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Church of God News

The Journal: News of the Churches of God

The latest issue of the Journal - August 31 is now available on-line.

The lead article is about Morgan Montgomery, a 19 year old member of the Living Church of God, from Adelaide, Australia, who was serving as an assistant counselor at LCG's youth camp in Ohio. She was floating in the Alum Creek Reservoir in Ohio after water-skiing, when she was hit by a high-speed motor boat, whose driver failed to see her.

In the letters column, the editor, Dixon Cartwright, has included an invitation to “come up to New York and visit the offices, printery and education center of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. You will find this to be an exquisite delight and an experience you will want to share with others ...”

The Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists and Church of God 7th Day all originate from the Advent Movement of the 19th century, and have some common beliefs. The Jehovah's Witnesses do not observe the 7th day Sabbath or the annual holy days.

The World Will Not End Tonight, but ...

if you think it might ... “This Sunday night, September 27, at 10:00pm Eastern US Time, I will be broadcasting live from the Mount of Olives overlooking the Temple Mount, during this month’s ‘Super Blood Moon’, writes Nehemia Gordon. People all over the world are expecting this lunar eclipse, the 4th in a supposed ‘Tetrad’, to usher in a new era of tribulation and mayhem.
I will be broadcasting the beginning of this expected Apocalypse live on Periscope. You can watch for free on the web by clicking on I tested Periscope on my laptop using the Chrome browser and it worked, but it didn’t work in Firefox.
The best way to follow this broadcast is to install the free Periscope app on your iPhone or Android and then subscribe to my Periscope feed listed as ‘ngordon4’ and ‘Nehemia Gordon’. Periscope is new and not that user friendly, so if you can’t figure that out, subscribed to  my Twitter feed. Then when I go live you’ll get a specific link on Twitter to the live-stream:
If you use the Periscope App, you can join in with comments and feedback as we broadcast the beginning of the End of the Universe. The Mount of Olives is the perfect place for this broadcast in line with the verse:
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the mount of Olives shall be cleft in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west...” Zech 4:14
If the video ends unexpectedly, it may be because I was sucked down into a deep chasm as the Mount of Olives splits. I’m personally skeptical anything major will happen, except me yawning a lot, as it will be 3.00am Israel time. My hesitation to jump on the Blood Moon bandwagon is based on the words of God Himself:
“Thus says Yehovah, Learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the nations are dismayed at them.” Jeremiah 10:2
On the other hand, if this truly is the beginning of the End Times, you will be able to watch it in live stream as the events unfold around me. If not, it will be a great opportunity for prayer, Torah study, and a long overdue Q & A. The peak of the event will be at 5:47am Israel time, which is 10:47pm New York time. Bandwidth (and coffee) allowing, I will continue the broadcast right up to the End. I never thought I’d say this but, “I’ll see you when the smoke clears.”
If you are in Jerusalem tonight, come join me at the lookout on the Mount of Olives at 5.00am Israel time!”

2015 Holy Days & Festival of Tabernacles

Over 300 Festival of Tabernacles sites are now listed, but there are many more. We can only list those whose data are on websites, also we do not list festival sites in areas where travel is dangerous, and churches that do not have an open attendance policy.

Links to live broadcasts for the Day of Atonement and Sabbath (Sept.26) are now posted on the Live Broadcasts page. (Links to the early services for the Festival of Tabernacles will be added later this week.)

The Living Church of God and the Church of God, a Worldwide Association will be providing live broadcasts from various locations, but you must request a password from each festival organizer.

On September 14th the new moon was sighted in Australia, Southern Asia, Southern Africa and the Americas. The crescent new moon charts show that it was potentially visible in Israel, but the sky was hazy and it was not sighted. On September 15th the new moon was sighted by numerous people. The data on the Biblical Calendar and Festival of Tabernacles pages have been updated, but some groups do not clarify where sighting is required, so please confirm the dates with the festival organizer if there is any doubt.

The fixed Hebrew (Jewish) calendar, which most Churches of God follow, will begin the year 5776 on Monday, September 14th.

The Molad (average conjunction) is on Sunday, but Rosh Hashana (the Day of Trumpets) must be postponed to Monday.

If the Day of Trumpets were to be on a Sunday, the seventh day of the Festival of Tabernacles (Hoshana Rabba) would then fall on the weekly Sabbath. The ritual of beating the willow twigs on this day has been deemed by the rabbis to be ‘work’ that is inappropriate for the Sabbath.

If Rosh Hashanah fell on a Sunday, Hoshanah Rabbah would fall on the Sabbath and would call for the elimination of certain rituals which the pharisaic rabbis did not want to forgo.” (Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol.25, No.1, 1997; Article by Rabbi Saul Leeman, Why is Pesach So Late This Year?).

