Weekly Update

August 10th, 2023

Greetings from Charlotte,

As mentioned in this week’s video update, the first six months of 2023 have seen an encouraging increase in Sabbath attendance. United States attendance is up 6.3 percent and international attendance is up 8.1 percent, giving us an overall increase of 7.3 percent. In hard numbers, this represents an increase of just under 700 people. The Spanish and French versions of Germany in Prophecy have now been printed, as well as Dr. Meredith’s The Plain Truth About the Protestant Reformation in French. The semi-annual offer of Mr. Ames’ booklet, Understanding Bible Prophecy, is approaching 44,000 requests. This summer we conducted one Teen Camp, three Preteen Camps, and an Adventure Camp in the U.S. An additional Teen Camp took place in Europe. As summer moves toward fall in this half of the world, Living Education begins, and this year we have 22 students. Orientation for five second-year student leaders began this past week, with 17 brand new students arriving in the next day or two. Mr. James Populo is also arriving this Thursday to settle in for a nine-month course as a Ministerial Trainee.—Gerald Weston

Church Administration

Canada and Malaysia Highlight This Weekend’s Tomorrow’s World Presentations

Since the beginning of 2023, the Living Church of God has conducted 56 TWPs outside the United States. That translates into 30,484 invitations generating 806 visitors at international TWPs. This weekend, scheduled TWPs include Mr. Yvon Brochu speaking in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and Mr. Rajan Moses speaking in Johor Baru, Malaysia. Mr. Wallace Smith will also be presenting, in Queens, New York, and Rahway, New Jersey. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support for the Tomorrow’s World Presentations.

Making a Will

There’s an old saying that “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and it can apply in more than one area of life. August is National Make-A-Will Month, and it’s designated as that to remind us that if someone dies without having a will, or their will is poorly done, there is often not a way to easily execute their wishes. Family members then have a difficult time dealing with the legal complications. Making a properly drawn will is an act of love and a good way to show loved ones that you care about them. The Church has a booklet on Planned Giving that can help you to plan your giving, and it answers questions that members often ask about donating to the Work. It also provides helpful information in general regarding wills and addresses the matter of end-of-life healthcare. It’s available in print or you can access it online at members.lcg.org/planned-giving. It’s important to have a will that provides a way.

Feast of Tabernacles

Activity Registration Coming Soon

Activity registration will be open soon and Living Church of God attendees and guests will then be able to sign up for activities at the Feast. Instructions will be sent in an email once activity registration is officially live.

Sermons for Those Unable to Attend the Feast in Person—Repeat Announcement

Attention Pastors: Because some members, for legitimate reasons, are unable to attend the Feast of Tabernacles in person, the Church provides access to Feast sermons by various means.

Many Feast sites will offer livestream or telephone connections to those assigned to the site. This is the preferred option. Though not a substitute for being present at the site, these connections give access to live Feast services, including prayers and hymns.

Pre-recorded Feast sermons will also be available for brethren who are unable to attend in person and for whom the livestream or telephone connections are not feasible. The pre-recorded sermons will be published online (one per day) throughout the Feast:

  1. English-language Feast sermons will be posted at members.lcg.org
  2. French-language Feast sermons will be posted at www.eglisedieuvivant.org

Additionally, links to the pre-recorded Festival sermons will be emailed to the pastors ahead of the Feast. You can forward that email to the members in your areas who are not attending the Feast in person, before the Feast starts.

We request that as many as are able access the Feast sermons by livestream or telephone from their assigned site, or view the pre-recorded sermons online. However, if there are brethren in your areas who cannot take advantage of these options, and need to receive physical sermon CDs through the mail, please send us their names and addresses before the following deadlines:

  1. All international requests for pre-recorded Festival sermon CDs are due by August 14, in order for the sermons to arrive before the Feast.
  2. August 31 is the deadline for recipients in the U.S.

