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Church of God News

The Journal : News of the Churches of God

The latest issue of the Journal - April 30 is now available on-line.

Living Church of God

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

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

His name in its list of congregations has been replaced by that of the area pastor, Gene Hilgenberg, but there is no announcement of his death on the website as yet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Church of God

From Ministerial & Members Service, May 19:

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

Three videos from the Council of Elders meetings on the 18th of May have been uploaded on to the COE website.
Near to the end of the discussion on the Role of Women in Media
(67mins.) on the 1st of March, Beverley Kubik asked some pertinent questions, showing the absurdity of literal compliance with 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (NKJV) :
“Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.
And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.”
The topic was revisited on the 18th of May. Rex Sexton began the session (3mins.) by reading from a “public form letter that is sent out when people write to UCG here and ask about women writing.” He read from the form letter, quoting v.34: “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law of God says.”
The Freudian slip of adding
the phrase “of God” to this verse reveals the subconscious mind set of church leaders - who know that this statement of the role of women in church (or rather lack of it) cannot be found in the law of God.
In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul begins to address “the things of which you wrote to me.” The first of these is (v.1-2): “It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.”

Paul expresses his ideal view in v.7-8: “I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am.”
How can it be good for them, 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. 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?”

Herbert Armstrong Library

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

Matthew 28:19 and the Trinity

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

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

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

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

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

Church of God, a Worldwide Association

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

Voice in the Wilderness Church of God

May 2016 Update from Bill Goff:

“I pray our Heavenly Father, and His beloved Son Jesus the Christ are keeping all of you well, as we patiently await the day of Christ when we will meet our Lord & Savior in the air up on the Sea of Glass, where He will establish His Kingdom. Remember we are too to pray “Thy Kingdom Come” but before His Kingdom can come, it has to be established (set up) first. Those Saints who are still in the graves will be resurrected and placed into positions of rulership, along with those who are alive and changed in a twinkling of an eye. Daniel 2:44 and Revelation 15:2 speak of that time. Currently we have to continue that “pure and undefined religion” of taking care of the orphans and widows, and keeping ourselves unspotted from the world. James 1:27
In Kenya things are going well, as our Father continues to bless the mission we are involved in there of helping our impoverished brethren. I would like to start my report today ...”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Church of God, an International Community

David Hulme has cancelled the high cost print edition of Vision magazine, and restricted the magazine to on-line, beginning with the Winter 2016 issue.
Vision magazine has been an utter failure as the church’s only form of outreach to the world in print form. When a number of ministers left to found the Church of God, The Father’s Call, one of those ministers, Stephen Elliott, wrote, in his resignation letter to David Hulme on 28 December 2013:
“In the Feast film, the media team told us that we must find words that the world will like so they will listen to us. Jesus said that the world would hate us and not listen to our word, just as it hated Him and did not hear His word - but that was the commission He gave His disciples (John 15:18-20). Seeking to be accepted by the world is seeking to become friends with the world, and scripture says that makes us God’s enemy (James 4:4).
In August I mentioned to you that the fruit of this organization is bad. Our membership has declined, not grown. After 15 years and an estimated expense for Vision of $3+ million dollars for salaries, advertising, publishing, design, shipping, PR, video, travel and whatever, there has been no fruit from Vision or the Vision website. The only new members, other than children of members, have come because of a personal relationship with a member -  not because of Vision.”

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

Philadelphia Church of God

Despite a drop in income of 25% in 2016, PCG is continuing with lavish projects at its headquarters in Edmond, Oklahoma. The exterior of the $1.15 million ‘Dwight Armstrong Performing Arts Conservatory’ - a music and dance facility - is nearly complete.

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 - that’s six pregnant Suffolk sheep, not students.
“Mr. Macdonald (PCG’s Regional Director) chose this breed because they are a large breed, good for barbequing on the spit ... Mr. Macdonald also plans to add chickens to Edstone’s agricultural program in the spring.”
Brad Macdonald has a farm? Why? ... “having a small flock of sheep on the rural English campus is another way Edstone seeks to raise the ruins of the Ambassador College campuses. Ambassador’s campus in Bricket Wood, Hertfordshire, also had an agricultural program, of which Mrs. Howard’s brother (uncle of Edstone’s office manager) was head cattleman. The 1,600-acre Ambassador campus in Big Sandy, Texas, also had a large agricultural program.”
Now in April there have been 3 posts by Brandi Davis.
A visit to the French and Belgian brethren was hampered somewhat by none of the Americans being able to speak French and most of the French and Belgians not being able to speak English.
She then reported on the record increase in response to the Key of David, which is broadcast on the CBS Reality TV channel at 8.00am on Sundays, following the Living Church of God’s ‘Tomorrow’s World’ broadcast.)
The most recent post was a day in the life of an Edstone student :
“Up at 5am ... the fitness center for a 20-minute workout ... shower ... for morning headlines over sips of (freshly ground and brewed Ethiopian roast) coffee ... Malachi’s Message for Bible study.”

