Greetings from Charlotte,
We were greeted this morning (Thursday) with the sad news that Mr. John Meakin, one of our U.K. ministers, died during the night. While his infectious smile will be missed, we know that his next instant of consciousness will be in the resurrection with an immortal body at Christ’s return. See announcement below for further details and we will have a more thorough announcement in an upcoming Living Church News. In other news, I mentioned in the video update the ordination of Mr. Robert Tyler to the rank of evangelist. Mr. Tyler is the Regional Director for the Australasian region. You may remember him, and the challenges he faces in that part of the world, from the “Behind the Work” video shown at this past Feast. The Law or Grace: Which Is it? booklet was mailed to all members in the U.S. last Friday, so you should have a copy in the next few days if not already. Tens of thousands of members were tripped up by this question nearly three decades ago, so please take time to study this resource.—Gerald Weston
Tomorrow’s World Presentations
Last week we held one follow-up TWP in Charleston, West Virginia, which was attended by three guests. This week we have five TWPs scheduled. One initial presentation is scheduled in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; and four presentations are scheduled in Fiji. Mr. Rob Tyler will give two initial presentations in Lautoka and Suva in Fiji. Mr. Paul Kearns will conduct the follow-up presentations. These will be the first Tomorrow’s World Presentations ever held on the island. All 897 subscribers in Fiji were invited to both presentations. Thank you all for your prayers and support for these presentations as we continue our worldwide effort to preach the Gospel.
Death of Mr. John Meakin
With sorrow we announce the death of Mr. John Meakin, a longtime elder and pastor in the U.K., as well as a writer for Church publications. He died peacefully at home in the early hours of Thursday morning, surrounded by family. He had been suffering from a lung disease for the past decade and faced it all with positivity and stoicism. The family would like to thank everyone for their love, prayers, and messages of support—he himself appreciated them all. Funeral details are being arranged. At this time the family kindly request no flowers. They will provide an online memorial book and details of the local hospice that provided support, if anyone would like to donate to that.
We are accepting applications from students who would like to attend Living Education–Charlotte for the 2024–25 school year. This includes applications from international areas. Currently, we have two students from Mexico and one from the U.K., and our hope is that we can continue to welcome students from congregations around the world. For more information and to apply, just go to our website, lcgeducation.org.
Feast of Tabernacles
11,366 Attend Feast in 2023
The 2023 Feast attendance numbers are now in! This year, the Living Church of God conducted the Feast of Tabernacles at 93 different sites in 51 countries, with 11,366 members and guests attending. Sixteen of the sites were located within the United States and 77 were in other countries. The largest Feast site in 2023 was in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, with 513 people attending.
As one site coordinator noted: “More so than most years, there seemed to be an atmosphere of joy and contentment in keeping the Feast together. I have never had more people comment to me on how uplifting of a Feast it had been.” Thank you for everyone’s efforts in making the 2023 Feast a success. See you next year!
Prove Your Beliefs: Jesus warned that before He returns, “many will come in My name… and will deceive many… even the elect” (Matthew 24:4–5, 24). Satan, the deceiver of the whole world (Revelation 12:9), will use false ministers and misguided teachers who speak evil of the truth (2 Peter 2:1–3) to spread lies and false doctrines (2 Corinthians 11) to confuse even sincere people. How can you avoid being deceived? We are told to examine and prove what we believe and then hold onto what we prove to be true (1 Thessalonians 5:21). We must also study the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15) so we know what the Bible actually says about specific issues (Isaiah 8:20). When we firmly establish what is true, we are putting on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:11–17) that can help us recognize and resist the efforts of our adversary who wants to confuse and destroy us (1 Peter 5:8–9). Take time now to prove what you believe!
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—November 16, 2023
Is China’s Power Waning? China’s economy has been a powerful engine for growth and development for decades. As a nation, China has surged ahead rapidly in terms of technology, military might, and international prominence. Its Belt and Road initiative has built infrastructure in dozens of nations around the globe, with the goal of enhancing the nation’s role in the world and eventually eclipsing America. Yet, China is experiencing troubles at home. Over the last couple of years, China’s economy has displayed many red flags and, at the time of this writing, is again in a period of deflation (falling prices)—a mark of economic instability (Sky News, November 10, 2023). If China goes into recession, it could take much of the world with it.
Between 2000 and 2021, China gave out $1.34 trillion in loans related to its Belt and Road initiative, with the money going mostly to poor nations with little likelihood of repayment (Deutsche Welle, November 7, 2023). And debt within China is a vast problem, as well, with many real estate developers burdened by debt and unable to find willing buyers for their properties. As Business Insider reported in 2021, about 20 percent of homes in China were vacant at that time—roughly enough empty properties to house every citizen in France! China’s economic boom of the last several decades was largely fueled by its exploding real estate market, but now that market is failing and poses a threat to the nation’s economic survival.
While China will likely play a major role in the future of global politics and world affairs, the nation may not come to dominate global affairs as some predicted it would. The Bible reveals there is a nation, other than China, that will play a significant role on the world scene as we approach the end of the age. To learn more, be sure to read or listen to our fascinating article “Is This China’s Century?”
Catholic Church: Transgender People Can Be Baptized: Reuters reports that, according to the Vatican’s doctrinal office, those who believe themselves to be “transgender,” even after having hormone treatments and surgery, “can be godparents at Roman Catholic baptisms, witnesses at religious weddings and receive baptism themselves” (November 8, 2023). In July, Pope Francis met with “transgender” people and said to one, “Even if we are sinners, he (God) draws near to help us. The Lord loves us as we are.” Francis seems to be working to be a very “inclusive” pope, and many of the Roman Catholic priesthood appear to be following his example.
While Pope Francis and the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church claim to represent the Church founded by Jesus Christ on the Apostles, it is evident that they are defending their personal beliefs, not the faith revealed in the Bible, God’s inspired word (2 Timothy 3:16)—which clearly requires repentance from sin before baptism (Matthew 3:7–8). The Bible also admonishes us, “Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). Scripture defines both good and evil and clearly states that men should not dress like women and women should not dress like men, because doing this is an “abomination” to the Almighty (Deuteronomy 22:5) who does not change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8).
The Bible reveals that God does love us, and Christ died so that our sins can be forgiven—if we repent of them (Acts 2:38). God hates evil and sin, and those who love Him will feel as He does and steer clear of them (Psalm 97:10; Proverbs 8:13). Many today profess to be servants of God and to mean well, but they do not follow what He says (Matthew 7:21). To learn more about God and His love for mankind, be sure to read or listen to John 3:16: Hidden Truths of the Golden Verse.—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater