Skip to main content

7th Day Sabbath Churches of God

About the 7th Day Church
Find a Local Church
Church of God News
Live Broadcasts
Biblical Calendar 2017
Pentecost Weekend 2017
Tabernacles 2017: USA
Tabernacles 2017: World
Bible Study Aids

Google Translate


Church of God News

The Journal : News of the Churches of God

The latest issue of the Journal, published on 31st of March  2017, is now on-line.

(You can subscribe to a print version @ $28 p.a. (USA), $30 p.a. International)

The lead article is a celebration of 30 years of CGI pastor Ian Boynes Profile program on Television Jamaica.

“It has earned the reputation of an institution that stands ably on its own and is a particular brand of positive journalism that is yet to be matched on the Jamaican media landscape.
Many stand in awe of the yeoman task this media stalwart has undertaken since he was in his 20s when he set out to ‘make a difference in the lives of people’.”

The back page of this issue records the call by UCG’s leaders for a church-wide fast on the Sabbath of April 22, in preparation for its AGM in early May, because “we need God to help us as never before.”
The Journal’s editor, Dixon Cartwright, asks:
What’s different about the church’s current situation that is different from every earlier situation? Just what do they mean when they say “never before”? It was not overtly clear in the letter why the two church officials deemed that the church needs God’s help as never before...
The language expresses sentiments that have been expressed in countless member and co-worker letters for many decades, so it’s still unclear what has happened to make this fast and its purpose more significant than ever before.”

Church of God, a Worldwide Association

The May/June 2017 edition of Discern Magazine is now online.

The March/April 2017 edition of One Accord is now online.

Christian Educational Ministries

Update April 24th: “Allie is continuing her recovery from the procedure performed on Friday. She remains in ICU, which is not uncommon for this kind of procedure. Due to this, we ask that there be no visitors at this time. Please feel free to send cards to: P.O. Box 560, Whitehouse, TX 75791.”

(Allie has since been moved out of ICU, but remains in hospital.)

Allie Dart underwent major surgery on Friday, April 21st, in Dallas, Texas, as her cancer had spread aggressively. Following the operation, which lasted over 10 hours, involving 3 surgeons working in shifts, she was transferred to ICU. Her surgeons are optimistic that she will recover.

Allie Dart announced on the 20th of September 2016 that CEM had hired a vice president to help her with the ministry: David Havir III (son of David Havir, pastor of the Church of God Big Sandy). “After much praying and searching, God has provided the young man we’ve been looking for to fill the vice-presidential position for ministerial services and organization. He’s a very capable, humble man, who grew up in the church, with his dad being a minister.”

Legacy Institute

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.

United Church of God

The General Conference of Elders will meet in Cincinnati, May 6-8, followed by a meeting of the Council of Elders, May 9-11. President Viktor Kubik and Chairman Donald Ward will give sermons at the Sabbath service on May 6 (which will be broadcast live). The service will begin 30 minutes earlier than normal at 2.00pm, so perhaps their sermons will be longer than is usual in a split-sermon service.

Christian Biblical Church of God

CBCGs intense desire to prove that the Calculated Hebrew Calendar is biblical has taken some curious turns, but none as strange as the latest. Over the last two decades it has produced an enormous amount of material - audio and video series by its founder, Fred Coulter (plus frequent references to the C.H.C. in his sermons), and many articles by Carl Franklin and Dwight Blevins.

In 2012, however, Fred Coulter stated in a Calendar Bible Study that the C.H.C. is not in the Bible.
“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.”
Jewish history records how the C.H.C. was developed gradually during the latter half of the 1st millennium AD - but Fred ‘knows’ that it was given secretly to the priests and Levites at some unspecified point in Old Covenant times. 
Although admitting that the C.H.C. is not in the Bible, Fred Coulter continued to assert that the C.H.C. is scriptural. In 2015 he presented a 4-part video series, ‘The Hebrew Scriptural Calendar’, which replaced a much longer audio series.

Now we have The Music of the Appointed Times, written by Dwight Blevins (with assistance from Carl Franklin and Fred Coulter), which, the author says, provides proof that music and the C.H.C. 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
“Like the words of the Bible itself, in which Scripture cannot be broken, the combined marriage of these relationships of Time, calendar, prophecy and musical law are inseparable.

