Greetings from Charlotte,
This has been an extremely busy summer for many of us. As I mentioned in my video update, so far this year we have held 176 Tomorrow’s World Presentations here in the United States. That figure includes the follow-up presentations, usually conducted by the local pastors. Canada has also had a full complement of presentations, and they were happy to announce last week that they will be starting a new congregation in Sherbrooke, Quebec, as a result. We do not always announce a new congregation, but we have started a good number over the years as a result of these presentations and general interest as well. Other parts of the world have been slower gearing up for these TWPs due to COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, but we are having more internationally as well. One area that is exploding in growth, without TWPs, is Africa—both English- and French-speaking. Our “Behind the Work” Feast video this year will highlight that continent, and I think you will all be surprised at what is happening there. I’m sure you will not want to miss it.—Gerald Weston
Recent and Upcoming Tomorrow’s World Presentations
Last week, we held five initial Tomorrow’s World Presentations: two in Montreal, Quebec, Canada (one for French-speaking subscribers and one for English-speaking subscribers); Albuquerque, New Mexico; Louisville, Kentucky; and Cincinnati, Ohio. These presentations had a combined total of 120 guests. This week we have eight presentations scheduled. Two initial presentations, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; and Kansas City, Missouri; and six follow-up presentations, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada (combined English and French); Albuquerque, New Mexico; Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom; Fargo, North Dakota; Louisville, Kentucky; and Cincinnati, Ohio. Thank you all for your continued prayers for these presentations.
One of the initiatives supported from Living Education is the Men’s Training Camps. These activities are intended to give men in the Living Church of God the opportunity to gather and learn more about God’s way of life—with particular focus on both the challenges and the opportunities facing men today. Hundreds of men have taken part in this program, in places like New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Texas, and Arizona. Over the next year, our schedule will include:
- December 2–4, 2022 – Oklahoma
- March 17–19, 2023 – Texas
- May 5–7, 2023 – Idaho
- June 16–18, 2023 – North Carolina
Stay tuned for more information!—Jonathan McNair
Feast of Tabernacles
Services on the Day of Atonement and the Weekly Sabbath Before the Feast
For the benefit of those who may already be traveling to the Feast by the Day of Atonement (October 5) and/or the weekly Sabbath (October 8) immediately before the Feast, information about where services will be conducted on those days is now available. 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.
Streaming/Phone Connection Information for Shut-Ins
If you will have to stay home during the Feast for health or other important reasons, you can be connected to services at your assigned site in two ways, by telephone and/or by livestream. If your assigned Feast site uses the Church’s streaming platform, just go to webcast.lcg.org, select your Feast site, and click on the link to request a password from the Feast Coordinator. For the telephone connection information, please contact the Festival Site Coordinator for your assigned site. He will also be able to provide you with the log-in information for that site’s livestream if it uses a different platform, such as Zoom. Festival Advisors, please assist those brethren who don’t have Internet access to contact their Feast Coordinator to obtain this needed connection information.
Opening Night and the First Holy Day
This year, the Opening Night service will take place on Sunday evening, October 9. We should all make every effort to arrive at our Feast site in plenty of time to attend this opening service at the beginning of the Holy Day. As last year, there will be a special pre-recorded welcome message from Mr. Weston during this service. Be sure to check your Feast site’s webpage or ask your Festival Site Coordinator for the exact time of the Opening Night service at your Festival site.
The first day of the Feast, a Holy Day, is Monday, October 10, and the Last Great Day, also a Holy Day, is Monday, October 17. Please consider—the entire Last Great Day is a Holy Day! And a special pre-recorded message from Mr. Weston will be played on the afternoon of the Last Great Day. Everyone is encouraged to plan and make every effort to attend the Festival all the way to the end!
Staying Healthy—2022 Feast General Health Guidelines
With the Feast of Tabernacles just a few weeks away, it is not too early to think about health as we prepare for this annual highlight of the year. It’s vital that we don’t push ourselves too hard and compromise sleep and diet in the busyness of preparations. Taking measures to stay healthy and even improve our health before the Feast will mean we are more likely to be able to partake of the powerful spiritual food and fellowship that God is preparing for us.
Also, at the present time, the pandemic has been easing and in most places restrictions are lifting. Accordingly, our guidelines for Sabbath services and Feast services have changed as well. However, this does not mean anyone should approach sickness in a cavalier or careless manner! As Mr. Gerald Weston’s Sabbath services guidance from The World Ahead, February 10, 2022, says: “Those with underlying conditions should feel free to continue wearing masks, but we recommend that they be properly fitting masks of the type (such as the N95) that offer real protection. If someone feels he or she needs to continue wearing a mask for any reason, no explanation is needed. We must not judge one another!”
With that in mind, please take note of our 2022 Feast General Health Guidelines: If you have symptoms of any potentially contagious illness, such as coughing, sore throat, or fever, you should not attend any FOT services or activities until your symptoms are significantly improved and you are fever-free for 24 hours without use of medication.
