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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.
A Voice in the Wilderness
Bill Goff writes, September 24: “Hope you are well and that the Almighty is
keeping you, as we patiently await the return of our Lord and Savior.
Much has been accomplished over the past month here at the Sengera House
Orphanage. Thanks to the support you have been giving, we were able to
bring electric power into the compound. This is a huge help, especially
being that the sun sets early here on the equator, making it quite
difficult for the children in the evening, including doing their school
homework. (In the past we were using some solar panels, but found them
inadequate and quite costly to maintain.) Now, the boys house, girls
house and kitchen are energized with a ceiling light and electric outlet
in every room.
The compound is also totally fenced now, making it
much safer, and also fulfilling the requirements of the county
ordinances concerning orphanage compounds.
As we make the
improvements around the compound, the children are totally involved in
the work as they continue to learn more skills.
The children have also
been busy installing some overhead irrigation for the garden located
next to the boys house. We used 3'' pvc pipe. Now that vegetable garden
can be easily watered. Currently the children have begun planting beans,
peppers, tomatoes, onions, kale, beets, carrots, corn and more.
Each child has his own small plot to plant and tend. They are so excited.
Heavenly Father continues to stretch the funds that come in to Kenya Hands of Hope,
and all the glory goes to Him. Aside from all the improvements that have
recently been made, this week we were able to pay the school fees for
all of the orphans. We also supplied a number of widows with food.
thanks to you who have been donating to Kenya Hands of Hppe, the quality of life for
these orphans and a number of widows has risen much. Let us Praise our
Almighty Heavenly Father. Your good works do Glorify Him.”
Short YouTube Videos:
Sengera Orphans Planting
Electrifying Sengera Orphanage
Bringing The Poles
Raising The Poles
Last Pole Up
Meeting Scattered Brethren in Bomet
Living Church of God
The September-October issue of Tomorrow’s World is now on-line.
no Festival of Tabernacles in Hawaii this year, the LCG’s 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.
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.
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.”
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
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.”
Christian Educational Ministries
Allie Dart had successful surgery in Dallas on
Wednesday, September 21, to remove a cancerous tumor. The doctors felt
that the pre-surgery radiation was helpful in shrinking the tumor. They
decided that she did not need to have a hysterectomy or a colostomy. She
hopes to return home on Monday.
Continuing Church of God
Thiel quotes an article by John Ritenbaugh in The Berean (September 18) on modern day prophets of future
“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.
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?
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).”
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 WCG’s - and HWA’s - prophetic record?
Day of Trumpets 2016
The next astronomical new moon (conjunction of sun/moon) will be at 22.11 (Jerusalem time) on Friday,
There is a 2 day postponement in the Hebrew calendar (see Biblical Callendar 2016 for details), so this day will begin at sunset on Sunday, October 2.
Crescent new moon maps show that the new moon will easily be visible on Saturday
evening, October 1, in the Pacific (including Hawaii), and in most of
the world (including Jerusalem) on Sunday evening, October 2.
Live Broadcasts - September Festival of Tabernacles
Truth on the Web Ministries and Shalom Assembly of Yahweh will be the only broadcasters of daily live
services - plus Eliyah on most days. Please go to the Live Broadcasts page for times.
Leon Sexton writes: “A Very Special Feast of Tabernacles in Myanmar.
The Feast of Tabernacles that will be held shortly in Jawk Taing, Taungoo district, Burma, will double in size this year! That is because the local Church of God members in Central Burma and Rangoon will be joined by a newly formed, non-aligned Church of God group of about 30 people (including children) that will travel all the way from the Delta region below Rangoon to join them for the Feast.
We are grateful to the United Church of God for helping with the expenses for this non-aligned COG group to join our Legacy-sponsored Feast of Tabernacles in Taungoo.
Please continue to pray for Gloria’s and my health, so we can sustain staying here and help prepare our brethren in this part of the world to prepare themselves for the coming Last Days.