They cannot be parted or broken. Therefore, these patterns of the lunar calendar, like that of a royal emblem standard and seal, form, validate and proclaim that the methods of the calculated Hebrew calendar are indeed to be found in the Bible. They are embedded, here a little, there a little, in the very pages of the Biblical text itself, and ‘there is no speech nor language where their VOICE is not heard’ (a Psalm of David, 19:3).” p.43-44
“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

A major example of this musical harmony that Dwight gives is the postponement rule which only allows the Day of Trumpets (1st of Tishri) to fall on a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday or Monday. (Sunday, Wednesday and Friday are not excluded because of Rabbinic traditions, as we thought.) Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Monday only are allowed because they form a harmonious chord!
“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

House of God

The churchs websites have been hacked, but a temporary TV website page has been constructed, to enable viewing of the live bible studies on Wednesday evening, and the Sabbath morning and afternoon broadcasts.

Philadelphia Church of God

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 conference center that will hold up to 200 people.

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?

Living Church of God

Tomorrow’s World Now was launched on March 23 with a test transmission, presented by Dylan King. It’s a studio discussion, which is being broadcast live  on YouTube and Facebook on Thursdays at 3.00pm Eastern time.

Perhaps in due time they will be able to dispense with the large microphones and headsets, meanwhile it might occur to them to provide YouTube and Facebook links to these live broadcasts.

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

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.”

Continuing Church of God

Robert Thiel reports, March 23rd, on what he says was probably a Satanic attempt to undermine his preaching of the gospel – which he has overcome.
“Our websites were down for a couple of hours last Sabbath because of some type of, what we think, was a robotic attack that filled up storage space. While we have protection for that in certain places, this particular attack succeeded for a time. But this was noted and corrected. We do not think this was a humanly deliberate attack against us, but Satan was probably more directly behind it.”
He has also had to contend with anti-COG writers, who, he says, “overstate their own importance and seem willing to post as ‘facts’ items that are inaccurate.”
He is still struggling to find a venue “in Florida for the Last Day of Unleavened Bread, which will be April 17. We also plan to be in Florida for Sabbath services on April 22 ... The first facility we contacted in Stuart apparently was not interested, and we have since tried another place there – but it still has not responded.”
If you can help and/or wish to attend, please email him at

Church of God 7th Day

The March/April 2017 issue of the Bible Advocate is now on-line.

A Voice in the Wilderness

Update from Bill Goff

“Hope all of you are well, and continue to be cared for and blessed by our Heavenly Father. February has been another busy Month for the work we are involved in over there in Kenya/Tanzania.

First I want to thank those of you who have been supporting, because thanks to your support (and thanks to the guiding Spirit of our loving Father) “Good Fruits” are continuing to be produced.  Many of our impoverished fatherless and widows continue to be assisted in their afflictions, and I know that is pleasing to God.
We are now caring for another child at Sengera Orphanage ...”

Church of God International

‘Bring on the Sabbath’ has re-started, presented by Jeff Reed and Lisa McComb. 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’.

Dates and times for both broadcasts are on the Live Broadcasts page.
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.

Seventh Day Christian Assembly

On Thursday, February 9th, Ken Swiger had a heart catheterization. The good news is that his arteries are clear. The bad news is that his heart is weak and the left side is not functioning efficiently. He is expecting to receive a pacemaker.

Triumph Prophetic Ministries

The January/February 2017 edition of Prophecy Flash Magazine is now online.
In the lead article, ‘Is Donald Trump “Anointed” by God as a Modern Cyrus?’, William Dankenbring declares why Donald Trump won the election:
“The pre-election polls were not wrong ... she was winning in the battleground states ... there was no sign of a popular uprising led by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ... Something would have to break. And then it did. Like a scene out of the film ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, people had begun to pray.  But not just in one small town. Across America. And around the world ...”
And how his triumph will help to fulfil Biblical prophecy:
“The nascent Sanhedrin is calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin and US president-elect Donald Trump to join forces and fulfill their Biblically-mandated roles by rebuilding the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.”

If Ernest Martin is correct in his contention that the second temple was situated over the Gihon spring, 1,000 feet to the south of where the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque are now located, the Jews will be able to build the third temple as soon as they realize this, so they will have no need of assistance from any man “anointed by God”.

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.”