Perfumes, Colognes, and Other Scents at the Feast
Please be aware while at the Feast that some of your brethren have serious sensitivities or allergies to perfumes, colognes, and other scents. For some, even being in the same room as someone wearing scents can make them seriously ill and send them to the Emergency Room. Let’s use extra care to show love to others in this way at the Feast. Please use definite moderation or simply take a break from perfumes, colognes, and other scents.
What If You Are Expecting?
If you are pregnant and will be due around Feast time, please exercise caution and discretion when making your decision about attending the Feast. The long-standing tradition of the Church is to recommend that you stay home from the Feast if your due date is around Feast time, for the sake of yourself and your unborn child. As in all matters of health, it is a personal decision which must be weighed carefully and prayerfully, and with the advice of your physician or midwife. The Church provides pre-recorded and online sermons for shut-ins, and you can certainly avail yourself of those. Most Feast sites will also provide livestream and/or call-in telephone access for members assigned to that site.
U.S. Deadline for Payments Before Feast—Repeat Announcement
Please note that our last scheduled day to print checks will be Tuesday, October 4. After that date, we will not be able to print any checks again until Thursday, October 20. Any invoices we receive by October 3 will be paid before the Festival break. Any invoices we receive after October 3 may not be able to be paid until October 20.
If you have any questions concerning specific invoices or payments, please contact Michelle Greene in the Accounts Payable Department at 704-708-2234 or Rylyn Baca at 704-708-2237. You can also email [email protected].
Tithe of the Festival Tithe—Repeat Announcement
For many decades, the Church of God has practiced what is called the “tithe of the Festival tithe.” What this means is that brethren who can afford it are asked to send a tenth of their Festival tithe to the Church before the Feast, to help pay for meeting halls and other Feast expenses, as well as to help brethren around the world with limited resources to attend the Feast (Deuteronomy 14:27; 16:14). If you are able and you have not already done so, please send in your tithe of the Festival tithe for this year. This contribution is greatly appreciated.
Seek God’s Guidance: In the world today, it is common to want to “do your own thing.” However, the Bible records the tragic results of this approach (Judges 21:25; Jeremiah 9:12–16). In the Scriptures we are admonished, “Seek the Lord while He may be found” (Isaiah 55:6). We are also told that God looks on those who are humble and teachable and “trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2). King David modeled the attitude that God is looking for when he wrote, “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes… Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:33, 105). Jesus Christ instructed His disciples to “live by… every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). We are also advised to seek wise counsel to avoid making bad decisions (Proverbs 11:14). An important lesson in life is that to succeed in any endeavor, we must seek God’s guidance and get wise counsel when we make decisions—because that leads to lasting rewards.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—September 15, 2022
Queen Elizabeth II and the End of an Era: Last Thursday, Queen Elizabeth II died at the age of 96, after serving as the sovereign of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth for 70 years. In the words of former British prime minister Boris Johnson, the queen was “a changeless human reference point in British life” (Time, September 9, 2022). Newly appointed prime minister Liz Truss noted that the queen “was the rock on which modern Britain was built” (BBC, September 9, 2022).
Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne at age 25 in 1952, and she witnessed incredible global changes during her reign—a reign that spanned 15 prime ministers, from Churchill to Truss. As the BBC notes, “Queen Elizabeth II’s tenure as head of state spanned post-war austerity, the transition from empire to Commonwealth, the end of the Cold War and the UK’s entry into—and withdrawal from—the European Union.”
Many wonder about the future of the monarchy under King Charles III, even as many see the Queen’s death bringing to an end an era of powerful, stately, resolute, and stable leadership. The world is changing drastically, and the new king will face many challenges ahead.
During the coming coronation of King Charles III, he will be seated over the Stone of Scone, which will be brought to Westminster Abbey in London from its resting place in Scotland (Telegraph, September 11, 2022). His mother was coronated over the same stone 70 years ago. Yet, few today understand the significance of this ancient ceremony. To learn more about this important part of the coronation ritual, be sure to watch “The Stone of Destiny.”
Water Crisis in Middle East: The area of the Fertile Crescent and “the cradle of civilization,” known for its rich crops and orchards, is drying up (The Guardian, September 7, 2022). The Fertile Crescent runs from the Holy Land, along the Mediterranean Sea, and eastward along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. As one resident of the area noted, the “green land has been transformed into a barren desert.” Some say the water levels in the great rivers have dropped by 50 percent.
In addition to reduced rainfall and poor water management in Iraq, upstream neighbors Turkey and Iran are using up water before it even reaches Iraq. According to one researcher, “precipitation in Iraq will decrease by 15–20% this century, reducing the water in the Tigris and Euphrates by up to 73%, with grave implications for groundwater levels.” Farms are drying up and water-use policies are not changing to protect the scant resource. As water levels drop, they are also revealing archaeological sites that have been submersed for decades (Al-Monitor.com, August 27, 2022).
News of a drying Euphrates should remind students of Bible prophecy that, upon Jesus’ return, an angel will completely dry up the river, allowing a great army from the east to pass over it and gather with others at the place called “Armageddon” (Revelation 16:12, 16)—before they descend upon Jerusalem and attempt to fight the returning Christ. To learn more about this sobering future, be sure to read or listen to “Five Prophecies for the Middle East.”—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater, and Chris Sookdeo