Greetings from Charlotte,
This has been a very active week. Many of our ministers in all parts of the world traveled to serve our members for the Feast of Trumpets: Mr. Richard Ames in Missouri, Dr. Douglas Winnail in Tennessee, Mr. Dexter Wakefield in New England, Mr. James Meredith in South Africa, and Carol and I were in Atlanta where we had six ordinations in the three congregations represented there. When we talk about the weather this week, it is not small talk. Hurricane Matthew devastated a number of islands in the Caribbean, including Haiti where the only bridge to our Festival site was knocked out. Dr. Wilner Pierre is now busy scrambling to find a new site. As far as we know all our brethren are okay in the Caribbean, but it is almost a certainty that many have suffered property damage. By the time you read this, Florida will have been affected by Matthew to a greater or lesser degree and many hundreds of thousands will have had their lives disrupted. I would like to mention that Mr. Terrence Kennell, an elder in Florida, died this Thursday. Dr. Meredith is planning to attend the Feast of Tabernacles in San Diego. Your prayers for Dr. Meredith and for all our ministers and members who are traveling during this Festival season are greatly appreciated.—GEW
Cerro de Pasco, Peru Relocation Project Update
Plans for the Cerro de Pasco, Peru emergency relocation are moving ahead! To date, we have received about $265,000 which includes some funds from the Church’s Disaster Relief Fund. Architectural plans have been completed, land acquired, a contractor has been selected and a non-profit entity, “Asociación para el desarrollo integral Villa Esperanza,” has been formed in Peru to receive the funds. Construction will be monitored by our minister, Sr. Aaron Bravo and his son, Maximilano. We expect to see construction beginning soon and we will keep you up to date on the progress!
Enough funds are now available to build the central hall and some of the houses, and the rest of the houses will be constructed as funds become available. In order to avoid putting an undue financial burden on the rest of the Church, we hope to raise the balance of the funds from sources outside of the Church. More contributions are not needed from LCG members until further notice.
Save the Date! Kansas City Family Weekend—December 30–January 1
Save the date! The Kansas City Family Weekend will be the weekend of December 30 through January 1. We have reserved the Airport Embassy Suites this year and will host our Bible Studies, services, and Saturday evening entertainment there. On Sunday, we’ll kick off the day with our Family Games contest, then continue with sports and leisure activities for all ages, including basketball, volleyball, backyard games, and children’s games. You can even go ga-ga for Ga-Ga Ball. Registration will open shortly after the Feast, but mark your calendars now!—Michael Keesee
Requests for Money via E-mail and Social Media—Must Read—Repeat Announcement
From time to time, brethren are contacted via e-mail or social media (including Facebook) by individuals claiming to be part of the Church, often overseas, asking for financial help. If you receive such a request, please exercise extreme caution, as most such messages are scams sent by people trying to get money under false pretenses. You would be wise not to send money based on e-mail or social media contact. And remember, the person contacting you may be impersonating someone you know. Please respond by referring any such contact to that person’s local Living Church of God pastor (or Headquarters if you don’t know who their pastor is). If there is a genuine need, their pastor will be in a better position to address it.
Maintaining Accurate Files—Repeat Announcement
We would like to remind all pastors and their assistants to notify Headquarters (or their International Regional Office, if it applies) promptly of ordinations, baptisms, new prospective members, departures, deaths, marriages, births and similar changes in our membership. The “Status Change” and “Ordination Notice” forms, available to all ministers in the MyLCG section of www.cogl.org, are tools for you to report this information to us. Having accurate and up-to-date files helps us in better planning Church programs and to ensure that literature and other communications are sent to the right people at the right location.
Feast of Tabernacles
The Feast Is Just Over One Week Away!
This will be the last announcement from the Festival Office before the Feast of Tabernacles. We now have almost 8,000 brethren registered for the Feast at 50 sites in 33 countries around the world. (Actual attendance will be more than that, because a number of our international congregations and sites do not use the online registration system.) We certainly hope and pray that all of our brethren around the world have a unifying, inspiring, and safe Feast of Tabernacles 2016!
Updated Sabbath Times/Contact Information for the Day of Atonement and the Sabbath of October 15
Please note than an updated chart listing the places, contact information, and times for Living Church of God services on the Day of Atonement and on the Sabbath of October 15 is now posted on the MyLCG Web site. Log in to your MyLCG account at the following address to access the chart: www.cogl.org. We hope this information will be helpful for you as you plan your travel, especially so you can minimize travel on God’s Sabbath. Pastors, thank you for sending in these details. If any of you have information yet to send us, or changes to be made, please do so and we will update the chart.
