Now he’s a top minister in COGWA ...
I listened. I mean, the whole thing - eyeballs and elbows - taught it all; swallowed hook, line and sinker - and they followed him
(into the UCG), because they said, “Well, it’s just the nature of God. We’re not really changing anything.”

Report of the Council of Elders' meetings on May 9-11

Victor Kubuk writes, June 8th:
“Indianapolis and Terre Haute combined for Pentecost at Brown County.
Bev and I went to Indiana, where about 140 from the Indianapolis and Terre Haute congregations met at Brown County State Park in southern Indiana for a “Pentecost weekend.” Many brethren arrived Friday evening and stayed at the park until services concluded on Sunday afternoon. Saturday night there was a “Concert for God” where several performed sacred music. An orchestra was assembled as well as a choir. It was all well done and all enjoyed themselves immensely.

On Pentecost, I gave the sermon and I look to a time that is described in the second chapter of the book of Acts. The Holy Spirit was powerfully poured out on the Church and that power was the game changer as the Church suddenly grew from 120 to 3000 and then by another 2000 shortly afterward. This great outpouring was promised to the “Last Days” yet to come. What happened at Pentecost in 31 A.D. was only a type of what will yet happen.

Earl Roemer sent me a report about the LifeNets Developing Nations Scholarship Program students in the Philippines. We are so pleased to see the fruits of this program here and other places in the world. I have posted this report showing not only what they have studied, but also what jobs some of them are getting. These young people are becoming pillars of support and strength in their local congregations. You can read about some of the students at

Donald Ward reported, May 19: “We have just completed one of the most inspiring meetings of the General Conference of Elders (GCE) in recent times. On the Sabbath there were 641 attendees for services, and there were some 7,000 brethren from around the world that joined us via the webcast.”

Milan Bizic’s report of the annual General Conference of Elders on May 7th:

Secretary Gerald Seelig announced the ballot results:
Council of Elders Seats:
Rainer Salomaa (international), Aaron Dean, Don Ward and Dan Dowd elected.
2017/2018 Strategic Plan: Yes 241; No 16 - Passed
2017/2018 Operation Plan: Yes 235; No 21 - Passed
2017/2018 Budget: Yes 235; No 21 - Passed
Amendment to Constitution Section 5.1.1(1) -

amendment to the governing documents: 140 Yes; 115 No - Failed
Revisions to the Rules of Association: 221 Yes; 23 No - Passed

President Viktor Kubik “said that he was asked again what the purpose was for the recent church-wide fast we had.”
The fast was called for in April because “we need God to help us as never before.” He again failed to explain what was so special about this particular GCE or about the current state of UCG that required God’s help “as never before.”

“He said there have also been questions about the structure and function of Ministerial and Member Services.”
Church bureaucracy was reduced in 2010 by scrapping the regional pastor system, a hangover from the WCG. All of the redundant regional pastors decided to join COGWA. Why was it replaced by another level of bureaucracy - the MMS?
Viktor Kubik said “... what he would like to do is put together a chart for the ministry to express how the department works and functions.”

“Among our fiscal challenges identified by [Treasurer Rick] Shabi are an aging membership, flat or declining income, an aging ministry and rising expenses. As our ministry ages, many will retire. We have ongoing commitments to our faithful ministry to provide for them in their retirement, and we also have increasing salaries due to hiring new pastors to care for the congregations.”
The first action of UCG
s founders in 1995 (before doctrinal matters) was to set their own salaries and pension scheme. Most of those ministers have retired or will shortly do so.

Viktor Kubik writes from Malawi, April 13th: “A number of significant milestones have been reached. We have two pastors - serving each of the large cities of Lilongwe and Blantyre. The latest is placing pastor Lewis VanAusdle and his wife, Lena, in Lilongwe to care for the congregation here, as well as the group in northern Mzuzu and helping the congregation in Chipata, Zambia. Strong pastoral support is vital for a congregation to flourish.
We are also providing church buildings in both locations for them to meet in. On this journey we wanted to see the progress of both buildings, which will also be the sites for two separate Feasts of Tabernacles. In addition, the property in Blantyre will be the site for youth camp.
Malawi is a very poor country. Most of the brethren live at subsistence levels. Pay is meager. Some jobs pay $40 a month. If you make over $100 a month, that is ‘good’ in this country. Through LifeNets we have provided humanitarian support in the form of scholarships for learning a profession, food security, boreholes and more.
We are flying today from Blantyre, Malawi, to Lusaka, Zambia, where we will meet with pastor Major Nawa Talama, and then to northern Zambia to be with Derrick Pringle, with whom we will continue to one of our newer congregations in Solwezi, close to the border with the Congo. A number of people are coming from the Congo to meet with us.”

In November 2016 Viktor Kubik gave the sermon at the Church of God International congregation in Medina, Ohio. This was a significant development as, prior to the split with COGWA, UCG’s ministers were barred from speaking at other churches. (COGWA has remained inward looking, its only change having been the strengthening of its hierarchical church government structure.)
On April 11th, the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread, the Medina church will be visiting UCG’s Cleveland congregation in Grafton, Ohio.

Viktor Kubik writes: “A few people have asked for more information about the church-wide fast that was announced in a joint letter from the Council of Elders and the administration for the Sabbath of April 22. Some have wondered if there is some special, unmentioned reason for this fast ...
Prayer and fasting are often spoken of as spiritual tools to draw close to God. We beseech God to help us be wise in understanding His will. We ask God for guidance for His Church as well as for ourselves, personally.
For several years in the early days of the United Church of God, we fasted as a church before the annual meeting of the General Conference of Elders. We asked God to guide the messages delivered, as well as decisions made. However, we have not practiced this in recent years and in our Council meetings earlier this month, it was decided to fast as a Church before holding the annual meeting - which will be held a few weeks after the fast. It is not intended for any other reason except to ask God to humble us.

Owing to an overwhelming number of applications to attend the festival site in Torquay, Devon, registration has now been closed to further applications from outside Britain and Ireland.

The Planning Brochure for the Festival of Tabernacles 2017 is now online.

Viktor Kubik writes: “Over the years we have greatly deregulated the assigning of entire churches to a specific Feast site because they were so large and we had to control attendance. But that has not been done in some time, and our current laissez faire system has worked well.

However, at some of the less popular sites we do have shortages of able people to care for physical needs of the vulnerable and disadvantaged. God does care for them, and so should we.”

One of the most popular sites will be the Edgewater at Panama City, Florida. Charles Melear writes: “Sometimes a person can find a better deal for Feast housing by searching the Internet. But ...

If every member did that, the rental for the Edgewater Beach Resort would be $162,000 and we wouldn’t be able to have the Feast there.”
Over $20,000 per day for a meeting venue?

The venue is so expensive because of the lavish facilities provided at the Edgewater (and at many venues used by other corporate Churches of God).

Those members who can afford to stay there can probably afford to pay more to enable the Church to pay less.

Stephen Allwine, an elder in the Twin Cities congregation, has been indicted by a grand jury for the 1st degree murder of his wife, Amy, in November 2016.
He was arrested in January, when the police revealed the bizarre circumstances of the killing.
Husband is charged with shooting dead his wife then trying to disguise her death as a suicide by staging her body with a handgun ‘after failed murder-for-hire plots paid for with bitcoins on Dark Web’.” (Besa Mafia proved to be a hoax website.)
They first met when they were students at Ambassador College in Big Sandy, Texas. UCG released the following statement:
“United Church of God officials expressed profound shock and sadness in learning of the January 17 arrest of Stephen Allwine on the charges of second-degree murder of his wife Amy Louise Allwine. Two months earlier on November 13, Amy Allwine had been found dead at her St. Paul area suburban home by police and paramedics following an emergency call from her husband.
Church officials and members were first stunned and grieved when they learned of the tragic death of Amy in November. After hearing of the tragedy, Church President Victor Kubik and his wife Beverly immediately traveled from Ohio to Minnesota to be with family members and show support during a heart-rending time for the congregation. Allwine had served as a lay elder for several years.
President Kubik has called for renewed prayers for the families involved as details of the charges emerge. He said that the whole situation was “tragic and singularly devastating.”
Area police noted in their initial public comments that Amy’s death appeared “suspicious” and promised that an expanded investigation would take place. Allwine was not arrested nor named as a suspect at that time. During the investigation local church officials positively cooperated with police and law enforcement officials.
Church teachings based on the Bible condemn murder, and the United Church of God follows the teachings of Jesus Christ about the sanctity of marriage and the importance of loving family environments. “Given our biblical commitment and our love for our members, this situation deeply hurts and grieves all of us,” Kubik said. The Church president asked for prayers of comfort, healing and understanding for all.”

The Council of Elders has called for a church-wide fast.
“We humbly ask the entire United Church of God to join the Council of Elders and the administration for a day of prayer and fasting to beseech God for the necessary wisdom needed to understand His will. The Council has set the date for this fast for the Sabbath of April 22, which we pray is a day when we can all fast and beseech God together as a church. There is a great synergy created when we all fast together for the purpose of humbling ourselves and drawing closer to our heavenly Father. We are not fasting to get, but to give; that is, to be able to more powerfully proclaim the coming Kingdom of God.”

Videos of the Council of Elders meetings, February 27 - March 2

The only matters of significance were in the doctrine committee report by John Elliott (starts at 24 minutes). Most ex-WCG leaders either wish to make no changes to Herbert Armstrong’s final doctrines, or they impose changes with no opportunity for discussion by the members. They must either accept them, join another group - or maybe even start their own church. The UCG is to be commended for giving due consideration to doctrinal papers submitted by members, and discussing them openly.
John Elliott noted that “several of those watching have said, ‘we’d like a little more information, a little more depth about some of the topics’. That’s sort of a Catch 22 in a way. The more you open up, the more opinions might come in on it, but in reality, believe me, if there is anything substantial, it will come to the doctrine committee. Nothing is getting buried ...” He listed the doctrine committee’s objections to the proposals for 3 current projects:  

§ Project 46: Unleavened Bread Services should be held for Seven Days.
Mr. Armstrong made a bad decision to cancel it. John Elliott responded:
[1] It was a localized event, based around one or two college campuses, not something done as a broad church observance..
It was a centralized event initially, later regional, and then international, as other countries became aware of it and made arrangements to keep it.
In 1952 Herbert Armstrong declared: “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 ... Next spring, we shall plan a full eight-day festival, to last thru the entire seven days of unleavened bread following the Passover.”
At that time there was only one FOT site - in Belknap Springs, Oregon.
Building began on a tabernacle near Big Sandy, Texas, to house this event.
(The college campus there was not founded until 1964.)
[2] There is no scriptural directive for daily services, as there is for the FOT.  
Mr. Armstrong wrote in April 1954: “While it is not made obligatory by God that everyone remain thru the entire 8 days, we urge all who possibly can to plan to do so.”
There was no organization and directive from Pasadena for all areas around the world to keep it, as there was with the Festival of Tabernacles.
[3] It was held for only a brief number of years.
It was held for 15 years: 1953-1967. It was cancelled in 1968, not because Mr Armstrong ruled that there was no biblical obligation, but because church income dropped alarmingly at this time of year, and “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.” (Time was short, as the Great Tribulation was prophesied to begin in 1972.)
§ Project 54: The Earth was created 6000 years ago (Young Earth Creationism).
Does the question of whether God created the Earth 6000 years ago - or billions of years ago, and then re-fashioned the Earth to make it suitable for mankind - have an impact on our Christian conduct?
§ Project 11: Passover and the NTBMO are on the same evening.
It is proposed that Israel kept the first Passover, staying in their houses all night, also spoiled the Egyptians that night, and traveled with their animals to assemble at Rameses that night, and all marched out of Rameses on the same night. This agrees with Jewish tradition re the time of the killing of Passover lambs.
1 Corinthians 11:23, ‘The Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread’. That was the 14th, so UCG doctrine is to observe Passover on Abib (Nisan) 14th, and The Night To Be Much Observed on the 15th. Some gatherings have a fellowship meal on this night, but without the Jewish symbols.
Others refer to the observance on Abib (Nisan) 14th as the ‘Lord’s Supper’, and regard the 15th as the Passover. The titles are different, but the observance of these two events can be similar in practice.

Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread in Italy:

“You are welcome to commemorate Jesus Christ’s PASSOVER with us, as well as celebrating the first and/or the last High days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread at our meeting place in the city of Milan. If you plan to be touring in Italy during the springtime and are wishing to attend Church services with us, please contact us. We will be happy to have you sharing time with us in Christian fellowship. Also, if you need any lodging as nearest as possible to our Church meeting place we’ll be glad to help you find a suitable but not expensive place to stay overnight.
Tours to Venice, Lake Como and other places in Italy can be organized if there will be a sufficient number of interest brethren. In any case, please express your possible interest now and commit later. More details will be sent upon request.
The PASSOVER Services and the sermons will be given by Italian UCGIA ministers and senior members, with simultaneous translation, if needed.
The night and day temperature range is 75-90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Detailed information is displayed inside your Passover/Unleavended Bread Registration Form.
The little flock of Italian brethren hopes that you can feast in Italy this year. We are looking very much forward to welcome you and fellowshipping with you in Jesus Christ.
To either Apply or Login CLICK HERE
We suggest that you submit your Feast Application now or as soon as possible. Once you submit it, a Feast Password will be emailed to you. Through our website’s FEAST LOGIN AREA, your Feast Password and your Nickname will make you enter your private Seven-step Registration area, where you can eventually secure your Feast Bookings.”

Viktor Kubik issued an update on Jan 19 ... about a ministerial conference in Atlanta, Jan.15-17, and a visit to Oklahoma City, Jan.21-22. No mention of the murder ... however he also wrote about Standing Fast When the Fire Comes:
“Have you ever been figuratively hit between the eyes with the sudden onset of a major trial, particularly one that seems to come from nowhere? We have the certain and unbreakable promises from God that He will bless us and sustain us in this life. But when a trial comes and things don’t go well, our faith may be shaken. It is easy in those trying times to start questioning things that we once felt were sure ...”

The Daily Mails report of the arrest of Stephen Allwine, an elder in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, congregation, on a charge of murdering his wife, Amy. They first met when they were students at Ambassador College in Big Sandy, Texas. He will appear in court on February 13th, and is expected to plead not guilty.

Husband is charged with shooting dead his wife then trying to disguise her death as a suicide by staging her body with a handgun ‘after failed murder-for-hire plots paid for with bitcoins on Dark Web’.

The UCG has released the following Initial Statement:
United Church of God officials expressed profound shock and sadness in learning of the January 17 arrest of Stephen Allwine on the charges of second-degree murder of his wife Amy Louise Allwine. Two months earlier on November 13, Amy Allwine had been found dead at her St. Paul area suburban home by police and paramedics following an emergency call from her husband.
Church officials and members were first stunned and grieved when they learned of the tragic death of Amy in November. After hearing of the tragedy, Church President Victor Kubik and his wife Beverly immediately traveled from Ohio to Minnesota to be with family members and show support during a heart-rending time for the congregation. Allwine had served as a lay elder for several years.
President Kubik has called for renewed prayers for the families involved as details of the charges emerge. He said that the whole situation was “tragic and singularly devastating.”
Area police noted in their initial public comments that Amy’s death appeared “suspicious” and promised that an expanded investigation would take place. Allwine was not arrested nor named as a suspect at that time. During the investigation local church officials positively cooperated with police and law enforcement officials.
Church teachings based on the Bible condemn murder, and the United Church of God follows the teachings of Jesus Christ about the sanctity of marriage and the importance of loving family environments. “Given our biblical commitment and our love for our members, this situation deeply hurts and grieves all of us,” Kubik said. The Church president asked for prayers of comfort, healing and understanding for all.

The January-February issue of United News is now on-line.

“... during their December quarterly meeting, the Council of Elders approved a plan to build a larger television studio and re-purpose the current studio and other media production space at the home office ... The estimated cost of the project is between $500,000 and $600,000, and one donor has already pledged to pay half the bill. The rest will come from donations and not from operating funds.”
More than 1,100 people attended the Winter Family Weekend at the Great Wolf Lodge in Ohio, and there were 330 in Portland, Oregon.

The December 29th update concerns the harrowing conditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the efforts to provide assistance by elders and congregations in Northern Zambia (who are themselves very poor).
Viktor Kubik writes: “Beverly and I plan to visit Zambia’s Copperbelt and Solwezi during the upcoming Days of Unleavened Bread. Please pray for people with whom God is working in such harsh and evil environments.”

Shawn Cortelyous written report of all the CoE’s meetings is now uploaded.

Videos of the open sessions of the Council of Elders meetings, December 5-8, have been uploaded on to the CoE website.

Viktor Kubik gave his presentation on the 5th, and in his written update on December 8th stated, concerning the Church’s Ambassador Bible College:
“Last week, we had a special presentation by recently retired State Department employee and Living Church of God elder Ray Clore. He gave an interesting presentation about the Foreign Service and a scenario of the prophecies in Daniel 11.”  Who is Ray Clore?
In February 2007 Gavin Rumney asked: “Who were [WCG’s] best ministers? ... Just this once let’s play nice. I realise this could be a very, very short discussion. But who knows ...” Ray Clore received only positive comments among the 131 (mainly negative) responses, including this:
“He was not paid by the church. He had a full time job with the US State Department - a diplomat of some sort - and was often stationed in not so savory parts of the world. While there, he became the local WCG minister to whatever members they had in that area.
So, he ended up being the local WCG minister in such garden spots as Haiti and Cameroon. He had some interesting stories about the years he spent in such places. Yes, years, not weeks or months like some other ‘ministers’.
Long story short, Mr. Raymond Clore was one of the few ministers I ever knew who was a true servant. He was never a big wig and never tried to be. He served some of the poorest and humblest COG people on the planet. And he was never paid a dime by the church.”

The November/December issue of United News contains attendances and reports from Festival of Tabernacles sites around the world. The total worldwide attendance was 13,868.

It also has a festival report from the Church of God Worldwide in Angola, which has over 6,000 brethren, of which 3,025 are baptized, throughout 62 congregations and with 31 ordained elders. 3,500 brethren from various regions travelled to Huambo, Angola's second largest city, to keep the festival.

(If you wish to read this website in English, copy the above website link and paste it into Google Translate.)

UCG is providing the Angolan church with Bible Study Guides and copies of the Beyond Today magazine (A Boa Nova) in Portuguese.

A recording is now available of Viktor Kubiks presentation at the Church of God International congregation in Medina, Ohio, on the 19th of November.

This is a very significant development. Prior to the split with COGWA, United’s ministers were barred from speaking at other churches, but under the presidencies of Dennis Luker and Viktor Kubik, UCG has become much more outward looking.

(COGWA has gone in the other direction, spending the first few months of its existence discussing church government, which resulted in much longer tenures for its hierarchy. Its operations remain the same as before the split.)
CGI has been collaborating with many other 7th Day churches, exchanging speakers, and co-sponsoring events, including festival sites this year with Christian Educational Ministries in Kentucky (where Chris Rowland gave two sermons) and, at two sites in Florida, Common Faith Network, Church of God Miami & Church of the Sovereign God (previously part of Global Church of God).

UCG is offering a tour in Greece for 2017. The cost of the basic tour (October 3-13) is $3644 for one adult and $5314 for a couple.

The UCG 2017 Greece Feast of Tabernacles Tour has been designed to split time between the Isle of Crete and the Greek mainland. This will provide the opportunity to begin the Feast in the relaxed pace of the most popular Greek island. There will be one day for optional touring, and the rest of our time will be for services and relaxing.
From there we will travel to Athens and visit historic sites - the Acropolis, Parthenon, Mars Hill, and ancient Corinth. Our time here will revolve around services and touring the important sites of Athens.
Pre Feast options will be available for arriving early to Crete or to the Islands of Mykonos & Santorini. (Because of seasonal considerations, Mykonos is only offered as a pre-trip.) Post Feast options are possible for Athens, the Peloponnese Peninsula and Santorini.
This promises to be a very rewarding Festival Tour.” Charles Melear.

“Many have asked about the condition with the Jekyll Island feast site in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. After communicating with the Jekyll Island Convention Center, and several of the lodging facilities in the area, we have been told that the island should be fully back to normal operations by Wednesday, October 12th. There was much less physical damage to the area than had been initially feared, and those on the island tell us that the weather that passed through last week should not negatively affect the Jekyll feast site.”

- Stan Martin, Festival Coordinator.

LCG members who are unable attend the Festival of Tabernacles may obtain a password to view broadcasts of services from their local feast site - but non-members will be denied access.