Sunday is considered unfit, because with Rosh ha-Shanah falling thereon, the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Hosha'na Rabbah), on which the ceremony of “beating the willow-twigs” is an important part of the service, would fall on the Sabbath, and the observance of the ceremony could not be permitted.” (Henry Malter, Saadia Gaon: His Life and Works)

Rosh Hashana never falls on a Sunday because that would mean that Hoshana Rabba (the last day of Sukkot, which always falls on 21 Tishri) would fall on a Saturday, which would not be desirable. In Talmudic times, Hoshana Rabba was regarded as a day much like Yom Kippur. It brought to an end the long holiday period beginning with Rosh Hashana, and was considered to be the one final opportunity to reverse an unfavorable decree issued against the individual on the High Holidays. If Hoshana Rabba were to fall on the Sabbath, this would interfere with the ceremony of beating a bunch of hoshanot (willows) during the synagogue services, an action forbidden on the Sabbath.” (Alfred J. Kolatch, The Jewish Book of WHY, p.228)

If the Church of God leaders who observe the Hebrew calendar believe that the new moon is the conjunction, why do they postpone the Day of Trumpets (and thereby also postpone Passover and all the other annual holy days) by one day, because of a ritual which they have never performed?

Living Church of God

Gerald Weston is moving to the UK to take charge of the work in Europe, replacing Rod King, who has serious health issues.

Stuart Wachowicz replaces him as Canadian Regional Director.

Gerald Weston will also be taking over Rod King's role as a presenter of the Tomorrow’s World telecast.

Rod McNair will become a guest presenter, as Roderick Meredith's failing health no longer allows him to continue as a regular presenter.

In Tomorrow’s World News & Prophecy, Sept. 4th, the article ‘British Girls Suffer Emotional Trauma’ stated: “Jesus Christ is coming back to turn the hearts of parents to their children, instead of being focused solely on themselves (Malachi 4:6), and no one will be afraid (Ezekiel 34:23-28).
Malachi 4:5-6 refers to the Elijah to come, not Jesus: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”
Some believe that the Church (not a person) will do an Elijah type work, others continue to hold to Herbert Armstrong being the Elijah to come (even though he died almost 30 years ago).

The statement that the above verses refer to Jesus Christ was changed today (Sept.9th), and the passage now reads: “Jesus Christ is coming back to establish perfect government and peace (Isaiah 9:6-7), and no one will be afraid (Ezekiel 34:23-28). The true meaning of family will be “recaptured” and will permeate society once again (Acts 3:19-21).”

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.

Roderick Meredith, writes in his latest co-worker letter, dated 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.”
“We constantly explain how you can escape the coming Great Tribulation and how all of us can have a tremendous part in warning our fellow human beings and helping them also escape the coming Holocaust.”
How much confidence should we place in his predictions?
In the 1950s and 60s he and the other leaders in the Worldwide Church of God taught that those in the church would “escape the coming Great Tribulation” and go to ‘the place of safety’ (probably Petra in Jordan) in 1972, and Jesus Christ would return to earth in 1975. After the failure of this prophecy, he has continued to preach of current “prophetic events unfolding” showing that “the end of this lawless age of mankind is very near.”
The July-August 2014 issue of the Living Church News leads with his letter 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!
Do I, personally, think it will be that long? No! But I have ‘hoped’ that it would be sooner for many decades.”
“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.”

(‘The end of this lawless age’ is ‘about 2030AD’ in God’s 7000 Year Plan)

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.”

United Church of God

Sabbath Services before the Feast – September 26, 2015
“This year the weekly Sabbath falls the day before the Feast begins. Many members and ministers will have already left for the Feast of Tabernacles before the weekly Sabbath. As a result, many congregations are canceling services before the Feast on September 26th.
We have provided a map that indicates which U.S. congregations have confirmed that they will hold services that day (indicated by a solid green star) and those who have indicated that services will be cancelled (indicated by an outline red star). We hope this map will help you to make your travel plans to this year’s Feast. Most congregations holding services will be meeting at their regular times, but it is best to contact the pastor as early as possible to make sure.
Feel free to print the PDF map to leave on your information table or bulletin board at services.” -- Chris Rowland, Ministerial and Member Services

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 7th Day (Denver)

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.

Calvin Burrell will be giving one of the messages at the Festival of Tabernacles in Pleasant Hills, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The radical changes to the bylaws proposed at the General Convention last week 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.

