Greetings from Charlotte,
Dr. Meredith continues to work on several very important articles and booklets, including a major article on the Protestant Reformation. It will appear serially in the Tomorrow’s World magazine, first in the March-April issue that will be expanded to accommodate a larger-than-normal kick-off article on the subject. He is also working on his autobiography, a project that many of us have encouraged him to finish, since he can contribute so much to the early history of the modern Church of God. His intimate knowledge of the Armstrongs and other key figures of the last six-plus decades is truly unique, and no one else can fill in the gaps as well as he can. Dr. Winnail has arrived safely in the U.K. for a short ministerial conference. Mr. and Mrs. Richard Ames are to be in Bluefield, West Virginia, this weekend, visiting the congregation and with Mr. and Mrs. Mark Sandor. We had a meeting with an outside firm to discuss creating a new opening and introduction to the Tomorrow’s World telecasts, something that has been badly needed for several years. We also held meetings regarding new booklets and ways to deliver the message to a greater variety of people.—GEW
U.S. Regions and Regional Pastors
For your information, the following is an outline of the Church’s administrative regions within the United States and the Regional Pastors over them:
The U.S. Headquarters region covers the Charlotte and Statesville, North Carolina, areas. Dr. Roderick Meredith is Regional Pastor.
The U.S. West region covers the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington State, and Wyoming. Dr. Jeffrey Fall is Regional Pastor.
The U.S. Southeast: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. Mr. Dan Hall is Regional Pastor.
The U.S. Northeast: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Mr. Jonathan McNair is Regional Pastor.
The U.S. Midwest: Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Mr. Rand Millich is Regional Pastor.
The U.S. Mideast: Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. Mr. Lambert Greer is Regional Pastor.
A few pastorates overlap two different regions. In such cases, the Area Pastor’s entire geographical area is automatically assigned to his designated administrative region.
Funeral for Mrs. Monique Dalle and Memorial Ceremony for All Who Died in Plane Crash
The funeral service for Mrs. Monique Dalle, LCG member who was on board EgyptAir flight 804 that crashed in the Mediterranean eight months ago, was held on Thursday, 19 January. About 200 friends, colleagues, and physical and spiritual family came to pay their respects and give moral support to the Dalle family. It was held in a hall that was graciously offered for use by the town mayor. Mrs. Dalle is remembered for her kindness, generosity, loyalty and her genuine love and concern for others. She was a Proverbs 31 woman, as Mr. and Mrs. Ray Clore wrote in their eulogy. I officiated at the service and her family participated, giving a personal tribute and reading a passage from 1 Corinthians 13. After the funeral service, her husband read Isaiah 12 at the graveside, then led in sprinkling the coffin with rose petals. Everyone followed suit as a last homage to Mrs. Dalle.
Two days earlier, on Tuesday, 17 January, my wife and I were privileged to accompany the Dalle family at the Reception Pavilion (where the President waits for his plane) at a ceremony for the families of those who died in the EgyptAir crash on May 19, 2016. We were most impressed by the support services the French authorities organized for the families. They were very considerate of the pain the families suffer. Mr. Dalle is president of the association of the families who lost loved ones and he worked at high government level to expedite the recovery of the bodies. His calm approach was very much appreciated by the other families as well as by the support services personnel.—Rees Ellis
Live Streaming and Passwords—Repeat Announcement
We are happy to see that more and more pastors are using technology to stay connected to their congregations. The Internet can be a powerful way to do that, especially as many brethren are geographically spread out and the pastor can’t be in the same congregation every week. With that in mind, we ask you, brethren, please do not share passwords outside of your area. Your pastor’s sermons are prepared and designed with your local congregation in mind—not for brethren across the country or around the world.
From experience, we have seen that some brethren stay at home instead of going to services if they can watch a streamed service from another congregation. Church services are a commanded assembly, where we are not only attending to learn, but also to “stir up love and good works… exhorting one another” (Hebrews 10:24-25). God’s word warns us that as the end draws near, we should not forsake “the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some” (verse 25). With that in mind, please make every effort to attend when you can (of course, stay home if you are sick!). And when you do view or listen to your pastor’s messages from home, please do not share the password outside your pastor’s area.