Thank you, Fellow Laborers, for your generous support to make the Feast in Burma and Chiang Mai possible and for all your prayers. Please continue to pray that we will be guided in the direction God wants us to go.
Have a wonderful Festival. Stay safe and may God bless and protect all of you.”
days ago we had to send one of our young girl students, Khawn Ye, back
to Burma. We didn’t want to do it, but the Thai Immigration Bureau would
not extend her visa to stay longer in Thailand. Thai Immigration is
getting stricter and stricter, and our method of getting our Burmese
students work visas so that they can come and study legally at Legacy no
longer works. Technically, to be a student, one must have an ED
(education) visa. Legacy Foundation, the umbrella under which we run our
school, is chartered by the Ministry of Culture and not the Ministry of
Education; so, at this time, we do not qualify to obtain ED visas for
any students from Burma we would like to bring.
Over the years we
have operated here, the immigration laws have changed again and again.
It is becoming more and more difficult to get the visa extensions we
need. We used to be able to get a one-year extension, year by year, for
our students from Burma. They now will only give a three-month extension
each time we go in (and that entails standing in line beginning at 1AM
in the morning). Then immigration just says: “Well, you have been in
Thailand long enough; now you need to go back to Burma.”
arranging for Khawn Ye to attend the Seventh Day Adventist University in
Burma where her sister and cousin now attend. Legacy will sponsor her
education there. She will receive a good education at the SDA
University, but it would have been better had she had more training at
Legacy in Thailand. We are very sorry to see her go back. We had hoped
to train her to be a translator, but we just ran out of options to keep
her in Thailand.
We are not sure that we can get this visa issue resolved in the near future. At this time, we cannot bring anyone over from Burma as a student to study at Legacy in Thailand if we cannot get the necessary visa extensions which allow them to stay. Legacy may not be going in the same direction and/or focus as it was before. We must rely on God to guide His work as He wants it done. Please pray that God will intervene and show us His will here in Southeast Asia.
In the meantime, if we are unable to teach the Bible and other subjects to Burma students by bringing them to Thailand, I have decided to concentrate on writing more materials to be translated into Burmese to be distributed across the border. It is in Myanmar where the Holy Spirit is active. It is not in Thailand—at least not yet. In Myanmar very few speak or read English, so sending English language literature there to evangelize and help the spiritual growth of our new brethren does little good. We have already translated some important material into the Burmese language, but there is much more that we can do.
We are presently training Ah Jar Shan and Mo Patel in computer graphics programs (by our volunteer teacher Annick Stefanin) so they can better lay out booklets, which we will send out in Myanmar. I will continue to edit already existing material for translation as well as write more booklets that need to be better geared toward the Asian culture. Things are developing rapidly in Burma and we must feed the new sheep God is calling.
Julia has been teaching English classes to our Legacy students from Burma and Thailand. She also started her Master’s program here at Payap University in Chaing Mai. It is a two-year program and geared to preparing her to be an English teacher back home when she returns to Texas. Previous to coming here, she was taking classes in preparation for teaching here in Thailand.
Volunteer teacher Ian Stewart has made a curriculum for the Bible classes he has taught here at Legacy. These teaching tools are very useful for continued study in Burma. Our Burma pastor Seng Aung has a copy, but it is written in the English Language. We are considering this for translation. Ian is scheduled to leave for home (Texas) after the Feast of Tabernacles. We will miss him greatly. He has done an outstanding job in teaching the Bible, helping me with Sabbath sermons, tilling the land with our Denny Luker tractor, and making many repairs to our aging equipment and buildings.
I also am planning Bible education videos with Burmese translation, which I will send to pastor Seng Aung and deacon Myo Zaw to further the education of our church workers in Burma. My son Bronson, who helps us at Legacy, is a very gifted video editor and will help me prepare a series of educational CDs.
As you can see, we have a lot of work ahead of us. Please pray for God to guide us. I can only look through a dark glass. I need King Jesus to guide my steps. It is His project, after all.”
Church of God - Preparing for the Kingdom
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.
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 WW II,
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.”
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:
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.”
