News from Local Congregations
This column includes information sent to us from a variety of groups. Servants News does not necessarily agree with the teachings or practices of these groups. Please ask about them before attending their functions.
The Church of God Fellowship meets each Sabbath at 12 noon for singing and 1 p.m.–2:30 p.m. for a service, with a finger-food potluck to follow.
We meet in the Chapel Hill United Methodist Church building, 7501 Coleman Rd, East Lansing, Michigan. It is very close to I-69: Take exit 94 (there is only one way to go) and turn right at the second traffic light, which will be Marsh Rd. Go up the hill one block and Marsh Rd ends into Coleman Rd and the building is right in front of you.
About 40 people attend the services—families sign up to be in charge of the service for each Sabbath. Format varies somewhat based on who is hosting, but interaction is always encouraged. This fellowship is not sponsored or managed by Servants’ News, some of the brethren do help with the publication. Several Servants’ News subscribers have been in the area, but were not able to find information about the service, so we have published it. For more information call 517-339-8530.
— Norman Edwards
The fifth annual Youth Retreat for teens and young adults will be held in Kansas City December 28-31 at the Salvation Army Camp. The cost will be only $25 and will include lots of fun activities such as volleyball, basketball, game room, laser tag, arts and crafts, a photo scavenger hunt and a dance. People from all groups are invited. Please contact Laurinda Armer for an application at firstname.lastname@example.org or write her at 6900 Lakeshore Dr., Raytown, MO 64133. To phone for an application, call Paula Frazee at 816-461-3252.
— Paula Frazee
On July 29, 2000 the scattered brethren in West Tennessee held a “Fifth Sabbath” in Lexington, Tennessee. Over 60 brethren from most of the Sabbath-keeping fellowships in our end of the state came together to worship God and share fellowship with one another. Everyone that this writer talked to had a good spirit of brotherly love. How good and pleasant it is to see brethren dwell together in unity! The speakers were: Ray Bankston of the Last Ages Church of God; Bill Allen of the Church of God, Bethel; and Ray Wooten of United Christian Ministries. We had a potluck afterwards. It was wonderful to see so many brethren from differing fellowships, with differing beliefs all gathered together and just being brethren.
We call it a “Fifth Sabbath” because we are going to meet every month with a fifth Sabbath. We already have plans and speakers for September and December 2000. Our Featured speaker for September 30 is Rick Eckert; the Featured Speaker for December 30 is Norman Edwards. We hope to see you there. Everyone is welcome. For more information, call 901-427-8099.
The Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against the Philadelphia Church of God, blocking their further publication of Mystery of the Ages. The vote was 2 to 1. The majority opinion was essentially that the copyright belonged to the WCG and they could do what they want with the book until it expires.
The minority opinion was that Mystery of the Ages is an integral part of the PCG’s religion and the WCG is simply trying to suppress doctrine in which they no longer believe.The latter is quite true as the WCG stated that they do not want to sell the copyright, but would consider making the books available on a cost-per-each basis.
They also considered annotating the book—adding parts showing where they believe it is in error. Either one of these two things could render the book useless to those who hope to teach from it. The cost could be made prohibitively high at any time, and the annotations of errors would be unacceptable if one were trying to portray the book as “all truth”.
If the WCG really had a conscience about the “errors” that they believe are in Mystery of the Ages, one would think that their first priority would be to publish something correcting those errors. The WCG’s attempt to stop the spread of an idea by forcibly preventing its publication sounds like they have learned little from the old “hierarchy” days.
Whether or not the court ruling is fair, there are two vital lessons that Church of God brethren should learn:
1. If anyone writes truth and wants it shared forever, place it in the public domain. (If one’s goal is to make money or control a church, then copyright it so no one else can use it now.)
2. Because of the WCG’s legal pursuit of this case, it will be much easier for them to pursue internet sites and others who are reprinting HWA’s writings. Those who teach any doctrine “because HWA was inspired of God to teach it” need to realize that his writings could be very hard to find for many years—until the copyrights lapse. If we cannot teach a doctrine from the Bible, and if we cannot explain it ourselves, maybe we should not be teaching it.
Recently, at the UCGIA Inc. congregation where I attend, on the information table, was a paper titled, “Attendance Policy—United Church of God, an International Association”.
The policy reads as follows:
“All members and elders of the United Church of God are encouraged to show Christian hospitality and outgoing concern to all and to warmly welcome visitors having a sincere desire to peacefully worship or with us and learn God’s way.
It should be understood, however, that Church services and most other functions and meetings of the United Church of God are designed primarily for members or affiliates of the Church and are essentially private meetings, the participation in some of which may also be limited to members only and that restrictions can also be placed on attendance by persons who are not members or affiliates in good standing. The Church is also not obliged to tolerate disruptive, antagonistic, or contentious behavior or those who have been asked not to attend with us and may exclude such individuals from Church meetings or functions.
Consequently, in accordance with the foregoing, attendance at all worship services or other Church functions may be limited by the local pastor or other presiding elders of the Church, or their designee(s), as they deem appropriate under the circumstances.”
Besides the general question of “Exactly what does all of this mean?”, several other questions suggest themselves:
1. Exactly how is the “United Church of God” referred to in the policy different from the UCG-AIA Inc. which is enacting the policy on behalf of the United Church of God?
2. Who are the “members: referred to in this policy?
3. Finally, who are the “affiliates of the Church” and how are they different to members?
Anyway, that’s the latest from corporate COG Inc. land UCGIA Inc. style. This is looking more and more like this corporation is borrowing from the South African apartheid model for how they relate to the world around and among them. Or as George Orwell observed in Animal Farm, “All men are created equal, it’s just that some are more equal than others.”
— Posted on LM by Tim McCaulley
Jack Lane has introduced a new website: http://LivingTheWay.org
It contains an index to all of its new articles and to those on the old “The Way” website. (These sites replace The Way magazine, of which Servants’ News used to give away sample copies.)
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