Opening Night Service—Repeat Announcement
The Opening Night service begins Sunday night, October 16. We advise you to make every effort to arrive at your Feast site in plenty of time to attend this opening service Sunday evening, the beginning of the Holy Day, which is the first day of the Feast. There will also be a special DVD welcome message from Dr. Meredith during this service. Check with your Festival Site Coordinator for the time of the Opening Night service at your site.
Chemical Sensitivities and Love for Our Brethren
We want to remind everyone to be aware while at the Feast of the sensitivities to perfumes and colognes that some of our brethren have. For some of our brethren, because of serious allergies, walking by someone with a lot of perfume or cologne is not just uncomfortable but can send them to the Emergency Room. Let’s use extra care to show love to others in this way at the Feast—please use moderation.
Important Announcement for Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan, Feast-Goers!
Cypress Hills has had two feet of snow this week, and with the temperatures being forecasted, this snow may be on the ground for a week or more. Please make sure you bring your coats, boots, mittens, hats and other warm clothing. Also, please make sure your vehicle is winter ready, with windshield de-icer, snow brush and shovels. God will provide for and protect His people, yet we have to be wise and do our part. See you soon in this beautiful, millennial, and maybe white setting.—Marc Arseneault
Instructions for Accessing Feast Services by Internet and Telephone (Updated Instructions)
While many of us prepare to leave our homes to attend this annual highlight of the year, let us not forget those who cannot attend the Feast because of health reasons. Our shut-ins will be in our thoughts and prayers during this Feast, that they may be uplifted and inspired, though under less-than-ideal circumstances. If you will not be able to attend the Feast, please take note that many of our Festival sites will offer remote, live services to shut-ins in the areas assigned to that Feast site. Some sites will offer either live-stream (Internet), telephone hook-up or both. Here are instructions for connecting to video or audio live streaming:
Live-Stream Access to Services during the Feast
- Go to the Web site: www.lcgwebcast.org
- Click on the “Request Password” link in the top center of the page.
- Find your assigned Feast site and click on “Request Password.” Please e-mail the password contact to request a password.
- Once you receive the password, click on the highlighted “Congregation” link and enter password to access services.
Telephone Access to Services during the Feast
If you would like access to telephone hook-up information for your assigned site (if the site is offering it), please contact the Festival Site Coordinator directly. The names and contact information for the USA Festival Site Coordinators are below. For international sites, please contact the Regional Office.
- California, San Diego: Stephen Elliott, email@example.com, 949-293-9086
- Florida, Panama City Beach: Anthony Stroud, firstname.lastname@example.org, 336-416-7337
- Michigan, Traverse City: William Long, email@example.com,248-489-0453
- Missouri, Osage Beach: Gene Hilgenberg,firstname.lastname@example.org, 417-483-8365
- Oregon, Seaside: Brandon Fall, email@example.com, 253-292-0698
- Vermont, Mount Snow: Jonathan McNair, firstname.lastname@example.org,516-724-4452
- South Carolina, Hilton Head Island: James Sweat,email@example.com, 423-653-8746
- Tennessee, Gatlinburg: Ronald Poole, firstname.lastname@example.org, 864-906-4985
- Texas, Lake Conroe: Gary Stein, email@example.com, 940-395-9984
- Utah, St. George: Rodger Bardo, firstname.lastname@example.org, 602-910-1086
Be sure to take a hymnal (one or two songbooks per household) from your local congregation’s supply for use at the Feast, if you don’t have a personal hymnal to take. For those who do take a congregational (blue) hymnal, please be sure to bring the same hymnal(s) back to your congregation after the Feast, so that the number of hymnals returned to each congregation is equal to the number of hymnals taken. Please make sure that all hymnals are clearly marked as to which congregation they belong.
2016 Festival Survey—Repeat Announcement
Every year we take a survey to get valuable feedback from brethren attending the Feast. We will again have the Festival Survey available online, as well as having paper survey forms handed out at the Feast. The Web address for filling out the Feast survey will be fotsurvey.lcg.org. We ask everyone at the Feast to be sure to fill out the survey form (either the hard copy or the online version) during the Feast, as it provides us with helpful information to assist with Festival planning for future years.