Biblical Calendar 2016
Gordon, a Karaite Jew, sent this e-mail on Sept. 11:
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.”
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.
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,
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  are also now in the 7th month, but for others the September new moon begins the 6th month.
in the ‘aviv barley’ calendar
is increasing substantially, judging by Brian Convery’s
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
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
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.
positive reports of the other two – Brian
Meyer (hear also
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.”)
Willis of Nazarene Israel has an article on his website, dated March
I use the Karaite Calendar Data (provided by Nehemia Gordon). On
March 13 he reversed his position, declaring in a
to all on his mailing list that the barley is aviv, so that it is now
the 1st month of the biblical year.
secondary point of contention is referred to by Brian Convery in his
remarking that a certain location (17 miles from Jerusalem) is “less than a
day's journey from the Temple Mount via donkey.”
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.”
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:
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.
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.”
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.
search for ‘green ears’ of corn - which is based on the
translation of ‘aviv’ in Leviticus 2:14 in some bible versions as
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
grain is immature and too soft to be roasted by fire. Please refer to
of Minnesota’s article
on the growth stages of barley. Their report can be dismissed.
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.
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
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.”
was no agreement, however, as to how to calculate the date for Easter.
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)
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.
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.
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)
a recorded interview in Israel, Dr. Roy Hoffman, an Orthodox Jew, explained
Gordon why he has been sighting and studying new moons
for the past 18 years, while continuing to keep the calculated Jewish Calendar,
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
What if the dates don’t match, Nehemiah Gordon asked?
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
Orthodox Jews must abide by the traditions laid down by
their elders, which may only be changed by a recognized Sanhedrin.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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
Church of God Faithful Flock
“What Are Your Plans for the Next Six Years?” asks CGFF Pastor Don Billingsley, a Church of God elder since the 1950s, in Historical Reality Reveals the Future - as he shows (?) that Biblical history and prophecy point to President Hillary Clinton being executed in 2023, when God’s Elect will flee to the Place of Safety and the Great Tribulation will then begin.
Church of God International
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.
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.
and the Tulsa Church of God (part of the CGOM network) sponsored a Super Sabbath Weekend April 29 - May 1 in Sequoyah State Park,
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.
United Church of God
The September-October issue of Beyond Today is now on-line.
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.)
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)
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?
‘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
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?
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?
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.”
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.
Church of God 7th Day
The September/October issue of the Bible Advocate is now on-line.
“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:
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.
District: Minnesota -
Worthington CoG7 Mission; Iowa
Des Moines CoG7; Wisconsin
Plainfield CoG7; Illinois
area) - Calumet CoG7; Rockford CoG7; Zion CoG7.
Las Cruces CoG7; Texas
Galveston CoG7; South Houston CoG7; La Verdad Presente CoG7, Houston;
Huntsville CoG7; Laredo CoG7; Mesquite CoG7; Mission CoG7.
Grace Ministries CoG7, Norcross; NW Atlanta CoG7, Smyrna.
Festival of Tabernacles 2016
The website now has detailed information for over 300 festival sites.
In recent years the Church of God International has been working with many independent congregations, who will either be attending CGI sites or co-sponsoring sites with CGI:- 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 Florida; Common Faith Network in
Fort Walton Beach, Florida; Christian
Educational Ministries in Kentucky Dam State Resort Park; Canadian Church of God in Collingwood, Ontario.
A surprising omission from
the Living Church of God’s list is Hawaii, which was organized by Roderick Meredith’s son, James. The Church of God a Worldwide Association has also pulled out of Hawaii, and its
venue, the $300+ per night Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, has been taken
over by the United Church of God - who require on registration a non-refundable deposit
of $325 plus $8 online processing fee per room. UCG will not be hosting a
festival site in Hawaii next year, owing to the cost.
|Philadelphia Church of God|
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
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 ...
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.”
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 ...
atrocities committed by PCG ministers ... were recorded and detailed.
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! ...
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 ...
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.
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
For the second consecutive year there will be a feast site in Enfield, Ireland.
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.”