Winter Family Weekend Festival

2016 will be the 20th year for the Annual Winter Family Weekend, to be held at the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort in Lexington, Kentucky, December 23-26. The event is open to all.

Three Church of God groups in the USA have taken up the tradition of holding a very large social gathering over the Christmas period.

Church of God a Worldwide Association members will be in Louisville, Kentucky, December 23-27, where the Galt House Hotel will be offering a range of seasonal activities for its young guests.

The United Church of God Family Weekend, will be at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio, December 23-27.

The Family Weekend for members of the Living Church of God will take place at the Renaissance Charlotte Suites Hotel, North Carolina, December 22-25.

Activities will begin on Thursday evening with a casual themed dance at the hotel. Friday morning there will be a number of targeted seminars followed by an afternoon activity. Friday night and Saturday morning there will be special Bible Studies for everyone. We plan to again live-stream the Saturday afternoon Church service over the Internet. Saturday night there will be a formal dinner/dance for all ages. Sunday we will have the increasingly popular Sports Day with basketball and volleyball tournaments, free play, kids’ games and lots of free food! Sunday night we will wrap things up at the hotel with a Games Night. Last year we had over 800 people join us for the events and we hope that this year even more of you will attend. So grab your dance shoes and your tennis shoes and come join us for an exciting weekend of physical and spiritual rejuvenation!”—Jim Meredith

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
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

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!”

Christian Educational Ministries

Message from Allie Dart: Ronald L. Dart died peacefully in his sleep early this Sabbath morning, January 23rd, 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.

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: The Unfinished Work

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.

Remembering Karl Beyersdorfer

On the Sabbath of the 4th of June, Warren Zehrung devoted his one hour sermon to The Karl Beyersdorfer I Knew - in which “I’ll try to lay out some answers.”

At the 8 minute mark of this audio message, he talks 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” (presumably referring to the interim chairman, 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, and later a statement of beliefs was published, including a non-trinitarian doctrine.

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 Saturday resurrection on the premise that the counting must be 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

COGIC 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 on Vision, such as The Paul Puzzle  are under 10 minutes 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.

The October 2016 issue of Church of God News contains an article (p.13-14) by Tim Anderson, ‘Tithe of the Tithe’, a phrase that is found twice in scripture:
Num.18:26 ‘Moreover thou shalt speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithe which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up a heave-offering of it for Jehovah, a tithe of the tithe.’
Neh.10:38 ‘And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes: and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God, to the chambers, into the treasure-house. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the heave-offering of the grain...’
Tim Anderson writes: “In 1964 God’s Church faced a crisis. Over 22,000 people would attend the Feast of Tabernacles that year. The next year there would be more than 29,000 (with 12,000 at a single Feast site). Projecting the Church’s phenomenal growth, they were planning on around 140,000 by 1971 [and 144,000 by January 1972, when Herbert Armstrong would make the long awaited announcement of the place of safety], and they had no idea how to accommodate so many people. After much consideration and prayer, God led Mr. Armstrong to the answer: a ‘tithe of the tithe’.”
The WCG were already receiving and spending 100% of the first tithes, so Herbert Armstrong translated this phrase to mean one tenth of the second tithe.
“Today we use tithe of the tithe to refer to giving 10 percent of our second tithe to the Church, to aid in financing the Feast of Tabernacles. Mr. Armstrong instituted this practice in 1964 based on the biblical principles of the Levites giving a tenth of tithes to the priests. It wasn’t a direct command, but the application of a principle found elsewhere in the Scriptures.”

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+

Since John Meakin and some members left to join LCG, a month before Tabernacles 2008, the UK has remained loyal to David Hulme. Perhaps there was no French festival site in 2008, which would account for the drop in the UK .

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

David Hulme has cancelled the high cost print edition of Vision magazine, and restricted the magazine to on-line, beginning with the Winter 2016 issue.
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.

Church of God Big Sandy

Pastor Dave Havir had triple-bypass surgery on Friday, February 26th.

“On Tuesday (March 1st), Dave Havir was discharged from the Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler. The family appreciates many things including the following - (1) the prayers of many people, (2) the time to discover a highly recommended heart surgeon before the surgery, (3) a positive experience during his four and a half days in the hospital, (4) the support of the congregation to not visit Mr. Havir during his stay in the hospital so that he could concentrate on his rest and recovery and (5) the many offers by friends to help his recovery at home. Even though the family has not yet taken up many of the very generous offers of their friends, those willing offers have touched the hearts of the family.”

