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Church of God News
The Journal: News of the Churches of God
The November 30 issue of the Journal is now on-line.
The lead articles concern Radio Church of God history and Deborah Armstrong's decision to place 20+ unpublished hymns by her father, Dwight Armstrong, into the public domain.
United Church of God
The Council of Elders’ meeting on December 9 resolved unanimously to change the title of the church's English language magazine from The Good News to Beyond Today.
Viktor Kubik and Darris McNeely have explained the reasons for the change of title in an Inside United podcast (21 minutes). Written responses are being given to negative comments on the change - some other churches, sadly, will only publish comments praising leadership decisions.
Living Church of God
The Festival of Tabernacles sites in the USA in 2015 will be:
Boerne, Texas; Gatlinburg, Tennessee; Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii;
Indian Wells, California; Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri;
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Navarre, Florida;
Palm Harbor, Florida; Seaside, Oregon; St. George, Utah;
Tannersville, Pennsylvania; Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.
The international sites so far finalized are:
Great Malvern, Worcestershire, United Kingdom;
Ballina, New South Wales, Australia; Victor Harbor, South Australia, Australia;
Rotorua, New Zealand; Christ Church, Barbados.
Gerald Weston reports that the ‘Tomorrow’s World’ program aired over
CBS Reality—a large commercial television station that reaches about 98%
of the UK—is drawing very good responses.”
The program is being broadcast at 7.30am on Sundays.
Philadelphia Church of God announced in the summer that it would be
broadcasting on CBS Reality UK - indeed this was key to its planned
expansion in the UK. However, CBS cancelled ‘The Key of David’
shortly before the first program was due to go on air, at 8.00am on
September. CBS had received complaints about the church’s treatment of
members and family non-members, but it did not publish any reason for
the cancellation, nor has the PCG made any public comment.
All congregations have been commanded to play a sermonette by Rod McNair on Ministerial Authority and a sermon by Rod Meredith on God’s Government.
(These have not been added to the ‘must play’ sermons on LCG’s website, but can be found on the above links.)
They explain that LCG’s doctrine on church government gives the
ministry rulership over its church members, some of whom are expressing
disagreement with various doctrines and distrust of even the leading
Roderick Meredith says, “We found that some of these
people we’ve had to put out (of the church) ... they often lie and lie,
and they’ll twist and turn, and turn things around ...”
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.”
Roderick Meredith wrote in the July/August issue of Living Church News:
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.
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!”
From the start of his ministry more than 60 years ago, Roderick Meredith continuously preached (as did other leading ministers) that Jesus Christ would return in the next 5 years, or at most 15 years - then specifically 1975 - and then that it must happen in the lifetime of Herbert
Armstrong - who died in 1986. (His conversations
with Ernest Martin must have taken place over 40 years ago, as Ernest
Martin resigned from the Worldwide Church of God in January 1974.)
He says that the brethren should not complain about this:
must never be involved in ‘murmuring’ and ‘disputing’ and complaining
about the fact that Almighty God is giving human beings more time ...”
Continuing Church of God
Bob Thiel writes (18th December):
“Some have wondered how many members/congregants are in the Continuing Church of God. Because we are scattered, this is hard to know for certain.
reported before, over 500 attended our Feast of Tabernacles’ sites in
2014. More could have come, but we had some border issues in Tanzania
and some other issues in Nairobi, Kenya. Some elsewhere could not make
it for financial, distance, or other reasons. As it turns out, other
scattered groups and individuals have asked to be part of us, since the
Feast of Tabernacles.
Today, at my request, Pastor Evans Ochieng sent
me a detailed report about members/congregants in Kenya and Tanzania.
His report did not include some recent ones who have contacted us, nor
some with interest in Uganda or Sudan. For my part, I also have not
included numbers for 2-3 groups that are distantly related to us in
Asia. Nor have I counted all who may actually be with us – but tried to
only include those that I was fairly certain were with us.
Based upon those parameters, I calculated a total.
of December 18, 2014, there are at least 680 members/congregants in the
Continuing Church of God. We have members in all inhabited continents,
as well as various islands. We have at least twenty congregations, as
well as scattered ones in many locations.” [full text, including news of youth camp]
“I was just informed that the laws of Thailand
immigration governing foreign students obtaining and continuing to
retain ED (education) Visas have changed. It is now quite complicated
and it affects five of our students from Myanmar (Burma) dramatically.
this sudden change, a student from Burma must acquire a Burmese
Passport and an ED Visa from the Thai Embassy in Yangon (Rangoon), which
costs $300 and a lot of paperwork. This visa is good for three months.