Living Church of God
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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! ...
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.”
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
“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 ...”
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).
League, who was named in the legal action by the Scarboroughs,
alongside Meredith and McNair, died in January 2015.)
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.
Continuing Church of God
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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...
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...
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]
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].
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’...
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 ...
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
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.
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.”
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
Church of God an International Community
The Church has 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 2016 - in English, French, German and Spanish.
is continuing, with a bible study course soon to be added.
The August 2016 issue of its Church of God News is now available on-line.
United Church of God
If you click on the original link to Viktor Kubik’s 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.
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
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!)
times past I have witnessed sermons that had missing seconds or minutes
from the first time heard. I am not accusing ... just observing. Thank
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.”
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 UCG’s 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).”
Jewell died on 29th June, aged 83. He ran the Worldwide Church of
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 church’s beliefs.
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.”
Murder of Rhode Island Pastor
Monday, June 13, John Cloud was shot dead by fellow church member,
Edward Acquisto, who was then tracked down and shot dead by police
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.’
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
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.
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 Cloud’s 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
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
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’.
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.
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.
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 Sunday – the Crucifixion was not on a Wednesday
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
secondary way is ordinal (inclusive) counting – 1st, 2nd, 3rd
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.
Church of God 7th Day developed the doctrine of a Wednesday crucifixion
and Saturday resurrection on the premise that the counting must be
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.
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.
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.”
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:
passage that might confuse is Luke 24:21:
“ ... And beside all
this, today is the third day since these things were done.”
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
(For a detailed analysis of counting to Pentecost, please go to the Pentecost 2016 page.)
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
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 Hoeck’s article, The Great Commission of Matthew 28).
this presentation, John VanDenburgh, the founder of Bible Explorations, declared, “Now we know better, don’t 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
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 HWALibrary.com website.
Church of God, an International Community
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.
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:
Klamath Falls, Oregon 166; Lake Arrowhead, California 190; Springdale,
Arkansas 190; Deep Creek Lake, Maryland - not stated. Total 700+.
attendance almost halved - mostly accounted for by the loss of members
to the Church of God, The Father’s Call, in January 2014.
Bright - attendance not stated, but a significant number seem to have gone ‘walkabout’. There are only 12 people (none young) in the festival report
photo, including several visitors from the USA.
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.
substantial fall in numbers is probably due to a discontinuation of
financial support for some areas - no festival site in East Africa for
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 : 1600-1650.
Total 2008 church attendance : 2400-2450.
|2008 : no.|
|2008 : no. of|
|USA & Canada||700||1300||1150||53|
|UK|| 260|| 320||300||14|
Hulme has cancelled the high cost print edition of Vision magazine, and
restricted the magazine to on-line, beginning with the Winter 2016 issue.
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
“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.”
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
Dave Havir had triple-bypass surgery on Friday, February 26th.
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
Church of God, a Worldwide Association
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
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 Winnail’s 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?
Grace Communion International
GCI employees have received a
letter, informing them that their pension fund will be dissolved with effect from
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
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)
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
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?
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.
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.’
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
Recorded messages and bible study notes are on this link.
Death of Tony Steel
Tony Steel was killed, and John Evans was injured, when travelling to a Sabbath meeting in North Wales on 21st November. The Liverpool Echo reports that their car was involved in
a collision with another car, whose three young occupants also died.
Tony was the elder of Maranatha Ministry
(formerly 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.
The funeral service was held on Friday afternoon, 11th December, in Bebington, Wirral, Cheshire.
‘Winter Weekend’ Festival
19th Annual Winter Family Weekend at the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort
in Lexington, Kentucky, is open to all. There will be 26 seminars over 3
days, December 24-26, Sabbath services on Friday evening (25th) and
Saturday afternoon, plus sports, games and social events.
