Dear Fellow Ministers, Elders and Wives,
Greetings from San Diego! Since Mr. Carl McNair has gone to "heaven" (actually Helena, Montana!), I am taking the opportunity to write you an overdue letter. Again, I want thank all of you for the service you render to God's people. I know that most of you ministers really give of yourselves in the Work, and I deeply appreciate this and thank God for it. Thank you!
God is continuing to bless the Work in many different ways. New people are coming in to us regularly and the income is gradually increasing. For instance, June is normally one of the weakest months of the year as far as financial income. But this year, June was our biggest month of the year for tithes and offerings! We received over $412,000 income this past month! This brought our year to date income to exactly 78.4 percent of last year's (when we were all together in Global) and put our first six months' income up over 2.75 million dollars. So we are very thankful to God for moving on the hearts of His people to provide this money for the Work.
Fellows, we certainly had a wonderful sense of unity and love in our recent major ministerial conferences here in San Diego and back in Mississippi. I now know more than ever that you men and wives are truly with me and with Jesus Christ in really doing a heartfelt work of preaching the full Truth. At this point, I want to ask all of you for your zealous cooperation in ways that will bring the field churches and all of us closer together in the unity that we know Jesus Christ desires in His Church.
We have many video groups around the country that are so small they may not have a qualified sermonette speaker in their ranks. Therefore, Headquarters will be sending out every other month a video of five selected Headquarters sermonettes. These sermonettes from San Diego may be used to augment the sermonette speaking time slot in areas where you don't have anyone to carry that responsibility.
In groups and churches where you do have sermonette speakers, the tape should be put into your library for people to check out and view at home.
This brings me to another point.
Many of the ministers and people in leadership positions who are no longer with us made it a point of not playing Headquarters' sermon tapes during Sabbath services. They would either monopolize the speaking time or, in some cases, even play tapes from other affiliations. This, of course, should NOT be done in the Living Church! We need to ensure that the brethren with us do view—during Sabbath services—the "must play" tapes which come from San Diego. These tapes are designed to give the Church direction and cohesion. They generally involve major subjects which I feel need to be addressed.
Also, after the videos have been played in a group or church that needs them for Sabbath sermons, they and the audio tapes should be placed in the Church Library for members to take home. If a video tape is not needed in an area where you have sermon presenters, then put the video and audio in the library for home use. Many of the brethren want to hear or see these tapes and this will also help point them to Headquarters here in San Diego.
Please also provide Tomorrow's World videos that you have used in services for Church Library circulation. And, as we discussed during the conference, please play the video of a Tomorrow's World program in place of the sermonette about once a month. Most of our brethren in this country do not have cable and cannot get WGN. Seeing and hearing the TV program will certainly encourage them and tie them in with San Diego and the Work Christ is doing here.
Also, now that the Worldwide Church of God is pushing full steam ahead for "Sunday only" church attendance, and dropping the Sabbath altogether, many of the people who have stayed with them so long are beginning to walk out. They are looking for a Sabbath-keeping church that will be willing to accept them.
Please be sure that Living brethren understand that these folks should be treated with the utmost respect and friendship as they struggle with the difficult decision of changing churches. We all know the trauma and difficulty we faced when we had to leave Worldwide. The trauma for these people is no less severe. And we, as their brothers and sisters, should help them in every way we can to make the transition. Many are expressing fear as to how they might be greeted, if they darkened the door of the Living Church. Let's make sure that our people greet them with love and concern and thankfulness that they have decided to check us out and possibly come to where the Truth they want to hold on to is taught and where they can observe the Sabbath in freedom from fear.
Additionally, Fred Dattolo, our Treasurer, wanted me to remind you that the Church—according to the IRS safe harbor rule for accountable reimbursement plans, which is what we use—is prohibited from reimbursing you any expense that is older than 60 days. In other words, any receipts we receive which you are submitting for reimbursement must not be more than 60 days old. For phone bills, the date of the bill must not be more than 60 days old. If you wait too long to send in your receipts, we cannot reimburse you! He also wanted me to remind you that you must document meal receipts with the date, location, business purpose of the meal, and the names of those receiving the meal. Again, this is an IRS requirement. So please remember to TAKE TIME to get your expense reports in within 60 days. We do not want to hurt or penalize anyone. But neither do we want to get in trouble with the IRS. So please cooperate and do your part!
Fellows, I will deeply appreciate your sincere cooperation in helping us with all of these above situations. And I hope—as we discussed during the conferences—that you will join me and others here in heartfelt prayer that God will give us the depth of love, of a sense of service and of living FAITH so that more of the gifts of the spirit may be manifest in the ministry before too much longer! Let us who understand really pray and FAST about this! You all know that our brother, Mr. Don Contardi, is dying of cancer unless God heals. You have heard that Mrs. Terrence Graves is in the same situation. And now I hear that a member of the wonderful Scarborough family in Kansas City, Jody Scarborough, has a worsening diabetic condition and is in danger of having to have a foot removed from her body! So let all of us CRY OUT to God about these situations—and many others we may be aware of—and ask God to finally, at the end of this age, begin to "pour out" His Spirit upon us in a way we have not seen for many, many years. If we all band together and pray together in this way in FAITH, I know that God will hear in His time.
There is simply no one else doing the type of Work we are doing—as most of us realize. But let us do it even better! Let us more fully surrender our hearts and minds to Christ each day that He can use us as Spirit-led ministers to finish the Work of God.
May God be with and guide all of you and your families as you walk with Him. Thank you again for your love, your loyalty, your support and for your heartfelt service to the brethren around the world. Please pray for us here.
With Christian love,
Roderick C. Meredith