News from

Local
Congregations

Wooten Speaks: Idaho, W. Virginia

Ray Wooten will be the featured speaker at the following events. Everyone is welcome.

A special Sabbath weekend is planned for Post Falls, Idaho, Sept. 13-14, 1997. A service, potluck meal, and Bible study will be held on the 13th (Sabbath), and a picnic on the 14th. For more details contact Gary or Betty Cook (208-664-4480), or Bob or Linda Gentry (509-624-8378).

A special Sabbath is planned in Poca, West Virginia, for September 27, 1997. For more information, call George Hampton at 304-586-3070 or e-mail at Cogpoca@aol.com.

New Hymnal Still Forthcoming

Songs for the Family of God, a hymnal intended for use by multiple Sabbath-keeping congregations is nearly ready to go to press. It contains 77 songs, a collection of some of the best of "older Christian standards," Dwight Armstrong, Mark Graham, Ross Jutsum, other contemporary authors, and some international melodies. A detailed story and full list of titles appeared on page 23 of the March/April Servantsí News.

As of now, the layout and proof-reading of the hymnal are essentially complete. All producer Mark Graham is waiting for are license arrangements to be finalized with the Worldwide Church of God. Graham has been negotiating with Ralph Helge and Hermon Hoeh of the WCG for several months. According to Herman Hoeh (in an August 5 telephone conversation), the WCG will be making arrangements with a third party royalty-broker (such as ASCAP, BMI, CCLI, etc.) to handle royalties for Dwight Armstrongís music. Royalty payments are collected by these organizations based on the number of copies published, and they are forwarded to the copyright holder. Several months may be required for the WCG to get all of this set up, but once they have finished, anyone desiring to publish Dwight Armstrongís works will be able to obtain permission and pay the royalties.

As of now, Graham has no way to be sure what the royalty payments will be or when he will obtain permission to use the Dwight Armstrong songs. As soon as this is resolved, he will be ready to print the hymnal.

Graham provided Servantsí News with a preliminary copy of the hymnal and it seems very well done. We believe it will be the best choice for a local congregation desiring to retain a traditional "Church of God" yet also draw on the best of other sources. Graham is committed to providing this hymnal to anyone who wants it, so additional copies will always be available to you. Larger church organizations often refuse to sell their hymnal to brethren outside of their organization. Congregations desiring more lively worship and praise music can simply use Songs for the Family of God in addition to a modern praise and worship hymnal.

For more information, contact:

—Mark Graham

PO Box 770261

Lakewood, OH 44107-0019

Tel: 216-529-1380 (Eastern Time)

E-mail: magraham@baldwinw.edu

Instrumental Accompaniment on CD

State of the Heart Music Ministry has announced the October 8th release of a collection of 8 CDs, each containing instrumental accompaniments for 15 or more outstanding worship music selections. Four of the volumes will contain the great traditional Christian hymns including Amazing Grace; Blessed Assurance; He Lives; How Great Thou Art; I Love to Tell the Story; In the Garden; Jesus Saves; Nearer, My God, to Thee; Rock of Ages; To God Be the Glory; Victory in Jesus; What a Friend We Have in Jesus and Worthy of Worship.

The other four CDs will include the most popular contemporary praise and worship "spiritual songs" or choruses like As the Deer; I Love You, Lord; Lord, I Lift Your Name on High; Majesty and Shine, Jesus, Shine. It will also contain music composed by Ross Jutsum of State of the Heart Music Ministry, including Jesus, Youíre My Best Friend.

The collection will be called Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs. A booklet containing the words to all songs is included with the set. Each song on the CD consists of an instrumental melody, piano accompaniment, and other instruments as appropriate. This format is ideally suited for accompaniment at worship groups or for individuals to privately listen and sing along. The melody is loud enough to help people learn, but will not "drown out" a group of people singing along with the CDs. More specific suggestions for how to use the CDís and booklets are included in the set.

Future plans call for additional formats to be sold in the future, including: overhead projection transparencies, discs for slide files, a MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) version on disc, and eventually, a printed hymnal with complete music.

For pricing and availability contact:

State of the Heart Music Ministry

P.O. Box 888

Gladewater, TX 75647 U.S.A.

E-mail: rfjutsum@aol.com

Tel: 903-845-3450, 9AM to 6PM CDT

Parenting Resources for the Church and the Home

From birth through your childís teen years, Growing Families International, Inc., is here to help parents raise morally responsible and biblically responsive children. They offer a full line of Bible-based parenting courses for the church and community. Tapes, books, and other resources are available to help families apply biblical principles for living.

We know of Sabbatarian congregations who have held their own parenting classes using these videos and individual workbooks. Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo, founders of Growing Families International, Inc., have authored these courses: Growing Kids Godís Way, Preparation for Parenting, Preparation for the Toddler Years, Reaching the Heart of Your Teen, Reflections of Moral Innocence, and Preparation for Adolescence.

For more information, contact: Growing Families International, Inc., 9259 Eton Avenue, Chatsworth, CA 91311; 800-396-4434, 818-772-6264, fax: 818-885-7011, e-mail: info@gfi.org.

We are presently participating in one of their programs, and have found it quite valuable.

—Norman and Marleen Edwards

Christian Renewal Ministries

We are an outreach ministry that grew out of the Seattle Church of God (Independent). We have ties and bridges to a number of different ministries. We offer all of our literature freely to any other ministries who wish to use it without obligation. We also encourage any other independent ministries and home fellowships who are of like-mind to associate with us and we will add the location of their services or a contact name & number to our website.

