Greetings from Charlotte, 

We just mailed Mr. Meredith’s latest co-worker letter in which he is also commenting on “the most lengthy, drawn-out pre-election maneuverings, primaries and caucuses in American history.” Three public lectures are in the works during the months of February and March. Mr. Richard Ames will present a lecture in Barbados, West Indies, on February 24. He will be assisted by Messrs. Paul Shumway and Dexter Wakefield. The two other lectures will be conducted by Mr. Ken Frank in Virginia, one in Winchester on March 1, and the other in Williamsburg on March 22.  

Before leaving Johannesburg, Dr. Doug Winnail sent us the following message: “This past Sabbath we had about 60 brethren attend services here in Johannesburg. During the service, Mr. Rod King, Mr. van der Byl and I ordained Mr. Simon Muthama as an elder. Mr. Muthama is our office manager in Nairobi, Kenya. We began our South African Regional Conference with 25 in attendance. During this trip, we have been filming portions of the services and meetings for future use. We will do a bit of touring tomorrow and then I will fly to Frankfurt, Germany, on Wednesday evening with arrival in Brussels on Thursday morning. The congregations in South Africa are stable and the brethren warm and focused—and excited about new contacts that are coming in.” Dr. Winnail will return home next Sunday.  

This week’s comments are written by Mr. Rod McNair, the youngest minister in the Church Administration Department, at Headquarters.   

Church Administration 

Northeast Update 

Mr. Jonathan McNair writes: My family and I had a fine Sabbath with the Worcester congregation last weekend. We covered lesson 11 of the Living Leadership Course during the service, and followed with the same theme for Spokesman Club and our Women’s Educational Program. The Women’s Educational Program has been a great tool to develop bonds between the women. One of the goals was to establish a mechanism to put the words of Paul to Titus into effect, when he instructed Titus to encourage the older women in the Church to “admonish the young women….”  In regard to growth, January brought us 21 GOTOs, with eight people attending for the first time… By the way, the Spokesman Club in New Jersey is absolutely on fire! We have 15-17 men in attendance each time and many have commented that it is the best club experience they have ever had.  They just really have a fine chemistry together—it is a joy to be with them.  

South Florida Update 

According to Mr. Paul Shumway, the Crocketts visit to Tampa last weekend broke an attendance record. He wrote, “We thoroughly enjoyed the Crocketts’ visit—we broke the 50 barrier—we had 53 in attendance! And right on the heels of 83 in Ft. Lauderdale the previous week! We counseled five individuals for baptism in Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday and Monday.  Then, I invited five in Tampa to services. Two new individuals showed up. I contacted two of those who didn’t make it and both expressed regret that something came up and they were unable to attend.” 

New Zealand Update 

Mr. Kinnear Penman reports: In January the contract with Prime TV to broadcast the Tomorrow’s World program came up for renewal and we were required to tender for our time slot. I can now say that our tender was successful and we will remain on nationwide TV at 8:00 a.m. on Sundays. During January, we added 238 new subscribers as a result of the telecast and we received 453 responses overall. First-time callers constitute about 53% of calls each week.  

Spanish Update 

Mr. Mario Hernandez left today for Lima, Peru. From there, he will drive to Cerro de Pasco to spend the Sabbath with our congregation there and to perform a marriage ceremony. On Sunday, he will travel to a location in the Andes region to visit a potential Feast site for 2008. Your prayers for his successful trip to Peru are appreciated. The Spanish Work is also pleased to announce that it finished the translation of lesson 5 of the Living Leadership Course. This course will benefit our Spanish-speaking brethren.    

2008 Arizona Prom! 

Mark the date! To be exact: April 26, the Last Day of Unleavened Bread. The Arizona congregations cordially invite one and all to a special event in Phoenix. It begins with double services on the Last Day of Unleavened Bread followed by a special ‘50s style dinner and dance on Saturday evening. Plans are to journey back, for a brief moment that evening, to the 1950s—dusting off those dancing shoes or vintage prom dresses for our 2008 “Prom” family dance.  