(Not the final book of the Old Covenant, but Gods Revelation to Gerald Flurry.)

Legacy Institute

Aung San Suu Kyi set to get PM-type role in Myanmar government

Bill to appoint Nobel laureate as powerful state counsellor, bypassing ban on her becoming president, passes upper house

I think by now I have made it fairly clear that I am not very happy with the word ‘hope.’ I don’t believe in people just hoping. We work for what we want.”
—Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

Leon Sexton writes:- Dear Friends and Fellow laborers,

I am receiving emails asking me what this means for Myanmar (Burma) and will it affect any COG members there. My answer is somewhat complicated, unless you know something about the recent history of Myanmar.

Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi derives her power in Myanmar because she is the beloved daughter of General Aung San, a hero of Myanmar independence. In World War 2, the Japanese invaded and conquered Myanmar. They were later driven out by the combined forces of the British, Americans and Chinese. However, Myanmar remained a part of the British Empire.

Aung San, the father of Aung San Suu Gyi, is recognized as the founder of the Union of Burma, because he organized the various ethnic groups into a cohesive political force to pursue independence from the British. On January 27, 1947, an agreement was signed with the British Prime Minister, Clement Atlee, to declare Burma’s independence within one year. Aung San was assassinated soon after. After his assassination, political unrest and insurgencies plagued Myanmar until Ne Win’s coup d’etat in 1962, which established a military controlled government.

Aung San Suu Gyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party has been the leading voice of dissent. This has posed quite a dilemma for the military government, who since 1989 have kept her in prison or under house arrest. She is dangerous to their remaining in power, and yet she is loved by all the people. There remains a static stand-off, in which the military and the NLD do not want to push too hard. The military has the guns after all. The military proved in the 1988 protests that they were willing to kill hundreds, even monks, to maintain their power.

This recent election changes things for the better. Aung San Suu Kyi will be given real power, even though she does not hold the presidency. It is one of her party members who is president. The military still holds a great deal of power in the legislature and they still have the guns. However, this change will allow Aung San Suu Gyi to influence a slow opening of more human rights for the people of Burma. Even more important, money will now pour into Burma. Aung San Suu Gyi is loved all over the world. She is the only non-Head of State ever to address the U.S. Congress.

(Her speech can be viewed on Youtube:

This move will do more than anything else to legitimize the rogue military regime in Myanmar. Since the generals and their families all have major stakes in businesses with international aspirations, this is a smart move on their part. They give up a part of their political power and gain a lot by legitimizing a once pariah nation. International sanctions are already being lifted, so foreign concerns can gain access to the riches of Myanmar’s natural resources, which include oil and gas, gold, platinum and gems, Rare Earth Minerals (REMs) and even uranium.

This year Myanmar holds the chairmanship of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations), and Myanmar is ready to put on a smiling face. But there are still problems under the whitewash.

This is real progress. More economic opportunities are opening up. Here in Thailand, many migrant workers are going back to find work in Myanmar.

The COG brethren will benefit from economic development. Some Legacy grads perhaps will find good employment due to their English language skills. We will know more after our trip to Myanmar for Passover and the Festival.

Continuing Church of God

Bob Thiel has responded to an accusation that he is not a prophet of God.
“The prophet might dream a dream to deliver a message to someone else. Ordinarily, this is a warning message. It is also important to note that the dream isn’t about the prophet himself/herself. Dreams prove nothing without results. Bob Thiel has yet to deliver a real message to anyone, except supposedly about himself.”
He responds: “One the of dreams I had clearly began to come to pass. I had a dream where Dr. R.C. Meredith, who at the time told me he considered me to be a personal friend, stopped talking with me - and this happened.
Furthermore, someone in New Zealand, that I did not know, also had a dream related to me, part of which came to pass within weeks of her having it.