UCG, on the other hand, has issued a press release, to inform as many people as possible to know about the festival - and perhaps attend one of its sites. Visitors who would like to join the church in observance of these days are welcome to attend, the church president said. “We are striving to become disciples of Jesus Christ, and we welcome the opportunity to share our understanding and experiences with others.”
Viktor Kubik writes, October 6: “One Feast-related public item that you may have seen already is our 2016 press release about the Feast of Tabernacles. It can be accessed online at:, and you are welcome to re-post it on social media. It has already appeared on more than 100 news-related Web properties, and the headline “United Church of God ( to celebrate coming Kingdom of God Oct. 17-24.” It was distributed on three different media Twitter networks, marked with the hashtags #ucgfot and #christian to make it easy to find online. While we also are directly distributing the release to area media where the Feast is being observed, the online version is permanent and searchable in both domestic and international media. Its language is voiced toward people who have little or biblical background, to the depth we do. This effort folds in well with our other media outreach.”

The three Beyond Today presentations, ‘America: The Time Is Now’ in North Carolina, drew only 27 new guests in Raleigh, 26 in Greensboro, and 23 in Charlotte (where several who registered did not attend owing to local unrest).
President Victor Kubik commented, September 29, 2016: “It is becoming more apparent to us that local congregational involvement and engagement will be needed and expected to help increase our attendance. From the home office, we can do only so much to promote these events. Further publicity and encouragement will need to come from local pastors and their congregations.”

4 videos from the Council of Elders meeting on August 22 have been uploaded, including a report by Jorge de Campos on his visit to a church group in Angola. The Angolan Church is planning a festival of tabernacles site for 5000 people. (Discussions on doctrine were held in private sessions.)

Randy Stivers recent bible study, ‘God's Church - the Mother of Us All’, which - like Viktor Kubik’s sermon, A Spirit of Remembrance - has been removed from UCG’s website following criticism on The Shining Light website – but you can still listen to both messages on this page.
The title comes from Paul’s allegory of the two covenants in Galatians 4:

“Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” (v.26)
At the 42 min. mark he quotes Matthew 16:18-19 ‘And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’
He comments that, “The binding and loosing prerogative had only been the prerogative of the priesthood up to that point. The priests had to make judgements ... that was their duty.”
They did not have the prerogative to make
judgement calls. They had a strict duty to carry out the instructions laid down by God. And if they did otherwise?
Lev.10:1-2 ‘And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire before Jehovah, which he had not commanded them. And there came forth fire from before Jehovah, and devoured them, and they died before Jehovah.’
He continues: “Now he [Jesus] is for the church transferring that responsibility” [not to Peter only as the sole head of the mother church, but] “ to the apostles, who are the foundational ministry of the True Church of God.”
At 63 min. he quotes Rom.3:1-2, ‘What advantage then hath the Jew? or what is the profit of circumcision? Much every way: first of all, that they were intrusted with the oracles of God.’
The WCG taught, as stated by Herman Hoeh in The Hebrew Calendar - Authoritative for God’s Church Today! (1981): “But what were the oracles committed in a public way to the Jews? The Hebrew Bible only? By no means! The Hebrew calendar also! For without the calendar, it would be impossible to fulfill correctly what is written in the Hebrew Bible about hallowed annual times.”
The fallacy that the oracles can include something not in the Hebrew bible is rejected by Randy Stiver, who states: “The oracles, that is, utterances of God. Where do you find the utterances of God? In the bible.”

What then is the basis for using the Jewish calendar?

“The ministry now had the duty of teaching the truth ... And then there is another important one. That has to do with teaching when the Sabbath is ... this weekly Sabbath is an easy calendar to maintain ... but the annual calendar is required ... that was the duty of the priests, to maintain that calendar ... It was the responsibility though in the church, starting with the apostles and the ministry on down, to make the judgement call as to which calendar is the authoritative one for us to know when to observe those days. And that’s why we typically observe the annual holy days according to the traditional Jewish calendar, because that’s the one that the bulk of the Jews recognize and use.”
Is that a sound basis for a doctrine?

Malcolm Murray, the pastor of the Flint, Detroit and Ann Arbor congregations (also previously Gaylord [Traverse City-Petoskey] and Saginaw) stepped down as a speaking elder a few months ago.

He explained on August 9 : I have not taken a leave of absence and am still a full time minister in the United Church of God. What I have done is taken a leave from speaking for a short while. I am still working in the ministry in every other capacity except speaking for this interval. Serving God’s people, God’s work and God’s purpose on this earth is still the focus of my wife Francie and I in every aspect of service that we are able to perform.”

However, UCG Ministerial Services has notified the local members that he will no longer be their pastor. His congregations have been transferred to Steven Shafer. For the time being he continues to be listed as a pastor.

If you click on the original link to Viktor Kubiks Pentecost sermon - this notice appears: This Page Is Private’. UCG moved it to an otherwise blank page - and has now disabled the play button. You can however now download this sermon from the website A Shining Light.

The following e-mail was recently posted on The Shining Light website:
“There was a sermon by Victor Kubic at United, June 11, in which parts sounded strange to me. The sermon is here. Beginning about 10 minutes into it until maybe 12 minutes, he stated that the holy spirit is the father of Christ. In my mind that would not make the holy spirit the power of God that fathered the Christ child, but the godhead person.

(We already went through that in 1993 with the ‘God Is’ booklet. The local pastor said they were not teaching the trinity, only making it more accurately stated.)
If United learns someone actually heard what was said and is questioning it, there is a good possibility the sermon might disappear from the web. (It has!)

In times past I have witnessed sermons that had missing seconds or minutes from the first time heard. I am not accusing ... just observing. Thank you.”
The ‘God Is’ booklet (published in the Tkach era of the WCG - 1992) stated that: “The Worldwide Church of God does not teach that the Holy Spirit is a person, because we believe Scripture is not explicit on this point, and human language cannot be. We believe the Bible portrays the Holy Spirit as the presence of God in action, distinct from the Father and the Son, yet one with them.”
Viktor Kubik begins his Pentecost sermon by confirming that “the holy spirit is not a person” - and calling it “the force of creation.”

At the 24 minute mark he says, “the holy spirit does so many things, everything from creating the universe, creating the earth ...”
This is contrary to the Fundamental Beliefs of the United Church of God, which state that “the Father ... through Jesus Christ, is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that is in them.”
At the 11 minute mark Viktor Kubik says, “The Father was not the father of Jesus - the holy spirit conceived Jesus.”
This again conflicts with
UCGs Fundamental Beliefs booklet, which states that, “The Father ‘gave His only begotten Son’ in sacrifice as the ‘Lamb of God’ for the forgiveness of our sins. After that Jesus was exalted by the Father to the glory They shared before the world existed (John 3:16; John 1:29; John 17:5).”

John Jewell died on 29th June, aged 83. He ran the Worldwide Church of God’s printing press in the UK in the 1960s, before being ordained as a pastor. He joined the United Church of God at its formation in 1995, and was appointed CEO of UCG British Isles, after David Hulme had split the church in 1998, taking the large majority of UK members with him.

He left UCG along with a few other members in 2002, and launched an internet radio website Radio 4 Living. Some of the programmes have also been broadcast on radio in Northern Ireland and Southern Spain.
In the audio That Day is at Hand, prior to John Jewell’s sermon, Warren Zehrung explains how “John Jewell and I came to work together in proclaiming the Gospel warning message to the world.” This was at the foundational conference of the United Church of God in Indianapolis, where the founding ministers decided how they would govern, who would be in charge, and how much they would pay themselves in salaries and pensions - and then at a later time they worked out the churchs beliefs.

“It had been predetermined that doctrine would not be discussed until a later date, and that organization was of primary importance,” Warren Zehrung says - despite the fact that “Some ministers, like David Hulme, who was chosen to be the first President of UCG-aia, had personally adopted the trinity doctrine and were actively preaching in favor of the trinity.”

Viktor Kubik reports on his visit to the brethren in Italy, and discusses with Jorge de Campos about new developments with a church in Angola which has the same beliefs as United (17 min. audio).

From Ministerial & Members Service, May 19:

“Today the Council of Elders elected Donald Ward as Chairman of the Council of Elders for a two-year term. Robert Dick was elected Deputy Chairman.”

Three videos from the Council of Elders meetings on the 18th of May have been uploaded on to the COE website.
Near to the end of the discussion on the Role of Women in Media
(67mins.) on the 1st of March, Beverley Kubik asked some pertinent questions, showing the absurdity of literal compliance with 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (NKJV) :
“Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.
And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.”
The topic was therefore revisited on the 18th of May. Rex Sexton began the session (3mins.) by reading from a “public form letter that is sent out when people write to UCG here and ask about women writing.” He read from the form letter, quoting v.34: “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law of God says.”
They have added the phrase “of God” to the text. This demonstrates the mind set of the Churchs leaders, who are aware that this statement of the role of women in church (or rather lack of it) cannot be found anywhere in the law of God, but they just ‘know’ that what they were taught in the Worldwide Church of God is correct, so they misquote this verse to make it fit their understanding.

In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul begins to address “the things of which you wrote to me.” The first of these is (v.1-2): “It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.”

Paul expresses his ideal view in v.7-8: “I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am.”
How can it be good for these women, if a “law of God” hampers their learning, as they do not have husbands to teach them at home? (14:35)
The ISV also adds to the literal text of 14:34: “The women must keep silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak out, but must place themselves in submission, as the oral law also says.”
The translators of the ISV realized that the law referred to here is an oral law of Judaism, which the Orthodox Jews continue to observe today (although they should have placed the reference to
the oral law in an explanatory footnote, not in the text).

Only men may speak in the churches (synagogues), only men may sing. Women were segregated and must remain silent. Women were expected to marry when young, and their husbands (who had received religious instruction as boys - which girls did not) were expected to teach their wives at home - if they want to learn something.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is another of “the things of which you wrote to me.”

In v.36 he gives a disdainful response to “their law” with this rhetorical question:

“Did God's word originate with you? Are you the only people it has reached?”

Reports to the General Conference of Elders included the following:

• Passover attendance was 7,005. Slow growth rate in the USA.
• Holy Day offering 10% more than expected.

• Visitors from the Church of God International recently at the home office ... but not talking mergers or anything like that.
• Developing apps for on-demand streaming video through platforms such as Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.
• Caribbean islands: 23% growth over the past year - Kingston, Jamaica, congregation has doubled.

The GCE is followed by a quarterly Council of Elders meeting from Tuesday through Thursday, May 17-19.

James Malm wrote in The Shining Light, on 6th of May:
“Bob Berendt’s North Battleford, Saskatchewan, congregation near the Alberta border  has split with about one third (about 12) leaving UCG. Bob has announced that the lay preacher Boyd Yahn has been suspended and that the brethren are meeting with him. This leaves the remaining UCG North Battleford congregation without a local preacher ...”

The Council of Elders met in Cincinnati from Feb. 29 to March 3.
Videos of the open sessions on Feb 29 & March 1 are now on the CoE website.

“Viktor Kubik was reconfirmed to a second term as President of the United Church of God, an International Association, after a full reaffirmation process on March 2, 2016. This second term runs from 2016-2019. The Council of Elders looks forward to working with Mr. Kubik in furthering the Vision and Mission Statements of the Church.”

Jorge de Campos, who is responsible for the Portuguese-speaking countries, informed the Council about ‘Igreja de Deus Mundial-Angola’ (the Worldwide Church of God-Angola—a separate organization), with whom he has been in regular contact since October. They are very excited to hear about us, and they have been in weekly, and at times daily, contact since October, and have been sent material in Portuguese. He plans to go to Brazil for Passover, and then to Angola for the latter part of Unleavened Bread.

Viktor Kubik concluded his recent video sermon, The Vision of the Church: “Jesus Christ said that we will be known, not by how big we are, or how much we talk, or what we believe. That’s not what we’re known by. We’re known by the love that we show one towards another.”
He doesn’t want UCG to be known by “what we believe.” Is that why, when the website was revamped, there was no longer a link to the
fundamental beliefs?

A link has been added at the top of the home page - Learn More - but this says only that the church observes the Sabbath and the annual holy days.

If you click on I’m New, a short video simply invites you to “come and join us.” Clicking the link to “what we believe” takes you, not to the fundamental beliefs, but to a new booklet, Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People.

The Worldwide Church of God would not allow a newcomer to attend without a full understanding and acceptance of all its doctrines. United’s new strategy seems to be the opposite - actively encourage newcomers to join the local congregation on the Sabbath and the annual holy days, by emphasizing the love that the brethren show one towards another. And then leave it to the local minister to explain other doctrines as the newcomer discovers them?

When Viktor Kubik says that: “We’re known by the love that we show one towards another,” he is presumably thinking of John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.”
Should we not, however, be known, primarily, by the first and great commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind”? “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” is the second great commandment (Matt.22:37-39).

What is the love by which we should be known? “This is my commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

In the Ministerial and Member Services newsletter, February 4, UCG President Viktor Kubik writes: “We envision where we want to be one, two and five years from right now. Our resources are human and financial ... Our largest human resource group is our pastoral ministry.”
The largest human resource group is not the brethren?

No - they are the financial resource.
“We need to wisely use our finances and proclamation strategy to most effectively reach and engage our audience ... One very important benchmark is the reach and circulation of Beyond Today magazine. As 72% of readers do not renew their subscription, we need to constantly seek new subscribers. This costs money.”
Before throwing money at the problem, wouldn’t it be wise to conduct market research to discover the various reasons for this horrendously high non-renewal rate?

Festival of Tabernacles in Italy “A Tuscany Four-Day Pre-feast Cultural Tour in Florence, Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano is being offered to the Brethren who can attend the Atonement Day with us at the Feast of Tabernacles site (Sabaudia, near Rome). This tour will be confirmed only if there will be at least 20 applicants. The bus will depart to Tuscany on the morning after Atonement Day, and the group will be returning on time to the Feast of Tabernacles site (detailed information will be emailed to the applicants).”

Viktor Kubiks sermon Vision of the Church (i.e. the United Church of God, for the year or so ahead), which he gave on Jan 16, is now available on-line.

The Realtime United website has been discontinued and its content will now appear on the Beyond Today and the UCG members websites.

“On Tuesday (Jan.12), Roy Holladay came to the home office and spent the entire day with us. His ability to participate in our weekly Tuesday management meeting and to have extended discussion about church matters made us very happy ...
(An item) that we discussed with Roy was the regional pastor structure in the United States ... With only three regional pastors covering the entire United States, the regions were very large and their personal connection to the pastors and elders was somewhat unwieldy. Roy, Chris Rowland and I came to the realization that now may be a good time to restructure. We hold seven ministerial conferences around the country, so why not let those geographic areas define our new regions?
So, this week we sent notification of this to our ministry, spelling out this new configuration. The new regions are as follows: Northwest, Southwest, North Central, South Central, Northeast, Southeast and Cincinnati.
Steve Nutzman will continue as regional pastor for the Northwest region and Ken Martin will continue as regional pastor for the Southeast region. For the Cincinnati region, we have a large concentration of elders located at or near the home office, so we will be assigning that oversight directly to the Ministerial and Member Services department at the home office. Chris Rowland will serve as regional pastor for that region until a new Operation Manager is appointed.
For the four remaining regions, we would like to give these opportunities to pastors, former pastors or retired pastors serving in each region ... We have sent out an e-mail message to solicit input from all elders in those four regions to request their nominations for pastors who could fulfill the duties of a regional pastor.”

Chairman Robin Webber writes December 17th:

“The CoE approved a document titled ‘United Church of God Doctrinal Statement Defining the Biblical Marriage Relationship’ to move forward to the General Conference of Elders in May of 2016 for their approval. Due to the current cultural assault on God’s intention for marriage and the increasing general immorality of this age, the CoE feels it was important to build upon both president Kubik’s and the CoE’s separate statements from last summer after the U.S. Supreme Court decision, legalizing homosexual marriage.
At this time, the CoE believes the Church is best and adequately served by a doctrinal statement that needs two-thirds approval by the General Conference and not an addition to our Fundamental Beliefs (needing three-quarters approval). If approved, it will be a ‘Doctrinal Statement by the General Conference of Elders’ that displays the endorsement of our ministry.”

Shawn Cortelyou has provided written reports of the Council of Elders meetings, Monday-Thursday, December 7th-10th. His report for the 8th contains the CoEs proposed doctrinal statement on Biblical Marriage.

The CoE website also has videos of the open sessions.

John Elliott, Chairman of the Doctrine Committee, stated that:

“For the past year the DAC (Doctrine Advisory Committee) has been researching and compiling data relating to the calendar/Hebrew Calendar and postponements related issues.”

Email from Fred Kellers, Tuesday, December 8:

“Mark Mickelson, the pastor of Spokane, WA, three other congregations in that area and also is senior pastor of 7 countries in Africa, has been diagnosed with serious prostate cancer. It is a very malignant form of prostate cancer that is common with men who have served in Vietnam and who were exposed to Agent Orange. Mark did serve in Vietnam and was exposed to Agent Orange. This type of cancer tends to spread quickly through the body. The doctors at the VA Hospital were very concerned that it has spread to Mark’s bones and now have the results of the tests to check to see if that has happened. They called Mark to give him the results, but Mark was in meetings and missed the call.
Mark is a member of the Council of Elders and was in Cincinnati for the meetings that are presently taking place, but the doctors have asked him to leave the meetings and come home to meet with them tomorrow, Wednesday. Mark is doing that. Please pray for Mark and his wife, Michelle. I’m sorry to say that she is in very poor health and there are days when she has had to spend most of the day in bed.
I have Mark and Michelle’s address, but I feel it’s best to wait for a definite diagnosis and prognosis before we send cards. Meanwhile we can ask for God to intervene for both Mark and Michelle.
I want to add that Mark’s experiences in combat have made him the most fearless man I know. He loves God and trusts that whatever God brings his way will be what is good for him.”

eNews report from Ministerial and Member Services, November 12, re the Western Regional Ministerial Conference, November 8-10:
“What was sobering to us was the unexpected loss of three active servants of God in a period of less than two months. This sudden reality is forcing us to adjust and transition to new leadership at an accelerated rate. We must provide shepherding for congregations large and small, right away. We are thankful that we have been preparing for this.”
“Another session was about common doctrinal challenges that confront the ministry. A video presentation from Randy Stiver spoke about the regular cycle of questions and challenges that we are met with and possible ways to answer them. They included the continual questions from those who have various views on the validity of the current calendar that we use for keeping the Holy Days, questions from those who believe that God’s name must be uttered only a certain way, questions about eating in restaurants on the Sabbath, self-defense and more.”

The November-December issue of the Good News magazine is now available on-line, which is the final issue under this title. In future it will be known as Beyond Today.

David Roenspies, pastor of Beloit and Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, died on Sunday morning, November 1st, aged 72. His memorial service will be held on November 15th, in Lake Geneva, at the Derrick Funeral Home - where you can find service details and obituary.

Note: James Malm of The Shining Light has followed up the post below by writing to Jorge de Campos, whose replies can be found on that link.

The video presentations were removed temporarily, but have been restored. The screen display (at the 1 hour mark in Part 2) now shows the correct data for Passover 31AD.

Jorge de Campos writes: “I apologize profusely for this unintentional mistake. However the content of the message was on the combination of the dates of 29AD, 30AD and 31AD and the results of that combination are still correct.”
It seems therefore that he will go ahead with a presentation in Portland, Oregon,
‘proving’ that the crucifixion occurred on Wednesday, April 25, 31AD - an impossible date in the current Hebrew calendar.

A Ministerial Conference’ will be held in Portland, Oregon, November 8-11, during which Jorge de Campos will give a presentation about why the United Church of God uses the current Hebrew calendar.
On May 9, 2015, Jorge de Campos recorded two presentations on this subject.
Part 1 is an overview, and in Part 2 he goes into detail, asserting that the Hebrew Calendar, including postponements, was observed by Jesus Christ.

At 7 minutes in, he says, “after the fall of the Second Temple (after 70AD) ....  when the Pharisees usurped the leadership of the Sanhedrin from the Sadducees, they started reckoning the years based on observation of the new crescent ...”
Although Jorge de Campos is the
UCG’s spokesman for the Hebrew Calendar, what he is saying is the opposite of what is stated 
on pages 6-7 of UCG’s Hebrew Calendar Doctrinal Statement:
“... neither does the Bible list rules of postponement. Who authorized them? When were they created? No one really knows the answer to these questions ... Were they a part of the calendar during the days of Christ? We simply do not know. We do not know when the Jews began using a calculated calendar, instead of simply relying on visual observation ...
In addition, in Christ’s time the new moon was ostensibly established by observation. There are those today who claim that the only way of calculating the new moon is by exact mathematical calculation. Visual observation is too erratic and could be one to two days off.
What we know from first-century records is that the calendar was operated by observation and controlled by the Sanhedrin. If Christ and the Church followed this habit, then Christ accepted something that some are claiming is unacceptable.”
Jorge de Campos rejects first-century records, indeed any contrary historical record, as biased or unreliable. Assuming the crucifixion to have been on a Wednesday and not Friday (which most people in the Churches of God accept), he provides prophetic and historical evidence proving that the current Hebrew calendar was observed by Jesus Christ, declaring (at 38 minutes) “we have proved that Jesus Christ’s crucifixion was 31AD.”
At the 1 hour mark, he holds up the Hebrew Calendar Appendix, which lists the dates for Passover, UB holy days and Trumpets for the years 26AD-34AD.
He displays on the screen some of the data for 29, 30 and 31AD, and then states: “The only way it fits - the only way it fits! - is when we use the calendar rules of the Hebrew Calendar with postponements ... and intercalation of the year 31. Brethren, that is the acid test. It only fits there. The rules of the Hebrew Calendar, as they are in existence today, apply to the time of Christ’s ministry.”