Legacy Institute

Leon Sexton writes: “We need your fervent prayers on two accounts.
First, we have some serious problems getting our young people over from Myanmar (Burma). There always seems to be problems with visas, etc.
In order for us to bring our young people (Burmese Nationals) to Thailand, we must acquire the appropriate visa. For our Burmese students to stay and study at Legacy for three years, they must return home each year and then get another ED visa (Educational visa) for another year. This is time consuming and expensive when one adds up travel expenses and more visa costs. But this is the Thai law and, if we want them to continue their studies at Legacy, we must comply with the rules and regulations of the Thai Immigration Bureau.
We sent Htoo Mya (Tommy) Shwe back to get another ED visa so he could return and continue at Legacy for his final year. When he went to the Thai embassy in Rangoon, they refused to give him a new ED visa, citing that he had been studying in Thailand long enough. Now we must bring him back on a tourist visa (30 days only) and send him to Laos, where hopefully the Thai Embassy there will grant him another one year ED visa. This all takes time and money, and there is no guarantee the Thai Embassy in Vientiane will give him a visa.
Koin Yee, one of our COG girls, is also waiting in Rangoon to get an ED visa. They have now said that they require more paperwork from the language school she will attend to learn the Thai language (a requirement for the ED visa.) We sent the paperwork and now we must pray she gets the visa so she can come to Legacy.
Legacy is not registered with the Ministry of Education. Instead we are registered with the Ministry of Culture. We can teach young people from Thailand and surrounding countries, but because we do not have a Ministry of Education registration, we are not on the list to receive ED visas. The red tape is endless.
Two others also had problems. Adja Shan and Moe Paley, both graduates, are returning to Legacy to help with translation of written material and translation of sermon videos, etc. I contacted the Thailand Foreign Ministry in Bangkok and requested a Non-immigrant, ‘O’ type visa so they can get a required Thai work permit to serve in Thailand. The Foreign Ministry kindly forwarded the required paperwork to the Thai Embassy in Rangoon. However, when Adja and Moe Paley went into the Thai Embassy to get the visa, they said they could not give them a visa unless they already had a work permit. The problem is that the Thai government will not issue a work permit until you have the appropriate visa - Catch 22!
So, we had to contact the Thai Foreign Ministry and explain the problem and then pray really hard. Lo and behold, the officials at the Thai Embassy in Rangoon said they went back and reviewed the paperwork sent from Bangkok and, even though the print was ‘unclear’, they would go ahead and issue the visas. God stepped in. Now we must pray for Koin Yee and for Tommy Shwe. Please send up supplications for them.
The second problem we face is that our donations are way down. Most of our donations come from America and the economy at home is not in good shape. We need your URGENT PRAYERS that God provide our needs. We seriously need His gracious intervention at this time. We have the Feast coming up and always the day to day expenses of running a school to train young people in God’s Way of Life. It has been a real lesson in faith for us. Gloria and I have been working for the King of Kings in Thailand for 15 years now. It has almost always been a hand to mouth budget. We must pray time and time again for God to intervene to supply our needs. Rarely have we ever seen a surplus. Usually that gets eaten up rather quickly.
So, please help us by sending up some extra prayers to the Almighty asking Him to provide the necessary funds so we can continue the work of educating the young people God sends us from Thailand and Burma. It is His Work in this part of the Earth and these nations desperately need the Gospel of the Kingdom preached to them. It will be the young men and women we train that will be carrying that true Gospel to families and friends, and then spreading it out to the far corners of their countries. Legacy Leadership Training Center is a necessary part of preaching the Good News to those who are blind and broken hearted.
Jesus said (Luke 4:18-19): ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.’
Please pray for us, serving the Lord Jesus in Asia.”

P.S. The Festival of Tabernacles will be held in Chiang Mai, Thailand, once again. It starts the evening of Sept 27th and lasts through the Last Great Day, October 5th.The venue will be the same as last year—The Empress Hotel and Convention Center in the heart of Chiang Mai. Many family activities are planned, including the Elephant Ride and visit to a Royal Project of the King and Queen. If you are interested in attending and wish more information, please contact us at, or phone Anita Showers at 330-852- 2709. We are trying to keep the cost of rooms, food, and events at, or near, last year’s costs. For more online information about the Empress Hotel, please go online to:

Philadelphia Church of God

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 it impossible 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.”

Continuing Church of God

Robert Thiel writes: “We want to thank all of you who have supported the work with your tithes and offerings, including those of you who have given extra to support the work in Africa.
We have spent thousands of dollars to fix a building in Ndhiwa, Kenya. Many will be staying in this building (for free) during the Feast of Tabernacles in Kenya. This is expected to be the largest CCOG festival site in 2015.
We plan to have two CCOG pastors from Kenya be able to visit groups in Ghana and Malawi that have expressed interest in the CCOG in a few weeks - we have had to send funds for the travel as well as literature (including Bibles in the Chichewa, also known as Nyanja, language) for this.
We also hope to eventually be able visit groups in Nigeria and Ethiopia later this year if funding allows.”

