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.
Everyone is invited to Kansas City, the Sabbath of December 5, 1998 for a day of activities. Ron Dart will hold a Bible Study at 10:30 A.M. This study is designed for people without a "Church of God" background. Listeners to Born to Win, Ron Dart’s radio program, are being invited. You may want to bring a friend. The study will be at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in eastern Kansas City, I-70 and Blue Ridge Cutoff.
Sabbath services are at 2:30 P.M., followed by a dinner and social with activities for young and old. These events will be at the RLDS church, 31st St. and South Chrysler, Independence, Missouri. You are welcome to come for any or all of the above. For more information, contact Rick Frazee, 816-461-3252 or email@example.com.
What was the religion God gave His chosen people? Did the Messiah change that religion when He came? We will spend four days of intense Bible study answering these and other important questions.
When: December 24-27, 1998.
Where: Western Hills Lodge, Sequoyah State Park, Wagoner, Oklahoma.
Speakers Include: Norman Edwards, Servants’ News; Joseph Good, Hatikva Ministries; Dell Griffin, Torah Voice Ministries; John Merritt, Friends of the Sabbath; Jim Rector, Conerstone Publications; Dean Wheelock, Hebrew Roots.
Other Highlights Include: Praise and worship music, fellowship, family activities, food, youth activities, question and answer sessions, Hebrew dancing, a very special Sabbath!
For reservations call 800-654-8240. Make reservations by December 1 for room discounts. To obtain discount rate, refer to In the Footsteps of the Messiah. For information on R.V. or camp sites, call 918-772-2046.
For more information, contact:
Mitchell Smith, 405 N. Main St, Lindale, Texas 75771; 903-882-7446; e-mail: Mitchandnita@juno.com.
Tim Kelley, Rt 2 Box 364-5, Hawkins, Texas 75765; 903-769-2750; e-mail: N55154@aol.com.
Come enjoy fun, fellowship, and Bible study with other Sabbatarian singles, Dec 24-27. Activities include: Bible studies, hymn sing-along, Sabbath service, dance, winter wonderland nature hike, volleyball, bowling, snow fun, line dancing, Myers-Briggs personality type indicator test, mystery poets contest, baby picture guessing gallery, etc. Fifty dollars will cover all activities and two home-made meals daily. Assistance will be provided for obtaining lodging, sharing lodging with another person, or staying in the homes of local brethren. For more information, contact Cathy Folker, 247 N. Main St #12, Dousman, WI 53118; 414-965-4108; firstname.lastname@example.org or Dona R. Schaller; 414-673-2076; email@example.com.
Ronald Dart, CEM president and presenter of the "Born to Win" program, spoke before a crowd of 80+ people in Charleston, West Virginia on Saturday, November 7, 1998. The hour and a half morning presentation conducted by Mr. Dart was a group discussion with Q&A’s on current events. Attendees were from North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.
A chili and sandwich luncheon was provided for those who wished to stay at the hall and fellowship during the noon time period. The afternoon Sabbath services began at 2:30 and a sermon titled "The End of Apathy" was delivered by Ronald Dart.
Special music was performed by three guests to the Charleston congregation. Sheree Kessler sang "My Last Day" and was accompanied by Jim Carden on the guitar. Sharon Hill sang "Peace Speaker". Following the sermon services were concluded with a special music medley of two songs, "No other Name" and "All Hail the Power", performed on the keyboard by Rob Evens.
The day’s events were conducted with the help of other "independent" area congregations and fellowships and individuals. Without this cooperation, the day would not have been as rich and fulfilling as it was. The success of this day may better show the word "independent" to really translate, "interdependent".
Anyone liking a free audio copy of either the morning Q&A session, the afternoon services containing all the special music and sermon, or both, write to: Church of God - Southern West Virginia, P.O Box 4472, Charleston, WV 25304 or e-mail your request to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
— George Hampton
Michelle Ward is taking over the Sabbatarian Singles List from Carol Smith, who won’t be single much longer. Anyone who would like to add their name to this list, and receive the names of other singles at no charge can contact her at:
— Michelle Ward
66 Demarest Ave, River Vale, NJ 07675
(Another Sabbatarian Singles list with more information is available for a small fee: Sabbath Singles Connection, 3229 Larkin Road, Biggs, California 95917; e-mail: email@example.com.)
Servants’ News often receives letters from people looking for other groups of similar belief (sacred names, calendars, etc). There are hundreds of groups with whom we are familiar, but there are also hundreds more with whom we are not familiar. If you are want to look for other groups, the Internet is probably the best place to do it. If you do not have access to it, you can probably find a friend or a library that does. An excellent Internet site to begin with is the "assorted flavors" site maintained by Mary Lois Bierman:
http://www.flash.net/~ssef/assorted/ [URL no longer valid]
This site provides access to hundreds of Sabbatarian groups and other biblically-oriented Internet sites. Once you type in the above line, all you need to do is look for what you are interested in, move the computer "mouse" and click the button!
