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.
This section is for short articles or letters about activities of local congregations. We will mention local congregations as they form or as we learn of significant news. Groups listed in this section may have some doctrines or policies which we cannot justify from the scriptures, but we believe most of them are a reasonable place for fellowship with the brethren. We believe the holy spirit will guide you in your fellowship decisions if you will study and ask.
If you are looking to obtain, give away, or trade old WCG literature, this Internet site is worth checking out:
www.absin.com/public/WcgSwapPage.html [URL no longer valid]
We have a few of the items from IBLC and have appreciated the material. However, the high cost prevents us from obtaining all the course material they have. Others may have this problem as well. Therefore, we would like to begin a loan program of the IBLC audio/video courses through The Bible Sabbath Assn. For a nominal fee to cover postage and shipping, we plan to loan IBLC material for 14-day loans.
If you have IBLC courses, would you consider donating them to The Bible Sabbath Association, for the purpose of loaning them to others? We would appreciate your help.
Richard Nickels Family
Giving & Sharing, Bible Sabbath Assn
3316 Alberta Drive, Gillette, WY 82718
Everyone is invited to attend a conference entitled In Jars of ClayUncovering Our True Identity in Messiah. This may be interesting to those who would like to learn about the Messianic Jewish perspective.
Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota: August 14-16, 1998
Dallas, Texas: August 21-23, 1998
Purpose: 1) To be affirmed as New Creations in the Messiah! 2) To appreciate the Torah (first five books of the Bible) as foundational for our identity! 3) To learn how the Torah and New Covenant work together to establish our identity! 4) To discuss some traditional misconceptions of the Torah!
Speakers: Ariel & Dvorah Berkowitz, authors of Torah Rediscovered, Take Hold, and extensive commentaries on the Torah. Ariel is also the co-leader of a Torah based congregation in Jerusalem. Boaz Michael, Founder and Director of First Fruits of Zion ministries.
Sponsor: First Fruits of Zion, PO Box 620099, Littleton, CO 80162-0099, Phone (800)775-4807 or 303-933-2119, Fax: 303-933-0997, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, on-line registration at: http://www.ffoz.org.
A Fellowship Picnic for all former & current members of any COG in the Kansas City area will be held Sunday, September 13 at Shelter #3 at Longview Lake. E-mail the organizer, Diane Cacchio at email@example.com or call 816-524-2442.
Date: August 29, 1998, 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM.
Location: New Life Center, 6830 Highland Dr., Everett, Washington.
Speakers: Dean Wheelock (Hebrew Roots Editor) and Lee Lisman.
Sponsor: Church of God, Everett.
For more information, contact, Dan and Mary Ellen Stevens, 360-653-6084.
The saying goes that "you cannot get blood out of a stone" when used in the context that it is nigh impossible to undertake or accomplish something.
Well, the Rick Sherrod lecture series in Australia proved otherwise! (For details see Servants News Sept/Oct 1997 p. 29 and May 1998, p.3) It was run on a shoestring budget and the lecture series was more successful than what anyone expected, including Rick and myself. Leading up to the lectures, the signals were clear to me that they would be successful, but it was not apparent that they would be as successful as they were.
The lecture series, organised chiefly by non-ordained members of the UCG with help from many others, had the following objectives
a) to use these lecture series as a means of outreach: This proved very successful with about two-thirds of attendees not having any background in the various Churches of God. He was also interviewed for an article in the Coffs Harbour Advocate and by the Rev Dr Gordon Moyes, who hosts Australia's most popular religious radio program, "Sunday Night Live" on 2GB.
b) to revitalise interest in this key doctrine after 12 years of neglect (Fundamentals of Belief no. 15): members of the various Churches of God appeared to be well pleased with this series. Many found the lectures fascinating, bringing further proof for our Israel identity in addition to the traditional proofs.
c) To build bridges with other similar Churches of God: members of the Global Church of God, Church of God, International, The Church of God, Independent Church of God, Intercontinental Church of God and non-aligned sabbatarians attended and felt very relaxed with each other. The Global Church of God announced the lectures as did certain Worldwide Church of God pastors.
In fact, the following organisations/periodicals permitted us to place flyers advertising the lectures in their mailouts: British-Israel World Federation, Christian Educational Services, Servants News magazine, Faith in Australia magazine, The Journal newspaper, The Independent Church of God, Perspectives magazine, Alert newsletter, Sabbath History newsletter, The Shofar newsletter, Origins of Nations magazine/History Research Projects. This should be seen in the context of Matt 12:30 and Mark 9:38-40; Num 11:27-29.
Dr Sherrod stated, before leaving for the United States, that "Australia was an utter delight in terms of service that I have been able to contribute to the Church. This is one of the highlights of my career in the ministry. I am pleased that the turnout was as large as it wasI did not anticipate as many outside of the Churches of God."
In the United States, at least 90% of the audience was UCG and most or all of the rest were from other Churches of God.
Approximate attendance was:
Sydney: Sabbath services: 80; Saturday afternoon: 185; Sunday morning 80; Sunday afternoon: 90. Canberra: 56. Coffs Harbour: 40. Brisbane: Sabbath services: 76; Saturday afternoon: 186. Toowoomba: 50. Melbourne: first night: 120; second night: 86. Approximate number of individuals attending: 600.
In retrospect, a few things would be done differently, including pushing harder for follow-up Bible lectures on a range of topics to ensure that the non-Church of God visitors learn more about our teachings in a methodical and sequential manner.
While Craig may not agree with my comments, I feel I really need to make them: Craig and others, were able to accomplish, independently, what would have been impossible in one of the church organizations. Had an organization attempted to sponsor this conference, nearly all of their members would have attended, but almost none of the other groups would. Furthermore, the organizations might have decided that they had to approve all of Dr. Sherrods talks to make sure they had a "uniform appearance with church doctrine"that could have taken years. Also, they may have insisted that the trip had to be "done right (a big budget), and then decided it was just too expensive. Finally, if anyone who attended was interested in learning more about Church of God doctrines, organizations would only direct them to their own local congregationseven if their nearest congregation was much further than another groups congregations.
Dr Sherrod clearly has a "gift" for teaching history, especially British Israelism. His doctoral degree makes him recognized by the world as well. If we are to operate as a body of believers with differing gifts (1Cor 12, Eph 4, etc.), other stable local congregations may wish to invite Dr. Sherrod to draw people and spark their interest. Then the local congregation will have to be ready to teach and shepherd those who may have an enduring interest.
The Worldwide Church of God concluded their Regional Pastors meeting in Pasadena this week. A source who wished not to be identified gave us some major points from the meetings:
The Big Sandy campus is ready to go into escrow to a Catholic school.
The Pasadena property has had many interested buyers. At least three of them are currently trying to outbid each other. The Pasadena property may go into escrow as soon as 3 months.
The headquarters management does not really believe in keeping the Sabbath or Holy Days any more, but are maintaining Sabbath services in most areas because a large number of their members still want to meet on the Sabbath.
This confirms the other reports that we have been receiving that the Worldwide Church of God is now losing more members to Sunday-keeping congregations than they are to the WCG split-off groups. Their largest group of members appears to be people who believe that they should "stay in the WCG no matter what".
Date: Saturday, July 4, 1998.
Time: 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time (same as Central Daylight Savings Time).
Location: Community Building, Green Croft Retirement Center at Goshen College, College Avenue, south side of Goshen, Indiana. From Indiana 15, turn east onto College Avenue, cross railroad tracks, go ½ mile, turn south into Green Croft Retirement Center area. The Community Building will be straight ahead.
Purpose: Ray Wooten, of United Christian Ministries in Birmingham, Alabama will present "Search the Scriptures: John 5:39". All are invited for a day of worship, fellowship, and instruction.
Sponsor: Church of God, Elkhart.
Contact: John Davis, 219-267-7519 after 5:00 PM or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For years, Church of God groups, and many other prophetically oriented groups have looked for a union of ten European nations. How do we know when a union is a union as defined in the Bible? Must there be a single government or binding treaty integrating all aspects of governing? Or is a joint military agreement enough to be considered a union? In todays high-tech military, economic power is the single most important factor of a countrys strength.
After months of talking and arguing fine points between France and Germany, European leaders meeting in Brussels, Belgium signed a formal agreement for monetary union on Saturday, May 2, 1998. Wim Duisenberg, a dutchman, was named president of the new European Central Bank.
The countries taking part in the new currency are Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
That is 11 countries, one too many for a ten-nation combine. But that could change quickly. Of interest, Britain, Denmark and Sweden decided not to join. (Greece was interested in joining, but did not meet all the criteria to take part.)
Obviously, a common currency is a great step to actually unifying countries. Banks and businesses of all kinds are madly scrambling to try to integrate the new currency by the year 2000. This may cause even more difficulty for computer engineers trying to make computers compatible with year 2000 dates. It could all fail. Only time will tell if this economic union is a prophetic milestone, or just another one of many stones down a long rocky road!
We should continue to pay attention to the European currency, but without direct revelation from the Eternal, it is not easy to declare this a definite fulfillment of prophecy.
Norman Edwards, with some info supplied by James Tabor