(Would God Give a Dream to Another Woman?)
Third, I did deliver a message to LCG minister (and then Council of Elder’s member, etc.)  Davy Crockett in August 2008 that one of the top leaders in that church was about to be struck with something if his word was not kept. Several weeks later, Dr. Meredith was struck with his first significant ministroke.
I also attempted to convey a message to Dr. Meredith on December 19, 2011 that it seemed God was telling me that his wife was about to be struck with something serious. A few weeks later (per Dr. Meredith’s letter dated 1/12/12), Dr. Meredith reported that his wife (who was much younger than he) was stricken with stage four cancer (she later died on November 29, 2013).
For these predictions, and others, I believe I was led by God’s Spirit to make them (cf. Romans 8:14; 2 Peter 1:20-21).”

Bob Thiel reports that the church building in Nigeria has been completed.
“In Nigeria churches are required to own at least one building or the government will shut them down. It really stretched our finances to have to help with the Nigerian building project and we still have not fully recovered our fund situation.”
Evans Ochieng reports from Kenya: “I met three congregations in Kisii.

The first congregation I met was Singera. This is a new congregation of Peter Omuya. I was very happy because this congregation has completely changed from Sunday to Sabbath and they are very active. The problem which they have is a hall ... they are just under trees. I promised them that they should get some poles, so that I will help them in some other areas like iron sheets, nails and roofing nails and roof timbers. So we came to conclusion that in April we shall try to make that hall before heavy rain starts.
After that I met another new congregation of Mageche. They are in a small town where we rented for them a hall, This congregation is bigger than Singera. They have 38 members. I paid for them a hall for four months. They are very serious in God’s work. Since many things are new to them, they are active to learn many things.
Lastly I met our old congregation of Eberege. This is an old congregation with over 80 members.”

Church of God International
Jeff Reed, pastor of the Tyler church, spoke in his Sabbath announcements on April 2nd about his attendance at the Quality Church Retreat in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where there were representatives of many independent churches and ministries, meeting to discuss how they could work together, build bridges and heal breaches. That’s the future that we’re a part of, he said, not a future of more church splinters.
CGI and the Tulsa Church of God (part of the CGOM network) sponsored a Super Sabbath Weekend April 29 - May 1 in Sequoyah State Park, Oklahoma. Several co-sponsorships for the Festival of Tabernacles have been arranged: Fir
st 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.

Church of God 7th Day
“It is with mixed feelings of sadness and gratitude that we note the death of our beloved brother in Christ, Elder Carl Palmer. Elder Palmer succumbed to Alzheimer’s Disease and its complications the evening of March 24, 2016. A simple graveside service is scheduled this coming Friday, April 1. A celebration of Elder Palmer’s life by his family, our Spokane, WA congregation, and his many other friends who are able to gather there will be held Sabbath, April 2. We, too, wish to honor Elder Palmer and his life well lived for Christ.
Elder Palmer served as a minister and leader within the General Council of the Church of God Seventh Day and, since the late 1980s, as a minister and leader within the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh Day). Elder Palmer served for decades as Pastor of our Spokane, WA congregation while also serving terms as Superintendent of our Western Canadian District, as a member of our Board of Directors, and in many other service and leadership roles. He was deeply respected and appreciated for his humble attitude and his quiet wisdom.”

Festival of Tabernacles 2016
Full details of all the festival sites announced so far are now on the website.

The three largest groups observing this festival - the United Church of God, the Church of God a Worldwide Association and the Living Church of God - have all announced their festival sites for 2016.

A surprising omission from LCG’s list is Hawaii, organized by Roderick Meredith’s son, James. Neither has James been allocated another site, and in August his job as his father’s assistant will come to an end, when Gerald Weston takes over the administration of LCG. He will then be left with only the winter festival to organize.
COGWA has also pulled out of Hawaii, and its venue, the $300+ per night Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, has been taken over by UCG - who will 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.

Biblical Calendar 2016

Brian Convery’s final update, March 24, with pictures.

His March 22 newsletter has pictures taken on March 8 of a field where the barley was only in the flowering and early milk stages, contrasted with pictures of the same field, showing rapidly maturing grain. The latter set of pictures was taken by a lady who will be observing Passover and the festival in Jerusalem this year on Sunday, March 20 - one week before the wave sheaf day.