2015 Festival of Tabernacles

From Brian Convery: “Linda and I have decided to utilize our property (in Kendall, New York State) for a feast site this year. Many have been emailing looking for a site to be able to go to and feel "safe" in their calendar beliefs. If you are interested, email us ( and we will forward you the information. The main dates we will be focusing on are Wednesday, September 30th, to Wednesday, October 7th. However we can accommodate families and others who profess different calendar dates in their belief structure.
This is a rural setting with opportunities for camping on the property and at two state parks within 10 and 20 minute drives from here. As well there are lots of cottage rentals along the lake shore; all within 30 minutes’ drive. We would be having some meals together, lots of fellowship, studies, and simple rejoicing before our Creators.”

The Canadian Ministry of Church of God International has decided to cancel the Festival of Tabernacles site in British Columbia this year.

Please phone Bill Watson on (903) 939-2929 if you require more information.

Mark Harris has gained permission from International Academy Alert for a Festival of Tabernacles at the Big Sandy campus in Texas, where both of the seven day annual festivals were held when the property was owned by the Radio (later, Worldwide) Church of God. The history of the site goes back to 1952, when Herbert and Loma Armstrong went to Gladewater in Texas for Passover and Unleavened Bread, and were overwhelmed by the number attending. While on the train back home he wrote a letter to the brethen :

God has made it plain we MUST HAVE an adequate place, the most centrally located possible, so that the largest number can attend, for the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and for those able or close enough, even the Day of Pentecost...

Buck Hammer, who owns a farm about seven miles west of Gladewater, offered to donate and deed over to us several acres of the most beautiful sloping, wooded land we ever saw, for this purpose. On this property is a perpetually-flowing spring of crystal-clear water. We would also need to have two narrow strips of land adjoining …

It just so happened - or did it just happen? - that both these adjoining strips of property went on the market for sale two or three days before the Festival, and for years neither had been for sale, nor could it have been bought! ...

We shall have to build a tabernacle - not a costly one, but one large enough - with dining area for our festivals, and plan the kind of housing to be provided for all who come - perhaps well-planned but inexpensive cabins.”

All 3 annual festivals were held at the Big Sandy Tabernacle until 1967, when Loma Armstrong died, after which the 7 days Unleavened Bread Festival was discontinued, because most members did not receive wages that week if they attended the festival, consequently tithes and offerings reduced substantially.

Ambassador College opened at Big Sandy in 1964, and closed in 1997. The whole property was sold in 2000.

Church of God, an International Community

Our search results show a continuing interest in David Hulme and his church, the Church of God an International Community.

The church’s only public outreach remains its quarterly magazine Vision.

The church’s website is accessible only to members and donors.

However, for those seeking information on current teachings, the church’s internal quarterly Church of God News is now online.2015 Festival of Tabernacles

Restored Church of God

David Pack has been relatively quiet 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 quite 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 general 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.”

Pastor John Pinkston convicted of child abuse

Courthouse News Service reports that John Pinkston, aged 78, former pastor of the Congregation of God 7th Day in Kennesaw, Georgia, has been convicted of molesting two young girls at his church. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment plus 10 years thereafter on probation.
He founded the congregation in 1992, on leaving the Worldwide Church of God.
His ‘Watch America’ website - covering news and events in the light of biblical prophecy - has been taken down, and most of the main website content has been removed, with only the live stream page for Sabbath services remaining. Sabbath live streaming will continue, but
the Festival of Tabernacles will not be held in Kennesaw this year. 

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, June 17th, aged 70. The funeral will be at 11am on 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

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 salaries of the Ministerial Board of Directors.

When is Pentecost (Shavuot)?
Nehemiah Gordon discusses, in The Truth About Shavuot, how the Pharisees, Essenes and Sadducees, in late Second Temple times, interpreted differently “the morrow after the Sabbath” in order to calculate when to observe the ‘feast of weeks’. Most Churches of God teach that the annual holy days are all Sabbaths, but he explains that the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread is not defined as a Sabbath in Hebrew - the Day of Atonement is the only annual Sabbath.

(This has implications for the Wednesday Crucifixion doctrine, which requires a Thursday annual Sabbath. See also Counting to Pentecost’ for an explanation of how and why days were counted differently in biblical times.)

Herbert Armstrong Videos

Grace Communion International (formerly the ‘Worldwide Church of God’) has filed several copyright notices with YouTube concerning the telecast section of Herbert W. Armstrong Library, resulting in the deactivation of the HWAL account with YouTube. HWAL spent years building the YouTube channel, uploading a total of 1,335 videos on to YouTube, where it says they were receiving 1.6 million hits per month.
GCI owns the copyright on all WCG materials, but HWAL believes the publication of the videos falls within the ‘fair use’ provision of the copyright regulations.