The data displayed for Passover in 31AD differs from the Hebrew Calendar Appendix, and is actually the data for 30AD.

 Hebrew Calendar
Hebrew Calendar
of the
New Moon
Screen Display
(data is 30AD, not 31AD)
Hebrew Calendar Appendix
(Passover 31AD)

If the reader is convinced that the crucufixion occurred on a Wednesday in 31AD, there are therefore two options, not one - but actually there is only one, which is Observation of the New Moon, because this date is impossible in the Hebrew Calendar. Why is this so?
In 1973 there was pressure from leading ministers to change Pentecost from Monday to Sunday. Herbert Armstrong was very reluctant to do so. It was also of great significance to Mr Armstrong that his ministry began in 1931, exactly 100 19-year time cycles after Jesus’s crucifixion. However, if the current Hebrew Calendar were being observed during the time of Christ - which is what the Worldwide Church of God taught (and the UCG continues to teach) - Passover in 31AD would have occurred on March 26, which would have been a Monday in the current Hebrew Calendar.
Herman Hoeh was always anxious to support Mr Armstrong, whom he regarded as God’s apostle, and saw a way to help him with both problems. On Friday, April 20, 1973, he conducted a Bible study at Ambassador College entitled ‘A New Look at Pentecost in Light of the Calendar Adjustment in the Second Century’. He asserted (without any historical evidence) that, during the time of Jesus, a 13th month was added in years 2,5,7,10,13,16,18 of the 19 year time cycle. During the Patriarchate of Simon III, between AD140 and AD163, there was supposedly a transition to 2,5,8,11,14,17,19 - which was then changed to what we have today: 3,6,8,11,14,17,19. This would result in AD31 being intercalated, and cause Passover that year to fall on the required day, Wednesday, in April, rather than on a Monday in March.
“The year of the crucifixion, AD 31, was intercalary and Passover of that year occurred, according to the sacred calendar, on Wednesday, April 25, not a Monday, March 26, the fourteenth day of the previous month. Now jump to our day. The year 1931 is one hundred 19-year cycles from AD 31, so it, too, one might expect, would be intercalary. Yet the year 1931 was not intercalary by the calendar the Jews use today. Why not? The answer is that the sacred calendar was adjusted.”

In a letter to Michael Germano (the head of LCG’s Living University) on November 17th, 2004, Herman Hoeh admitted that there had been no calendar adjustments between AD140 and AD163.

If the reader is convinced that the crucufixion occurred on a Wednesday, according to the Hebrew Calendar, it must have taken place in 30AD.

The Public Appearance Campaign in Texas, entitled, ‘America: The Time Is Now!’, held in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston, attracted a total of 124 new people (i.e. who had never been to any United Church of God function), 58 in Dallas, 45 in San Antonio and 21 in Houston.

Personal invitations were e-mailed to all who signed up for the Texas campaigns to view a new, four-part Bible study series called, ‘The Time Is Now’, which began on Wednesday, November 4, at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Steve Myers, Cincinnati East pastor, presented the first topic: All In - 1 hour broadcast, audio recording now available.

Two messages from Viktor Kubik:

Firstly: We ask for your prayers for Roy Holladay, who suffered a stroke early Sabbath morning [Oct.9]. He does not have feeling on his left side. The extent of damage is not known and they are running tests to determine the full extent.
Roy’s wife, Norma, called us about 1:45 a.m. We live about a half mile away. The ambulance took him to the hospital and there I anointed him. He was immediately given a CT scan. In a few hours he was moved to a conventional hospital room.
Please pray for Roy, Norma and the entire family. Roy is a faithful servant and one with whom I work most closely. We need him!
Our love to all the Holladays…
Roy and Norma Holladay, 1195 Shayler Woods Dr, Batavia, OH 45103-2683.

Update: “On Tuesday [October 20th], Roy was moved from the hospital to a rehabilitation facility. He has made progress in his mobility. He has been able to stand and maintain his balance, and has also been able to walk short distances without a walker, although he tires easily. He is also undergoing therapy for speaking and swallowing. His son Art writes, ‘From here on out he will be participating in approximately 3 hours of therapy a day ... Clearly he has a long way to go to regaining self-sufficiency, but he is off to a good start.’

Your continued prayers for his recovery are much appreciated.

Secondly: “Bill Bradford Jr. called me about the sudden death of our beloved long-time brother, friend and elder, Robert Fahey. He asked that I notify all of you with this statement from the family: ‘We are deeply saddened to let you know that our father, Robert Edmund Fahey, 75, died unexpectedly this past Monday evening [September 28]. He was recovering at home from a heart stent placement completed less than two weeks ago, and had been expected to make a full recovery’.”

Bill Bradford Jr. has taken temporary charge of the church in Chicago.

The Council of Elders Meetings on August 12/13 were dominated by discussions on ‘The Last Great Day/Eighth Day’ study paper.

“The Doctrine Committee (DC) and the Council as a whole has been reviewing and discussing this paper for over two years. It emerged that in the DC there were different strengths of belief concerning whether John:7:37 referred to the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles or [the Eighth Day], but all agreed that the current paper contained no conclusive proof either way. Consequently, it is the recommendation of the DC that the current study paper, ‘Last Great Day/Eighth Day’ be withdrawn and replaced by a doctrinal statement by the Council.”
“Mr. Webber emphasized that this is not a sudden decision, but something the DC has been reviewing for two years, and the meaning of this day remains the same.
Mr. Holladay asked how the conclusion of this doctrinal statement differs from the study paper. Mr. Elliott replied that the current study paper favored the timing of John 7:37 as happening on the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles. However, the paper could not fully substantiate that position and it consequently advocates utilizing both terms, which is our current practice. The newly drafted doctrinal statement explains the situation more succinctly while giving equal weight to discussions concerning the timing of John:7:37.
Mr. Webber commented that there is no conclusive proof either way in the scripture regarding John:7:37. He stated, ‘Well intentioned people on both sides of this issue with strong viewpoints regarding the setting of John 7:37 and the accompanying terminology have at the end of the day agreed among themselves there is no rock solid proof one way on this issue.’
Mr. Kubik was impressed that we admit that there is no clear statement in the scriptures.

On August 13th “The final copy of the doctrinal statement was presented. There were some more edits and improvements.”

The Council of Elders report for August 11th included the following :

Viktor Kubik reported:
• The Public Appearance Campaign (PAC) will be held in three locations in Texas: Dallas, San Antonio and Houston.
Rotary Club: The home office hosted the Batavia, Ohio, Rotary Club. The group was given a tour of the home office. (The reason for this was not stated.)
Home Office Grounds: A new playset for children was put up on HQ grounds, largely financed by the LifeNets charity. (It’s unclear from this statement if any money was taken from Lifenets’ general funds. Why were local members asked to make tax deductible donations to Lifenets, rather than paying for the playset, which cost several thousand dollars, out of local church funds?)
Roy Holladay provided some general statistics:

• 287 elders in U.S.A.;  82 international elders; 196 churches and Bible study groups (USA); 96 baptisms so far this year (USA); 5 new ordinations since May; average USA Sabbath attendance is the same as a year ago.

Peter Eddington reported:
• Co-worker count is 43% higher than a year ago.
• Donor list count is 8,306 people, 90% increase over the same time last year.
Rick Shabi reported:
• Overall, income for the year was $2 million more than projected.
• Expenses at budgeted levels, resulting in net income of over $1.8 million.
• Because of higher than budgeted income, the Council approved certain employee considerations and additional print advertising expense.
• Transfer from TV airtime to the Internet - greater exposure for less cost.
John Elliott reported that the Doctrine Committee:
• had concluded its two-year review of ‘The Last Great Day/8th Day’ study paper, and will present its findings and recommendations to the Council.
• is continuing its one-year study review of calendar related materials/issues.
• is working on a short paper on marriage and what constitutes a marriage.

Church of God Radio
Peter Salemi and Bill Petsinis have “decided to create an internet radio station for the 7th day Churches of God. Many of the mainstream and Christian radio stations will not broadcast our content for being Sabbatarian and not believing in the trinity. Well now we are starting a radio station that will broadcast Church of God content and belief:
Church of God Radio.

We are letting all the Churches of God know that, if you would like to buy some air time, please contact us.” Programming Schedule & Prices

(The UK based 24/7 radio station Radio 4 Living - operated by John Jewell and Tina Tivey - continues to broadcast, but the programmes are all recorded.)

Church of God 7th Day

Mexican Earthquake Report, September 22nd:
“Significant damage and loss of life were sustained following Mexico’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck earlier this week. Many are unable to return home or to places of work due to structures that are compromised or destroyed. Our sister church in Mexico reports six congregations so far whose church buildings have been damaged and various members whose homes are compromised and unsafe. Thankfully, no loss of life has been reported.
Donations can be given online at, or by phone at 303-452-7973. The Mexican Conference will use these funds to provide food and other basic needs, repair damages, organize volunteers, and perform other duties to respond to the needs on the ground.”
Hurricane Irma Update: “$6,000 will be sent to a CoG7 congregation on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, where three families have lost their homes.
We are thankful to report that CoG7 members in Florida sustained minor damage, which they are addressing locally.”

The August-September issue of Churchright looks back on the churchs biennial convention that took place in early July.

In Reflections on Convention 2017, President Loren Stacy expresses the opposite view to that of hierarchical churches, which teach that church unity is achieved by restricting decision making to elite ministers, or even one man, and all members must accept such decisions without question.
Church of God 7th Day currently allows voting by all adult members attending the convention. Loren Stacy wants to go further, as he believes that unity depends on including members everywhere in major decision making.
“A personal concern grew even greater at this convention. We must find a way to give
all our adult members a voice in General Conference decisions. This year, about 400 voting members in attendance made major decisions that will affect thousands of members who were not there to discuss and vote. Members without a voice feel disconnected. We must find a way to include everyone! Our unity depends on it.”

“In January 2017, LifeSpring School of Ministry will become known as Artios Christian College.”

“Over the past seven years LifeSpring School of Ministry has transformed from a fledgling ministry school to a vibrant Christian college that is equipping Christians in all areas of ministry.

As it continues to grow, one word has significantly inspired and influenced what LifeSpring is becoming. That word is artios.” (2 Tim.3:17 - ‘That the man of God may be perfect [artios], throughly furnished unto all good works.’)

The Church of God 7th Day (Denver) has added 20 congregations in the USA:

West Coast District: Washington - Shoreline CoG7 Mission; Nevada - Gospel for All Nations CoG7, Haw­thorne; California - Guided by the Spirit CoG7, Indio; Church of the Living Water CoG7, North Palm Springs.

Central District: Minnesota - Worthington CoG7 Mission; Iowa - Des Moines CoG7; Wisconsin - Plainfield CoG7; Illinois (Chicago area) - Calumet CoG7; Rockford CoG7; Zion CoG7.

Southwest District: New Mexico - Las Cruces CoG7; Texas - Galveston CoG7; South Houston CoG7; La Verdad Presente CoG7, Houston; Huntsville CoG7; Laredo CoG7; Mesquite CoG7; Mission CoG7.

Southeast District: Georgia - Grace Ministries CoG7, Norcross; NW Atlanta CoG7, Smyrna.

Bryan Cleeton’s report on the visit to Sierra Leone and Liberia April 7 - May 5, by Tom Benzen and himself:

Under the leadership of Peter Blackie, 45 congregations in Sierra Leone assist 150+ orphans and widows, with the support of CoG7’s Orphans and Widows ministry. 22 of these are young CoG7 women, Daughters of the King, who have graduated and are receiving university training in nursing, business, and other fields. They included Rashida Koroma, who is attending medical school, and Zainab Adian, who completed her nursing degree, serving on the front lines in the recent Ebola crisis of West Africa.

During this crisis, CoG7 provided key Disaster Relief funds to the Church in Sierra Leone. Food aid was supplied to quarantined families. Six motor bikes were purchased to transport health workers and assist those affected by Ebola. An Ebola sensitization and evangelistic campaign was also launched, reaching numerous villages with life-saving information. Tom and Bryan met Ebola survivors and orphans, health and campaign workers, and families who received food aid, as well as villages where CoG7 was planted as a result of these efforts.

Within the last three years, 30 new churches have been planted in Sierra Leone. Some are located in villages that have not had a church, and include converts from Islam. Tom and Bryan visited 16 congregations and participated in the baptism of more than 90 persons.

To sustain the growing ministry in Sierra Leone, the Church is implementing agriculture and other income-generating projects. Tom, an agriculture expert, provided valuable advice on improving a large-scale farm and smaller gardens cared for by local congregations.

Traveling to Liberia, Bryan and leaders from Sierra Leone met new brethren there who wish to join CoG7. 6 congregations and 4 schools were visited. Concluding their mission, a leadership meeting was held to plan the development of CoG7 in that country. Thanks be to God for all He has done!”

The Holy Spirit is the theme of the July/August issue of the Bible Advocate.

The Q&A page includes the question: Is the Holy Spirit a force or a person?
Calvin Burrell responds that “The Church’s current faith statements support neither ...”

“The historic view of “Trinity” holds that the Holy Spirit is a divine person with all the attributes of God - Father and Son. Each of the three, then, has the full divine nature and substance of the others. They exist as one God - not three! - in an eternal relation of three equal persons - not one!
Among non-Trinitarian Christians, one may hear the view that the Spirit of God is not a third person but an impersonal force. Something near this view was expressed in a pre-1994 CoG7 doctrine that read, in part, “The Holy Spirit is an extension of the power of God in the world ...”
The Church’s current faith statements support neither the impersonal “force” nor the “third person” views referenced above. Rather, they see the Holy Spirit as closely identified with God - who is Spirit and is holy - himself. The Spirit of God is experienced by God’s people in a close and personal way and may be gladly regarded as God’s personal presence with and within His people on earth.

As Jesus the Son was Father God’s personal presence on earth in physical form, so the Holy Spirit is Christ the Son’s personal presence on earth in spiritual form.
The Holy Spirit is not named in most New Testament salutations, benedictions, or doxologies, as are the Father and Son. The Spirit is not seen as enthroned or reigning in heaven, as are Father and Son. The Spirit is not worshipped or addressed in prayer, as are Father and Son. The Spirit has no “I-Thou” relation with Father and Son, as they do with each other. Rather than think of the Holy Spirit as a third person of the Deity, therefore, it may be more nearly correct to think of the Spirit as the personal presence of the Father and Son on earth and within believers.”

“It is with mixed feelings of sadness and gratitude that we note the death of our beloved brother in Christ, Elder Carl Palmer. Elder Palmer succumbed to Alzheimer’s Disease and its complications the evening of March 24, 2016. A simple graveside service is scheduled this coming Friday, April 1. A celebration of Elder Palmer’s life by his family, our Spokane, WA congregation, and his many other friends who are able to gather there will be held Sabbath, April 2. We, too, wish to honor Elder Palmer and his life well lived for Christ.
Elder Palmer served as a minister and leader within the General Council of the Church of God Seventh Day and, since the late 1980s, as a minister and leader within the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day). Elder Palmer served for decades as Pastor of our Spokane, WA congregation while also serving terms as Superintendent of our Western Canadian District, as a member of our Board of Directors, and in many other service and leadership roles. He was deeply respected and appreciated for his humble attitude and his quiet wisdom.”

Gavin Rumney (a disillusioned former member of the Worldwide Church of God)  writes (9th October) on Winds of Change at CoG7:
“The church is now seeing new leadership emerge. Loren Stacey is the new president of the General Conference following the retirement of Whaid Rose, and Jason Overman has become editor of the BA after Calvin Burrell’s many years at the helm. A smooth and peaceful transition? Imagine that!
CoG7 is a fundamentalist Sabbatarian body, it’s true, and I expect that would be reason enough for many of us not to take it seriously. But it also demonstrates an openness and accountability that stands in marked contrast to similar and related groups many readers of this blog will be more familiar with. Without an authoritarian top-down structure, it provided what could have been a benign and unifying model for the re-structuring of the post-Armstrong WCG. That the Tkach cabal chose to ignore that option and instead pretend to have some kind of ‘episcopal’ form of government is perhaps the most damning indictment of the so-called reforms that eventually led to its re-branding as Grace Communion International.
In his State of the Church Address at the recent General Conference, outgoing president Whaid Rose reflected on the denomination as it was in 1998 (he was appointed in 1997).
“I assured the membership that there are no plans to throw out the Sabbath and Ten Commandments. There are no plans to bring about organizational ties with the Worldwide Church of God.”
Rose’s retirement should, one would hope, not go unnoticed by Joe Tkach, who should have stepped aside years ago. One doubts he will take the hint though, and there’s little indication that he has put in place a workable transition plan.
There have been times in the past when CoG7 must have felt upstaged by its precocious offspring. In the end however it has demonstrated the staying power that has eluded its desperately troubled daughters and granddaughters.”

Calvin Burrell & Bryan Cleeton of GC Missions report:
• A new Bible school is nearly built and will soon be opened in Pakistan. There, Pastor Shamas Pervaiz leads CoG7, assists wider Christian efforts, and often addresses inter-faith gatherings that include thousands of Muslims. Pastor Shamas attended convention in Milwaukee in July, then accompanied Bryan in a two-week tour of New York and Dallas-Ft. Worth, where they worked with Pakistani immigrants.
• In India, Church General Secretary Jacob Rao visited 40 Christian pastors in the northern state of Punjab, introducing them to the teachings of the Church of God (Seventh Day), and receiving confirmation of their readiness to partner with us in proclaiming the Good News.
• Jorge Gillig of Argentina, coordinator of churches across South America, recently completed a visit of new groups in Chile, Peru, and Venezuela, while working to strengthen the Church there.
• In Zambia, nearly 70 young women and men learned sewing (taught by CoG7 women from the U.K.) to support their families and help the church become self-sufficient. A new water-well was also completed for a community that lacked it.

The radical changes to the bylaws proposed at the General Convention were not passed, and so the governance of the Church continues to be congregational in nature. Minor changes were made in the portion of the bylaws that were covered at convention - but no significant change in substance. Retaining those minor changes, the bylaws were referred to the Bylaws Committee, to be brought back to the next General Convention in 2017.
At the close of the Convention, Loren Stacy took over as President from Whaid Rose. He graduated from the University of Southern California (BA, MS) and the Summit School of Theology (M.Div.). In 1981 he became pastor of the Lodi, California congregation, serving as Youth Agency director (1981-1986), West Coast District overseer (1986-1992), and Chairman of the board of directors (1997-2015).
Jason Overman has taken over Calvin Burrell’s role as Editor of the Church’s 150+ years old magazine, the Bible Advocate. Jason and his wife Stephanie pastor the Jasper, Arkansas congregation. He worked for the Harrison Daily Times for 24 years, where he was general manager until his recent appointment.
The new Executive Director is Jody McCoy, who graduated from Spring Vale Academy and Texas A&M with a masters in electrical engineering. He worked for Advanced Micro Devices for 25 years in Austin - ten years in telecommunication and computer chip design and 15 years managing a performance analysis team. He left AMD in 2011 to do full-time research in science, religion, and philosophy.

Living Church of God
Update, December 7th, from Gerald Weston on the dismantling of Living University and reformation of LCG
s educational program:

Extremely encouraging meetings were held this week to discuss an educational overview for the Living Church of God ...

Our current plans are to make online courses available to all members free of charge beginning in August. We also plan to have a one-year on-site resident work/study program here in Charlotte for high school graduates.

Mr. Jonathan McNair will be transferring to Charlotte to coordinate our efforts with individuals who have specific expertise in educational programs, such as Dr. Scott Winnail and Mr. Stuart Wachowicz.”

Surely Michael Germano, the President of Living University, and Doug Winnail are far more qualified than Jonathan McNair as coordinators in education?