Living Youth Program
Friday Evening Teen Bible Studies Resume November 4
The Friday evening online Teen Bible Studies are scheduled to resume after the Feast of Tabernacles, on Friday evening, November 4. The topic of that study will be Lesson 22 of the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course: “What Is God’s Purpose for Mankind?” Instructions for joining the Bible Studies will be available after the Feast on the Living Youth Web site athttp://www.livingyouth.org.—Sh
Be Lights at the Feast: The Feast of Tabernacles is the highlight of the sacred year. It pictures the soon-coming Kingdom of God when the saints will rule with Jesus Christ and bring peace to the earth. It will truly be a joyous time! To keep us mindful of this major step in the Plan of God, we are commanded to “keep the Feast of the LORD for seven days” and to “rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days… It shall be a statute forever” (Leviticus 23:39-44). The New Testament clearly indicates that Jesus kept the Feast and told His brothers, “You go up to this feast” (John 7:2-39). We also read in Zechariah 14:16 that “all the nations” will keep the Feast of Tabernacles in the coming Kingdom of God. As we rejoice at the Feast, we need to remember Jesus’ instructions that we are to be “lights” and examples to those around us (Matthew 5:13-16). How we conduct ourselves at the Feast and how we relate to everyone we meet—in services, in hotels, at restaurants—will either reflect positively or negatively on God’s Church and His way of life. As “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20), let’s all strive to let our light shine to everyone we come into contact with.
Have a profitable Sabbath and a wonderful Feast,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—October 6, 2016
Behind U.S.-Israeli Military Ties: Despite the seemingly troubled relationship between Israel and Washington, America continues to provide 15-20 percent of Israel’s military budget. U.S. military gifts to Israel include the highly advanced F-35 fighter jet (Deutsche Welle, September 14, 2016). Some wonder why America is so supportive of Israel. Is it because Israel is a lone democracy in the Middle East, or because of a strong pro-Israel lobby in Washington? Or is there another factor that sheds light on this special relationship? Bible prophecy and an understanding of national identities provide valuable insights that are seldom mentioned today. The Bible reveals that following the captivity of the ancient nations of Israel and Judah, their descendants dispersed abroad. While many of the captive peoples of Judah returned to Palestine, the “lost tribes” of the nation of Israel migrated into northwestern Europe, and many of their descendants later moved on to America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. As descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, many peoples in these Israelite countries are actually “cousins.” The real reason that America is such a strong supporter of Israel today has more to do with “blood” than it does politics or money. This profound truth provides important insights into the geopolitics of today. For more details about the connections between America, Israel, and British-descended nations, read or listen to our booklet The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy.
U.S. Surrenders Internet Control: “Since the dawn of the Internet, the world wide web has been controlled by the U.S. government’s Commerce Department. As of Saturday [October 1, 2016], the American government is no longer in charge” (International Business Times, October 3, 2016). This surrender was “the last vestige of American control, or even influence, over what is done with critical functions of the Internet” (Breitbart, September 28, 2016). But why does this control matter? Former UN ambassador John Bolton warned, “within 10 years it will come under the control of the United Nations, and the Internet as we know it will end because there are governments around the world that are already doing everything they can to prevent a free and open Internet in their countries, and it will extend to ours in due course” (Breitbart, September 22, 2016). Senator Ted Cruz also warned of “diluting American power and thus creating space for rogue actors such as China, Russia and Iran to wield greater influence over web access… [nation] states not bound by the U.S. Constitution” (Washington Times, September 29, 2016). Ultimately, this action could impact the ability of the Church to preach the Gospel to the world! God warned the modern Israelite nations “I will break the pride of your power” and “you shall be defeated by your enemies” for despising His laws. God also warned “those who hate you shall reign over you” (Leviticus 26:17-19). The surrender of U.S. control of the Internet is a sobering reminder of the validity of God’s words. For more information, watch our telecast “The United States in Prophecy.”
California Earthquakes Worry Seismologists: Last week, “a rapid succession of small earthquakes—three measuring above magnitude 4.0—began rupturing near Bombay Beach [California], continuing for more than 24 hours. Before the swarm started to fade, more than 200 earthquakes had been recorded… The temblors were not felt over a very large area, but they have garnered intense interest—and concern—among seismologists. It marked only the third time since earthquake sensors were installed there in 1932 that the area had seen such a swarm, and this one had more earthquakes than the events of 2001 and 2009” (LA Times, October 1, 2016). The earthquakes “hit in a seismic zone just south of where the mighty San Andreas fault ends” (ibid.). Successive quakes near the San Andreas fault worry seismologists because they fear the quakes could trigger a reaction from the mighty fault and trigger the “big one.” Geologists say that California is long-overdue for the “big one”—a major rupture of the San Andreas fault that could cause extreme damage throughout southern California. Bible prophecy reveals that the “big one” will come one day—but not just in California. Jesus warned that one of the signs of the end of the age would be “great earthquakes in various places” (Luke 21:11). Reports like this bear watching. For more on this timely topic, be sure to read Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return.—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater and Justin Ridgeway