Then he or she must renew the ED Visa for another three months ($60) at
the Thai Immigration Office. At the end of the additional three months,
the student must leave the country and start the process all over again.
This will mean additional travel expense in and out of the country and
time lost in classes every six months. This new law not only affects our
five students from Burma presently, but any future students we may want
to bring from there as well. Since the Holy Spirit is especially active
in Burma at this time, it really puts a ‘wrench in the works’.
students from Burma are either baptized members of the COG or from COG
families. Two new arrivals are grandchildren of Saw Lay Bey (a well-
known minister in Burma during old WCG days and later the LCG—now
In a couple of months, Legacy will graduate six more
students from Burma, all COG. This is where the Holy Spirit is active
and this is where we need trained graduates to return and help build the
Since our training program is three years long, these
additional new rules with having to leave the country every six months,
plus all the extra expense and time lost, is going to make it very
difficult—if not impossible—to bring students to Thailand from Burma.
The church members in Burma earn little money, so their families cannot
afford the expense of sending their children to Legacy. All expenses
rest on Legacy and our donors.Please pray that God provides a solution.
The new military government is trying to clean up corruption in the
country, and all the laws have become stricter. More laws and changing
laws are happening every day. We need to bring students here to Thailand
since we cannot live in Myanmar. We need a solution.”
Winter Family Weekend
Church of God a Worldwide Association, the United Church of God, and
the Living Church of God will all be holding a ‘Winter Family Weekend’
again this year.
As Christmas Day is on a Thursday, the ‘weekends’ will begin in midweek.
COGWA, Tues-Sat, 23-27 December, at the Galt House, Louisville, Kentucky.
UCG, Tues-Sat, 23-27 December, at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio. LCG, Wed-Sun, 24-28 December, at Marriott Renaissance Hotel, Charlotte, NC.
Church of God, a Worldwide Association
The church has updated its congregational lists,
and has copied the practice of the United Church of God in creating
local church websites, with the time and meeting place for Sabbath
services, plus a brief introduction from the local pastor and his name and telephone number.
The Father's Call
“The Feast of Tabernacles
2014 took place at Domaines de MesAs a Mantasoa, Madagascar, a town
situated about 70 km from Antananarivo. It was really a beautiful site
with lots of pure clean air lending to the calming atmosphere.
participants enjoyed a very edifying Feast and a very encouraging
spiritual refreshing. The principal themes of the sermons presented were
the Kingdom of God and our relationships with God and among ourselves.
different activities contributed to the enjoyment of the Feast: we had
an Evening of Song during which each family was asked to sing a song of
their choice without looking at the book; then we had a Biblical Mime
Evening during which each family was asked to represent a scene from the
Bible solely with gestures and without saying a word; and there was
also a general Cultural Evening. Family Day was a big hit with everyone
and in addition a very pleasant mini Talent Show took place one
We enjoyed some unforgettable moments at the Feast and we
would very much like to express our deep thanks and recognition to Mr.
Veal and to all of the Church who helped us spiritually and financially
to be a part of this marvelous Holy Day season. Each member of the
Church in Madagascar expressed his or her joy at being able to
participate at the Feast and all said that they felt a renewal and a
deepening of their spiritual understanding. A heartfelt ‘thank you’ to
all for that.”
Philadelphia Church of God
“We are in a period of time just before the Great Tribulation,” writes Gerald Flurry in his article, “Who are the Two Witnesses?”, dated 22nd November.
Why then has he just spent £2.8 million to create a college in England?
though this is now the Laodicean era, God’s Philadelphia Church still
does God’s Work. Only they are willing to “rise and measure the temple
of God” (Revelation 11:1), or do God’s Work. So the godly
representatives from both eras are Philadelphians...”
“During the Tribulation, the two witnesses will be the
only ones doing God’s Work—supported by God’s Philadelphians in a place
A warning to members not to leave the PCG—if they want to go to “a place of safety” before the Great Tribulation.
is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by
power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts (Zechariah 4:6).
a hard lesson for men to learn that God’s Work is done not by
high-ranking evangelists or money, but by God’s Holy Spirit! God’s Holy
Spirit flows through the two witnesses.”