Passover 2017—Repeat Announcement
Important Notice to All Pastors: In 2017, the Passover Service will be observed on Sunday evening, April 9. Please let us know as soon as possible if any of the congregations you serve will need additional Passover Service supplies (bread trays and/or wine trays or glasses) or a copy of the Passover Service recording and letter instructions (available in English, French and Spanish). The Passover Service recording for 2017 has been made by Mr. Peter Nathan. To ensure timely delivery and to save on shipping costs, we need this information before February 13 for international congregations, and by March 13 for U.S. congregations.
Also, please let us know of any scattered members who are unable to keep the Passover with a congregation and who need to receive the Passover Service recording and letter instructions for observing it at home. International requests should be received before February 13 and U.S. requests before March 13. Please direct your requests to the Church Administration Department at email@example.com as soon as possible.
Amazon Smile—A Free, Easy Way To Help the Church Financially—Repeat Announcement
If you ever make purchases using Amazon, please consider using Amazon Smile. Just shop at smile.amazon.com, and 0.5 percent of the price of your eligible purchases will be donated to the Church. Just sign in at smile.amazon.com and select the Living Church of God as your charity. You can then purchase the same products at the same prices, but Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase to LCG. This is a free, easy way for you to make a donation to the Church, and if we all do this, this can result in thousands of dollars a year in extra contributions that we can put to work preaching the Gospel around the world. Thank you for your prayers and your support of God’s Work!—Wyatt Ciesielka
Improved Online Donations Interface—Repeat Announcement
Many people now make purchases, pay bills and do their banking online, so a few months ago we deployed a new, secure online donations system to make it more user-friendly to pay tithes or make offerings online. The feedback is that people really like this new system. Online donations reduce paperwork for you, and they also reduce paperwork and administrative time for headquarters. Then, in December, we added functionality to the donations system to support “recurring” donations. Many of us in the office, and increasing numbers around the world, have been using the “recurring donations” feature for the past few weeks, and it works great. It is easy to set up. Just click the “donate” link at the bottom of the Web sites.
Feast of Tabernacles
2017 Festival Advisor Survey
Pastors: Next week, Headquarters will be sending out a survey to pastors worldwide, to select your Festival Advisors from each congregation. The deadline for responding to that e-mail survey will be Monday, February 13. When you get the e-mail survey, please respond as soon as possible—this is a vital step in preparing for Festival registration. If you are a pastor and do not get the advisor survey in your e-mail NEXT WEEK, please contact the Festival office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2017 Festival Service Survey Coming
Pastors: As we do every year, we will soon be sending you a survey to ask for your recommendations of individuals in your areas to serve at the Feast. Service areas include sermonettes, song-leading, piano accompaniment, choir director, special music, etc. Please be watching your e-mail for this survey.
Living Youth Program
Living Youth Programs 2016 Camp Pictorials Now Available
Living Youth Programs is happy to announce immediate availability of the 2016 Camp Pictorials covering the Ohio Teen and Adventure Camps that took place last year. If you are interested in receiving a copy, please e-mail email@example.com. Although the pictorial albums are available free of charge, we would appreciate a donation, if possible, to help cover our costs.
Friday Evening Online Teen Bible Study
The online Teen Bible Study on Friday evening, February 3, will be on “The Last Great Day—God’s Master Plan Completed!” This is Lesson 31 of the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course. If you haven’t had the opportunity to join us for one of the online Bible Studies, we encourage you to do so. It is a wonderful way to start the Sabbath day.