Update from Gerald Weston on Living University:
“Quoting from Living University President, Dr. Michael Germano’s annual report for 2016–2017, residents from the following states, ‘may not by law or state regulation enroll in Living University online academic programs or courses (either for credit or as auditors).’ (20 states listed)
“We had several options before us. One was to continue as is. However, all indications point to even more states joining this list.”
Other options were to register in each of these states, or seek accreditation by a US Department of Education approved accrediting body - both, he says, would be “time-consuming and costly.”
“This left the only other option, reorganize outside of the higher education university model, and this is what we have chosen to do.
Now let me bring you into some of our thinking at this time. There are three major groups to be served: 1) ministers and potential ministers, 2) the general membership, 3) the next generation (youth and young adults).
Our intention is to benefit from what we’ve learned over the last decade and use material already produced to reshape an educational program that will serve each group even more effectively. For example, we plan to make some of the video class lectures and classroom material available free online to our members.”
Michael Germano failed to gain ‘worldly’ accreditation for Herbert Armstrong
s WCG, yet the LCG has spent years going through the same “time-consuming and costly” process, and expecting a different result.

When Roderick Meredith was in charge, it was possible for anyone to view all of LCG’s live Sabbath services, passwords being freely available.
One of Gerald Weston’s first acts, after he took over as the
Presiding Evangelist in July 2016, was to deny access to non-members:

“We ask you, brethren, please do not share passwords outside of your area. Your pastor’s sermons are ... not for brethren across the country or around the world.”

... these broadcasts are not be shared with others, via any media including, without limitation, public media such as Facebook, Yahoo, or Twitter, etc.”

Any sermons that are not in line with the doctrines of head office could thereby be restricted to the local area, and corrected’ if needed.

Some are continuing to share on social media, so Douglas Winnail has issued another admonition to Beware of False Teachers! ... who come in sheep’s clothing(smooth talking, congenial, appearing to be spiritual), but inwardly are ravenous wolveswho seek to divide and devour the flock of God ...”

In 2015 and 2016 the live services during the Charlotte Family Weekend at Christmas were open to all, but Gerald Weston has decided that in future: “this Internet broadcast is for LCG membership and you can find the password at your “MyLCG” account.”

Regarding restructuring the educational programs, there is “a member letter that you should receive soon, giving an update on new educational initiatives for the Church, as we are moving very quickly regarding this. Living University resources will be used in what we see as a comprehensive approach to serve all members.”

The Living University will continue in its current format for the time being, the Spring semester beginning on Wednesday, January 10th.

Gerald Weston writes, November 9th:
From the Presiding Evangelist
Dear Brethren,
“We concluded a very encouraging series of Council of Elders meetings this past week, in which we affirmed the need to hold onto the biblically based traditions of the Church.”
This is the first time that he has referred to himself as “the Presiding Evangelist.”
Despite this elevation, he still feels the need to invoke “the clearly stated wishes” of his predecessor in announcing the following change ...
“However, regarding Living University, we recognize that we are at a crossroads. The current situation is that individuals in at least 20 states are not able to take online courses in Living University due to changing state laws. It is apparent that its existing structure is not able to meet the educational needs of the youth and members of the Living Church of God.
The Council of Elders has reviewed the situation, and in keeping with the clearly stated wishes of Dr. Meredith, the Council has advised that accreditation efforts be dropped, in favor of developing a more flexible, less restrictive, and more effective program to support the development of future ministers, to serve our youth, and to serve our general membership. This has not been an easy decision as much effort has been put into Living University.”
If this change is “in keeping with the clearly stated wishes of Dr. Meredith” - why is it a difficult decision, and why was it not carried out (or at least announced) while Roderick Meredith was alive?
Gerald Weston continues: “Many of you have supported these efforts through your prayers and financial donations. For this we are ever grateful. However, as evidenced by the recent limitations placed on licensed universities, restrictions on conducting online classes in an increasing number of states limit our ability to serve our ministers and members.
I believe there are exciting opportunities before us regarding a variety of educational programs, and I will be forming a committee next week to begin restructuring our Living Church of God educational programs to serve our ministry, our youth, and our general membership. In the meantime, classes as currently configured will continue to operate for the time being. The decision as to how we restructure will be announced in the near future. I am looking forward to explaining more about this in the weeks ahead.”
Surely “the clearly stated wishes of Dr. Meredith” would clearly set out how he wanted the Living University to be restructured?

Update from Gerald Weston, November 2nd:
“The U.K. entity was under a stressful government audit for about two years, but we were given final notice this past week that the case is closed in the Church’s favor with no tax or penalties. We are thankful for the diligent and tedious work put in by Adam West, Simon Roberts, and our outside accounting firm regarding this HMRC (Her Majesty
s Revenue and Customs) audit, and most of all thankful to God for dealing with those matters we have no control over.”

On September 8th a video by Rod McNair, ‘Peter and the Key-Man Principle’, was uploaded onto both the and Facebook websites, and also YouTube.
In an interview with Jeff Booth in 1980, Herbert Armstrong declared:
“The title, and the keys, passed from chief apostle to chief apostle, from Peter to Peter. Each chief apostle was the new Peter.
He said, ‘Now I am the chief apostle, and I am the Peter’.”
“Whatever I bind is bound in heaven, and whatever I loose is loosed in heaven.” “The Day of Pentecost is now on Sunday. But, since I had made the decision to observe Pentecost on Monday, for years the Day of Pentecost was actually on Monday.”
If Herbert Armstrong held the office of The Peter’, as he believed, did he pass it  to Roderick Meredith? Herbert Armstrong wrote to Roderick Meredith (later in 1980), rejecting him as a possible successor:
“Rod, in frankest candor, JESUS CHRIST will NEVER put any one at the head of His Work on earth who is competitive, covetous of power and status, and self-righteous. In brutal frankness, you lack the charisma to lead God's work. You do not attract - as I said before, you REPEL people. You are a harsh taskmaster over those under you. THAT IS YOUR RECORD!”
How then can the ‘Peter Principle’ have passedthe title and the keys’ from Roderick Meredith to Gerald Weston - giving him the power to bind and loosen biblical doctrine?

Gerald Weston writes in his weekly update, July 27th:
“We are pleased to hear that one of our biggest UK stations is moving to a better location, from channel 64 down to channel 39, on the Freeview television platform. We expect this will expose many new people to Tomorrow’s World.”
LCG broadcasts on only 4 UK stations. The bigger two are CBS Action and CBS Reality on Freeview, both of which have an average weekly TV audience share of 0.4% (much lower of course at 7.30/8.30 Sunday mornings).
A Spy Digital forum member suggests that CBS has done a swap deal with ITV:
“CBS Action moving from channel 64 to channel 39, which is currently occupied by ITV’s The Store, may be connected to ITVBe moving to the slot currently occupied by CBS Drama on Sky, but I didn’t think broadcasters were allowed to sell/swap their EPG slots on Freeview.”
Gerald Weston is enthusiastic about the progress on YouTube.
“We are seeing some interesting numbers for several of our full-length telecasts showing up on YouTube. The French program, ‘Seven Signs of the Antichrist’, has seen 375,124 views. The Spanish version of “Seven Proofs God Exists” has generated a whopping 1,259,096 views. On the English side, “Ezekiel’s Message Unlocked” has now surpassed the 400,000 mark, with over 1,000 subscriptions generated. These are significant numbers, and a number of Spanish programs are in the hundreds of thousands.”
He even finds encouragement in broadcasts being given the ‘thumbs-down’:
“It is actually encouraging to see that not everyone gives us a thumbs-up: some give us a dislike, which indicates we are reaching an outside audience.

The July-August 2017 issue of Tomorrow’s World magazine is now on-line.

Gerald Westons personal message is a eulogy for Roderick Meredith, who he says, “became intimately acquainted with Herbert W. Armstrong ... was one of the first evangelists ordained by Mr. Armstrong in 1952, and he spent more than 64 years in the Work that Christ began through Mr. Armstrong ...

Following the death of Mr. Herbert Armstrong, the next leader of the Worldwide Church of God sidelined Dr. Meredith.”

Roderick Meredith was sidelined in 1979 by Herbert Armstrong, who removed him as head of the ministry, installing a local elder, Joseph Tkach, to take charge of the Office of Ministerial Services. He was then exiled to Hawaii.

The next leader, Joseph Tkach, kept him sidelined until Leona McNair's lawsuit was finally settled, when he was offered an early retirement pension. Roderick Meredith declined this and immediately set up the Global Church of God.

The latest from Tomorrows World News & Prophecy (23rd June) states:
To better understand what is happening in Europe, be sure to watch our insightful telecast 'Four Prophecies for Germany

Bob Thiel writes that there is an error in this telecast, which makes it no.45 in his list of Doctrinal Differences between LCG and his Continuing Church of God.

Bob Thiel is praying that, under Gerald Weston, LCG will correct some of these 45 errors. Roderick Meredith wouldnt listen to Bob Thiel when he was inside LCG, so why would Gerald Weston do so now?

Gerald Weston is anxious to turn co-workers into members and tithe payers, writing in his co-worker letter of June 16th:
“Dear co-workers, we are very thankful for your dedication, your generosity, and the fact that you go beyond monetary support and offer up sincere, heartfelt prayers on behalf of this Work of God. Never think that we do not appreciate you! However, I often wonder why many do not take the next step and become more intimately involved with those of like mind. The Apostle Paul wrote the Hebrews and reminded them of something very important. We are not to forsake “the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some.” On the contrary, we should be “exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
We often say, “You will not be asked to join anything” when you are invited to attend one of our live Tomorrow’s World Presentations, and that is true. We never want to pressure anyone to do what he or she is not ready, willing, or able to do. But I want you to understand that our concern is not for your money. You are already donating! Our concern is for you! While we will never come knocking at your door unless we are invited, we want you to know that we would love to meet you and offer to you what we enjoy - fellowship with others of like mind. So if you are interested, let us know. If not, we will continue to appreciate you as a faithful co-worker. We will continue to send you any, and all, of our literature free of charge. And we will continue to care for you in our prayers.”
A co-worker, donating small amounts in appreciation of the free literature being received, is being told that this will continue to be sufficient.
Tithing, however, is mandatory in the LCG:- 1st tithe, surplus of 2nd tithe not spent on the annual feasts, 3rd tithe, a tithe of a tithe -
in addition to the ‘free will offerings’ that the co-workers are currently making.
“But I want you to understand that our concern is not for your money. You are already donating! Our concern is for you!”

Rod King has retired, and writes, June 15th:
“It has been a privilege to serve God, His Work and His people in the ministry of the Living Church of God. After graduating from Ambassador College Bricket Wood in 1973, Shayne and I returned to Australia to serve in the full-time ministry. I pastored churches in Australia as well as the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. In 2006, Dr. Meredith asked us to move to England to serve in the United Kingdom, Europe and Africa, and then to attend the Council of Elders and present on the Tomorrow’s  World telecast. Over these 44 years, there have been many blessings, many friends made, and many memories.
While my health is holding, I find that it is a battle to have enough energy in the day to fulfill my responsibilities. It has been with regret that I have asked to be retired from the full-time ministry. We’ll stay in Melbourne, serving as an elder whenever the need arises.”

On the recent church-wide fast day, when Roderick Meredith was close to death, Gerald Weston gave a sermon, Trust and Obey, which was uploaded onto Facebook on 3rd June. His purpose was to dispel rumors and fears that LCG would split after Roderick Meredith's death.
“Some believe that, just as with Mr. Armstrong’s death, that it is inevitable that the church go into rebellion or apostasy again ... Have God’s people always rebelled after the death of a significant leader?”
He compared the current transition of leadership from Roderick Meredith to himself with “another transition, one in many ways of far greater significance” - that of Moses and Joshua.
He quoted Joshua 24:31, ‘And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel’.
“So it is not inevitable that, when a leader dies, the church has to go off track.”
He was careful to interject that he was not considering himself to be the second Joshua (as certain other CoG leaders do).
In the June 1 update, Doug Winnail reiterated that the church’s leaders are responsible for doctrine, so the brethren must ‘trust and obey’ their decisions:
“we can lose sight of this big picture if we begin to focus on details and issues not clearly defined in the Scriptures - the loose brick or doctrine that we feel the Church does not understand - and then sit in judgment of the Church that has been given the responsibility to do the Work and make decisions in these areas.”
Bob Thiel, an active figure in LCG due to his frequent Cogwriter blogs, left the church in December 2012 because, “In 2012, certain heresies were officially introduced, accepted, and/or promoted by LCG. After concluding that insufficient value was placed on the truth (and keeping their word) by certain leaders of LCG and that they no longer held to biblical church governance and could not be used to lead the final phase of the work ...”
Over 2000 people have joined his new church in Africa, due to the efforts of Evans Ochieng and other African ministers, but little progress has been made elsewhere. Thiel regards himself as
the one man with whom God is working in The Final Phase of the Work, a true prophet of God and blessed with a double portion of the holy spirit, declarations which would not endear him to many wanting to leave LCG.

Roderick Merediths funeral takes place today, Sunday, May 28.
iewing will be at Heritage Funeral Home, 3700 Forest Lawn Drive, Matthews, NC, from 9 am to 11 am.
The internment will be private.
The funeral service, starting at 1.00pm,
will be conducted by Richard Ames, and will be followed by a reception at Weddington High School, Matthews.

Memoriam for Dr. Roderick C. Meredith
“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Dr. Roderick C. Meredith, Presiding Evangelist of the Living Church of God. He had been suffering from cancer and died peacefully late Thursday night, May 18, 2017. He would have been 87 years old in June and took his 67th Passover this year. He is survived by his 6 children, 10 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.
Dr. Meredith was one of the first evangelists ordained by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong in 1952 and spent 64 years in the Work that Christ began through Mr. Armstrong. He was active in the Work until recent months. The Living Church of God, which Dr. Meredith raised up, has more than 350 congregations in 55 countries worldwide. He is succeeded as Presiding Evangelist by Mr. Gerald E. Weston.
Even after the partial paralysis of a stroke in 2008, Dr. Meredith pushed himself to continue to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world and to shepherd the flock. His greatest wish was for the Work in which he labored for so long to go forward in unity and power under Jesus Christ. We look forward to seeing him again in the resurrection at Christ’s return.
The funeral is scheduled for Sunday, May 28 with Mr. Richard F. Ames presiding. An additional announcement will be made with details.
The family requests that donations be made to the Living Church of God in lieu of sending flowers.
Prayers are requested for God’s comfort and peace for his beloved family.”[Tribute from Viktor Kubik, President of the United Church of God, May 19]

In the latest news commentary from Tomorrow's World, John Meakin writes in Brexit – Why A Snap UK General Election?: “We at Tomorrow’s World constantly strive to see things from God’s perspective and from the view of biblical prophecy. So, which way will God allow things to go?”

Clicking on the 'biblical prophecy' link takes us to the 'news and prophecy' page – but that fails to tell us which way God will allow things to go.

Instead, the latest article by the News and Prophecy Staff (17th May 2017), Floods and Drought, begins, “Rivers in Britain are drying up and threatening trout and waterfowl populations, thanks to an unusually dry winter and spring (The Telegraph, May 8, 2017).

Their comment: “There is more extreme weather coming in the days ahead.”

Had they bothered to check the current weather in Britain, they would have discovered that on 17th May 2017 and the previous few days there had been a steady downfall of rain (not a flood), with more rain forecast in the days ahead.

This striving “to see things from God’s perspective and from the view of biblical prophecy” has not led to much accuracy. The list of 'related content' on the right hand sidebar of this article includes Roderick Meredith's Fourteen Signs of Christ's Return (originally published in 1994), when he wrote, “Perhaps you might say, Well, there’s a few years yet to go. Yes, there are a few—maybe very few.” He was more precise back in 1963, in Ten Reasons Why Christ Must Return, declaring, “You might as well wake up and FACE FACTS! The world you live in won't be here 15 years from now!”

LCGs venture into broadcasting the gospel live to the world is failing badly, and the hope of going five days a week is surely a long way off.

Gerald Weston wrote in the Church News on March 23: “Some of you may have found our new livestreamed program, Tomorrow’s World Now. Thursday at 3:00 p.m. (Charlotte time) was our second attempt at live broadcasting on YouTube and Facebook. We are currently testing it once a week, with an eye to going five days a week in the future, but right now we are having to work through technical challenges, and as we get our feet wet, we are discovering what does and doesn’t work well regarding the format, so if you do tune in, please be patient with us. We believe TW Now has great potential, but we are far from where we want to be.”

Technical challenges are not the main barrier to success, although it would help if they dispensed with the large microphones, which are reminiscent of those used in Herbert Armstrong’s radio broadcasts. This makes the studio discussion format look even more old fashioned. Dylan King excitedly presented this brand new technology”, but he has been replaced by dull, uninteresting speakers.

The test transmission was “found” by 1166 people on YouTube, and 1092 watched the second attempt. Weston’s announcement of the broadcast boosted the viewing figure for the next program to 2145, since when the numbers have declined weekly. The YouTube viewing figures (as of May 16) are as follows:
1. 1166    2. 1092    3. 2145    4. 1973    5. 1452    6. 1422    7. 1312    8. 1136

Tomorrow’s World Now is a live broadcast, launched on March 23 with a test transmission, presented by Dylan King. Its a brand new technology”, he announced, but its an old style studio discussion, with large microphones, reminiscent of those used when Herbert Armstrong was broadcasting on radio.

Its broadcast live somewhere on YouTube and Facebook - LCG does not have a YouTube channel, nor does it provide a link on Facebook.

Michael Germano has taken James Malm to task over the latter’s biblical calendar, a version of the Abib barley calendar [6].
“James Malm the 21st century Internet false prophet ... The so-called Biblical Calendar is not Biblical at all. It is of modern origin. God gave the Levitical priests authority over administration of the Sacred Calendar, including the ability to postpone the Passover by one month when very cold weather necessitated it as the lambs and barley were not ready for the Temple sacrificial rituals. Today authority for setting the calendar rests with the ordained ministry of God’s true Church, not non-ordained laypeople.”
By what process precisely was the authority of the Levitical priesthood transferred to “the ordained ministry of God’s true Church”? (by which he means the Living Church of God).
“If that fool James Malm wants to take me on, then let him come to me directly on my Twitter Account or on Facebook and I will theologically destroy him as he does not know the Bible -- he is pretending ... Come on, get on my turf and see who has the high hand.”
Germano hasn’t always been so high handed about the doctrines of Global/LCG. At one time he embraced the ‘new understanding’ of Joseph Tkach’s WCG (now Grace Communion International). In the Worldwide News, May 9,1995, when he was the Dean of Faculty at WCG
s Ambassador University, he wrote:
“Thanks to Mr. Tkach’s leadership and relationship with God, we have been led by the Spirit of God to come to a deeper, richer, fuller understanding of what it is to be a Christian. The understanding appears to be wholly of the Spirit. When the veil is removed, all comes into place. Spiritual renewal is being worked out in a powerful and wonderful way throughout the Church.
At Ambassador University we have some on the faculty (both lay members and ministers) who have not been able to see or accept the New Covenant understanding. The majority of the faculty, however, have and are deeply thrilled and excited about the new understanding. Some faculty and students have decided that they will work in active opposition. This is sad, but each person has come to his or her decision.”
(The closure of Ambassador University was announced in December 1996.)

Michael Germano joined the Living University at its foundation in February 2007, where he is the President, and has reverted to teaching the ‘old understanding’.
The following comments were made on Facebook on Saturday, March 25th:
Caz French:

“Regardless of his argument, I thought Germano’s response to your original post was very rude and insulting. Above all things, are we not to express love - and respect being a huge part of that - in all matters? This is the greater example, our behaviour, especially in points of contention, of true Christian spirit. It has been indeed, the biggest stumbling block of my experiences within the Church of God. Much more so than points of Doctrine. The blatant disrespect, crossing of boundaries, imperialistic attitude, patronisation and berating of some over others, had nearly driven me away. Until I realised, and still implementing this of course, it can only start with me in my own life. Doctrine aside, ‘by this will all men know you are of Me, if you have LOVE for one another’. That’s what really counts.
Angela Storey:
“I feel sorry for Michael Germano, he has been indoctrinated by someone and is full of fear and anxiety about stuff to do with God. We all need to be free of spiritual domination and bondage. ‘Perfect love casts out fear’. Some ministers have used fear and paranoia, and it takes its toll. I know.”
Diane L. Partridge:
“Michael Germano, I have never heard of Malm or followed him. You do come across as rude and hateful, not loving and supportive, patient and with the Holy Spirit. I used to attend LCG, so that explains some of the attitude of exclusivity shown. Many of us had enough of that in the old WCG.
And the despised and hated splinter groups that some COGs bash are teaching great things and adhering to scriptures.
To assume that YOU know who God’s people are, based on which group or organization they worship, or which man they idolize, is foolishness and lack knowledge of the scriptures, God breathed, reveal to us.”
Maxine McCartney:
“His true colors are narcissistic and arrogant, I am sorry to say. There is never any time we are to accuse brethren of being spiritually bankrupt. We have much to learn on the journey our Father has set us upon. We must remember we are each at a different place in our travels toward the Kingdom. How good and pleasant it is when brethren can reason together and share their understanding. As we study and grow, next week and next month we will have attained additional wisdom to share. None of us know everything. We are to be merciful and kind, encouraging and edifying, building one another in love. Thank you.

