October 26, 2006

Greetings from Charlotte, 

We are receiving reports that brethren around the world have had a very inspiring Feast of Tabernacles.  Many positive comments have been made about sermons, attitudes, activities and fellowship that are very encouraging.  Regrettably, some are struggling to get over colds and flu that they contracted during the Festival period.  The office staff here in Charlotte are all back and getting into regular routines.   Mr. Meredith is writing a semi-annual letter.  He and Mr. Ames are preparing to tape television programs over the next several weeks, and we are looking forward to the next Council of Elders meeting in mid-November.   

Prior to the Feast, I made two trips to South Africa to look into a situation there dealing with the ministry.  Between the trips, Mr. and Mrs. Hull decided to leave the LCG and go to another group.  In spite of claims made in letters on the Internet, the issues we were concerned about in South Africa involved administrative matters and how people were being treated.  It was sad to see the Hulls depart after working with the Church for so many years.  Mr. Rod King traveled to South Africa to keep the Feast with 85 people.  Regrettably, the Hulls had to be disfellowshiped and marked because they have been attempting to pull people out of LCG.  A younger minister and his family and a few others have also decided to depart.  However, the majority of the brethren in South Africa have seen through this attempt to disrupt the Church in that country.   

On my earlier trip to Africa, I also visited our members in Tanzania and went over Feast plans with our host, Mr. Chembe, and then flew on to Nairobi, Kenya to visit our host Mr. Muthama and brethren there.  Mr. and Mrs. Henry Cooper (an elder from Ireland) were able to spend the Feast in Kenya with about 165 brethren, and Mr. Rick Stafford (an elder from the USA) was able to spend the Feast with some 30 brethren in Tanzania.  

This week, Mr. Clyde Kilough, President of the United Church of God, and Mr. Jim Franks, Operations Manager for Ministerial Services of the United Church of God, paid an informal visit to our Headquarters here in Charlotte. They toured the office facility and met our Headquarters staff. It was a cordial visit and provided us with an opportunity to communicate about mutual concerns facing the Church of God.   


Prayer Request: Mr. Larry Rawson (Tampa, Florida, Elder). Your prayers are requested on behalf of Larry Rawson, elder in the Tampa, Florida, congregation. Mr. Rawson has been unable to work or attend services for more than three months due to debilitating back pain. He was recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma—cancer of the bone—which has settled in his back and skull. The pain has diminished somewhat recently, but he is still unable to get around much. 

Singles Activity and Family Dance in Charlotte. Those planning to attend the Singles Activity and Family Dance in Charlotte this coming December are asked to please send an e-mail to events@lcgsingles.org containing the following information: Your full name; contact information; arrival and departure dates; flight information (if you require airport shuttle service), including airline name, flight number and arrival/departure times. Also indicate whether you prefer to stay at a local hotel (we are currently negotiating reduced prices with local hotels) or at a Church member’s home.  

Feast of Tabernacles. We hope you all had a wonderful Feast, and a pleasant trip home.  We appreciate the hard work of all of the festival coordinators, assistants, and their staff to make the 2006 Feast a success!  Most importantly, thanks go to our Father and Jesus Christ for their protection, guidance, and inspiration for this highlight of the year!  As our minds turn to the year 2007, we will be evaluating improvements that need to be made, and we appreciate your input.  If you did not get the hardcopy version of the 2006 Feast of Tabernacles Festival Survey during the Feast, please take a few moments to fill out the online survey form within the next week, before November 5.  Contact your local festival advisor if you need help.  These surveys are very important for future planning.  To access the online festival survey, go to www.cogl.org and click on the link that says “Festival Survey.”—Festival Office 

Texas Update: Everything went well for Dr. Winnail’s visit to the area over the Trumpets weekend. We had a ministerial dinner and meeting at our house while he was here. I have been able to meet with three Area Pastors for planning and keeping in touch. A tentative date is in the works for a luncheon meeting soon with the last Area Pastor. These “half-way-between” get-togethers are very profitable in working as a regional team.—Charles Bryce 

North Florida Update: I am continuing to average one to two GOTOs per week. We have a new couple and another prospective member in Ocala. We also have a new person attending in Jacksonville and another couple attending in Live Oak. I conducted one baptism this month [September].—Scott Winnail  

Attention Pastors, Deacons and Video Recipients (Not to be Announced): Please consider whether anyone in your congregation might be qualified, as well as interested, in applying for the position below.  If so, you should contact the Assistant Director of Church Administration (Mr. Rod McNair) or Human Resources (Suzanne Pyle) at 704-844-1970. 

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT ANALYST for nonprofit church.  Gather, analyze + implement international economic/growth statistics.  Min. BA in International Business or Economics.    