Living Youth Program

Missouri Preteen Camp

Eighty-one people (44 staff, 33 campers, and 4 mini-campers) enjoyed the beauty of Camp Clover Point in the Lake of the Ozarks State Park and appreciated the intermittent rain showers that made more comfortable August’s normally hot and humid weather. God’s control of the weather was clearly displayed as the rain literally turned on and off like a faucet, allowing us to follow our schedule without canceling a single activity! Our theme this year was biblical heroes and heroines, focusing on the lives of Ruth, Joseph, Esther, and Daniel. Lessons from their lives were interwoven throughout many of the daily activities, which included Christian Living classes, archery, crafts, riflery, life skills, music, disc golf, a variety of water games, and a camp favorite—gaga ball. Evening activities included Bible Jeopardy, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) night, the traditional cookout and sing-along, and the annual talent show. Campers were served by a dedicated, enthusiastic, and cheerful staff, and everyone enjoyed delicious meals, snacks, and occasional treats. A heartfelt thanks to our Creator and to all those who helped to make this camp a tremendous success!—Yancy Taber

West Virginia Preteen Camp

About 110 campers and staff enjoyed cool mountain weather, fun activities, good food, and most importantly, uplifting spiritual instruction at the West Virginia Preteen camp. There were three boys’ dorms, three girls’ dorms, a helpful, hard-working teen and high school staff, and of course, an energetic “mini-camper” contingent! The camp theme was “Christian Encouragers,” based on Hebrews 10:24, and a positive, Christian attitude was definitely prevalent throughout camp. We also incorporated a secondary theme of the “Seven Laws of Success” into some of the Christian Living classes and even into the crafts class. Other activities included archery, orienteering, kickball, croquet, dance, and of course, wonderful fellowship. Many thanks to the staff for their service, and we look forward to seeing many of the children again next year!—Wyatt Ciesielka


Do You Value the Truth? The Bible reveals that no one can come to a knowledge of the Truth unless they are called and their minds have been opened by God (John 6:44, 65). The capacity to understand the plan of God, the purpose of life, and the true way of life is a gift that God is making available to only a few at this time (Matthew 13:1–17). These precious truths are a mystery to most people (1 Corinthians 2:7–8) because Satan—the god of this world—has blinded their eyes (2 Corinthians 4:3–4). Jesus said that it is an incredible privilege to be called and given an understanding of God’s Truth (John 15:16). The Apostle Paul said that to be called out of darkness into the light of the Truth is something to be extremely thankful for, and those who are unthankful will reap serious consequences (Romans 1:18–32). Let’s make sure we value the Truth.

Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail

News and Prophecy—August 10, 2023

AUKUS Opens to New Zealand: The trilateral defense pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States was created to strengthen the defense situation in the South Pacific in response to the growing Chinese threat. The name of the defense pact, AUKUS—reflecting the three nations who created the agreement—communicates a sense that the organization is closed to outsiders. Not so. Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State, recently indicated that New Zealand and other nations are also welcome to join the group (Deutsche Welle, July 27, 2023). New Zealand, however, must walk a fine line so as not to offend its major trade partner—China.

We should not be surprised when Australia, the UK, and the U.S. work together on matters as important as defense in the Pacific—nor that they would welcome the involvement of New Zealand. The Bible reveals that all of these nations are descended from two ancient brothers—Ephraim and Manasseh—who were grandsons of the biblical patriarch Jacob, whose name God changed to “Israel” (Genesis 35:10; 48:1–21). Unbeknownst to the leaders of these nations, their proclivity to work together mirrors their ancient heritage! Knowing the ancient, biblical identities of these countries adds insight concerning their actions now and in the past, as well as an understanding of their prophesied future. To learn more about the joint history and future of these nations, be sure to watch “Who Made Britain Great?

China’s New Smart-Religion App: A human rights organization working in China has reported that one Chinese province is now requiring churchgoers to register with a smartphone app developed by the provincial Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission (EWTN, March 7, 2023). “According to ChinaAid, applicants must fill in personal information, including their name, phone number, government ID number, permanent residence, occupation, and date of birth before they can make a reservation. Those who are allowed into a place of worship must also have their temperature taken—suggesting the app may be related in some way to COVID-19 restrictions—and show a reservation code.”

What begins with China could spread to other nations. The Bible indicates that a German-led “beast” power will control much of Europe at the end of the age. This economic, religious, and military superpower will work to control in some way who can buy and sell. A mandated day of worship could play into this mechanism of control. Only those in compliance, bearing the “mark of the beast,” will be able to function freely in society (Revelation 13:11–18). While such technology is not itself the “mark of the beast,” it presents an interesting possibility concerning one way measures of control may be implemented by the “beast” in the years ahead. To learn more about the “mark of the beast”—what it really is and how it is already being accepted by many people around the world—be sure to watch our program “Have You Taken the Mark of the Beast?”—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater, and Matthew Ellison