Michael Germano responded:
“Sorry Maxine, you have entered into a discussion without understanding the facts or the context. A knee jerk reaction is not effective. Obviously you like to dish it out--narcissistic and arrogant--but you do not know what you are talking about. You just demonstrated an emotional reaction. I assume you have been sucked up into the Malm heresy. Hopefully you can find a way out. Perhaps you need to seek some some professional help in exiting a very sick cult. If you are interested in narcissistic and arrogant, take a look at the Banned site. It is really sick. Even worse than Malm's nonsense.”

Gerald Weston writes: “Mr. Mario Hernandez, our Spanish Regional Director, and Mr. George Schaubeck from Costa Rica recently visited Cuba, where God is beginning to do a work in an area that was once closed to us. How exciting it is to reach out to people who have not previously been introduced to original Christianity and all that this means! Messrs. Hernandez and Schaubeck visited with about 50 people in total, people who had come in contact with us via the Internet or personal acquaintances and requested we contact them. Some 30 people were already committed enough to attend a Sabbath service conducted by Mr. Hernandez. One man was baptized, but we expect many more will take that step in the near future, and we are now making preparations to hold the Feast of Tabernacles on the island for what we believe will be the first time ever!”

Update from Gerald Weston, March 9th: “Mr. Richard Ames had a medical emergency this week but is now doing very well. He called for anointing, which we did, but felt it was prudent to have him checked out. His speech at times was slurred and he had numbness and weakness on his right side. Tests indicated that it definitely was a stroke. The good news is that he was released from the hospital, his speech is back to normal and he is able to move about normally.”

Bob Thiel received the following in an email on March 7th: “It looks like Mr Ames’ health has taken a turn for the worse. They rushed him to hospital after complaining of a headache. The doctors are doing further tests on him.
Mr Ames was complaining of slurred speech and numbness on his right side.”
Thiel added this criticism of Richard Ames: “An LCG minister once told me that Richard Ames was loyal to a FAULT - emphasizing that he would not stand up for the truth when he should, as he placed his version of loyalty above doing right. My experience with him and LCG, sadly, confirmed that.”
Richard Ames has indeed been loyal to Roderick Meredith, who described him, on 18th August 2016, as “one of the most dedicated and loyal men I have ever known.”
Richard Ames had been nominated by Roderick Meredith to be his heir, with Gerald Weston appointed later as the no. 3.

It was no great surprise to see him stepping aside in 2015, in order to concentrate on his television and writing work, and avoid the stressful ‘office politics’ at Charlotte HQ, given his age (then 79) and general health.
He is currently Director of Media Operations, and has received several awards for his video presentations.

Gerald Weston wrote on February 2: “Dr. Meredith has been putting the finishing touches on his booklet on the Protestant Reformation, that will come out first as a series of articles in the Tomorrow’s World magazine.”
The March/April issue of the Tomorrow’s World magazine, now on-line,
contains the first article in the series. The preamble ‘From the Editors’ states:
“Roderick C. Meredith, the Editor in Chief of the Tomorrow’s World Magazine and Presiding Evangelist of the Living Church of God, is uniquely qualified to write this series. His ministry spans almost 65 years, from the earliest years of Herbert W. Armstrong’s worldwide work to today’s multi-media continuation of that Work of reaching the world with the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God.
Dr. Meredith has long been an expert concerning the history and significance of the Protestant Reformation, and this series collects his research on this highly misunderstood subject.
It will explain the truth about the Reformation - a truth that will make you see the last 500 years of the religion called Christianity in an astonishingly different light.
We hope you will enjoy this brand-new series!”
They are being economical with the truth. This is not a “brand-new” series. Roderick Meredith has not collected “his research on this highly misunderstood subject” during “his ministry (spanning) almost 65 years.”

He has not been putting the finishing touches” to this work.

He wrote The Plain Truth about the Protestant Reformation 61 years ago, when he was a student at Ambassador College. His thesis was written in ‘Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Arts in Theology’. This thesis was published in The Plain Truth magazine, as a six part series, in the July to December 1958 issues.
The first article in this “brand-new series” comprises chapters 1-3 of this thesis. It is almost word for word, with some slight (or should that be ‘sleight’?) amendments by the editors, e.g. “thesis” is changed to “series”; “the following chapters” to “this series of articles”; and “the present work” to “this series”.

Mario Hernandez reports:

“This year, for the first time ever, the Feast of Tabernacles will be celebrated in Cuba! Mr. Raúl Colón, our elder in Puerto Rico, will be keeping the Feast in Cuba with a [growing] group of local prospective members.

The preaching of the Gospel is also bearing fruit in Spain. The Eternal is calling new people. A small group is being formed. After several decades, the Feast of Tabernacles will be kept again this year in Spain.”

Update on Roderick Meredith’s illness, February 16th:
“Dr. Meredith is resting at home following a diagnosis of cancer. He is keeping in touch with Mr. Weston and others at the office via visits and phone calls. After praying and meditating on the subject, he has decided not to get caught up in various rounds of treatments that MAY prolong life but not quality of life, while in the end the outcome is the same. He is putting his life in God’s hands to do as only God knows best. He knows that God can heal him, but he is realistic, knowing that he is 86½ years old and has had a full and very eventful life.

His concern has always been the Church, serving Jesus Christ, and his family. Tuesday evening he had about 20 people over for dinner—mostly family and a few of those who have been like family to him. He is in good spirits and greatly appreciates everyone’s prayers for God’s intervention in his life.”

Gerald Weston wrote on January 26th: “Dr. Meredith continues to work on several very important articles and booklets, including a major article on the Protestant Reformation ... We also held meetings regarding new booklets and ways to deliver the message to a greater variety of people.”
On February 9th he wrote: “The March/April Tomorrow’s World ... is expanded by four pages to make room for Dr. Meredith’s first installment on the Protestant Reformation.”
A major article on the Protestant Reformation would be timely, as 2017 is the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany. It would not, however, be a new article, as Roderick Meredith wrote The Plain Truth about the Protestant Reformation 61 years ago, as a thesis for his masters degree at Ambassador College.
The other “very important articles and bookletswill surely be ‘ghost written’ - but having Roderick Meredith’s byline on any booklets ‘updating’ church doctrine would be crucial to Gerald Westons attempts to hold LCG together after Roderick Meredith’s death.

On February 9th Gerald Weston announced that “we have set aside the Sabbath of March 18 for a Church-wide fast to draw closer to God as our world becomes more and more divided and storm clouds rise higher on the horizon. We will have more information regarding this subject in subsequent weeks.”

It used to be possible for anyone to view LCG’s live Sabbath services, but one of Gerald Weston’s first acts was to deny access to non-members.
He has now taken this a stage further:

We ask you, brethren, please do not share passwords outside of your area. Your pastor’s sermons are prepared and designed with your local congregation in mind - not for brethren across the country or around the world.”

‘Sensitive’ information which might be detrimental to LCG will thus be controlled.

In “Using the Internet More Effectively” Gerald Weston writes:

“The Internet is an exciting tool the Church uses to preach the Gospel to the whole world. At the same time, it presents unique challenges. We have always presented the Truth free of charge and will continue to do so; however, when we post everything we have on our Web sites, with no means of knowing who is reading our material, this creates some difficulties ...
We have encouraged people everywhere to sign up for our digital magazine, but when the whole magazine is already on our Web site, and therefore available without subscribing, there is little incentive to do so.”
Today the gospel is preached to many millions of people, and yet church income is declining. In the pre-Internet age respondents had to give their names and home addresses to obtain literature, thereby providing the opportunity to urge them to become co-workers, by contributing regularly to church funds - and perhaps become members, when they would be expected to donate 20%-30% of their income to
the work. How then can visitors to LCGs websites be persuaded to reveal their personal information?
“What we plan to do going forward is to offer a portion of the magazine on our Web sites, but if one wants to read the whole magazine right away, one must subscribe (thus giving us an e-mail address). Otherwise, he or she must call or write for a hard copy subscription. We will still make the whole magazine available after the next issue comes out, so it will still be available, but with a delay for some articles for as much as two months.”

The times they are a-changing in ‘media land’.

“We are no longer living in the 60s,” says Gerald Weston.
Shortly before the Sabbath service at the Winter Weekend, Roderick Meredith issued a short message (for posting on Facebook), in which he greeted “you guys out in radio land, out in facebook land.”

His 1½ hour sermon, despite being entitled, The Future of God’s Work, was, as always, firmly stuck in the 20th century, mainly comprising reminiscences of his times with Herbert Armstrong, and then of starting his own church, utilising the same media as Herbert Armstrong had done.
His mentor, however, changed with the times, beginning his own ministry with print media, then founding the Radio Church of God in 1934, and switching to TV in the 1960s, necessitating a name change - to the Worldwide Church of God.
Gerald Weston intends to bring LCG into the 21st century:

“A number of new ideas have been floating around here in Charlotte on how to reach a changing world. We are no longer living in the 60s, where everyone received television signals through the air and were limited to three major networks. Nor are we living at the turn of this century, where cable and satellite television ruled. Today we not only have hundreds of cable and satellite stations, but have the Internet in all of its various forms (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Roku, and a host of other platforms).

A more secular social order that is jettisoning all the old rules presents a huge challenge in finding the most effective means to preach the gospel to a skeptical generation. Therefore you will see a number of new initiatives over the next few years as we try different approaches. Not all will be successful, so don’t be discouraged.  As it says in Ecclesiastes11:6, ‘In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper; either this or that, or whether both alike will be good’.
This weekend Dr. Meredith will be spending time with three of his sons away from Charlotte for a well-deserved break.”
When Gerald Weston takes full charge of LCG, will Meredith’s sons - and all the other family members currently employed at HQ - be spending much more time
away from Charlotte?

Wyatt Ciesielka, reporting on LCG’s 2015 ‘Winter Weekend’ in Charlotte, stated that “More than 800 enthusiastic audience members in Charlotte were joined by well more than 7,000 others from all around the world to watch the special ‘Meet the Living Church of God’ Sabbath service and sermon by Dr. Meredith.”
2015 was the first occasion of a live Sabbath broadcast. This year the numbers were down. Gerald Weston estimated “about 5,000 were tuned in” - while Jim Meredith reported that, “Almost 800 people enjoyed the Charlotte Family Weekend, which included Dr. Meredith’s exciting livestream Sabbath message.”
Roderick Meredith’s sermon,
The Future of God’s Work (starts at 26 minutes), might well have been “exciting” for the members - and interesting for outsiders - if he had indeed expounded on the future direction of “God’s Work”. Instead his main topic yet again was his personal history in the 7th day church and his close relationship with Herbert Armstrong, interspersed yet again with comments on fornication/homosexuality, British Israelism and the importance of hierarchical church governance. Many of his audience, hoping for something relevant to the future, became distracted, camera shots towards the conclusion of his 1½ hour message showing people staring into space or whispering to each other.

LCG is searching for a new meeting place for its HQ congregation in Charlotte, because the masonic temple where it has been holding its Sabbath services has been sold. A commentator on the Banned by HWA article wrote:

While technically it’s true that the Scottish Rite temple is not renewing LCG’s rental contract, it’s because they are selling it to a developer, who is going to convert the whole property into a 198-unit age-restricted community (i.e. senior housing) named Overture Cotswold. So, the temple cannot rent the property to anyone, it’s not that they are refusing to do so.

On the positive side, perhaps the LCG could relocate a portion of its aging ministry to the new development.”

Will Roderick Meredith and his elite ministers lead by example, by selling their own spacious homes and moving into these small apartments, and donating the proceeds of the sales to The Future of God's Work?

It used to be possible for anyone to view LCG’s live Sabbath services, but one of Gerald Weston’s first acts was to deny access to non-members. Roderick Meredith has however decided that the service from LCG’s winter festival, starting at 2.00pm on December 24th, should again be broadcast live over the Internet. His sermon will be translated simultaneously into French and Spanish. (A website link to this service is listed on our Live Broadcasts page.)

Gerald Weston wrote on December 8th: “We have all encouraged Dr. Meredith to write an autobiography to fill in some of the history of the Church, since he played such a major part in the Work of God under Mr. Herbert Armstrong. This week he distributed the first of a planned three-part series, titled ‘The Early Years’. The importance of this project cannot be understated, as he is the last man to fill in many details in the early years of Ambassador College and the Radio Church of God during its existence and afterward. We look forward to the completion of this project and sincerely pray that he will have the energy to complete it.

Its doubtful that he will even be able to complete this three-part series, judging by Richard Ames’s comment back in July 2012:

“Dr. Meredith has asked me to write this month’s co-worker letter ... Since turning 82 years of age in June, he has also been spending time researching and writing his autobiography - a project many of you have encouraged him to complete.”

Gerald Weston reported, Nov.17: “This week Dr. Meredith conducted three full days of meetings with the Council of Elders ... Dr. Meredith was able to conduct all meetings, but he does get tired and your prayers for his continued strength are greatly appreciated.

“Facts about the Feast of Tabernacles, 2016:
• Overall High Attendance: 10,534
• 50 Feast sites, 33 countries
• 289 live phone/Internet connections from ten Feast sites in the USA and international areas
• 159 ‘Feast guests’ registered (subscribers, co-workers, visitors from other COGs)
• First year for new Feast sites in Togo, West Africa and Goa, India.”
s worldwide attendance has increased slightly again (10,400 in 2015), due to there being sites in more countries this year - 2015: 12 in the USA, 39 overseas, 31 countries - 2016: 10 in the USA, 42 overseas, 33 countries.

The Festival site at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina has been cancelled: “Hilton Head Location moving to Charlotte ... We continue to pray for the thousands of people who were affected by Hurricane Matthew. Lives and homes were lost and much damage occurred in Haiti, other islands, and up and down the East Coast of the USA. There is also flooding and various damage in Hilton Head, which was one of our planned sites for the Feast of Tabernacles this year. Due to the hurricane, the resort we had planned to use is not available.

USA Feast Sites with space available: Panama City FL, Osage Beach MO, Traverse City MI, Mount Snow VT, San Diego CA.
Please re-register at one of the above sites, as soon as possible.”

Roderick Meredith wrote in his co-worker letter, October 19, 2015:
Many of you have heard about the ‘floods of biblical proportions’ as they were called in USA Today (October 6, 2015), that hit much of South Carolina. Although the Feast site I attended was in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, it seems God directed the flooding primarily elsewhere in the state.

(see Historic South Carolina Flooding Kills 17)
So we only missed one activity - the Deacons and Elders banquet one evening. All other activities went on as scheduled, and the exhilaration of the brethren was outstanding. So God does intervene and protect His people!”

“Hurricane Matthew devastated a number of islands in the Caribbean, including Haiti where the only bridge to our Festival site was knocked out. Dr. Wilner Pierre is now busy scrambling to find a new site. As far as we know all our brethren are okay in the Caribbean, but it is almost a certainty that many have suffered property damage.”

Live broadcasts are no longer open for anyone to view.

David Good provides a service for COGWA, allowing non-members to request a password to view live Sabbath and holy day services. LCG was provided with the same service, but LCG now denies access to non-members.

Terms of Use: These audio or video broadcasts are made available for the private viewing of Living Church of God congregants as a service for those who are “shut-ins” or otherwise unable to attend personally. The links or passwords that enable viewing of these broadcasts are not be shared with others, via any media including, without limitation, public media such as Facebook, Yahoo, or Twitter, etc. By using these links, you agree not to share them or the audio or video broadcasts they connect to.”

Viktor Kubik of UCG was disappointed that a total of only 76 visitors attended the 3 Beyond Today presentations in North Carolina, but LCGs recent attendances have been worse. A Tomorrows World presentation on Sept. 24 in Ohio drew only 13 guests, and only 13 visitors attended 3 Public Bible Studies in Illinois and Missouri.

With no Festival of Tabernacles in Hawaii this year, the LCGs Meeting Planner, Jim Meredith, is left with organizing the Charlotte Family Weekend, which again will take place at the Renaissance Charlotte Suites Hotel, December 22-25.

The festivities will begin with a dance on Thursday evening, the 22nd, and finish with a sports day and games night on Sunday the 25th. The Sabbath service will be live-streamed over the Internet.

The family weekend is, as Jim Meredith puts it, “a weekend of spiritual rejuvenation, fun, food, and fellowship!” - so different then from the festival that the world celebrates at this time of year.

Gerald Weston announced, Sept.15, various changes scheduled for the U.K.

“Mr. Simon Roberts is transferring to the London area to take up the Shepherd’s Bush, Sevenoaks, and Hook congregations; and Mr. Adam West will then become the pastor of the Birmingham, Manchester, and Pontefract congregations. This switching of church circuits allows Mr. West more time to devote to his Regional Director responsibilities and will make it possible to give the faster growing London area the attention it needs. The timing of the change will depend on when the Roberts are able to work out the details of their move.

Roderick Meredith wrote, August 18: “I have some BIG NEWS! Now that Mr. Gerald Weston has been here at Headquarters serving alongside of us for several weeks, and with my declining health and abilities, I have decided to appoint him to be the next Presiding Evangelist, Chairman of the Board and overall leader of God’s Church, if I should die or be physically incapacitated.

I have talked with Mr. Ames about this more than once, and Mr. Ames - one of the most dedicated and loyal men I have ever known - agrees with this. Both of us will continue in our present responsibilities as long as we are in health. But, in case of my death or incapacity, Mr. Weston will take over.”

Elizabeth Scarborough has posted a letter on Banned by HWA regarding the court hearing on Monday, 1st August, when the Living Church of God pleaded for a dismissal of the lawsuit for slander on Ecclesiastical Abstention grounds.
She writes: “Ecclesiastical abstention basically gives the church permission to treat members as horribly as they want, because the members join of their own free will and in so doing give permission to those in power do whatever they want to them. It stems from the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution and makes the claim that courts don’t have the
jurisdiction to attempt to resolve disputes that are inherently religious in nature. It specifically states that the court should refrain from issues that are based on religious doctrine or church governance, or having to do with decisions handed down by the church leadership.

Our complaint was not ‘religious in nature’. We were slandered ... THAT is what our case was based on. Not doctrine.
Late Friday night our lawyer informed us that the judge granted LCG the dismissal. Needless to say, we were shocked. At this point our claim is completely dead unless we decide to appeal. We have 30 days to make that decision.” (The case is listed to begin on Tuesday, 6th of September.)

It has been confirmed that William Bowmer, the Executive Editor of the Church’s publications, resigned because of the dismissal of the Managing Editor, John Robinson - who was also removed as a deacon.
John Robinson must have apologized for whatever demeanor he was said to have committed, as he is now working from home in the newly created post of Art Editor. Wallace Smith has replaced him as Managing Editor.
William Bowmer had been the editorial head, under Richard Ames, since the start of LCG, and his rôle has not yet been filled, apparently in the hope that he might be persuaded to return.

Roderick Meredith has normally written co-worker letters every month or two, but in July he has sent out his third letter in consecutive weeks. His second letter on July 12th called for a church-wide fast for the Sabbath of July 30th - after receiving “a very heartfelt note from one of our leading younger ministers,” saying “... I know that in the past, our Church-wide fasts are often in relation to an ‘event.’ However, as you have noted, it seems that we are under ‘spiritual attack.’ In addition, it seems like many of God’s people are ‘letting down’ spiritually and are more sensitive to offence and rumor.”
The ‘spiritual attack’ is the lawsuit by the Scarboroughs, and there is actually a related ‘event’ - a 2 hour court hearing on the Monday after this scheduled fast, when LCG’s lawyers will be attempting to get the case dismissed.
His latest letter acknowledges at last that the internet is now a more important medium than print or TV: “... we have been very encouraged by the growth in our worldwide Internet impact. Although we are quite small by the world’s standards, God has greatly blessed our various Internet efforts in helping us utilize new technology to reach new people whom we may not otherwise reach through classic print media or cable or satellite television. For example, in 2016 we began investing more to promote the Tomorrow’s World telecast on all of the main streaming-video-on-demand (SVOD) Internet platforms, including Roku, GoogleTV, AppleTV and Amazon FireTV. Just as we also do with conventional television, we measure the expenses and the results on Internet television to ensure that we are being ‘good stewards’ of God’s tithes and offerings, and the results have been quite encouraging! For example, our SVOD platforms are now producing many hundreds of responses per week, and are in recent weeks bringing in more subscribers than some of our nationwide television stations! ... our 2016 Roku advertising campaign in particular has generated more than 3.2 million ad impressions, increasing our installation base to now well over 45,000! On the Internet, we have long advertised Tomorrow’s World magazine, Tomorrow’s World telecast and other material all around the world. And recently we have begun testing additional, intensive geographic advertising in a few cities, including Charlotte, Toronto, London, Johannesburg and Harrismith, South Africa, Adelaide, Australia, and Mexico City.
Additionally, we are reaching increasing numbers every month with telecasts and webcasts on YouTube. As many of you know, people are increasingly watching video over the Internet on their ‘Smartphones’ and other computers, so this is another area where we are really investing time and energy, and we are thankful for the results so far! To share some encouraging numbers with each of you, currently the English-language YouTube page has generated more than 6.7 million views, the French-language YouTube page now has more than 500,000 views, and the Spanish-language YouTube page recently passed 4.6 million views! ...

