September 9th, 2021
Greetings from Charlotte,
Let all of us be thankful if we are able to attend the Feast in person this year. The United Kingdom, Europe, and Africa are expected to have 24 Festival sites, as members are not able to freely cross some borders due to COVID-19. Vaccine mandates are forcing some members to remain in locations where we do not have a minister. On the positive side, South Africa may be loosening restrictions, which will allow larger gatherings. Mr. Herbert Armstrong used to say, “Pray as though it all depends on God, and do your part as though it all depends on you.” Brethren, during this trying time, we can and we must go to our Creator and faithfully pray for Him to do that which we cannot do for ourselves. We must then do what we can do. Perhaps the most important individual act we can do, besides heartfelt prayer, is to take personal responsibility by not attending services and activities if we have any kind of symptoms of illness. Whether it is a cold, a flu, or COVID—any symptoms that could mean sickness of any contagious kind—the Golden Rule dictates that we ought not expose others to it (Matthew 7:12). Masks and social distancing will not undo a careless lack of concern for others. We hope you had an inspiring Feast of Trumpets, and pray that the remaining Festivals of 2021 are inspiring, uplifting, and instructive.—Gerald Weston
591 Tomorrow’s World Presentations Guests So Far This Year
While Feast preparation is turning the last lap, we have also been completing some follow-up Tomorrow’s World presentations recently. In the last couple of weeks, five events were held in the cities of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Dothan, Alabama; and La Porte, Indiana, with a total of 24 guests (18 repeat guests and six new guests). That brings our year-to-date total to 591 guests attending 54 TWPs in 2021. Thank you for your prayers for these exciting events and the guests who are learning about the Truth and coming back for more. Your continued prayers would be much appreciated, so that God would open even more doors for us to reach many more!
Feast of Tabernacles
International Feast Planning Meeting: Challenges and Blessings
Thirty-two Regional Directors and international Festival Site Coordinators from around the world met online this week. Their reports outlined how the COVID situation varies greatly, with some nations in total lockdown and others being wide open. One of the biggest challenges is that restrictions in some places are “changing almost daily,” with an ever-present threat of lockdown at almost a moment’s notice. Some countries are limiting the size of groups in meeting halls. In other countries, brethren will have to keep the Feast at home or in small groups. Some countries or provinces will not allow unvaccinated individuals into meeting halls. On the other hand, we are hearing reports of loosening restrictions in some areas, such as in Latin America, where more brethren will be able to meet together than last year. And in Mexico, we were granted special permission to meet, in spite of lockdowns around the country. While some of the challenges are more difficult than last year, many members are facing them with resilience and a positive attitude, being ready for “plan B or plan C” while praying for an inspiring, positive, and healthy Feast!—Festival Office
Self-Screening Questionnaire: Must Read—Repeat Announcement
With the rise in cases of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, everyone planning to attend the Feast with the Living Church of God this year MUST complete the Self-Screening Questionnaire before arriving at their Feast site. The Self-Screening Questionnaire and a complete list of this year’s COVID protocols (USA) is located on the Festival website. To access, just go to fot2021.lcg.org.
Services on the Day of Atonement and the Weekly Sabbath Before the Feast—Must Read
For the benefit of those who may already be traveling to the Feast by the Day of Atonement and/or the weekly Sabbath immediately before the Feast, we are posting information about where services will be conducted on those days. This list includes which congregations will hold services, what time services will be held, and whom to contact for more details. You can access this information at MyLCG.
Before You Go… Take a Hymnal!
Brethren who do not have a personal hymnal are encouraged to bring a hymnal (one or two songbooks per household) from their local congregation’s supply for use at the Feast. For those who do take a blue congregational 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.
Streaming/Phone Connection Information for Shut-Ins
If you will have to stay home from the Feast for health reasons, please contact the Festival Site Coordinator for your assigned site. He will be able to provide you with the log-in information for that site’s livestream and/or phone hookup. For those assigned to Feast sites using the Church’s streaming platform, just go to webcast.lcg.org, select your site, and click on the link to request a password from the Feast Coordinator. Festival Advisors, please assist those brethren who don’t have Internet access to contact their Feast Coordinator.
U.S. Deadline for Payments Before Feast—Repeat Announcement
Please note that our last scheduled day to print checks will be Wednesday, September 15. After that date, we will not be able to print any checks again until Monday, October 4. Any invoices we receive before September 13 will be paid before the Festival break. Any invoices we receive after September 13 may not be able to be paid until October 4.
If you have any questions concerning specific invoices or payments, please contact Michelle Broussard in the Accounts Payable Department at 704-708-2234 or Rylyn Mooney at 704-708-2237. You can also email [email protected].
The Role of a Watchman: Many churches today feel their mission is to tell the world that God loves them and that Jesus came to save sinners. Yet, there is much more to the biblical mission of God’s Church. Jesus told His disciples to be alert and watch for events that will mark the approaching end of the age and His return (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21). The events making news today—severe weather; increasing violence and war; the declining influence of Israelite nations and the rise of a European power with links to ancient Rome, promoted by an ecumenical-minded Roman church; and the rise of adversarial powers in Asia and the Arab world—all tie in to end-time prophecies. Just as the prophets were commissioned to warn ancient Israel and Judah, God’s Church has a commission to function as a “watchman” and warn modern Israelite nations of the coming consequences of their sins (Isaiah 58:1; Ezekiel 3 and 33). Delivering this powerful warning message must also accompany the preaching of the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God (see Matthew 24:14).
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail