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Church of God News
The Journal: News of the Churches of God
In the December 31 issue of the Journal, which is now available on-line, Marc Overton suggests: “Why doesn’t The Journal establish a Diotrephes award in honor of great examples of ministerial malpractice and allow church people to vote on it? Awarding monthly might be a little much, but quarterly or annually should be just fine. Everybody would probably like it, except the ministers who might qualify for it.”
The Journal’s lead articles concern the history of the Radio Church of God and the November 2014 meeting of the Living Church of God’s council of elders to discuss doctrinal issues. The council members also passed an ‘affirmation’, stating who would be next in line to succeed Roderick Meredith in the event he was no longer able to preside over the church. Richard Ames is next in line to serve, followed by Gerald Weston.
The council has no binding authority over the church or its administration. It serves strictly in an advisory capacity (to Roderick Meredith). The council consists of about 14 members, all of whom are selected by Roderick Meredith and may be removed at his discretion.
The purpose of the council is to advise the presiding evangelist, giving him input and insight on doctrines, practices, programs and functions of the church.
The Father's Call
writes, in the January 31 update: “You will notice that we have included
the church name – Church of God – on the front page so there is no
misunderstanding of who we are. The Father’s Call is the website name,
not the name of the church ... The Church of God, through this website,
seeks to support those the Father calls to come into a restored
relationship with Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ.”
The Sabbath Broadcasts listing includes ‘The Church of God’ for the ministries of Jamie
McNab in the UK and Don Roth in the USA – who are associates – but they
are not connected with The Father’s Call. In order to avoid confusion, the title of The Father’s Call will be retained.
Live bible studies will now be every two weeks instead of every Friday evening.
United Church of God
The lead article in the January 2015 issue of United News concerns the decision by the Council of Elders in December to change the title of the church's English language magazine from The Good News to Beyond Today.
Unique visitors to the UCG website increased by 9% from 5.9 million in 2013 to 6.4 million in 2014.
The audited accounts for the financial year ended 30 June 2014 show a small decrease in total income, from $17.6 million to $17.1 million.
Salaries and related benefits for ministerial services amounted to $4.7 million.
Church of God
23rd January Stephen Flurry made the first broadcast from the new UK
studio at Edstone. He quotes from Herbert Armstrong’s autobiography: “It
was the development of the college in Pasadena that made possible the
growth of the whole gospel work,” and he again intimates that the UK
college at Edstone will have the same effect.
Rapid church membership
growth in the UK in the 1960s was achieved, not by the establishment of
Bricket Wood College in 1960 (which Herbert Armstrong closed in 1974),
but by 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 radio
PCG does not have a broadcaster anywhere close to his
quality, and there are now numerous commercial TV and radio channels in
the UK - although very few accept religious programs.
‘The Key of
David’ was due to start on CBS Reality UK in September, but CBS
cancelled it a couple of days before the first broadcast. CBS has
however been persuaded to restore it in the early Sunday morning
listings, and the program now follows ‘Tomorrow’s World’ from the Living
Church of God.
Restored Church of God
The next ‘Important Update’ on the RCG website, at the end of January, will be David C. Pack’s sixth annual ‘Fruits Letter’ ... which will show “tremendous growth ... way beyond anything we have ever posted.”
wake of his spectacularly wrong prophecy that most people in the Churches of God
would flock to the RCG in August 2013, membership is reportedly down by half to 1500, and many ministers and ministerial staff have been fired.
expenditure on Google ads was stopped in 2014 - but a new one has
appeared, which is linked to an article that David Pack wrote on March 1, 2012, ‘Ron Weinland -Spectacularly Wrong!’
David Pack is extending an open invitation to the few remaining members of Weinland's church (COG-PKG) to join the RCG.
Those interested in the demise of Ronald Weinland and COG-PKG might like to read False Prophet Ronald Weinland.
Congregation of YHWH (Jerusalem)
Esposito has written an article for members to clarify why he is
beginning the biblical year on March 21, contrary to what he had written in
Lesson 11 of his correspondence course, ‘The Biblical Calendar’: “Clearly from scripture we are to start the year in spring
after the vernal equinox and not in winter before it; thus, the next
new moon after the equinox was the beginning month of Aviv, thus always
occurring in the spring.” (p.7)
In 2015 the March equinox will occur at 00.45 on March 21 (Jerusalem time).
‘new moon’, he means the astronomical new moon (conjunction of sun and
moon), which will occur at 11.36 on March 20 and 20.57 on April 18
(Jerusalem times). He begins a month at the following sunset, so the new
year should begin at sunset on April 19. However, he will begin the new
year at sunset (17.51) on March 21, almost 5 hours before the equinox.
His new article, ‘2015 and the Start of the Year’, clarifies, but also confuses as to which ‘biblical calendar’ he is really observing this year.
conjunction actually happens a few hours before the equinox some may
wrongly assume that there should be another month added to the calendar,
which would be inaccurate, since March 21, 2015 is both the first day of
spring and also the first day of the new month, which would have to be
Aviv, since spring and the new year would already be here.