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

Several problems have arisen, the main one being that two search reports this year say that the barley is aviv, but the third report, by Nehemia Gordon, says that it is not, so the year will not begin until next month. Here is his audio report.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those churches utilizing the new moon nearest the vernal equinox are now in the 1st month of the new year.

The astronomical new moon was on March 8th in the far west and March 9th Jerusalem time. The crescent new moon maps show that the moon became visible over Central America and most of the USA on the evening of the 9th, and at Jerusalem on the 10th.

The largest group utilizing this calendar is the Church of God 7th Day Salem, who will be observing the Lord’s Supper on the evening of March 22nd - the 14th day from the sighting of the new moon in America.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What if the dates dont match, Nehemiah Gordon asked?

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

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

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

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

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

Church of God Big Sandy

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

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

Church of God - Preparing for the Kingdom

February 17 is the release date from prison of ‘apostle and prophet’, Ronald Weinland, who writes: “John was imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos by the Roman government, and it is there that he was given the Book of Revelation to write. In like manner, and as his counterpart, Ronald Weinland was falsely imprisoned by the government of the United States for evading to pay taxes.”
He remains angry that a judge should give him 3½ years of great tribulation for not paying taxes on legitimate church expenses such as jewelry, BMWs, cruises etc. The money which he deposited in a Swiss bank account in his own name did not prove to be a “safe haven”, so Switzerland will suffer God’s wrath.
“This movement of money to Switzerland was due to the prophetic belief that the U.S. Dollar will collapse during those final years, and that this meager amount of funds ($300,000) could then be used to continue doing a ‘religious work’ that could be aided by those funds deposited in Switzerland. Due to events that transpired in large part during 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 was prophesied to return in 2012 - re-scheduled for 2019), God has also revealed that the prophetic outcome for many nations has also been changed. This includes Switzerland, which will now suffer far more mightily in this final end-time period, and will not be a safe haven for any finances in the world.”
“Just as John was in prison when given the Book of Revelation to write, God has given Ronald to write a third and final book that is entitled, Prophesy Against the Nations.”
“The last apostle to write scripture was John, who was also a prophet, and while imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos, it was revealed to him what was to be written in the Book of Revelation. Ronald Weinland is the only other apostle who has also been made a prophet by God and Jesus Christ. He is the counterpart to John, in that John was given knowledge to record the Book of Revelation for the end-time, and Ronald Weinland was given the ‘meaning’ and the responsibility to declare that ‘meaning’ in these books, other writings, and in a vast number of recorded speeches (sermons) and interviews.”

Church of God a Worldwide Association

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

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

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

Death of Ronald Dart

Message from Allie Dart:

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

Christian Educational Ministries, founded by Ron Dart in 1995, will continue to promote his timeless insights into God’s Word through the Born to Win program, his books, essays and audio messages. He was a gifted speaker and teacher who leaves a legacy of knowledge and understanding of the precious Word of God.

His funeral service will be held at 2.30pm on Wednesday, January 27, at the Stewart Family Funeral Home, with Jonathan Garnant officiating.
His burial will follow at the Whitehouse Memorial Cemetery in Whitehouse, Texas, under the direction of Stewart Family Funeral Home.

Cards maybe sent to: Mrs. Allie Dart, Christian Educational Ministries,

P.O. Box 560, Whitehouse, TX, 75791 USA.

One of the truly great things about the Christian faith is the hope of living forever in the presence of God. But one of the most depressing thoughts, and one that sometimes comes right after the first, is that there are so many people we may never see again - people we have loved, lost, people we have cherished, spent most of our lives with. And now they’re gone ...”

Ronald L. Dart: The Unfinished Work

Grace Communion International

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

Congregation of YHWH (Jerusalem)

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

Rome or Islam?

BBC News reported last Sabbath, January 2:

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

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

Recorded messages and bible study notes are on this link.

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

The 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.”
The 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 27th.
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

Reports to the General Conference of Elders included the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is a new members website, which is more usable and functional for mobile devices.

The January-February 2016 edition of Beyond Today (which replaces the Good News magazine) is now available to read on-line.

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

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

Chairman Robin Webber writes December 17th:

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

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

The CoE website also has videos of the open sessions.