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 March-April 2017 issue of the Beyond Today magazine is now on-line.

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.)

Death of Frank Scherich

House of God Pastor Frank Scherich was killed on October 1st. He had been attending the Festival of Tabernacles in Galveston, Texas, where he was joint co-ordinator. He was hit by a car around 4pm, while trying to rescue his dog from traffic, and died in hospital that evening.
The funeral service
was held at Angel Springs Event Center on Sunday, October 11th, and the burial service at Liberty Hill Cemetery.

Tributes to Frank may be left on the website of Eeds Funeral Home.

Frank's last sermon - 1st day of Festival of Tabernacles - September 28th.

Church of God 7th Day

“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

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.”

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

He then outlines the new Presidents (restricted) authority:

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

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

David Pack, of the Restored Church of God, stated, in his sermon on Dec. 31st:
“I remember when I was fired (by the Worldwide Church of God in 1993), right here in Akron, and there were 38 people came with us. That’s the number.

Two years later, another guy (Clyde Kilough) was fired, 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.

Two hundred people followed him. Didn’t any of them remember, right there in the room, I told them where it was going, and they follow a guy that taught them the trinity? And these were ‘escapees’, you see? ...
I listened. I mean, the whole thing - eyeballs and elbows - taught it all; swallowed hook, line and sinker - and they followed him
(to a newly formed church - the United Church of God), because they said, “Well, it’s just the nature of God. We’re not really changing anything.”

HQ administration needs to expand well beyond the limit of its current office space of 8,200 sq.ft. (though membership numbers have been static), so the church has decided to buy land nearby on which to build a new head office.

“The office is currently full, and our lease is up in May of 2017. Our current plans are to locate property in the general area of Allen and construct our own office building. Because of the time involved in completing such a project, we will renew our lease for an additional year, taking us to May of 2018. That gives us 21 months to find property and construct our own building. While this seems like plenty of time, it will require that we secure property by early 2017.”

President Jim Franks explains the economic reasons in this video message (starting at the 4½ min. mark).

The church intends to buy 3 to 7 acres of land, on which to build either a 1 or 2 storey office of 20-25,000 sq.ft. The lease of the current office in Allen costs $150,000 per year including utilities for just 8,200 sq.ft..
In January 2008, when the COGWA faction held sway in the UCG, the church bought 81 acres of land in Denton (which is quite close to Allen, in North Texas), for a new home office. The land was sold by the UCG in February 2015 at a substantial loss.
Why was such a vast acreage purchased, and why didn’t COGWA save money much earlier by offering to buy 7 acres of this land from UCG? UCG paid $19,600 per acre for the land in 2008 - at the height of the property market.

Even at that inflated rate, COGWA could have bought 7 acres for less than the current rent per year.

Although attendances in the USA for the festival high days were static - just under 5,000 for the 1st day and 4,600 7th day (same week days as 2015) - receipts were another record high.
The church’s strong finances enabled regional directors and senior pastors to make overseas visits for the festival: Arnold Hampton to the Caribbean, David Baker to the Philippines and Singapore, Joel Meeker (+ David Harper) to French speaking Africa - and on to Europe afterwards, Leon Walker to South Africa, Tim Waddle to Nigeria and Kenya, Doug Horchak to Zambia, Britt Taylor to Australia and New Zealand, and Ralph Levy to Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

Jim Franks has reported on the visit by the top four members of COGWA’s Administration - Jim Franks, President: Doug Horchak, Ministerial Services Operation Manager: Clyde Kilough, Media Operation Manager: and Britton Taylor, Church Treasurer & Financial Operation Manager, to the Living Church of God’s headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. He reports that:
• He received a surprise phone call from Roderick Meredith in November - which had been prompted by a call that he had received from Les McCullough.
• Two days of meetings were arranged - Monday/Tuesday, January 18th/19th.
• All agreed that the primary goal was to open the door of communications - to simply sit and talk. They discussed their common heritage, history and how they came into being, and agreed that going forward they should treat one another as brothers, and build trust between the two organizations.
• They did not discuss specific actions.
• At this point no follow up meetings are being planned.
• It was not a secretive trip - the ministry, staff and board of directors were informed of it beforehand. After they returned from Charlotte on Friday, January 22nd, he sent an announcement about the visit to all the elders, giving them permission to share the information with anyone who enquired.
His report raises several questions:
Why did Les McCullough phone Roderick Meredith?
Why would LCG’s Gerald Weston fly in from the UK “to simply sit and talk”, and why would two days of meetings be scheduled for such a purpose?