The day of
the equinox is NOT the last day of the old year but the first day of
Spring/Summer, one can verify this on any celestial website including
timeanddate.com. The day starts at the following sunset after
conjunction, which in this case is the same day as the equinox, which
makes it Aviv one. The month is based on the day cycle, but the year is
based on the season and moon cycle.
The biblical calendar is a cyclical calendar based on both the celestial movement of the sun, moon and stars and confirmed by the agriculture in Israel. In 2015 the cycle is complete and the equinox occurs on March 21, which is also the first day of the new month, which would make it Aviv one, and not Adar 2. To wait a full extra month would make no sense and would throw off the entire agricultural cycle in which I have witnessed to for the last 15 years here in Israel.” (emphasis is ours) ....
thing that has been amazing is in my 15 years living here in Israel not
once has the agricultural cycle ever disagreed with the biblical
calendar but each year confirmed it. This can only come from Yahweh, as
some years start early as this year and some years later, but every year
was confirmed by Yahweh from heaven from the harvest fruits at the
This year we got such early rain in November as never
before and everything turned green one month early in mid November
instead of mid December. I have never seen it happen this early in the
15 years I have been here and the almost 20 years of coming to Israel.
So I can almost say with certainty that there will be Aviv barley in
March in preparation for the feast of firstfruits as the barley grass is
already about 3 inches high, which is extremely rare for this time of
year. The miracle is it could have just as easily gone the other way
like last year, which had very little rain and later barley, but again
Yahweh confirms His biblical calendar from His Holy Land.
apologize if our literature on this subject made it somewhat confusing,
since we stated that to start the year you should wait until after the
equinox and then the next new moon is Aviv one, but it is more properly
stated you should wait ‘until’ the equinox and then start the new year
as in cases such as 2015, where the equinox (new year) and new moon (new
month) fall on the same day, making it clearly Aviv 1, and not Adar 2.
Neither word is in scripture but is assumed and. when taking the whole
calendar into account, including the agricultural cycle here in Israel,
than it is clear that ‘until’ is more properly implied than ‘after’.”
Volunteer Teacher Julia Stewart writes:
last semester is nearly over – leaving us just over a month until
graduation. The other teachers and I are busy preparing ourselves and
the third year students for graduation. The teachers have to make
preparations for graduation (finals week is so soon!), for our own
futures, and the graduating students’ futures. Our third year students
have a lot of hard decisions to make about the next steps they need to
take in their lives. Prayers that God will be with them during this very
difficult and exciting time are always appreciated!
Despite all that
we have left to do, recently we have taken time to reflect on the past
year – specifically a few improvements we have seen in the students, and
so I thought it would be great to share with everyone.
It may seem
bias, but having had the opportunity to teach both Beginner and
Intermediate English, I see the most difference with all of the
students’ English. I see this especially in my beginner students, who at
most only knew a few phrases when we started our first semester back in
June. Now, the other teachers and I can communicate with them fairly
easily while often getting across complex ideas.
Another way that we
have seen improvement is when the male students speak at church. From my
first church service to now the difference in their English,
presentation, and depth of topic is really incredible. It has been very
reassuring to us teachers, because it shows that they are understanding
what they are being taught in class and are able to apply it in many
areas of their lives. It’s wonderful to see that we have been doing our
Not only are we preparing for graduation, but also
for our own return home. Lacee Hilgen is staying until mid-April and is
hoping to go to Burma with the Sextons for the Spring Holy days. Michael
Slocum will be leaving very soon after graduation, but first plans to
visit his grandma in Hawaii. Kathleen Kelly and I will be leaving at the
beginning of March, but first will take the opportunity to explore more
of Thailand. We all have enjoyed the amazing opportunity that Legacy
and the Sextons have provided for us, and truly can’t believe how fast
our time has gone by here!”
Church of God, a Worldwide Association
The January 2015 issue of One Accord,
which is now available online, includes a report of the annual meeting
of the Ministerial Board of Directors in December 2014. The Doctrine
Committee chairman, Don Henson, “reminded the board that the committee
reviews various (official) documents and publications” and “also reviews
a small number of study papers submitted by members to propose
alternate positions to the Church’s longstanding doctrines or
understandings. Mr. Henson explained that, while such writers are asked
to submit their papers to their pastors first, they generally want the
papers to be reviewed by the committee and then usually try to rebut the
explanation if it differs from their own. This is is very
time-consuming, but such submissions are treated seriously and with
On 22 December 2014 it was announced that Andrew and Sarah
Henderson had been officially suspended and prohibited indefinitely from
attending all COGWA services and activities, because “they no longer
speak the same thing as the Church.”
