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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 Journals 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

Brian Orchard 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.

Philadelphia Church of God

On 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 channel.
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.”

In the 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.
The 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)

Don 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).
By ‘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.

“Since the 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 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) ....
“One 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 proper time.
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.
I 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’.”

Legacy Institute

Volunteer Teacher Julia Stewart writes:

“The 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 jobs effectively.
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 respect.”
On 22 December 2014 it was announced that Andrew and Sarah Henderson had been officially suspended and prohibited indefinitely from attending all COGWA services and activities, because “they no longer speak the same thing as the Church.”
The Hendersons had questioned their local minster, Lyle Welty, about the COG Hebrew calendar, which he failed to answer satisfactorily. At his request, they submitted to him a study paper, A Case for the Biblical Calendar, to be forwarded to the Doctrine Committee. On receipt of the study paper, Lyle Welty suspended the couple from attending services, but he eventually agreed to submit it to the Doctrine Committee, which resulted in their total and indefinite exclusion.
It is not then the Doctrine Committee’s role to treat members’ study papers seriously and with respect, and to consider their alternative positions to the Church’s longstanding doctrines or understandings. Rather it is to explain to the members that they are wrong, and that they must comply with the Church’s teachings.

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

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:
[1] Charlotte, North Carolina: 258   [2] Kansas City, Missouri: 195
[3] Chaguanas, Trinidad: 128   [4] Ft. Lauderdale, Florida: 116
[5] Houston, Texas: 115   [6] Dallas, Texas: 113
[7] Phoenix, Arizona: 107   [8] Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines: 99
[9] Kingston, Jamaica: 96   [10] 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.
(These two audios have been removed from this independent website. In each case: “The item is not available due to issues with the item's content.”)

The audios explain that LCGs 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 ministers.
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 ...”
“I’ve asked 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:

“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!
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:
“We 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.

As 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.
As 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]