The cost for this very special family evening will be just $15/person or $25/couple, children under 12 do not pay. For further details and reservations, contact Mr. Ruben H. Lujan, Jr. at buenorock@hotmail.com or at 623-556-8240.  

Spring Holy Day Singles and Family Weekend in Upstate South Carolina 

The Anderson, South Carolina, congregation is pleased to announce the first Upstate South Carolina Singles & Family Weekend! The weekend is planned around the Last Day of Unleavened Bread—Saturday, April 26. The weekend will begin on Friday evening with a Singles Bible Study. Saturday’s events will include regular Holy Day services and a semi-formal/formal banquet and ball. On Sunday, Cleveland Park, near downtown Greenville, will be the setting of “A Day in the Park.”  

The Holy Day luncheon price is $15 for adults and $7.50 for children under 12. The banquet is $25 for adults and $12.50 for children under 12. There will be a nominal fee for the dance. For further details on this event and for registration, visit www.lcg-anderson.org, or contact the event coordinator, Manuel Burdette, at 864-638-7719 or at manuelburdette@charter.net.   

Feast of Tabernacles 2008 

Festival Update 

Last week, we attended the Religious Conference Management Association’s yearly meetings in Orlando, Florida. More than 1,400 conference managers, convention and visitors bureau personnel and hotel representatives attended.  Part of the program involved tutorial classes for meeting planners on topics such as contract negotiation, technology and meetings, legal issues, and crisis management.  We also were able to make valuable new contacts from all over the country during the general exhibit portion of the program. This was the association’s largest conference in its 36-year history. 

The Feast is eight months away! Contract negotiations are going forward well for 2008 Feast sites in the United States.  Five contracts for the United States have been signed as of this writing, and the remaining should not be far behind.  Three Canadian sites have been finalized as well.  Your prayers would be much appreciated for the completion of this phase, as we are already starting work on 2009!  Our coordinators are also hard at work with Feast preparations, in addition to their regular ministerial duties. Preparations overseas are going forward as well. 

We also enjoyed spending the Sabbath with brethren in Florida on the weekend (Crocketts in Tampa; McNairs in Jacksonville and Live Oak).  It was very good visiting with our hard-working local ministry, and to make acquaintance with old friends and brand new attendees (and the weather wasn’t bad either)!—Davy Crockett, Rod McNair


Based on various TV-viewer surveys done in the past, most of our Tomorrow’s World viewers belong to other churches, most of which are Protestant or Catholic. Therefore, the subject of the Christian Sabbath is not a popular one. Nevertheless, last week’s program generated a new high for requests of the booklet, Which Day Is the Christians Sabbath? 

Last weekend we aired program #319, “Should Christians Observe the Sabbath?” From Thursday through Sunday, we received 2,321 phone calls, requesting the booklet, Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath? We are projecting a final count over 3,200. It was the ninth time for the Christian Sabbath booklet to be offered on the telecast. The previous highest response from these offers came two years ago, when program #268, “Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath?” generated 2,985 replies. Last week’s telecast sets a new record.—Wayne Pyle 


A Land of Opportunity:  At the Religious Conference Management Association convention in Florida, which I attended with Mr. and Mrs. Davy Crockett a week ago, one of the inspirational speakers highlighted was Albert Mensah. Born in Ghana, Africa, Mr. Mensah lived the first 19 years of his life in poverty. He was raised in a mud hut, and as a small boy had to carry water with his brothers several miles every day, just to help his family survive. He saw his first movie (an American movie) when he was eight years old.  That movie changed his life--for what struck him was that all the people were wearing shoes!  It became his lifelong dream to come to America, which he eventually did. 

What so impressed Albert Mensah about the United States?  Even at eight years old, he recognized it was a land of opportunity.