The Seventh Day Adventists’ major magazine for evangelising, "Signs of the Times", published an article by Craig White in the Australian November 1998 edition (vol 113 no 11). This may be a first for a Church of God member to have an article published in the magazine.
I was surprised and happy to see it published under the title More than a Day. An interview with the founder of [Australian] Friends of the Sabbath. They even paid for it, a further surprise!
The original article was about 4 pages, but it was compressed into 2 pages and laid out in a question and answer format (a couple of minor errors crept in, but no big deal). The SDAs seem to have a continuing interest in the Churches of God.
— Craig White
A new Internet community called "Sabbath Keepers" has been started using the resources of Delphi (a leading worldwide web service provider that specializes in helping people create their own discussion groups, chat rooms, and personal homepages. To join the discussion, simply go to:
http://forums.delphi.com/m/main.asp?sigdir=mayseeus&isp=if&pic=in-MAYSEEUS1228 [URL no longer valid]
If a password is required, enter the word sabbath. If you’ve never used Delphi before you’ll need to go through a quick registration so you can participate in the discussion. It only takes a minute and it’s free!
I hope to see you on-line soon,
— Manny Macias
"Sabbath-keeping youth need help and encouragement," says Richard Nickels, President of The Bible Sabbath Association. "One way to do this is to encourage academic achievement. That is why the BSA is instituting what we hope to be an annual scholarship program exclusively for Sabbath-keeping young people. We will start the program small, and with the Almighty’s help, see where it leads. We hope many adults will become financial supporters of this excellent program."
Here’s how the BSA Scholarship program works.
Who is eligible: Sabbath-keeping students 25 years of age or younger as of April 1, 1999, who are planning to pursue post-secondary education at an accredited college, university, or trade school anywhere in the world. International students are encouraged to apply. Children or close relatives of the Directors and Officers of The Bible Sabbath Association are not eligible.
How to apply: Request an application from: The Bible Sabbath Association, 3316 Alberta Drive, Gillette, WY 82718, telephone: (307) 686-5191, or E-mail your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submit completed forms and fee, if any, no later than February 15, 1999. Winners will be announced on or before April 1, 1999.
Application Fee: There is no application fee for subscribers to The Sabbath Sentinel, the 24-page BSA magazine published six times a year ($15). All others must submit a $10 application fee. At a minimum, one $750 and one $250 scholarship will be awarded. More will be awarded depending upon donations to the fund. 100% of donations made to the fund will be used for scholarship money—all mailing and miscellaneous expenses will be borne by the BSA.
Part of the application process is a brief essay. Entries may not be submitted via E-mail, but must be completed by the applicant in his or her own handwriting. The winning essay will be published in The Sabbath Sentinel.
Scholarships will be paid directly to an accredited college, university, or trade school. A committee, led by Dr. Donald Ward of Texas, will be the judges. Tax-deductible donations for the BSA scholarship program are welcome.
— Richard Nickels Family
Giving & Sharing, Bible Sabbath Assn
3316 Alberta Dr., Gillette, WY 82718
1998 FEAST OF TABERNACLES
Most of the members and ministers have now returned home from this year’s Feast. Reports will be prepared imminently for the Church of God News and the indications are that a wonderful Feast has been experienced and enjoyed by God’s people. We have not had reports of any disruptive elements or attitudes which display a spirit of malcontent or hostility to the endeavours of the Church. On the contrary, it is now abundantly evident that God was, and undoubtedly still is, separating a people unto Himself whose sole purpose is to worship and obey Him and to gladly do His Work—a people who reject antinomianism and antigovernment and a people who work together in peace and harmony to announce the Gospel and for a building up of the Godly community. Those who hate their brother and speak evil of him are antinomian (against the Law of God—James 4:11) and they who hate the ordained servants of God are antigovernment (against the biblical method God set in the Church for pastoral care—Ephesians 4:10-13—and therefore against God).
Contrast the fine attitudes displayed at the Feast, if you will, with attitudes seen and experienced in the recent past by some who have been belligerent, bad-mannered, rude, offensive, confrontational, "in-your-face"—the kind of attitude repudiated by Jude (verses 10-12) where the fruitfulness of such people is withered and dead—"... spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear..." The inference in Jude is that an unruly spirit appended itself to their lives where they cannot, seemingly, live peaceably with Gods people. In our modern setting, one hopes and prays that such people find some kind of peace in their confusion, if that is at all possible.