(Doug Winnails LCG report describes the meetings as “an opportunity to communicate openly about a number of mutual concerns.”)
Why did the COGWA group not leave for home until Friday?
LCG held a Living University Board meeting on Thursday, and a Church Board meeting on Friday.
Was the COGWA group waiting to be apprised of the outcome of these meetings?

Whatever mutual concerns were discussed, no specific actions were agreed. Gerald Weston is known to be an opponent of any co-operation with another church - but is it likely that, when he takes over the leadership in August, Roderick Meredith will hand over total control and step away completely?

Joel Meeker reported on the annual meeting of the Ministerial Board of Directors, held at the Church’s headquarters in Allen, Texas, December 7-8. Each member of the board receives a copy of the annual ‘Strategic Plan, Operation Plan and Budget’ prior to the meeting, and the sole purpose of the MBOD agm is to review and approve this document. Joel Meeker stated that:
• 5,821 people in the USA are connected to a local congregation;
• 2015 shows a 12% increase in daily income over 2014;
• 11% of the church’s income comes from non-members.

Doug Johnson has been appointed Senior Pastor for ‘COGWA Canada’, but he will continue to pastor the Cleveland Ohio and Meadville Pennsylvania congregations.

Video summaries of Day 1 & Day 2 of the International Ministerial Conference, which took place on 1st & 2nd June 2015.

The Church’s Media team and its web developers at 30 Degrees North are now working on phase 2 of its 3 part plan to overhaul its Life Hope & Truth website.
“We’re now working hard to complete all parts of Phase 2, focusing on creating an “I’m New” page, developing our new online/interactive Bible study course and shooting a brand-new video series. The “I’m New” page will serve as a starting point for visitors who come to Life, Hope & Truth for the first time. It’s here that they will be introduced to the people and the Church behind the website and how to go forward in their learning journey. We are now in the process of creating our new welcome video, which will describe why Life, Hope and Truth exists and what our mission is. We’re also creating our brand-new interactive Bible study course, which will be a key tool in helping our website visitors take the next step in understanding and committing to God’s truth.”

The January 2015 issue of One Accord included a report of the annual meeting of the Ministerial Board of Directors in December 2014. The Doctrine Committee chairman, Don Henson, “reminded the board that the committee reviews various (official) documents and publications” and “also reviews a small number of study papers submitted by members to propose alternate positions to the Church’s longstanding doctrines or understandings. Mr. Henson explained that, while such writers are asked to submit their papers to their pastors first, they generally want the papers to be reviewed by the committee and then usually try to rebut the explanation if it differs from their own. This is is very time-consuming, but such submissions are treated seriously and with respect.”
On 22 December 2014 it was announced that Andrew and Sarah Henderson had been officially suspended and prohibited indefinitely from attending all COGWA services and activities, because “they no longer speak the same thing as the Church.”
The Hendersons had questioned their local minster, Lyle Welty, about the COG Hebrew calendar, which he failed to answer satisfactorily. At his request, they submitted to him a study paper, A Case for the Biblical Calendar, to be forwarded to the Doctrine Committee. On receipt of the study paper, Lyle Welty suspended the couple from attending services, but he eventually agreed to submit it to the Doctrine Committee, which resulted in their total and indefinite exclusion.
It is not then the Doctrine Committee’s role to treat members’ study papers seriously and with respect, and to consider their alternative positions to the Church’s longstanding doctrines or understandings. Rather it is to explain to the members that they are wrong, and that they must comply with the Church’s teachings.

Larry Salyer stated, “All seem to agree that the camaraderie among the MBOD is the best we have had in years. While it is easy to find agreement, I also feel I can disagree and be frank on any issue I want to—even with the administration.”
It’s a pity that this freedom to disagree and be frank on any issue does not extend to those people who pay the high salaries of the Ministerial Board of Directors.