The Hendersons had questioned
their local minster, Lyle Welty, about the COG Hebrew calendar, which he failed to
answer satisfactorily. At his request, they submitted to him a study
paper, A Case for the Biblical Calendar,
to be forwarded to the Doctrine Committee. On receipt of the study
paper, Lyle Welty suspended the couple from attending services, but
he eventually agreed to submit it to the Doctrine Committee, which
resulted in their total and indefinite exclusion.
It is not then the
Doctrine Committee’s role to treat members’ study papers seriously and
with respect, and to consider their alternative positions to the
Church’s longstanding doctrines or understandings. Rather it is to
explain to the members that they are wrong, and that they must comply
with the Church’s teachings.
Salyer stated, “All seem to agree that the camaraderie among the MBOD
is the best we have had in years. While it is easy to find agreement, I
also feel I can disagree and be frank on any issue I want to—even with
It’s a pity that this freedom to disagree and be
frank on any issue does not extend to those people who pay the salaries
of the Ministerial Board of Directors.
Living Church of God
From Doug Winnail: “we have been saddened by the death of Mr. Bob League, who died this morning (Thursday, January 8, 2015) about 8:30 a.m. Mr. League was admitted to the hospital on Sunday with breathing difficulties, and his major organs began shutting down in the last several days. He was 82 years old and served in the ministry for 47 years. Dr. Meredith and Mr. Dan Hall will be conducting the funeral here in Charlotte on Sunday afternoon.”
The Jan. 1st update lists the average attendances at the top 10 congregations:
 Charlotte, North Carolina: 258  Kansas City, Missouri: 195
 Chaguanas, Trinidad: 128  Ft. Lauderdale, Florida: 116
 Houston, Texas: 115  Dallas, Texas: 113
 Phoenix, Arizona: 107  Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines: 99
 Kingston, Jamaica: 96  Christ Church, Barbados: 94
In November all congregations were commanded to play a sermonette by Rod McNair on Ministerial Authority and a sermon by Rod Meredith on God’s Government.
two audios have been removed from this independent website. In each
case: “The item is not available due to issues with the item's
The audios explain that LCG’s doctrine on church government gives the
ministry rulership over its church members, some of whom have been expressing
disagreement with various doctrines and distrust of even the leading
Roderick Meredith says, “We found that some of these
people we’ve had to put out (of the church) ... they often lie and lie,
and they’ll twist and turn, and turn things around ...”
Mr McNair and Mr (Bob) League - they’ve been working as a team to get all the
information on many of these things - and I’m working with them and
other leaders ... We’re trying to keep God’s church clean.”
Roderick Meredith wrote in the July/August issue of Living Church News:
I have been one of the pioneer students of Ambassador College and of
the ministry of this Work under Herbert W. Armstrong, I have been able
to know and converse for many hours with nearly all of the leading men
who studied prophecy in detail in the early years. I have also read some
articles and books on prophecy and biblical chronology by outsiders.
one of the leading men that I talked to in this Work—including Dr.
Herman Hoeh, Dr. Ernest Martin, Dr. Charles Dorothy, Dr. Robert Kuhn and
others—have acknowledged that they came to realize during their study
of biblical chronology that we could ‘easily’ be 20 or 30 years off in
either direction! Therefore, it should be easy to realize that Christ may not come until about 2030AD!”
From the start of his ministry more than 60 years ago, Roderick Meredith continuously preached (as did other leading ministers) that Jesus Christ would return in the next 5 years, or at most 15 years - then specifically 1975 - and then that it must happen in the lifetime of Herbert
Armstrong - who died in 1986. (His conversations
with Ernest Martin must have taken place over 40 years ago, as Ernest
Martin resigned from the Worldwide Church of God in January 1974.)
He says that the brethren should not complain about this:
must never be involved in ‘murmuring’ and ‘disputing’ and complaining
about the fact that Almighty God is giving human beings more time ...”
Continuing Church of God
Bob Thiel writes (18th December):
“Some have wondered how many members/congregants are in the Continuing Church of God. Because we are scattered, this is hard to know for certain.
reported before, over 500 attended our Feast of Tabernacles’ sites in
2014. More could have come, but we had some border issues in Tanzania
and some other issues in Nairobi, Kenya. Some elsewhere could not make
it for financial, distance, or other reasons. As it turns out, other
scattered groups and individuals have asked to be part of us, since the
Feast of Tabernacles.
Today, at my request, Pastor Evans Ochieng sent
me a detailed report about members/congregants in Kenya and Tanzania.
His report did not include some recent ones who have contacted us, nor
some with interest in Uganda or Sudan. For my part, I also have not
included numbers for 2-3 groups that are distantly related to us in
Asia. Nor have I counted all who may actually be with us – but tried to
only include those that I was fairly certain were with us.
Based upon those parameters, I calculated a total.
of December 18, 2014, there are at least 680 members/congregants in the
Continuing Church of God. We have members in all inhabited continents,
as well as various islands. We have at least twenty congregations, as
well as scattered ones in many locations.” [full text, including news of youth camp]