Mr. Wayne Pyle reports: This weekend we aired the first new program since our re-run season began back in July, and the response is tracking to be well over 3,000. We aired program #279, “Signs of the Second Coming,” which offered the booklet Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return! This booklet has been offered on the Tomorrow’s World television program more than any other—36 times over the past five years since the booklet was first printed. This weekend was the 37th time. From Thursday through Sunday, we received 2,601 phone calls, and we are expecting the final count for the week to go over 3,300. This will be only the third time to break the 3,000-mark for the Fourteen Signs booklet.  

Our new TV station here in Charlotte, WAXN-TV, is doing great! It started broadcasting the Tomorrow’s World program on October 1. Since then, it has generated 163 phone calls at an overall cost per response under $11.00. Charlotte’s WAXN-TV is most certainly a keeper! Now, we have local coverage by the Inspiration Network (INSP), WHKY-TV and WAXN-TV; and all three TV stations are producing superb results in the Charlotte metropolitan area.  


Savoring the Big Picture.  God’s people have just observed another cycle of Holy Days—seven annual festivals that picture God’s Plan for mankind.  The Scriptures reveal that this plan is a mystery to most people today (I Corinthians 1:26-27; 2:7-8).  Do we really grasp the incredible opportunity we have been given to understand the purpose of life and how God is working out His plan on earth?  Are we excited about the opportunity we have to prepare to rule with Jesus Christ when He returns to establish the Kingdom of God—as pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles?   Do we rejoice in the knowledge that all people who have ever lived will have an opportunity to understand these same glorious truths—as pictured by the Last Great Day?  I hope we can savor the privilege of understanding the “Big Picture” that we are reminded of every year as we observe God’s Holy Days.  Let’s not take this understanding for granted or let go of these remarkable truths.  Let’s use the coming year to grow and bear fruit that God can use as He prepares His “firstfruits” for His kingdom. 

Have a profitable Sabbath,

Douglas S. Winnail 

NEWS AND PROPHECY—October 26, 2006 

European Liberals fight for Power.  Liberal Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are creating a new political party that will strengthen their voting power. Their platform will include “the recognition of traditional values; based on the Judeo-Christian heritage of Europe” and the “conservation of our identity.” This is yet one more reference to efforts within Europe to return to its religious roots. They also plan to focus on Europe’s cultural diversity as a factor of its richness and also unify to resist the entrance of predominantly Muslim Turkey into the EU. Upon reviewing the agenda of this group, a conservative MEP accused the group of “standing for Europe’s bloody past” (EU Observer, October 23, 2006). The Bible warns of a Beast in Europe at the end time that will be supported by and give support to a great mother church (Revelation 17:1-5). This power will consist of an unstable mixture of nations (Daniel 2:33, Revelation 17:12-13). Creation of this “liberal” party within the EU parliament would serve to further support Bible prophecy.  

Untreatable Tuberculosis Strains. The World Health Organization (WHO) held an urgent September meeting in Johannesburg, regarding a deadly tuberculosis strain called XDR-TB, which is nearly untreatable with standard drugs. People living in areas with high rates of HIV infection and limited health care are at the greatest risk. Resistant TB strains like this one have been identified in all regions of the globe, but are particularly prevalent in Asia, Africa and the former Soviet Union. Once a victim contracts one of these strains, death usually results within 25 days. One recent South African TB outbreak may be traced to the overuse of anti-tuberculosis drugs. The situation is “extremely scary,” according to Dr. Mario Raviglione, who directs the WHO’s tuberculosis program. “If the strain keeps spreading, it could exceed by ‘hundreds of times’ the outbreak of drug-resistant tuberculosis in New York City in the 1990s” (New York Times, September 6, 2006). In his booklet, Does God Heal Today?, Roderick C. Meredith writes about mammoth plagues prophesied to soon strike the nations “Doctors and hospitals will be overwhelmed with the sick and dying. Those who have not learned to trust God will have nowhere to turn.” But those who know their God and trust in Jesus Christ can be spared: “So you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you” (Exodus 23:25). 

Human Organs for Sale. China’s death row prisoners are known to be used as organ donors. For $94,400, you can obtain a human liver, along with a certification from the chief surgeon confirming that an executed prisoner could be the donor. The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes visited No. 1 Central Hospital in Tianjin, supposedly seeking a liver for his ailing father; he was told a match could be available in three weeks. In 2005, 1,770 people are known to have been executed in China, but the actual figure could be much higher (BBC, September 27, 2006; Reuters, September 12, 2006). A kidney will net the seller $1,000 in India and $2,700 in Turkey. Organ harvesting is also practiced in the Czech Republic and the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Other human body parts valued for harvesting include lungs, corneas, bones, tendons and heart valves. The poor are exploited by being paid a pittance for their body parts, while the middlemen reap a fortune (CNN, October 1, 2002). God predicted that at the end of the age human beings would be sold, but not until the modern age of medicine could the full horror of the practice be realized. “And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her [fallen Babylon], for no one buys their merchandise anymore… and the bodies and souls of men” (Revelation 18:13). The full meaning of these scriptures is now becoming more evident thanks to the power of modern media.—Don Davis, Scott Winnail

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COGwriter 2006