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

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

Email from Fred Kellers, Tuesday, December 8:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two messages from Viktor Kubik:

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

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

Your continued prayers for his recovery are much appreciated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Death of Frank Scherich

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

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

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

Church of God 7th Day

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

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

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

Living Church of God

Doug Winnail reported on 12th of May: “We had a very profitable Council of Elders meeting this week in Charlotte. Dr. Meredith was able to preside over three days of meetings that involved reports from around the world, doing the Work more effectively and preparing future leaders, in addition to discussions about policies and several doctrinal subjects.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 31st update on Living University from Doug Winnail:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philadelphia Church of God

Come Right On In: A Walk-through of the Philadelphia Church of God Canadian Regional Office, by Grant Turgeon, was put online August 14, but was later removed from public access. If you want to read the article, copy the above link into Yahoo! or Bing search, and click on the cached page.

The article reveals that there are now only 400 members in 20 congregations from the Atlantic to the Pacific, whose needs are fulfilled by 4 office staff plus another staff member and a volunteer working from their homes.
Covering this vast area are regional director Fred Dattalo and Local Elders Ron Hanson (9 congregations in central and eastern Canada), Timothy Oostendarp (10 congregations in western Canada and Alaska) and Chris McKay (1).

The article also reveals the level of control exerted by Gerald Flurry over each church member via his ministers. “By far the best part of my job is getting to talk to Mr. Flurry and receiving guidance, counsel, direction and even correction from time to time, directly from God’s apostle,” Mr. Dattolo said. “I learn a lot from talking to him, and I pass on the wisdom and judgment that God gives him to the ministers in Canada, whenever I have the opportunity to do so, especially in the weekly meetings that I conduct with each minister individually.”

When Stephen Flurry, Dean of Students at the new college in Edstone, Warwickshire, in the English Midlands, made the first broadcast from the new studio there in January, he quoted from Herbert Armstrong’s autobiography: “It was the development of the college in Pasadena that made possible the growth of the whole gospel work.” He expected the college at Edstone to have a similar effect in the UK.
Rapid church membership growth in the UK in the 1960s was not however achieved by the establishment of Ambassador College at Bricket Wood in 1960, but via daily broadcasts by Garner Ted Armstrong on off-shore pop music radio stations - at a time when only the BBC was allowed to have a mainland radio network - which did not then include a pop music tv or radio channel. The UK government enacted legislation which made too difficult for these radio stations to continue operating, and the BBC was obliged to launch a pop music channel. The Bricket Wood College was closed in 1974.
On his return to the USA after the end of the first semester, Stephen Flurry reiterated the view to PCG News that Edstone is “another new beginning” ... “a special one” ... “a massive step forward.”
“Mr. Flurry said attending services at Leavesden, London, has been ‘a real inspiration’. He added that the local members are ‘super-excited’ about the new Edstone office and that, ‘you can feel the energy when you go in’ to services.”
Leavesden is north-west of London, 2½ miles from Bricket Wood, so the congregation is likely mostly composed of former students and their families. (Other ex-WCG churches also have congregations in or near Bricket Wood.)
“Local members have been praying and waiting for the Work to expand in Britain, Mr. Flurry said. Now, the Church has a campus with students from Edmond and is airing a responsive tv program in Britain.”
If people were responding to this program (which is broadcast at 8am Sundays on CBS Reality UK, a channel that very few UK viewers ever watch), Stephen Flurry would have described how the Work in Britain was growing, rather than remarking that “local members have been praying and waiting for the Work to expand in Britain.”

Restored Church of God

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

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

He gave this general prophetic warning about himself in December 1998:

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

Church of God - EIM

Steven le Blanc, COG-EIM pastor, writes: “The interest level in our public bible study in Sacramento was very good. We had an attendance of 112 guests (non-members). This was our largest attendance to date. Though we do not look to numbers, but to God - it was encouraging to see that interest levels are growing. I discussed events in Europe - the European Beast, and 40 sins of America (in part) - national punishment.”

Death of Fred Porter

Fred Porter, pastor of the Sabbath Day Church of God in Hot Springs, Arkansas, died on Wednesday evening, June 17th, aged 70. The funeral will be at 11am on Monday at Carney Funeral Home Chapel in Blytheville.
In November 2014 he was interviewed by KATV as vice president of Arkansas CALM, the Citizen's Alliance for the Legalization of Marijuana, and co-author of the Arkansas Hemp & Marijuana Amendment, seeking to legalize marijuana - both for medicinal and recreational purposes.
He had been using cannabis oil to treat his prostate cancer, which had produced positive results, but at the time of this interview the cancer had reached stage four.

Church of God, a Worldwide Association

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

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

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

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

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

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