Will Gerald Flurry learn this hard lesson?
Gerald Flurry announced in July 2013 that the church's offer of £4.5 million for Hanstead House
and seven acres of adjacent land had been accepted, which would have enabled PCG to recreate
Herbert Armstrong’s Ambassador College.
Flurry admitted in April 2014 that “God is not opening a door to
purchase the Bricket Wood campus near St. Albans, England.”
PCG officials searched for a cheaper alternative and “were
pleasantly surprised to find a large number of beautiful estates
available that are considerably less expensive than the Bricket Wood
Grant Turgeon announced the completion of the purchase of Edstone Hall, near Stratford upon Avon (understood to be for £2.8 million), in a news article and video
on 12th November. Additional money will be spent on landscaping and
adapting the building for offices and classrooms. Regional Director Brad
McDonald's plan is for the transfer of the UK office from Northampton
to take place in December, and for the first college year to start on
Some Leaving the Corporate Churches of God
This comment was posted on the Shining Light blog on 30th October:
“Having traveled internationally during the FOT, I have come to realize that there are many in the Churches of God around the world who are establishing and organizing C’sOG geographically, according to the city area in which they live, and leaving the modern corporate C’sOG. They attend together from all the corporate C’sOG, including the reclusive C’sOG like Philadelpia, for many reasons such as:
They realize they are not being told the entire truth.
They are not being served, but are instead the ones doing the serving.
They are broken up into such small COG congregations within their city or area (because of the leaders inability to get along with one another), that they are basically on their own, while having demands made of them from HQ.
They have little faith in the leadership of their corporate COG, and particularly in the leadership coming from the U.S.
The C’sOG may be evolving into what they were in the 1st century; The COG at (location) and away from the way they became organized in the modern era. They are appointing their own elders and deacons from among themselves, instead of appointment by people 1000s of miles away who don’t know them anyway. They incorporate to meet the local laws and collect tithes & offerings locally, and use them locally. Interesting development.”
John Halford, former editor of the Plain Truth and Christian Odyssey magazines, has died of cancer. In this video he discusses his life and international work experiences in the Worldwide Church of God, and transition into Grace Communion International.
Shirley Armstrong, widow of Garner Ted Armstrong, died early on Friday morning, October 17th. Mark Armstrong writes:
“I am sorry to report that my sweet Mother, Shirley Ann Armstrong died peacefully at 3:17am this morning. The news apparently flew throughout the internet almost immediately, but I wanted to add some context to this terribly sad event.
Most of Mom’s immediate family was able to be at her side before the end came, and for that we are all very thankful.
The days leading up to October 16th were some of the best she’d had in months. I was able to talk to her at least three times by phone while traveling, passing along the great news that Michael and Melody are expecting. She said, “Tell them congratulations for me.” She also spoke lucidly with them and with Sonja by phone, exchanging information about each other’s circumstances as you’d expect. Wednesday the 15th was a particularly good day for Mom. She was up for breakfast, lunch and dinner, feeding herself and expressing her gratitude to my brother David who was staying with her.
Mom never used a wheelchair or was confined to her bed. She got where she was going on one of our arms, on her own two feet, right up to the last day. Though she really never felt good or energetic for at least the last two years, she was never in any agonizing pain, and for that we are eternally grateful.
When I got word, pre-dawn in Lake Tahoe that Mom was in the midst of a life-ending emergency, I was able to secure an early morning flight and arrive at her side by about 8:30pm last night. Matthew and his sons Andrew and Hunter had arrived and visited with her earlier. She was only in a semi-conscious state, but I’m sure she was aware of my presence and hope that was a comfort. She held on until my son, Michael, and his wife, Melody, along with her only granddaughter, Sonja, and her husband, Matt, arrived shortly after 1:00am. We all had the opportunity to speak and be close with her until her breathing became labored.
I was able to reach beneath the covers, take her hand in mine and say a prayer thanking God for her, for all she’s done for all of us and all she’s meant to so many; for the fine example of sterling character that defined her whole life; for being the rock and the glue that has held the Hammer and the Armstrong families together; and asked God to take good care of her. After saying “Amen” she yawned once or twice, and breathed no more.