And, as we see tightening ‘censorship’ and hostility to God’s Truth increasing around the world, we have already seen on more than a few occasions where some local television station will censor or reject one of our telecasts, but that telecast is still able to be seen on one of our many Internet platforms.”

In October 2014 we reported about Roderick Meredith’s audio sermon, God’s Government Is Vital, in which he said, “I’ve asked Mr McNair and Mr League, they’ve been working as a team to get all the information on many of these things, and I’m working with them and other leaders ... We’re trying to keep God’s church clean.”
“We found that some of these people we’ve had to put out ... they often lie and lie, and they’ll twist and turn, and turn things around ...”

This was a must playsermon for the Day of Atonement, together with a sermonette by Rod McNair, Ministerial Authority is Based on Love, in which he set out three measures for disciplining members who cause division within the church by refusing to submit fully to the authority of ministers: Suspension, Disfellowshipping and Marking. This is all done in love, he says, as “love will cover a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

(Bob League, who was named in the legal action by the Scarboroughs, alongside Meredith and McNair, died in January 2015.)

LCG removed the link to the sermon, ‘due to issues with the item’s content’, but one of our readers has provided a new link to God’s Government Is Vital.

Robert Thiel (Continuing Church of God) wrote on the 7th of July:

“Although originally it appeared that there would be a July 2016 court date for the Scarborough -v- Living Church of God lawsuit, it is my understanding that this date has been pushed back to September 2016.

If it is not settled out-of-court (and most lawsuits in the USA are), the Scarborough case may let all see that LCG's leadership has long lacked proper integrity. In this case, it is my understanding that the top leadership of LCG knew that the Scarboroughs were NOT my source related to a post about the late Dibar Apartian, yet let stand a marking/disfellowshiping of Patrick and/or Elizabeth anyway. Sadly, most in LCG will not care enough about the truth to take Philadelphian action once they learn more of the truth.”

That previous post is as follows:

09/26/14 p.m. Some have wondered if Elizabeth or Patrick Scarborough were the source for my 09/16/14 p.m. post related to Dibar Apartian as one or both of them were accused of being so. While I have no intention to reveal my source, neither Elizabeth nor Patrick Scarborough nor any other Scarborough was the source.

09/16/14 p.m. Got a couple of emails from a former LCG member today related to the late evangelist Dibar Apartian:

I just wanted to write you about Mr. Apartian and what he REALLY felt about LCG and its leaders.

I know that Dibar Apartian expressed serious concern for the LCG brethren, as he made comments about the “true colors” of LCG's upper leadership would come out after his death - which is exactly what happened.

Mr. Apartian told several LCG members, whom he trusted, that LCG was no longer Gods true Church, and was no longer even a Godly church.

Mr. Apartian was against the “falling away” doctrine, just as John Ogwyn was against it also.

Mr. Apartian also knew that Herbert W. Armstrong was vehemently against Rod Meredith being the human leader of the church. Mr. Apartian always felt uneasy about following Rod Meredith, since he knew HWAs feelings about that.

Mr. Apartian was also having private meetings, near the end of his life, with ministers of different Church of God groups - one of those ministers, whom Mr. Apartian met with, told me about their meetings in person. Those private meetings were about Mr. Apartian leaving LCG.

However, due to his rapidly failing health and a few other reasons, he stayed with LCG. He did make it very clear though, that LCG was heading in the wrong direction, in terms of doctrine and other major decisions as well.

Mr. Apartian was also very upset about Rod Merediths lack of compassion and concern for him, while he was near his death. Rod Meredith had heard about some of Mr. Apartians revealing comments about LCG, and Meredith was not happy. Therefore, Rod Meredith did not visit much with Mr. Apartian towards the end, and Meredith even discouraged other LCG members from visiting with Mr. Apartian - worried that more negative facts about LCG would get out.

I hope this info is helpful - Gods people need to know the truth about LCG and about Rod Meredith.

Roderick Meredith has written a special letter to the brethren — “Because of quickly moving prophetic events and because of the appointment of Mr. Gerald Weston as soon coming President of this Work.”

No doubt with the impending Scarborough court case in mind, he declares that:

We have tried to carry on Mr. Armstrong’s work in a loving and positive way — not crucifying people in the way we conducted the Work, or breaking up families, as some others have done.”

In the Living Church News, January-February 2016 he wrote:

If you go around your neighborhood, you find virtually no one who has heard of the Living Church of God ...” — yet now he claims: “This Work is growing in a consistent manner and we will soon, no doubt, explode on the world scene as our power increases.”

“... within a few days as I write this (July 5), Mr. Weston will be back here to take up his new responsibilities in Charlotte as President of the Work and Chief Operating Officer (COO)” … (He) “has actually lived in Britain for about a year. Mr. Weston — with his dedicated wife’s assistance — has done an outstanding job in helping stabilize the churches in Britain and Europe.”

He then outlines the new Presidents (restricted) authority:

(Stability means loyalty to minsters and adherence to the leaderships doctrines.)

So, as many of you know, I have appointed Mr. Gerald Weston as the incoming “President” of this Work, officially beginning July 21, 2016. Mr. Richard Ames and I will continue to be the “overseers” and continue to serve — for the time being — as Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Board of the Living Church of God. We will oversee all of the major decisions of the Work and certainly all doctrinal areas. But Mr. Weston will be brought in to take over more and more responsibilities as each month goes by.”

Emergency Relocation of Church Members from Cerro de Pasco, Peru
From the Cerro de Pasco Relocation Team: “Your prayers are requested for our members in Cerro de Pasco, a town at the top of the Andean mountains in Peru and for our efforts to help them relocate to a safer part of the country. Through this project, we hope to move 43 church members comprising ten families from a region that has been devastated through excessive mining and pollution, which is having catastrophic consequences on humans, animals and ecosystems.

The town of Cerro de Pasco has been declared a disaster area by the Peruvian government. The situation for our brethren is very serious.

Your prayers and assistance will be helpful for our brethren and the entire project.

Please visit for more information.”

Subpoenas have been issued to many LCG members (including ministers) for their depositions by the attorney acting for Patrick and Elizabeth Scarborough, who are suing Rod Meredith and Rod McNair personally, and as officials of the Living Church of God, for Defamation of Character and ‘Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress’.

Those ministers who have been issued with subpoenas for the Scarborough court case know that their depositions must be truthful - and also that their jobs will be at risk if their depositions provide less than wholehearted support to Rod Meredith and Rod McNair.

Douglas Winnail (June 30) advises members not to concern themselves about current issues with the church’s leadership:

“Truly focused Christians don’t have time to get sidetracked on material pursuits, private agenda or twiggy doctrinal ideas (2 Timothy 2:14-18). They don’t let interpersonal differences hinder their spiritual growth (Romans 12:14-18) or their goal of developing the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5-11). Real Christians focus on what is good and positive and right and true - they don’t listen to rumors and they don’t dwell on complaints (Philippians 4:8).”

The new weekly update has corrected Roderick Meredith’s statement that Karl Beyersdorfer, “about two years ago, completely of his own volition, asked to be removed as the Pastor. He asked that Mr. Gene Hilgenberg carry on and he would just ‘assist’ him as best he could.”
LCG now admits that his pastoral responsibilities were taken away from him. “He had also been semi-retired for the last few years, the Church reducing his workload substantially to help him.”

Roderick Meredith, in his letter to co-workers, 2nd of June, writes about Pentecost and “three or four terrible tragedies ... in the last week or two ... one of our fine local members in Paris, France, Mrs. Monique Dalle, was one of those who perished in the well-publicized ‘mysterious’ downing of the EgyptAir airplane in the eastern Mediterranean ... Then, we have recently heard about the deaths of three of our fine ministers - Mr. Bruce Tyler in Australia, Mr. Gideon Benitez in the Philippines and Mr. Karl Beyersdorfer here in the USA.”

“However, in Mr. Beyersdorfer’s case, it was a double tragedy in the sense that he took his own life. Hundreds of brethren in that area know that Mr. Beyersdorfer had had quite a number of serious physical ailments - leading to deep depression at times - and finally, about two years ago, completely of his own volition, asked to be removed as the Pastor. He asked that Mr. Gene Hilgenberg carry on and he would just ‘assist’ him as best he could. He was under a great deal of stress and was sometimes not ‘himself’ according to his wife and many others. He was under medical treatment and at the time he took his life was undoubtedly in one of the ‘spells’ under deep depression.”

On the 28th of May a pastor’s suicide was reported:

“Today it was announced in the Charlotte LCG congregation that LCG Joplin, Missouri pastor Karl Beyersdorfer has killed himself on 5/27/2016. Recall that his wife Gaylon fell and broke her hip two weeks prior on Saturday 5/14/2016 and had to have hip replacement surgery.”
He was ordained in the Worldwide Church of God, joined Roderick Meredith in founding the Global Church of God, then continued with him in the LCG.

One LCG member has commented: “I can tell you first hand that what is happening at LCG is heartbreaking. Especially for those of us who survived what happened in WCG. It can lead to feelings of depression, hopelessness and despair. Many of us love our church, despite what our critics think about it, and it is hard to watch it crumble like it is. I’m sure Karl had other reasons for what he did, but the current state of LCG didn’t help, I’m sure.

It’s hard to see something you heartfelt believed in and gave your life in support of fall apart because of egos and bad decision. I could see where that would make your life feel like a total waste.

In the months to come, especially after RCM’s death, it will be important for us to stick together and love one another through the turbulent LCG splits ahead which, at this point, seem inevitable.”

On the 14th of May Rand Milach (Kansas City pastor and member of the COE) fainted during his sermon. On the same Sabbath Karl’s wife, Gaylon, fell at Sabbath services and fractured her hip.
Doug Winnail reported on the 26th of May that Rand Millich is feeling better, and that his son Scott is recuperating after breaking his leg at an activity for Church young people a few days earlier, but no news of the condition of Gaylon Beyersdorfer.

Bruce Tyler, LCG’s regional director for Australia, South Pacific and Asia, died on the 24th of May following a severe stroke. He was one of only four men accorded the title of ‘Evangelist’ by Roderick Meredith.

His son, Robert Tyler, has been appointed as his successor.

“An LCG Source” has sent to Banned by HWA an HQ ‘executive memo’ that was written by Roderick Meredith re the hiring of his son David in 2009, because some employees had dared to suggest that he was guilty of nepotism. (Since 2010 he has employed his other son James and wife Sue, after James’s construction business collapsed. In 2011 James was appointed meeting co-ordinator and personal assistant to his father, and ordained as a minister. Other family members are also employed by LCG.)
“In ancient times, as you all know, God did work through families,” Roderick Meredith explains, “The older sons were expected to help carry on the family business, farm or enterprise. All over the earth – as most of you know – this has been a custom for centuries. But now, with the break down of the family and the rise of the ‘corporate structure’ type of approach, this is often being denigrated – partly, of course, because a number of executives have grossly abused this.”

Although Gerald Weston will take over the day to day operations of the church in July, Roderick Meredith will maintain control, as the ‘Presiding Evangelist’. Will he ordain James as the next ‘Presiding Evangelist’?

Doug Winnail wrote on the 21st of April: “As we approach the Holy Days, Satan always seems to become more active in the world and in our personal lives ... At this time of year Satan also seems intent on stirring up problems and strife among God’s people wherever he can, so we must be on guard and not lose our focus on what these Holy Days mean for us and for all mankind ...”
This echoes Roderick Meredith’s Passover message:

“Many of us ministers have participated in healing the sick and in casting out demons. But these events are not experienced nearly as often as they should be! Why? Because, as Jesus asked, “when the Son of man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Brethren, many scriptures indicate that God’s people - at the end of this age - will be greatly lacking in faith. We need to realize that this has affected all of us! ....

I will certainly deeply appreciate your prayers that God will grant me several more years to help finish the Work! This is my passion and my desire. But you must not be shocked, turned aside or in any way lose heart, if God allows an 85-year-old man to die.”
His 86th birthday will be on the 21st of June.

During the Winter Weekend Festival, Roderick Meredith confirmed that Gerald Weston would be appointed as the churchs chief operating manager - “about next August.” He had made this decision at a Council of Elders meeting two months previously, but it was not made public at that time. The appointment was delayed, as he wanted to retain control of the day to day operations for as long as his health would permit.

He now plans to bring Gerald Weston to HQ in Charlotte, North Carolina, in July as the President and Chief Operating Officer - but he will retain the power of veto. Adam West, who currently pastors the three congregations in the south-east of England, will become the Regional Director for Europe.

As Bereans Did reported on Friday, April 8: Rod Meredith’s Living Church of God is holding an upcoming Bible seminar at World Vision Canada’s headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario. LCG’s upcoming presentation, ‘Has God Abandoned Mankind?’ is slated for 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 14, at World Vision Canada's headquarters at 1 World Drive in Mississauga, Ontario ...

LCG held a similar seminar at World Vision Canada headquarters back in 2011. Despite the fact that LCG’s Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs violates World Vision’s Statement of Faith ...

World Vision Canada is hosting this seminar while under the impression that LCG descended from evangelical Grace Communion International. Rod Meredith left when GCI was still the Worldwide Church of God, back in 1992, years before Joseph W. Tkach's doctrinal shift. But World Vision Canada is hazy on this point, according to our communications with them:
“In fact, the Worldwide Church of Tomorrow (sic) (founded by H W Armstrong) had a radical shift after Armstrong’s death and has become thoroughly evangelical and renamed their movement as Grace Communion International. This denomination is a member in good standing both with the National Association of Evangelicals (USA) and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada ... Given this outcome, we do not have any concerns with their use of our facility.”
On Monday, April 11, however, according to As Bereans Did, World Vision Canada announced: “The Living Church of God will not, in fact, be using our building on May 14. The Facilities team is cleaning the building on that date and they have already advised them of this.”
“We want to be sure that those who rent our facilities don’t go against our mission and values as a ministry,” World Vision Canada said in its communication with ABD.
ABD added: “We'll be keeping an eye on the seminar schedule, since LCG has yet to change it on its web site. And who knows, maybe it really was time for a good cleaning.

An LCG member has forwarded to Banned by HWA Roderick Meredith's letter to all members, dated April 6th, designed to quell the uncertainty and unrest at his appointment of Gerald Weston to take over the administration of the church in August.
“I want all of you to be fully aware and “on board” about the coming transfer of Mr. Gerald Weston here to Headquarters to become President and COO of this Work. I will remain as the Presiding Evangelist and human “head” of the Church as long as God gives me strength. But Mr. Weston will be in charge of running the physical day to day operations ...

He is not an “unknown quantity” as was a man who took over the Worldwide Church a number of years ago when thousands of brethren were asking us older ministers: “Who is this man?”
When Peter Nathan, Stephen Elliott and Bob Rodzaj joined LCG in February 2014 and were immediately employed as full time ministers (and exactly one year later all 3 were promoted to regional pastors), much to the dismay of long-time ministers, Roderick Meredith was obliged to explain in an update that “they are not “unknown quantities” in any way” - i.e. they are well known to him.

Gerald Weston also is well known to him - but why does Roderick Meredith compare him to the “man who took over the Worldwide Church” - Joseph Tkach - describing him as an “unknown quantity”? Has he forgotten that it was he himself who ordained Joseph Tkach as an elder in 1963? Herbert Armstrong ordained Joseph Tkach as an evangelist 6 years before announcing him as his successor. Roderick Meredith ordained Gerald Weston as an evangelist 6 years before announcing him as his successor.
Bob Thiel (who left LCG over doctrinal issues) comments: “I once stopped LCG from putting something out that Gerald Weston did that had offensive doctrinal content ... My efforts to stop LCG from spreading his error then was successful. Gerald Weston has had a history of making some offensive/extreme statements (which is why he sometimes evokes images of David Pack), but as he has aged he has seemingly been more reserved.”
David Pack would not have taken the diplomatic approach that was evident in Gerald Weston’s letter to the European brethren concerning the recent defection of Roland Lecocq and his small congregation in Geneva to the Church of God a Worldwide Association:
“Mr. Roland Lecocq, our minister in Switzerland, and his family have made the decision to move to another Church of God fellowship. We are saddened by their decision, but wish them well. They have served the Church faithfully for many years and we appreciate that service. Since he served as Secretary and Treasurer for the French association, he is continuing with those duties until they can be transferred to another individual in the next few weeks and he is being most helpful and faithful in the transition. Please show the upmost respect and love toward the Lecocqs, as each of us must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.”

March 31st update on Living University from Doug Winnail:

God greatly blessed Living University this week by providing two beautiful residences for our incoming on-campus students. Leasing these homes from some very generous Church members will allow us to keep on-campus living expenses low for future students.

A church member’s letter to Banned by HWA! discloses that the LCG, Roderick Meredith and Rod McNair are being sued for slander by Patrick and Elizabeth Scarborough, two members of a large family who have been disfellowshipped.

The hearing has been set by Mecklenburg County Court for Monday, July 11. The Scarboroughs wanted to mediate with them privately, but this was refused. Bob League, who died in January 2015, was initially included, but the action against his estate has been withdrawn.
In October 2014 we reported about Roderick Meredith’s audio sermon, God’s Government Is Vital, in which he said, “I’ve asked Mr McNair and Mr League, they’ve been working as a team to get all the information on many of these things, and I’m working with them and other leaders ... We’re trying to keep God’s church clean.”
“We found that some of these people we’ve had to put out ... they often lie and lie, and they’ll twist and turn, and turn things around ...”

This was a must play sermon for the Day of Atonement, together with a sermonette by Rod McNair, Ministerial Authority is Based on Love, in which he set out three measures for disciplining members who cause division within the church by refusing to submit fully to the authority of ministers: Suspension, Disfellowshipping and Marking. This is all done in love, he says, as “love will cover a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

Unfortunately, if you click on the links to listen to either of these messages ...

‘The item is not available due to issues with the item’s content.’

James Malm has re-published Elizabeth Scarboroughs letter of March 2015, and comments, “It is my understanding that the Scarboroughs were sent packing because they had protested holding Sabbath services in pagan Masonic temples.”

It is more likely to have been the e-mails from a former LCG member that Robert Thiel published on September 16th 2014 relating to the views of the late evangelist Dibar Apartian. (Ten days later Thiel refuted that any of the Scarborough family was the source of the e-mails.
In 1984 Leona McNair sued the Worldwide Church of God for slander and libel by Roderick Meredith. She was awarded $1.26 million, and after appeal she settled for $750,000 in December 1992. Roderick Meredith promptly left the WCG, and within a week had founded his own church.

Doug Winnail has provided an update of the recent meetings with COGWA.
“Here in Charlotte, Dr. Meredith has conducted a number of meetings. Mr. Gerald Weston has also been in Charlotte for these meetings. On Monday and Tuesday, we had a visit from several administrators from Church of God, a Worldwide Association. On Thursday, we had a Living University Board meeting, and on Friday a Church Board meeting ...
Mr. Jim Franks, President of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association (COGWA), and several members of its administration visited our office in Charlotte and met with our Headquarters staff. It was a cordial visit and gave us an opportunity to communicate openly about a number of mutual concerns. The purpose of the visit was to build better relationships and promote better understanding.”