We also urge independent ministries to network together. We have done this quite successfully by looking more toward what we have in common and less toward how we are different. See the Feast of Tabernacles page on our website to see this spirit in action. Our website name is:

http://www.frugal.com/~crmi/

—Gregory Richardson, correspondent for:

Christian Renewal Ministries International

P.O. Box 111, Auburn, WA 98071-0111

1-800-333-5208; FAX 1-253-351-2973

E-Mail: crmi@frugal.com

Web Sites Worth Visiting

For those with access to the Internet, you might be interested in some of these Worldwide Web sites:

http://www.biblestudy.org - Alan Ruthís resource site—lots of study material and other items especially useful to local congregations

http://www.teleport.com/~stanczak/ - "Likeminds Home Page"—a site connected with the Likeminds Internet Forum. It includes sample posts from the forum, links to other Sabbatarian sites, and a variety of articles by several different authors related to the interests on the forum. "Likeminds are non-partisan commandment keepers who believe in a shared-ministry (1Pet.2:9) without church governance hierarchies (2Cor.1:24)."

http://www.youall.com/oasis/ - "The OASIS" Website of "Eagle Ministries," hosted by George and Pam Dewey. Articles and links of interest to Sabbatarians.

http://www.youall.com/waco/ - A temporary website to provide up-to-date news and information on the situation regarding the break-up in the Waco UCG congregation.

http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Meadows/1928/assorted.html - a site listing hundreds of other "Church of God" groups, with links to their web sites.

Sabbatarian Singles Forum

The Sabbatarian Singles Fellowship Forum was created for unmarried people within the Churches of God. The forum is to provide a springboard for those of us, with similar backgrounds in the Faith, to be able to correspond with others of our unique belief system! It is not a forum for discussing differences, but rather for celebrating our similarities!

We are starting with the forum so participants can read and respond within their own time frame. Later, we would like to begin a chat room with interested parties from this core group of people. You may subscribe at:

SSFF@aol.com

For more information, contact:

—Marla Prouty, Everett, WA

MAR944@aol.com

Wisdom From the Internet

Working with the poor? Remember Dartís first law of helping the poor: "Donít be one of them." You canít help other people unless you are strong, so donít weaken yourself or your family in the process of helping others.

This does not mean you donít sacrifice. It means donít weaken yourself. It doesnít mean that we shouldnít go out of our way to be a good Samaritan.

But, donít weaken yourself. The good Samaritan paid the manís one time expenses, he didnít "take him in to raise," and he didnít bankrupt himself in the process. If he himself had been poor, he could have done little to help.

Money and health, including mental health are power. It is wrong to be selfish, but it is not wrong to be strong. I have often given this same advice to someone who was being destroyed mentally and physically by caring for another. Take care of yourself first so you will be able to take care of others.

It is the same advice airlines give their passengers relative to oxygen masks. Put yours on first, then put them on your children. You will be no good to your children if you have passed out. Many people have a concept of unselfishness that is vain.

—Ron Dart, Cem@Gower.net.

Tel: 903-509-2999 Fax:903-509-1139

UCG Congregations Ponder Choices

Over the past several months, at least nine local congregation circuits of the United Church of God, An International Association have split up or are in the process of doing so. In each case, the factors differ, though questions on the issue of governance are always present. Everyone agrees that the present UCG-AIA leaders derived their responsibilities and authority from the vote of the UCG-AIAelders at their Cincinnati conference. The main issue in debate is: Has the process of granting authority and responsibility now ended. Are these new leaders now responsible only to God for what they do and are ministers and members bound to follow all of their decisions? Or, are the leaders still at least partly responsible to the peopleís understanding of what God wants for their congregation? Do the people that gave them their authority still have the right to say "this or that is a bad decision, we want you to change what you are doing there"?

This same problem also occurs in miniature in some local congregations—they voted to ask the UCG-AIA to provide them a pastor a couple of years ago, and now, their local pastor is telling them that they have no authority to override any of his decisions for the congregation. Is the only type of vote the Eternal honors is one that gives someone absolute authority?

These difficulties have occurred in the following cities:

Elkhart, Indiana

Kansas City, Missouri

Meadville, Pennsylvania

Miami & West Palm Beach, Florida

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Poca, West Virginia

San Antonio, Texas

Toledo, Ohio & Detroit, Michigan

Waco, Texas.

In most of these congregations, approximately one third of the members believe their congregation should be solidly under the control of UCG-AIA headquarters, about another third believe they should be locally autonomous in most matters, and the rest are somewhere in between. Local ministerís opinions seem to span all three categories, too. In most of the cases, nearly all of the members are close personal friends and would like to remain that way. Most would like all to stay in the same congregation. We encourage congregations, if possible, to try to agree to stay together for a year (or some other length of time) so they can hear all sides of the issue and pray for a peaceful solution. If that is not possible and the congregation does break up, they should still try to share social activities and other meetings when possible.

We would like encourage everyone, no matter what their personal view of this situation, to deal with kindness and love to others. Those UCG-AIA members who believe the Bible teaches hierarchy should remember that their headquarters was not created by a divine act of God, but by the vote of men. Those who do not believe the Bible teaches hierarchy must remember how many people they know who first learned Bible truth from a hierarchical organization.

We hope to cover these stories in greater detail in an upcoming issue.

—Norman S. Edwards

Return to August 97 index.