The Living Church of God ‘Winter Weekend’ for LCG members will take place at the Renaissance Charlotte Suites Hotel, North Carolina, December 24-27. There will be several seminars, Sabbath bible study and service, but it’s more about, as
organizer Jim Meredith puts it, “fun, food and fellowship.”
schedule for the United Church of God ‘Winter Weekend’, being held at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio, is similar, with evening dances, beginning on
the 23rd, and a full day of sports and games on Sunday
The Church of God a Worldwide Association members will be in Louisville,
Kentucky, December 22-26, where the Galt House Hotel is offering a range of traditional Christmas activities for its young guests.
United Church of God
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:
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.
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,
are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law of
They have added the phrase “of God” to the text. This demonstrates the mind set of the Church’s 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.
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.
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
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.”
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).
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.
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 Kubik’s 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.
website has been
discontinued and its content will now appear on the Beyond
and the UCG
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
Chairman Robin Webber writes December 17th:
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 CoE’s 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.”
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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|
(data is 30AD, not 31AD)
|Wednesday ||Wednesday ||Friday |
|Hebrew Calendar Appendix|
|Wednesday ||Tuesday ||Wednesday |
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?
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.
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.
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
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:
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
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
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.
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.”
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
Cleeton’s report on the visit to Sierra Leone and Liberia April 7 -
May 5, by Tom Benzen and himself:
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.
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
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.
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
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!”
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!
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.”
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:
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?
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
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
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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).
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
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.
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.”
previous post is as follows:
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.
p.m. Got a couple of
emails from a former LCG member today related to the late evangelist
“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 God’s 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 HWA’s 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 Meredith’s lack of compassion and concern for him, while he was
near his death. Rod Meredith had heard about some of
Mr. Apartian’s 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.”
hope this info is helpful - God’s people need to know the truth about
LCG and about Rod Meredith.”
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.”
doubt with the impending Scarborough court case in mind, he declares
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.”
Church News, January-February 2016
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.”
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.”
means loyalty to minsters and adherence to the leadership’s doctrines.)
then outlines the new President’s (restricted) authority:
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
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.
of Cerro de Pasco has been declared a disaster area by the Peruvian
government. The situation for our brethren is very serious.
and assistance will be helpful for our brethren and the entire project.
Please visit www.lcg.org/peru for more information.”
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:
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).”
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
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
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.)
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.”
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’?
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:
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! ....
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 church’s “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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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:
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
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
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 ...”
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).
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 Scarborough’s 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
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
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.
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 ...
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:
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
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!”
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
“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 son’s 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 Meredith’s 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:
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.”
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 ...
received many positive comments from Africa to Canada, across the
United States and Europe, from the Caribbean and Latin America and
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
The Aug 28 update announced ‘New Telecast Presenters!’
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 LCG’s ‘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, “I’ve come to love him.”
During his sermon, Roderick Meredith confirmed that Gerald Weston will move to LCG’s HQ in Charlotte, North Carolina, “about next August” to become the church’s “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.
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:
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.”
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
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.
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
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:
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.”
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.
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: www.EgliseDieuVivant.org,
new Dutch TW Web site: www.WereldvanMorgen.org
and the new German TW Web site: www.WeltvonMorgen.org.
There have also been launches or updates of other Web sites and
social media sites, such as TW
and a Spanish LivingYouth Facebook page at
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.”
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.
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
(see Historic South Carolina Flooding Kills 17)
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
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.
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:
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.”
Church of God
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
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
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.”
a substantial drop in income, PCG continues to pour time and money into
cultural projects, at the expense of preaching the gospel.
Armstrong Performing Arts Conservatory’ - a
$1.15 million music and dance facility - is scheduled for
completion in August.
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 ArmstrongAuditorium.org
and a new Armstrong.foundation.
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?”
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?
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:
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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
Restored Church of God
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 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:
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
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
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.
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.
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
Church of God, a Worldwide Association
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
• 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.
Johnson has been appointed Senior Pastor for ‘COGWA Canada’, but he
will continue to pastor the Cleveland Ohio and Meadville Pennsylvania
Video summaries of Day 1 & Day 2 of the International Ministerial Conference, which took place on 1st & 2nd June 2015.
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 &
“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
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.
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
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.