Roderick Meredith writes, in the Living Church News, January-February 2016:
“One special prayer that I would ask all of you to join me in praying is this: let us all together beseech God to grant us in this Work at least half of the financial increase that He gave Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong for about 35 years! For, as Mr. Armstrong explained many times, God gave the Work under his direction about 30% increase year by year for about 35 years.
Near the end of his ministry, with personal problems and sins growing throughout the Church, those blessings were taken away or cut back ...
Then, we could go on far more television stations, greatly increase our impact over the Internet - which is certainly the ‘wave of the future’ - increase our personal appearance campaigns and ‘grow’ the Work in every possible way ...
I urge you to join me along with our top ministers in beseeching God to grant us at least 15% increase in our financial resources year by year and therefore enable us to really get going far beyond what we have yet done ...
If you go around your neighborhood, you find virtually no one who has heard of the Living Church of God or any of the other groups that are trying to do God’s Work today.”
Hundreds of millions of dollars donated to the Churches of God over the past two decades - yet virtually no one has heard of them?
“This needs to change!”
Will it be changed by spending a 15% increase in revenue on doing even more of what LCG is already doing? - which is what Roderick Meredith is proposing.
“I am fully aware that many of our brethren - often fine brethren who mean well and who are already giving a little bit of their substance - are nevertheless sitting on hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars worth of money, property and other resources they very rarely touch to help do the Work of the living God at the very end of this age ...

I am just asking you to do what some of us are already doing to a degree. But I, and all of us here at Headquarters, certainly need to do more...”

Will Roderick Meredith and the other ministers at Headquarters do more” and set an example to the brethren by selling much of their own substantial assets - built up over the years from tithes and offerings?

An LCG member has supplied photographs of the homes of Roderick Meredith, Richard Ames and James Meredith. Would he sell his own house, and move into a small property without extensive land, or perhaps move into his sons large house - thereby realizing several hundred thousand dollars for the benefit of the church? If not, why should the brethren be asked to do more?

Roderick Merediths plea for extra revenue has been prompted by LCG’s financial troubles. At the end of 2013 the church’s reserves amounted to $6.7 million, but it overspent by $2.45 million in 2014. The deficit for 2015 is expected to be much higher, primarily due to the purchase of property for classrooms and accommodation for the expansion of Living University. Obtaining accreditation is also costly, and would require teaching to become much more liberal than Gerald Weston would like.

Rob Tyler, son of Bruce Tyler, head of LCG for Australasia, writes:
“As many of you will have already heard, my dad suffered a major brain stem stroke on Sunday morning, 10 January. The area affected was complicated by a blood clot in a significant artery supplying blood to the brain. Thankfully he was already in hospital when the stroke occurred, allowing medical staff to immediately begin working on him, however, he still required life support. Doctors immediately arranged for a neurologist and specialist equipment to be transported via ambulance from a nearby hospital so the doctors could attempt to remove the blood clot. After 2 hours in surgery he was moved back into Critical Care, where doctors continue to monitor his condition.
We of course look to God for His mercy and beseech Him for a complete and speedy recovery.”

“More than 800 enthusiastic audience members in Charlotte were joined by well more than 7,000 others from all around the world to watch the special ‘Meet the Living Church of God’ Sabbath service and sermon by Dr. Meredith. The live event was also simultaneously translated into French and Spanish ...

We received many positive comments from Africa to Canada, across the United States and Europe, from the Caribbean and Latin America and elsewhere ...

Based on local attendance, the many LCG congregations which were able to ‘connect live’, pre-event registrations and Internet connection counts, we estimate that about 8,000 people viewed this live Sabbath service, of which about 3,800 were members and more than 4,000 were guests.” Wyatt Ciesielka

The Aug 28 update announced ‘New Telecast Presenters!’
“The first new presenter will be Mr. Gerald Weston, who will be the third main presenter for the program, along with Mr. Ames and Mr. Smith. The second new presenter will be Mr. Rod McNair, who will function as a guest presenter ...
The addition of these new presenters was prompted by the ill health of Mr. Rod King and the challenges that Dr. Meredith faces as he ages.”
Rod King has relinquished this role, and Rod Meredith has not presented any telecasts recently, but Rod McNair has yet to appear as a guest presenter.
The back page of the Jan-Feb 2016 issue of the Tomorrow’s World magazine shows only 3 telecast presenters: Richard Ames, Gerald Weston and Wallace Smith.

Around 800 people attended LCGs ‘Winter Weekend’ over the Christmas holidays. The Sabbath service on December 26th was broadcast live.

Jim Meredith introduced the speaker, his father Roderick, remarking, curiously, Ive come to love him.

During his sermon, Roderick Meredith confirmed that Gerald Weston will move to LCGs HQ in Charlotte, North Carolina, “about next Augustto become the churchs chief operating manager.” He made this decision at a Council of Elders meeting two months ago, but it was not made public at that time.

Gerald Weston moved from Canada to the UK only 5 months ago to become the regional manager for Europe.

Roderick Meredith has been reducing his office work load considerably since his stroke, having brought in as personal assistant his son James, whose business had failed. He still chairs staff meetings, however, and all decisions require his approval.

After next August, James Meredith will probably be content with his role of meeting and event planner, organizing the ‘Winter Weekend’ and the Feast in Hawaii. (Is his doctorate an honorary one, given to him by his father?)

Richard Ames had been nominated by Roderick Meredith to be his heir, and Gerald Weston was later appointed as the no. 3. It is no great surprise to see him stepping aside, in order to concentrate on his television and writing work, and avoid the stressful ‘office politics’ at Charlotte HQ, given his age and general health.

On Sunday, December 6th, Roderick Meredith broadcast a live video presentation, A Prophetic Warning for the World. This went quite well, apart from (at 16 mins.) confusion over the ‘sea gates’ that the USA and UK used to control. He reiterated what he was saying in his co-worker letter of July 21:

“It’s happening! It’s happening right now before our very eyes. Most people do not even have a clue. But many of you subscribers to Tomorrow’s World do understand. For all around us, we see the ‘signs’ that the end of this lawless age of mankind is very near.”
“My friends,
all around us we see the prophetic events unfolding which I have been preaching and writing about for about 63 years.”
His prophecies that the end-time would come within a few years have been wrong for over half a century - so will his warning now be counter-productive?
He admitted in his lead article in the July-August 2014 issue of the Living Church News entitled, Is Our Lord Delaying His Coming?: “At least a few thousand of you older brethren who are reading this letter have had to be patient through the trials and tests of life, of human issues in the Church, and with the realization that Christ has not come back as quickly as we had hoped.”
“Because I have been one of the pioneer students of Ambassador College and of the ministry of this Work under Herbert W. Armstrong, I have been able to know and converse for many hours with nearly all of the leading men who studied prophecy in detail in the early years. I have also read some articles and books on prophecy and biblical chronology by outsiders. Every one of the leading men that I talked to in this Work - including Dr. Herman Hoeh, Dr. Ernest Martin, Dr. Charles Dorothy, Dr. Robert Kuhn and others - have acknowledged that they came to realize during their study of biblical chronology that we could ‘easily’ be 20 or 30 years off in either direction! Therefore, it should be easy to realize that Christ may not come until about 2030AD!”
These private discussions took place in the wake of the failure of ‘1975 in Prophecy’. He and the other leaders in the Worldwide Church of God taught that those in the church would go to ‘the place of safety’ (probably Petra in Jordan) in January 1972, thereby escaping the 3½ years of ‘Great Tribulation’, and Jesus Christ would return to earth on the Day of Trumpets in 1975.
He comments: “I have ‘hoped’ that it would be sooner for many decades.” Despite knowing that “we could ‘easily’ be 20 or 30 years off in either direction!” he has continued to preach of current “prophetic events unfolding” showing that “the end of this lawless age of mankind is very near.”
He gives no apology for doing this, writing that: “We must never be involved in ‘murmuring’ and ‘disputing’ and complaining about the fact that Almighty God is giving human beings more time to write the lessons of human suffering and for His own children to ‘work out’ our own salvation before Christ returns.”

LCG is seeking to cut expenses by utilizing volunteer labor. Jim Meredith writes:
“The Church spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for the call center that takes calls from people requesting literature offered on the Tomorrow’s World telecast. In an effort to potentially save a substantial amount of this expense, we are exploring the possibility of bringing our call center in-house. However, for this to happen we will need your help! This is an opportunity for Church members to let their lights shine and have a direct ‘hands on’ part in preaching the Gospel. In order for this to be successful, we need many volunteers who are able to work from home and are willing to assist with our peak-volume call-in periods at different times throughout the week. We are looking for friendly individuals who are committed to God’s Work, are comfortable working with a computer, have high-speed Internet access (at least 15 Mbps.) and could commit to being available on a semi-regular basis to help ensure that we are able to handle the volume of calls. At this time we are only asking for members in the continental United States to volunteer—in the future we may be able to expand this to some other countries as well.”

Thanks to extremely important translation help from many of our members around the world, as has been previously reported, the Internet team has been working with our international offices to launch important and significantly updated new Web sites in multiple languages.

We felt that a quick summary of some of the main new Web sites recently launched may be helpful: new French TW Web site:, new French LCG Web site:, new Dutch TW Web site: and the new German TW Web site: There have also been launches or updates of other Web sites and social media sites, such as TW Instagram and a Spanish LivingYouth Facebook page at”

LCG is continuing to seek accreditation for its academic courses. On Monday, November 16th, “we had a very positive visit by a three-man team from the University of North Carolina General Administration to review Living University’s application to license aspects of our academic program. We should hear some results in about 3 months after an exchange of correspondence.”

Doug Winnail reported a worldwide attendance for the Living Church of God of just over 10,400. (Official figure for 2014 was 10,289.)

Roderick Meredith writes in his latest co-worker letter, October 19th :
“Thousands of us just returned from our annual Feast of Tabernacles ... Many called it the genuinely
best Feast ever - and, because of the unusual unity and exhilaration, it may well have been.
Many of you have heard about the ‘floods of biblical proportions’ as they were called in USA Today (October 6, 2015), that hit much of South Carolina. Although the Feast site I attended was in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, it seems God directed the flooding primarily elsewhere in the state.

(see Historic South Carolina Flooding Kills 17)
So we only missed one activity - the Deacons and Elders banquet one evening. All other activities went on as scheduled, and the exhilaration of the brethren was outstanding. So God does intervene and protect His people!”

The LCG has set up The Morgan Montgomery Memorial Youth Fund, a special fund in memory of 19 year old Morgan Montgomery, who was killed in a water skiing accident on Alum Creek Lake in Ohio, at the Living Church of God summer camp on August 2nd. Donations to the fund will provide scholarships and transportation for Church youth around the world to participate in the Church’s youth camps, in addition to providing other important services to Church youth. No special projects are mentioned, so it seems that donations will simply subsidize existing youth services.
Presiding Evangelist, Roderick Meredith, arrived at the camp on August 5th, but failed to authorize payment for the cost of repatriation of her body to Australia. A YouCaring page was therefore set up, so that members could make donations, primarily to cover all related expenses of returning Morgan to her home and family in Australia. This goal has been met, and the excess will be used to enable the Montgomery family to return to their new home and family at Living Youth Camp in future years.
On August 6th Morgan’s father, Martin Montgomery, gave this video message to the campers about his daughter and our hope of the resurrection.

Wyatt Ciesielka reports: “We recently went on ‘Family TV’ and ‘Family Radio 316', and already scores of inquiries and requests for literature are coming in from all throughout Kenya. We have been very encouraged by both the quantity and the quality of the responses. We are also very thankful for the enthusiasm of our Kenyan brethren for this initiative, and for the labor and service from our South African office which is playing an important support role in this project.”

Peter Nathan, Stephen Elliott, Bob Rodzaj and Ted Budge were among the ministers who left David Hulme’s church to form The Father’s Call in January 2014. One month later all four left that new group - Nathan, Elliott and Rodzaj joining the Living Church of God, and Budge returning to the United Church of God. Ted Budge has had to wait a full year until his appointment as an elder, assisting Robin Webber in the Los Angeles congregation.

Many ministers were upset to learn that these three had been given immediate full-time employment, prompting Roderick Meredith to write an open letter in March 2014 to “ask all of you, in Jesus’ name not to be alarmed or worried about this!”
In March 2015, all three men were promoted:
“Mr. Stephen Elliott has been designated as the Area Pastor of congregations in Southern California and Nevada. Mr. Bob Rodzaj has been designated as the Area Pastor for congregations in New Mexico and West Texas. Mr. Peter Nathan will serve as the Assistant Regional Director for Africa in addition to his duties with Living University.”

Philadelphia Church of God

A ‘Singles Winter Weekend’ will take place, December 22–25, in Edmond, Oklahoma, which will include a singles Bible study, congregational costume dance, progressive dinner, formal dinner dance and more.
PCG members are prohibited from marrying non-members. Free transport and free housing is being offered as an incentive to attend.

Treasurer Andrew Locher writes: “all our donation categories show increase over the same period last year (with the exception of the building fund, which we anticipated). That is truly remarkable! In fact, we are going to finish 2017 with the largest annual year-over-year increase in our history - a projected 20% increase over 2016!
The Philippines has experienced noticeable growth this year.
In the United Kingdom, we have recorded a 32% increase in holy day offerings. Here in the United States, offerings increased a few percentage points.”
The large increase in the UK was probably due to an attendance of over 300 at the Feast of Tabernacles. Gerald Flurry gave messages on the final two days, and the feast venue was close to Edstone Hall and cultural locations such as Stratford upon Avon and Warwick Castle.

(For the previous two years the venue was Enfield, a nondescript little town in Ireland - but it was only 15 miles away from the Hill of Tara - where they believed that they would be Finding the Ark of the Covenant.)
“That is remarkable considering that we are still receiving monthly donations to the building fund, and you brethren and the co-workers have truly responded to the aircraft fund! We anticipate having paid off more than 30% of the purchase price of the jet by the end of the year. As we approach the spring holy days in 2018, your contributions will likely enable us to make another large lump-sum payment toward the balance we owe on the aircraft loan.”
Some members unfortunately have been over-generous:
“In processing holy day offerings and other donations, the business office has encountered more than 50 returned checks. A returned check ‘bounces’ because the amount written on it is higher than the amount available in the checking account. When banks process these checks, they stop the intended donation from going through and often charge the Church a fee.”

Grant Turgeons report, Pastor General Speaks on Future Vision at Fall Festival, provides further explanation as to where Gerald Flurry is (mis)leading PCGs membership regarding the Stone of Destinyand the Throne of David.

On day 4, Mr. Flurry delivered another extra-length sermon. He reviewed the revelation he announced in January about the Church possessing a new stone of destiny and a new throne of David, calling it a “radical leap” for the Church.
He said the new stone, Mr. Armstrong’s prayer rock, is “so special” that it’s described in detail in his autobiography, and said it’s “more inspiring” than Malachi’s Message …

It takes just one man to stand up and fight for what is right, Mr. Flurry said, referencing Churchill’s refusal to make a deal with the Nazis. King George VI preferred the compromise approach of Chamberlain and Halifax, making David’s throne a disgrace, Mr. Flurry asserted. It is no wonder that God took the throne from the British royal family, he said.”

Herbert Armstrong taught that, when Jesus Christ returns, He will sit on the throne of David, currently occupied by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II.
If “God took the throne from the British royal family” because of George VI's actions in the 1930s, why did He wait for 80 years before handing it over to Gerald Flurry? Why wasn't it transferred to Herbert Armstrong? After all, it was
his prayer rock.

Has Gerald Flurry been watching a fictional movie about George VI, or is he confusing him with his elder brother, Edward VIII?

This is a link to a 2015 article about Edward VIII in the Daily Mail - a newspaper which praised Hitler and the Third Reich in the 1930s, and printed membership forms for readers to join the British Union of Fascists.

Mr. Flurry finished with an admonition to keep the standard high as God’s royalty, asking, “Would God give the throne of David to people who don’t submit to His government?”

If the members of PCG are to be born into Gods family, they must submit to the government of King Gerald and his rulership from Mr. Armstrong’s prayer rock. This might seem absurd to outsiders, but not for thousands of PCG members.

PCGs reports on its Pastor General Gerald Flurry’s first international trip in his corporate jet, to England and Israel, October 10–19.
“... He spent the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day in Warwickshire, England. Three days later, he flew to Tel Aviv, Israel, and met with Dr. Eilat Mazar in Jerusalem before returning home via England ...
United Kingdom-Europe Regional Director Brad Macdonald and Edstone Foreign Language Translations staff member Emmanuel Michels drove Mr. Flurry and Turgeon to the PCG regional office at Edstone Hall in Warwickshire, arriving just before midnight, where they stayed at the apartment of the Stephen Flurry family.
The next day, Mr. Flurry gave the sermon and then spent a couple hours speaking with most of the 300-plus members at the Feast site.
“The brethren are always excited when Mr. Flurry visits, but I thought they were extra excited by this visit,” Mr. Macdonald said. “This was Mr. Flurry’s first visit to the region since the new revelation about his office. That understanding  makes a conversation with Mr. Flurry extra special.”

(His office is now that of a literal human king - see post below.)

... Gerald Flurry flew from Birmingham, England, to Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 16 to meet with archaeologist Eilat Mazar in Jerusalem the next day. Both Mr. Flurry and Dr. Mazar emotionally confirmed their total commitment to the partnership, which has included 6 excavations over the last 11 years. The relationship actually extends back much further to the relationship between ... Herbert W. Armstrong and Dr. Mazar’s grandfather, archaeologist Benjamin Mazar, who partnered with each other from 1968 to 1977.
(The Last End, an ex-PCG group, has condemned Stephen Flurry and other ministers who “have chosen England and Ireland over Jerusalem for the 3rd and final phase of God’s Work! Is this not an abomination to God?” ... However ...)
On the flight to Tel Aviv, Mr. (Gerald) Flurry emphasized to Mr. Macdonald the importance of having a much larger work in Jerusalem ...
He also discussed building a small team (based at the PCG regional office in Edstone, England), similar to the one Steve Jobs supervised at the animation company Pixar, for the purpose of delivering a powerful warning message to modern Judah through the Internet, radio, publications and advertising ...
(Jobs invested $10 million in Pixar, which was sold to Disney for $7.4 billion. From where does Flurry intend to obtain the expertise and the money?)
After listening to Mr. Flurry’s plans to publicize her work, Dr. Mazar informed the group that an hour before the meeting, she had finally received a license from the Israel Antiquities Authority for a three-month excavation on the Ophel, most likely commencing in November or December. She had been trying to obtain a license for over a year. She expressed her hope that the smaller Ophel dig will open the door to excavate more of the area that includes what she believes to be King Solomon’s palace ... The PCG’s City of David Cultural Foundation intends to send a handful of students and staff to the Ophel dig, most likely sometime before the end of the year.”

An article in The Last End, a publication of an ex-PCG group in the Philippines (which continues to maintain that Gerald Flurry is their prophet), quotes from an article written by PCG's Ryan Malone, Just What Do You Mean…New Throne?

God’s revelation that Mr. Armstrong’s prayer rock was the new stone of destiny had far-reaching consequences—as Mr. Flurry indicated it would in that sermon... He went to the verse in Micah 2:13 that shows how God rules His end-time Church through a human king and how that verse is about the Church fleeing to a place of safety just before Christ’s return … With the prayer rock as the coronation stone, the apostle’s office would now stand as that of king—not just symbolically or spiritually as a human leader of God’s “kings and priests”—but as the literal king on this new throne of David …”

The Last End comments: “Unfortunately that article by Ryan Malone was already removed from their website, because they are not so sure if the so called prophecy that they are declaring is indeed God’s real interpretation of the scriptures. Stephen (Flurry) together with the rest of the 25 men of Ezekiel 8 have just made this story up and presented it to his father, Mr. Gerald Flurry, because he knew in himself that he will not be able to acquire the real Stone of Destiny in Scotland.”

This is reminiscent of Herman Hoeh’s stories to support Herbert Armstrong's and Joseph Tkach's beliefs – as exemplified in Three Critical False Doctrines by Fred Coulter.

The latest issue of The Philadelphian includes a report on the 2017 ministerial conference. There were 18 lectures over five days, and “the theme that surfaced repeatedly was the recent revelation about God moving the stone and the throne of David to the PCG.”
“The PCG’s connection with the work of Herbert W. Armstrong, illustrated by his prayer rock being the new stone of destiny, was emphasized in other lectures.”
“Evangelist Stephen Flurry showed video footage of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, revealing how steeped in the Bible it was. He then detailed the problems plaguing the current royal family, particularly since the throne moved this past January. He also gave the sermon on the Sabbath on the subject of ‘The New Royal Family’, showing how God’s people today [i.e. PCG members] have replaced the British royal family and must act accordingly.”
[The prayer rock is said to be where Herbert Armstrong prayed on one occasion. The coronation chair has not of course been moved across the Atlantic, so Gerald Flurry, who regards himself as a descendant of David, will rule the church from his stone of destiny until Jesus Christ returns.]
There is comprehensive information on the newest Herbert Armstrong icon to be acquired by the PCG - a Gulfstream 450 jet aircraft - “A tool for a global Work.”
(In 2013 one of the Gulfstream jets used by Herbert Armstrong came up for auction, but PCG did not have the money to buy it.)
“Mr. Flurry and other ministers had stated that one of the last major ruins to be raised was the use of a corporate plane to visit Church members and perhaps world leaders, as Mr. Armstrong did.”
Gerald Flurry intended to use the plane for his first personal appearance campaign since 2008. “Mr. Flurry and a handful of staff members planned to use the plane to fly to Mr. Flurry’s public appearance campaign in Chicago, Illinois, but a minor accident at the hangar grounded the aircraft, meaning that the group had to charter a jet for the campaign.”
TV department head Andrew Locher said, “the accident served as a reminder about our need to pray for God’s protection. Satan would love to disrupt God’s Work, and can do so through accidents like what just happened.”
When things go wrong for PCG, Satan is usually to blame - but not this time, said Gerald Flurry: “Mr. Flurry said in a sermon that he also considered the incident to be correction from God to focus more on important dates such as July 16, the anniversary of when his founding book, Malachi’s Message, was first read.”