The Bible Study runs from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. (Eastern time) and the chat room will be open for a half hour before and after the study. You can find instructions for joining the Bible Study and also access it at livingyouth.org. We hope as many of our youth as possible will join us for this wonderful opportunity for godly fellowship and learning. For those of you who are unable to make it to the study, archives of previous Living Youth Bible Studies, including last evening’s on “The Feast of Tabernacles—When the Whole World Will Be Called,” can be found on the Living Youth Web site.—Sheldon Monson
Humility—Key to Unity: David wrote, “How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1). The Apostle Paul urged Christians to “walk worthy” of your calling “with all lowliness and gentleness… endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3). He stated that the work of the ministry is to edify (build up) the body (the Church) “till we all come to the unity of the faith” (Ephesians 4:12-13). Paul also told contentious Corinthians that they should be “perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). But what causes contentions to disrupt unity? The Scriptures reveal that pride is an underlying cause of contentions (Proverbs 13:10) and that pride will contribute to a person’s downfall (Proverbs 16:18). Insisting on doing things our own way also causes dissentions and strife (James 4:1). However, humility will eventually bring a person honor (Proverbs 15:33; 29:23) and will promote peace and unity (James 3:17-18). Jesus Christ was of “one mind” with His Father (John 10:30), and He was exalted because He humbled Himself and followed His Father’s instructions (Philippians 2:5-9). As Christians, we need to be subject to government (within and without the Church) and respect authority (Romans 13:1-2) and treat each other with respect (Romans 12:10-18). As we develop and exercise this kind of humility, we will promote unity.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—January 26, 2017
Watching Ephraim and Manasseh: A recent 70-nation meeting in France saw Great Britain side with Israel and Australia against the majority. “Instead of demonstrating international consensus as intended by France under President Francois Hollande, the summit turned into a showdown between France and the United Kingdom over Israel” (Jerusalem Post, January 19, 2017). This comes on the heels of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech outlining how the U.K. will break from the European Union (New York Times, January 17, 2017). Australia is also one of the first nations to open trade talks with Britain following the Brexit vote (Politico, January 22, 2017). Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has intentions of moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem (The Economist, December 24, 2016). Prime Minister Theresa May will also be the first foreign leader to visit the newly elected Donald Trump, continuing a special relationship that Mr. Trump promised to make an even closer one (Telegraph, January 24, 2017). Long ago, God warned that because of their rejection of Him, He would allow the Israelite-descended nations to go into an end-time captivity. Students of Bible prophecy should know that these nations—the U.K., Israel, Australia, the U.S.—are bound together as some of the modern nations of Israel, and that the world will eventually begin to turn against them. For more on this coming reality, read or listen to The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy.
Will the U.S. and U.K. Help Galvanize Europe? The Times reported that “Angela Merkel is pressing for a meeting with Donald Trump after he caused ‘astonishment and agitation’ among European leaders with broadsides at Nato, the EU and the German chancellor herself’” (January 17, 2017). Bloomberg reports, “European governments called for cool heads and tighter unity as they reacted with shock to President-elect Donald Trump’s remarks slamming NATO and predicting European Union nations would follow the U.K. out of the bloc” (January 16, 2017). According to Bloomberg, Italy’s junior minister for European Affairs remarked, “If the Europeans want to be protagonists, and not just spectators, they have to work closer together and accelerate on a common security and defense policy.” In a similar spirit, the French Foreign Minister commented, “The best way to defend Europe… is to remain united, to stand together, not to forget that the strength of Europeans is their unity.” In another interview related to Mr. Trump, Chancellor Merkel commented, “We Europeans have our fate in our own hands” (Deutsche Welle, January 16, 2017). The Bible prophesies that, at the end of the age, a number of European nations led by ten kings or leaders will coalesce together under the leadership of the German-led beast (see Revelation 17). This final group has yet to emerge from the current configuration of the EU. But Brexit and new U.S. leadership, among other events, could help push these nations together. For more insight, watch our telecast “The Beast of Revelation.”
Social Media Increases Anxiety and Depression: Britain’s National Health Service views too much social media use as harmful! There is a “mental health crisis among children as [the] selfie culture sees cases of anxiety rise by 42 per cent in five years… reflecting a generation under pressure from ‘around the clock’ social media, fuelling bullying, insecurity and concern about body image… Girls were twice as likely as boys to be diagnosed with the condition [anxiety]” (The Telegraph, January 22, 2017). The U.K. is not alone. “A large-scale University of Pittsburgh study of young adults indicated that heavy social media users are almost three times more likely to be depressed than occasional users… In Canada… young people who use social media more than two hours per day are much more likely to rate their mental health as ‘fair’ or ‘poor’ compared with occasional users” (Huffington Post, September 14, 2016). The Bible states, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad” (Proverbs 12:25). Sadly, more people today come from broken homes and have fast-paced lives lacking real personal interaction. Many seek acceptance through social media and online relationships. The return of Jesus Christ will see a rebuilding of strong family relationships (Malachi 4:5) that will lead to lasting joy for future generations of adults and children (Isaiah 65:20-25; Zechariah 8:4-5). To learn more about this important issue, watch our telecast “Satan’s War on the Family.”—Scott Winnail, Charles Moore, Francine Prater, and Justin Ridgeway