NSE Comment: This is typical of the writing of new church organizations. It speaks of great peace and love among it members, but refers to those outside their group as anti-God and evil (read the book of Jude). Those who reject David Hulme are labeled "against the biblical method God set in the Church for pastoral care". How did David Hulme become a church leader? He was "ordained" by men just like hundreds of others in the now-antinomian WCG and then elected president by men of the UCG. These are the very men he is now writing against. Ephesians 4:11 clearly says that "He [Christ] Himself" places leaders in the church. The Bible says nothing about a succession of human ordinations of church leaders (for a Biblical explanation, ask for How Does the Eternal Govern Through Humans?). What works, fruits or miracles does David Hulme have which should convince us that Christ has placed him over all believers?
Other church organizations also have this difficulty. This writer viewed the Last Great Day message by Rod Meredith of the Global Church of God. Although it used milder terms, it also gave a lesser spiritual status to those in other organizations and especially to those who were not part of any church organization.
We must also admit that some brethren who are not in organizations speak derogatorily of those who are. The clear reality is that Paul commanded us not to form factions, but that each of us would be rewarded according to the work we do (1Cor 1:10-13; 3:1-17). Those with the Holy Spirit are our brethren no matter what group they or we are in. But Paul clearly taught against those who practice and teach sectarianism.
Global Church of God members in the Cleveland, Ohio, area received a letter from their San Diego headquarters assuring them that David Pack, the minister in their area, was still in good standing as a Global Church of God minister. The letter was signed by Raymond McNair, Edwin Pope and Larry Salyer, and it assured the members that a 75% vote of the Board of Directors was needed to remove a minister, and that the signers of the letter made up 50% of the board. The letter made no mention of Rod Meredith or his opinion of the matter.
This is a vast change in the operation of the GCG since the time when this writer was Secretary of the GCG Board of Directors (1993-1994). At that time, major decisions were made by Rod Meredith—usually with the input of others, but either there was no voting or it was done as a unanimous formality. If one really believes in top-down government, then one should believe that Christ will correct the top man and there should be no voting. But our WCG experience (and the Bible) show that the Eternal does not always correct "top leaders".
At this point, it is not clear which of these groups within Global are for or against the talks with UCG (see page 6). People in these organizations will probably continue to be frustrated by various political maneuverings until they realize that the Bible does not teach us to form church organizations, hierarchies, or a succession of ordained ministers. For a thorough explanation, write for our free article, How Does the Eternal Govern Through Humans?
— Norman Edwards
The Worldwide Church of God is progressing with the Ambassador University, Big Sandy Campus sale to a Catholic School. The price of this sale, as well as the price for the sale of the Pasadena "Office Facilities Building" have been kept secret. Servants’ News has heard from WCG members wanting to know the sale prices. The WCG’s Worldwide News contained articles on the sale, but failed to mention the price. The WCGhas pledged itself to greater openness in its financial dealings—this would be a good place to start. If they are managing "God’s property" in a Godly way, they should not need to keep it a secret. If anyone has evidence of these sale prices, we would be glad to print it.
Attorneys for Garner Ted Armstrong and Suerae Robertson conducted a mediation conference on June 12, 1998, in the offices of attorney James W. Knowles in Tyler, Texas. The parties agreed to settle for an undisclosed amount. The sexual assault suit was officially dismissed from District Court on July 14, 1998.
Suerae Robertson filed the suit originally against Garner Ted Armstrong and the Church of God, International. Robertson worked as a professional masseuse in Tyler and had a security camera installed after alleged sexual advances by Armstrong on his first visit. On his second visit, the video camera recorded over 40 separate sexual advances on the part of Armstrong which she rebuffed. I contacted Armstrong about this tape, and received a response stating that the tape was in the possession of the FBI which was investigating people for entrapment and extortion. None of this proved to be true.
Later, copies of this video tape were circulated among CGI leaders causing large groups to disassociate themselves from Armstrong. Ron Dart left to form Christian Educational Ministries; Lawrence Gregory, Ian Hufton and many other ministers left to form The Churches of God (now renamed to Church of God Outreach Ministries); and finally, the remaining CGI leaders removed Armstrong from power. Armstrong began his own organizations: Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association and the Intercontinental Church of God.
Servants’ News has received calls and letters asking about the amount of the settlement, and expressing concern that tithes and offerings will be used to pay for "Armstrong’s sins". We would be glad to print the amount of the settlement if it is made available to us from a reliable source.
The New Testament teaches that it is the duty of believers to be sure that what they are giving is used properly. The churches in Corinth chose one of their own people to go with Titus to administer the monetary gift that they were giving (2Cor 8:16-23). When brethren contribute to any religious group, they should know what their contributions are being used for.
Whether or not Garner Ted Armstrong has repented is not an issue for us to judge—Christ will judge that (John 5:22). However, it is important for believers to use the scriptures to determine the qualifications of church leaders (1Tim 3; Titus 1). — NSE