Gerald Flurry, writing on February 3rd of his desire to buy a private plane, said: “We are also working on a few estate donations that ... often provide a surge in income that enables us to take on large projects like this.”
Their efforts to persuade members to bequeath their wealth to the PCG have proved to be successful. Treasurer Andrew Locher reports in The Philadelphian:

“The year 2017 got off to a tremendous start. January donation income was our third-best ever, just barely behind our second-best January in PCG history.

We received more estate income in January 2017 than all of 2016 combined.”

In ‘The symbolism of Herbert W. Armstrong’s Prayer Rock’ The Philadelphian quotes from the Philadelphia Trumpet magazine, August 1996, when Flurry bemoaned that “John Major, the prime minister of Britain, decided to send ‘the stone of destiny’ back to Scotland. Queen Elizabeth was required to and did give her approval ... I also believe that Queen Elizabeth just made the worst decision of her life! And the British government has made the biggest mistake in its history! God gave England the greatest honor on this Earth. They are the possessors of David’s throne, of which Jacob’s pillar stone is a part. Their actions have scorned the omnipotent, living God. And there is going to be a terrifying penalty unless they repent.”

Gerald Flurry wrote to members and co-workers from Edstone on February 3rd : “There is one memorable, highly important asset that God’s work had in Mr Armstrong’s time that we don’t currently have ... a private aircraft of our own.”
Now he has one – not a modest aircraft, but one like Herbert Armstrong had. PCG announced on April 12th that its Gulfstream G450 jet was being flown from Texas to Flurry
s local airport OKC. (Herbert Armstrong also bought the latest jets from the Gulfstream range - the G-II, and then the G-III.)
Flurry stated that the maximum purchase cost would be $11 million – plus $2 million per year in operational costs. The Sherpa Report indicates that the costs of the G450 will be significantly higher.

Aaron Dean, who worked for Herbert Armstrong on his trips abroad in the 1970s and 1980s, as a steward and later also as an aide (after Stanley Rader left the organization), has commented that the operational costs of WCG’s aircraft were higher than UCG’s total annual budget.

How can PCG afford these costs? Flurry stated in his letter that, “We are also working on a few estate donations that ... often provide a surge in income that enables us to take on large projects like this.”

The Festival of Tabernacles sites for 2017 are:
Edmond, OK - Lexington, KY - Palm Harbor, FL - Lake Arrowhead, CA -

Lake George, NY - Bellingham, WA - Huntsville, Ontario, Canada -

Invermere, British Columbia, Canada - St. Lucia, Caribbean -

Tweed Heads, Australia - Clark, Philippines - Suva, Fiji - Limpopo, South Africa -

Henley-in-Arden, United Kingdom.

Henley-in-Arden is the nearest town to PCGs British headquarters in Edstone, and has a large conference center.

Following his recent visit to the UK, Gerald Flurry has decided that this year’s festival will be in England. A venue in Warwickshire seems likely, as this would attract many American members for a tour of the campus at Edstone, as well as the opportunity to visit local historical places such as Stratford upon Avon and Warwick Castle.

The Stone of Destiny, according to PCG’s doctrine, was the Stone of Scone, which was placed under the Throne of David for the coronation of British monarchs. A former PCG member says that Flurry declared in his sermon on February 25th that the Stone of Destiny is Herbert Armstrong’s prayer rock.

In the July/August 2000 issue of his Royal Vision magazine Flurry proclaimed himself to be “that prophet” (John 1:25). Will he transport the prayer rock to Edstone, and have himself inaugurated on the Throne of David’ there?

Alexa Turgeon writes, Feb.7, that a DVD of PCGs musical, ‘The Widow’s Might - The Story of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz’ will be available in Fall 2017 - but you can judge for yourself now the quality of the singing and music director Ryan Malones “lyrical and heart-rending new score” on SoundCloud.

Stephen Flurry included a little of the “breathtaking step-dancing choreography” in the amateurish introduction to the Trumpet Daily Radio Show about this story.

Gerald Flurry stated that these year-end musical performances have “an impact on the church and the world like nothing else the Work produces” - but Alexa Turgeon writes that there will not be another musical at the end of 2017.

Already this year there are two more reports on the Exit and Support Network of dreadful abuse by PCG ministers :
Jan.25 “Mark Saranga took over as head of the PCG Mail Processing Dept. when Mark Nash was unceremoniously fired from that position. His daughter Alicia was seeing a ‘worldly’ boy at the public school she attended, so Mark Saranga kicked her out of the house never to return (which is in keeping with Gerald Flurry's disfellowshipping policy). Alicia was a minor and around 16 years old at the time. She had no place to go, as the other PCG members were too afraid of Gerald Flurry putting them out, too, for sheltering someone thrown out of the PCG. People are in fear of the ministry.
Alicia had to go to the local office of Health and Human Services and tell them she was basically homeless without any means of support. The State put her into foster care and she has been there ever since. Her father Mark Saranga is still an ‘upstanding minister’ in the PCG. He writes for the Philadelphia Trumpet and Royal Vision magazine and his work is predominantly featured on the PCG website. Ironically, one of his current articles on there is about the Sandy Hook tragedy and how to protect your children.”
Feb.6 “Mr. and Mrs. Melchizedek Tupas were last seen at the Feast of Tabernacles in 2013.

The couple received the wrath of the former Regional Director of the PCG, John Macdonald due to a trivial incident that happened during the Feast. During one of the services, Mel Tupas forgot to turn off his mobile phone and, unexpectedly, it sounded an alarm which caught the attention of John Macdonald. That made the man who is well known for his temper and harshness to give the couple the equivalent of capital punishment immediately. They were suspended and not allowed to attend services any more after that Feast.

As called for by the PCG's unreasonable and much abused NO CONTACT POLICY, all the children of the couple who are in the PCG were automatically prevented from having any contact with their parents. They were to be treated like they don’t exist any more or like they are dead already. Consequently, the Tupas couple were abandoned, neglected and forsaken by their children to prove their loyalty and faithfulness to their ministers ...
We still do not know the fate of this couple as they have not been able to contact any friends and family. I wish to remain anonymous. Maybe someone reading the
Exit and Support Network site could help us.”

Music director, Ryan Malone, has been carrying out Gerald Flurry’s directive to him “to continue the year-end musical tradition, saying that it has an impact on the church and the world like nothing else the Work produces.”
PCG’s publicity blurb stated: “Herbert W. Armstrong College announces its fourth musical theater production, ‘The Widow’s Might - The Story of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz.’ ... With a lyrical and heart-rending new score, breathtaking step-dancing choreography and brilliantly colored costumes, a 100-strong cast brings this adventure to life in dramatic detail ... performed by staff and students of Herbert W. Armstrong College teaming up with its sister school Imperial Academy and its internationally acclaimed Irish dancers ...”

(Irish dancing is an integral part of PCGs musical productions.)
“Since August, 15 Irish dancers from the Maguire Academy have spent 2½ hours every week rehearsing for the six dance numbers in the show. Choreographer and instructor Paris Turgeon says the group has dedicated an estimated 30 hours to the finale alone,”
wrote Calela Brooks on Nov 17, and then on Dec 30 that “thousands of man hours” were spent on the production, and “428 concert-goers watched the premiere ...”

The Armstrong Auditorium was therefore half empty (despite low ticket prices), and most, if not all, of the audience would be either PCG members or relatives/friends of the performers.
If it is true, as Gerald Flurry claims, that these year-end musical performances have an impact on the church and the world like nothing else the Work produces” - what does that say about the impact of the rest of “the Work”?

On August 7th the A.R.K. of God Foundation published a long article (44,000 words!), partly in response to “an infamous anti-Herbert W. Armstrong group [which] posted an article discussing a tangled tale of a new group from the Philippines, who came out from the Philadelphia Church of God to revive the legacy of the end time Elijah in Jerusalem.”
The article by A.R.K. (‘Armstrong Remembrancers and Keepers’) says:

“The story of this breakaway group from the Philippines can be considered as one of the most controversial narratives ever ...

God’s own people are not used to seeing brown skin toned complexion doing God’s work, much more so, leading God’s work in His chosen city, Jerusalem, even to prepare it for the return of the Messiah.”
The article, The Gold of Ophir, has since been reduced to a mere 26,000 words, with the removal of a large passage linking images in Daniel 7 with leading ministers in the PCG. This passage explains why so many in the Philippines have broken away, while still adhering strongly to PCG’s ideology, and also indicates that the leadership of PCG is moving towards Stephen Flurry. Parts of this passage are therefore reproduced below - but without the references to Daniel 7.
“John Macdonald, the former Regional Director of Africa, Asia, and Oceania and his reign in those regions in the past, prior to his demotion to Associate Pastor ... was a lion in devouring many of God’s people in this end-time. He exhibited extreme fierceness and unrestrained violence and brutality on God’s people. He fearlessly cut off nearly 300 members in the PCG Philippines during his rule. Add to that the number he devoured in other areas within his jurisdiction ...
Moreover, he deceptively maneuvered to position himself and his sons to attain key positions in the PCG ministry worldwide and expanded his rule over the widest area. In just a few years, he was able to wrest control from the Flurrys two-thirds of the whole territory or dominion of the PCG worldwide ...
Noticing the decline of membership in the region under John Macdonald’s jurisdiction, coupled with the mass resignation of members in the Philippine area, the PCG ministry decided to send back Evangelist Alex Harrison to his former dominion and replace John Macdonald as Regional Director of the area.”
“Alex Harrison was roaring ... ‘I will get you’ - were his words of warning to those people whom he believed were responsible for this offensive act against his region ... His wicked deeds were documented in Exit & Support Network, when he upheld the local minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Samuel Seebran, despite the many oppressions and atrocities which this minister committed against the PCG members in his area.”
“The oppression and killings of God’s people was a worldwide experience ...
Many atrocities committed by PCG ministers ... were recorded and detailed.
“Who is this minister who exalts and magnifies himself and now has the control of the whole PCG and makes major or important decisions for the church? ... none other than Stephen Flurry! ...
He changed the course of God’s work by telling his dad or convincing him to move out of Jerusalem and transfer to England. They closed the office in Jerusalem and purchased Edstone, knowing fully well that God has chosen Jerusalem and not England or Ireland ...
Stephen Flurry’s fellows look to him as the eye of their kingdom. They conduct their office based on Stephen Flurry’s decisions, plans, or instructions, and not according to Mr. Gerald Flurry’s directives any more.
Stephen Flurry, in one of his sermons in the past, had a slip of the tongue which revealed a major flaw in the government in the PCG. There was some kind of a decision to make and he said, ‘I told my dad ...’ Then, he immediately changed his statement to ‘I suggested to my dad ...’ This implies that Stephen Flurry is indeed making major decisions for the church.”

For the second consecutive year there will be a feast site in Enfield, Ireland.
What is attracting PCG to this nondescript little town? The Hill of Tara - only 15 miles away - is where they now believe that they will find the Ark of the Covenant.
Gerald Flurry stated, in his article, Finding the Ark of the Covenant, Dec. 2013, “Why would God cause the ark to be found in this end time - and never before? Why would He want people to visit the ark now - and not before or long after? He could be using this symbol as a warning sign that we have strayed far from the true God - and are about to experience dire consequences.”

A former PCG member has reported (on Exit & Support Network - July 22) that Gerald Flurry has widened his ‘no contact’ rule:-

“My mate has former friends from PCG who have told of a brand new ruling sent down from King Flurry that was announced last Sabbath. Jerry Flurry, in his ‘omnipotent wisdom’, has ruled that now all contact with unbaptized children who have left the PCG is to be terminated immediately.
It has been the policy for years that parents were still allowed to talk to children who have left the PCG only If they were unbaptized. Now Pope Flurry has even taken away that small mercy.
The talk amongst the children now affected by this judgment is that this will push many PCG families over the edge and force them to leave or get put out. Others feel that this will put one more nail in the coffin of Flurryism. Flurry is looking more and more like ‘mad King George’, as his actions are ruining the PCG. All of his egomaniacal pipe dreams have come to nothing. The dig in Jerusalem has failed. The PCG radio station broadcast from the Edmond compound has failed. Membership has plummeted since the late 90s and there is almost no growth. Some wonder that in the end all that will be left is a small ‘Jonestown faithful’ secluded on the Edmond compound.

Despite a substantial drop in income, PCG continues to pour time and money into cultural projects, at the expense of preaching the gospel.

The ‘Dwight Armstrong Performing Arts Conservatory’ - a $1.15 million music and dance facility - is scheduled for completion in August.

Armstrong International Cultural Foundation marketing director Shane Granger and social media manager Edwin Trebels interviewed five advertising agencies twice, to propose ideas for the improvement of its auditorium website, for the purpose of increasing the number of concert-goers and other visitors to experience the lavishness of Armstrong Auditorium.

The winning agency has designed two fresh websites: a redesigned and a new

In the Trumpet Daily, June 21, Will Britain Be Part of a United Europe? Stephen Flurry wrote: “Over 60 years ago, Herbert W. Armstrong forecast that there would be a coming United States of Europe - specifically a union of 10 nations.

In 1956 he wrote, Probably Germany will lead and dominate the coming United States of Europe. But Britain will be no part of it!’

How was Mr. Armstrong able to make that bold predication at a time when no one saw it coming?”
At 16 minutes in the video, he reads from a screen another quote from 1956 (which he fails to mention is from Herbert Armstrong’s booklet 1975 in Prophecy):
“The stage is all set! All that's lacking now is the strong LEADER - the coming FUEHRER! The Germans are coming back from the destruction of World War II in breath-taking manner. Germany is the economic and military heart of Europe. Probably Germany will lead and dominate the coming United States of Europe. But Britain will be no part of it!”
(Stephen Flurry omits the sentence above in italics.)
So when did Herbert Armstrong prophesy that this leader - the coming Fuehrer - would appear - would it be over 60 years later?
“Today the stage is all set! At a certain moment, the new LEADER of this European combine will appear suddenly in the public eye. He’s already behind the scenes - in action! But the world does not yet recognize him! He still works under cover.”

Letter on the Exit & Support Network website, June 21:
“I found a Feast planner for 2016. Here are the sites with expected attendance:
Edmond, OK 700; Lexington KY 650; Palm Harbor, FL 600; Ogden, UT 300+; Bellingham, WA 225; Huntsville, Ontario, Canada 200; Invermere, BC, Canada 200; St. Lucia, Caribbean 150; Enfield, Ireland 275; Tweed Heads, Australia 350; Clark, Philippines 350; Limpopo, South Africa 125; Medellin-Guatape, Colombia 60; Huanchaco, Peru 25.”
Last year Stephen Flurry said that PCG membership had “leveled out” at around 5000, but for this year’s Feast of Tabernacles the total “expected attendance” (PCG members and families are ‘expected to attend’) is only 4200+.

There had been no news of developments at Edstone in England since the opening of the college in January 2015, until a post in February 2016 by Brandi Davis that Edstone Welcomes Six New Residents - not students, but six pregnant Suffolk sheep.
“Mr. Macdonald (PCG’s Regional Director) chose this breed because they are a large breed, good for barbequing on the spit ... Mr. Macdonald also plans to add chickens to Edstone’s agricultural program in the spring.”
Old Macdonald has a farm - why? ... “having a small flock of sheep on the rural English campus is another way Edstone seeks to raise the ruins of the Ambassador College campuses. Ambassador’s campus in Bricket Wood, Hertfordshire, also had an agricultural program, of which Mrs. Howard’s brother (uncle of Edstone’s office manager) was head cattleman. The 1,600-acre Ambassador campus in Big Sandy, Texas, also had a large agricultural program.”

Come Right On In: A Walk-through of the Philadelphia Church of God Canadian Regional Office, by Grant Turgeon, was put online August 14, but was later removed from public access. If you want to read the article, copy the above link into Yahoo! or Bing search, and click on the cached page.

The article reveals that there are now only 400 members in 20 congregations from the Atlantic to the Pacific, whose needs are fulfilled by 4 office staff plus another staff member and a volunteer working from their homes.
Covering this vast area are regional director Fred Dattalo and Local Elders Ron Hanson (9 congregations in central and eastern Canada), Timothy Oostendarp (10 congregations in western Canada and Alaska) and Chris McKay (1).

The article also reveals the level of control exerted by Gerald Flurry over each church member via his ministers. “By far the best part of my job is getting to talk to Mr. Flurry and receiving guidance, counsel, direction and even correction from time to time, directly from God’s apostle,” Mr. Dattolo said. “I learn a lot from talking to him, and I pass on the wisdom and judgment that God gives him to the ministers in Canada, whenever I have the opportunity to do so, especially in the weekly meetings that I conduct with each minister individually.”

When Stephen Flurry, Dean of Students at the new college in Edstone, Warwickshire, in the English Midlands, made the first broadcast from the new studio there in January, he quoted from Herbert Armstrong’s autobiography: “It was the development of the college in Pasadena that made possible the growth of the whole gospel work.” He expected the college at Edstone to have a similar effect in the UK.
Rapid church membership growth in the UK in the 1960s was not however achieved by the establishment of Ambassador College at Bricket Wood in 1960, but via daily broadcasts by Garner Ted Armstrong on off-shore pop music radio stations - at a time when only the BBC was allowed to have a mainland radio network - which did not then include a pop music tv or radio channel. The UK government enacted legislation which made too difficult for these radio stations to continue operating, and the BBC was obliged to launch a pop music channel. The Bricket Wood College was closed in 1974.
On his return to the USA after the end of the first semester, Stephen Flurry reiterated the view to PCG News that Edstone is “another new beginning” ... “a special one” ... “a massive step forward.”
“Mr. Flurry said attending services at Leavesden, London, has been ‘a real inspiration’. He added that the local members are ‘super-excited’ about the new Edstone office and that, ‘you can feel the energy when you go in’ to services.”
Leavesden is north-west of London, 2½ miles from Bricket Wood, so the congregation is likely mostly composed of former students and their families. (Other ex-WCG churches also have congregations in or near Bricket Wood.)
“Local members have been praying and waiting for the Work to expand in Britain, Mr. Flurry said. Now, the Church has a campus with students from Edmond and is airing a responsive tv program in Britain.”
If people were responding to this program (which is broadcast at 8am Sundays on CBS Reality UK, a channel that very few UK viewers ever watch), Stephen Flurry would have described how the Work in Britain was growing, rather than remarking that “local members have been praying and waiting for the Work to expand in Britain.”

Church of God - EIM

Steven le Blanc, COG-EIM pastor, writes: “The interest level in our public bible study in Sacramento was very good. We had an attendance of 112 guests (non-members). This was our largest attendance to date. Though we do not look to numbers, but to God - it was encouraging to see that interest levels are growing. I discussed events in Europe - the European Beast, and 40 sins of America (in part) - national punishment.”

Death of Fred Porter

Fred Porter, pastor of the Sabbath Day Church of God in Hot Springs, Arkansas, died on Wednesday evening, 17th of June 2015, aged 70. The funeral took place on the following Monday at Carney Funeral Home Chapel in Blytheville.
In November 2014 he was interviewed by KATV as vice president of Arkansas CALM, the Citizen's Alliance for the Legalization of Marijuana, and co-author of the Arkansas Hemp & Marijuana Amendment, seeking to legalize marijuana - both for medicinal and recreational purposes.
He had been using cannabis oil to treat his prostate cancer, which had produced positive results, but at the time of this interview the cancer had reached stage four.

Church of God, a Worldwide Association
Jim Franks has announced that there will be a Festival of Tabernacles site in Italy in 2018 for the first time. COGWA has 5 small congregations in Western Europe, but none in Italy.

Sabbath services from South-East England are now broadcast live on YouTube (1.30pm GMT, 8.30am ET), and have been added to the Live Broadcasts page.
All of COGWA
s other live Sabbath services remain password protected.