We who live in the United States (or other Israelite countries), do we appreciate the opportunities that we have been given? If we can earn a living and have a reasonably comfortable and peaceful existence, do we really value it? We live in a land which has been a beacon of hope to millions of people around the world, because of the boundless blessings God gave to Abraham.  How much do we see it as a land of opportunity? 

Even more so, we in the Church of God have not only been given physical blessings, but we also have an opportunity to be part of the very Work of God! Surely, of all people, the opportunities placed before us are beyond description! Through God’s Spirit, we have been given the power to grow spiritually, overcome our problems, and achieve our own personal potential. And we have the privilege to help others do so as well! 

As we keep this Sabbath in peace, comfort and prosperity, let’s thank God for that precious commodity so rare in today’s world—opportunity!Rod McNair

Now that we have given you all this good news, we wish you a wonderful Sabbath!

Dibar Apartian

News and Prophecy—February 14, 2008

“Evil IS Good” in California Schools.  In May 2007, California passed State Bill 777, “prohibiting instruction or school-sponsored activities that promote a discriminatory bias against gender.” Because of the buying power of the California public schools and because textbook companies will likely not publish multiple versions of textbooks, California’s law will effectively dictate to textbook publishing companies what they may not publish in their textbooks—including remarks that could potentially disparage against transsexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality. Another related bill is feared to create “circumstances where a parent who says in the presence of a lesbian teacher that marriage is only for a man and a woman could be convicted of ‘harassment.’” The new laws designed to prevent discrimination against homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals, may in fact discriminate against those with traditional values (Worldnetdaily.com, February 10, 2008).  Long ago God warned His people—the modern-day descendents of the 12 tribes of Israel—“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness....And take away justice from the righteous man!... Because they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts….the anger of the LORD is aroused against His people…” (Isaiah 5:20-25). The recent legislation in California is an example of exactly what God warned against! 

Anglican Bishop Says, “Christians Do Not Go to Heaven!” The fourth-most-senior ranking bishop in the Church of England, in a recent interview with Time Magazine (February 7, 2008), admitted that the New Testament does not teach that Christians go to heaven or hell upon death. Although the bishop’s perspectives are not entirely biblically accurate, he makes the following comment about man’s future after the resurrection: “It’s more exciting than hanging around listening to nice music. In Revelation and Paul’s letters we are told that God’s people will actually be running the new world on God’s behalf. The idea of our participation in the new creation goes back to Genesis, when humans are supposed to be running the Garden and looking after the animals.”  Important to note is that the bishop’s comments are in opposition to historic Catholic teaching, and also to comments recently made by the Pope—that heaven, hell and purgatory are “fundamental themes” that basically need to appear more frequently in Catholic teaching (CatholicNewsAgency.com, February 11, 2007). As the Catholic Church takes an ever-growing role in the activities of the European Union, will dissident Anglicans be yet another barrier to Britain’s full entry to the EU, and even add to her future chastisement? God warned of a future time when Ephraim would be taken away captive. 

Will Britain Ever Fully Join the EU?  David Cameron, Conservative MP in Britain, has vowed to “tear up the EU treaty” that recently passed through the EU parliament.  As British Prime Minister Gordon Brown tries to push the new EU Treaty (formerly EU Constitution) through, without asking for voters’ approval as he promised, Conservative MPs are threatening the “biggest parliamentary showdown ever.” The risk however, is that “attempting to tear up a treaty after it has been agreed and made law across Europe would be fraught with difficulty and will put Britain on a collision course with other EU countries.” Some critics even suggest that trying to reverse “the treaty after it has been implemented could even lead to Britain being forced to leave the EU altogether…” (Daily Mail, December 31, 2007). Time will tell whether or not Britain will leave the “European Experiment” known as the European Union. However, the numerous prophecies against Israel, Judah and Ephraim listed in the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea and elsewhere, clearly indicate that a time of great punishment and captivity is coming on the Israelite-descended nations—punishment that will be perpetrated by a European-lead Beast power.—Joe Brown, Dan Bennett and Scott Winnail