She’s safe in God’s Hands, she didn’t suffer terribly as many do. Her time had come, as it must have been God’s will. Surely it is a time of great sadness and we’re all missing her already. But we also have a tremendous amount for which to be thankful and can rejoice in the life we were blessed to share with her. We loved her dearly, as did everyone who crossed her path. She took care of us, kept us all in line, and we’re going to try to stay that way. She was a wonderful wife and an inspiration to my Dad, Garner Ted Armstrong, and crucial to the Evangelistic Association and the ICG.
Heartfelt thanks to everyone for the prayers and well-wishes. We believe they were answered, according to His will. The funeral will be held at Croley Funeral Home at 401 N. Center, Gladewater, TX, on Wednesday, October 21 with the time yet to be established.” (The funeral took place at 12 noon on Wednesday, October 22.)
International Congregation of Yahweh
ICY is sponsoring an International Festival of Tabernacles in 2015, to be held at Elementaita Country Lodge (about 85 miles north of Nairobi Airport.)
“It’s been almost 15 years since we began to hold international gatherings every 3-5 years at Tabernacles time. In that time believers from all over the globe have met together and celebrated Tabernacles, this incredibly joyful feast, in the UK (2000 & 2010), the USA (2003), and in Jamaica (2006). These international gatherings have been rich in fellowship, worship and the ministry of the Word. There is a thriving and developing national congregation in Kenya and the people are keenly excited about hosting this event.”
There is an option of a variety of safaris following the festival.
Bookings need to be made by mid-October.
Please email email@example.com for any further information you require, and contact details of the festival organizer in your part of the world.
Church of God 7th Day
The Journal’s lead article in the July 2014 issue concerns Bill
Hicks, pastor of The Rest of God Ministries, and International Ministerial
Congress Executive Director, who resigned from the General Conference of the
(Denver based) Church of God Seventh Day in June.
The Ministerial License and Credentials Committee alleged
that he had posted “inflammatory and defamatory e-mails” concerning
leaders of the church.
Bill Hicks published an online newsletter, dated 19 May 2014,
titled ‘Wanted: Church Organizations That Care More About Your Soul Than
Your Assets!’ alleging that the church’s national board of directors
had spent more than $80,000 for legal advice on how to adopt a new
constitution to enable it to exercise control over local church assets.
that the CoG7 General Conference has formed a ‘committee’ which is
preparing to reveal their recommendations on a completely new
constitution in advance of their general conference next year, it is
high time all local churches wake up and see what is going on. The sales
pitch is always something like this: ‘If you give us (the
denomination) full control over all power and assets of the local
church, we can do a better job of preaching the gospel’.”
Whaid Rose, CoG7 President and Chairman of the Conference, declined to comment on the allegations and resignation.
Christian Biblical Church of God
On the front page of the 31st May 2014 issue of The Journal is a report of a sermon given on 3rd May by the church's founder, Fred Coulter, entitled Guard the Doctrine of God,
in which he criticized the Journal for publishing “heresies to deceive
those who are trying to be faithful” - particularly articles on the
Passover and the Biblical Calendar.
He also criticized the leadership of the United Church of God for changes in doctrine that they are supposedly preparing. After 11 minutes he says, “In one of the Churches of God today there is a man [he means Viktor Kubik] who was also in charge of the big church that we left years ago [he was in charge of Ministerial Services - Joseph Tkach was in overall charge of the Worldwide Church of God], who was the leading one in bringing the false doctrines within that church. [Tkach and others brought in the new doctrines - Kubik's responsibility
was to ensure that all the ministers taught them.] And guess what they’re doing in that church [United Church of God], they are investigating 26 doctrines.” [None of which are fundamental doctrines, and no changes were subsequently proposed.] ... Currently one of the ministers is giving a series of six sermons on the Passover, entitled ‘Changes in the Passover’. [The correct title of the series is 'Six Steps to Passover']
22 minutes Fred Coulter discusses the Hebrew Calculated Calendar,
admitting that “there are some things you have to take on faith.” He
asserts that God gave this calendar to the priests and the Levites at
Mount Sinai [thus by-passing Moses, who wrote all the words of the Lord - Exodus 24:4 - and delivered the law to the priests and the Levites - Deut.31:9].
warns that, if you do not believe this and you observe another
calendar, “in your own self righteousness, God’s judgement will be upon