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Sabbath-keepers Come Together for Message on National Origins

It was a great pleasure speaking before about another 20 people today (Nov 30, 1996)—this time in the Central Coast. Incredibly hot day and very uncomfortable surroundings.

But it was worth it. I was supposed to speak in 2 weeks but they asked me yesterday to speak today as the person who was going to came down sick.

Decided to speak to them about the rise of Germany and the part she plays in European history, the model Holy Roman Empires over the centuries etc. Again they were convinced and some agreed on a Germany=Assyrian link.

They also agreed that the separated (or historical) Adventists are much closer doctrinally to the various COG's than the current SDAs! In fact they called me an Adventist much to my surprise.

Also, you may be pleased to know that as a DIRECT result of the FOSA conference, a couple of them which attended turned off the trinity and adopted Unitarianism or Binitarianism. Now that has spread amongst the groups I have visited in Canberra and Camp belltown as well as the Central Coast.

In fact, coincidentally, some of them had actually dropped the trinity at the same time without knowing those who came to the conference had!

I am also trying to introduce them to the concept that the original Adventist statement of beliefs stated that there were 2 new births—one at conversion and another at the resurrection.

Also, I met the wife of one of the publishers of a newsletter I have received (on and off) for years.

Afterwards we had a great typical SDA lunch in an idealic Edenic setting at one of their homes. One of them actually did visit UCG recently.

—Craig Martin White,

GPO Box 864, Sydney, Australia 2001

The Bride's Journal Magazine

The objectives that this magazine is striving to accomplish is to bring a much lacking and much needed teaching of separation to the COG brethren. This includes homesteading, home schooling, Biblical courtship, and the like, as well as eschatology. It also plans to bring a strong teaching of Family to encourage Malachi 4:6 EliYah relationships in the COG part of the Body and to teach the spiritual analogies of Father-Son, Husband-Wife, betrothal-courtship. Other areas will include Sabbaths, immutability of Law, etc.

Title: The Bride's Journal

Cost: Free (donations appreciated, even a dollar or two, but will be sent to those unable to give.)

Address: Doves Farm Ministries, Kunkletown, PA 18058

Phone: Toll-free 888-887-DOVE.

Staying At Home? Try the Church of God Seventh Day

After some twenty plus years in the Worldwide Church of God, I felt it was time to move on in early 1994. Unlike Jim and Barbara, I decided to stay with an organization, (the Church of God Seventh Day). [Jim and Barbara Damiano wrote the "stay-at-home Church of God" letter explaining why they do not attend with any group, August 1996 Servants' News].

I feel fellowship is very important. You can attend a Church on a regular basis without agreeing on every doctrine and without ever becoming a member. During the past year and a half, I have been a lay leader of COG7 in Huntsville, Alabama. Over that year and a half, we have had a few people from the WCG and the CGI attend until they could find the place God wanted them. We didn't mind providing fellowship for them, and we did not ask them for finances.

If anyone is in this position around our area, they are more than welcome to visit with us anytime, no strings attached. Call me at 800-772-0940 for location and time. I feel if there is a COG7 in Jim and Barbara's area, they would treat them the same way.

God is so much more than a denomination or a set of doctrines! I feel I can worship God anywhere, but it does feel so good to have a group you can fellowship with when you can.

—Clyde Thompson

P.O. Box 1236, Huntsville, AL 35807

UCG Plans Ministerial Transfers

The following quotes are from Richard Pinelli's letter to UCG ministers and wives. Pinelli is the Director of Ministerial Services, United Church of God, an International Association. Underlining was added by SN.

In the United States the United Church of God has 118 full-time and two part-time field ministers serving 231 congregations with an average weekly Sabbath attendance of 13,600. This means that we have the equivalent of one full-time minister for every 114 individuals attending. Since we have had to spread out to cover all the churches, this may have increased our workload, and yet this may be less than the workload from the past. This is due primarily to having fewer members across the same geographic area. Because of this diminished ratio of full-time ministers to attendees, the Church is currently spending over 60% of its income for salaries and other related expenses. This leaves less than 40% for all other expenses including the preaching of the Gospel to the world. Hopefully, a steady increase in membership over the next year will allow us to begin to put a higher percentage of the Church's income into preaching the Gospel.

Because the proportion for ministerial salaries and benefits is already so high, we simply cannot hire more ministers. Yet there are still areas which cry out for pastors. Some of our men are stretched beyond their human capacity, while in other areas there is an excess of manpower. The Ministerial

Services team has been struggling to rectify this situation and find the right men for the right places. Recently we asked a large number of pastors to help us fill a vacancy. We met with little success. Each one had reasons why he needed to stay put, and some had very good reasons. Yet, the Ministerial Services team has the challenge of serving the real needs of the membership while striving to be understanding and considerate of the sensitivity that some field ministers have expressed about being moved.

For the past year and a half there have been very few transfers because we have tried to develop and maintain stability. By next summer two years will have passed since the Church began under its new name. In an effort to more effectively serve God's people and be good stewards of God's tithes, we feel we must begin to take steps to correct the imbalance of manpower that exists in a number of areas. In other words, some transfers will be inevitable due to need this coming summer (and likely every year that follows). In some cases, we may need to rearrange circuits and reassign ministers to fill the manpower needs in areas currently understaffed. As a result, we must face the fact that full-time employment as a minister of the United Church of God may soon depend on a willingness to transfer to where the need is greater.

In October Ministerial Services held a preliminary meeting to discuss manpower needs and possible transfers. During the first week in December, we will hold a Regional Pastors Conference to discuss, among other things, plans to better utilize our manpower. Transfers will only affect a small percentage of our manpower in the next eight months. If your situation is such that you might be among those who would be asked to transfer and there are extenuating circumstances, or if you would like to be considered for a move, or possibly transitioning out of the full-time ministry, it would be good to discuss your situation with your regional pastor. After doing so, it would be good to send him and the Ministerial Services team a cc:Mail message explaining your situation and the factors you would like to be considered in any manpower discussions. Your needs, suggestions and input will be carefully considered.

As ministers of Jesus Christ, we must shepherd those God has given us the privilege to go serve. In the past, this has required us to go where needed, and it requires us to be willing to do the same now. Your willingness to serve all of God's people and help us solve the manpower needs of the Church during these financially demanding times will be greatly appreciated.

SN: We realize there are many difficulties in organizing serving brethren in so many different places. However, it seems that the biggest problem arises when administrators take too much upon themselves. When this letter says: "By next summer two years will have passed since the Church began under its new name," it is seems that they are saying "the Church" was the Worldwide Church of God and is now the UCG-AIA. The UCG Indianapolis conference supported the creation of local congregations with a home office to serve them. The home office is run by a council that derived its power from the vote of the elders—they were not appointed by a voice from heaven, signs, wonders, or anything of that nature. How can the home office transfer a pastor when his local congregation wants to (or votes to) keep him and has the funds to pay him?

To us, the solution is relatively simple. The ratio of one full-time minister to 114 individuals attending is good. In places where a minister serves a much smaller group, he should be willing—even glad to move where there is a much bigger group with no minister. What reason is there to move the majority of ministers that are already effectively serving a large group?

Unfortunately, it seems that this transferring may be a continuation of the WCG's old practices: Ministers were transferred approximately every seven years to prevent long term friendships from building that might interfere with loyalty to headquarters. Ministers who mistreated their congregations were corrected, than transferred—given a new start in a congregation that did not know about their past abuse. Ministers with questionable loyalty were also immediately transferred so that if they were fired or resigned, they would not have nearby friends to help them. We have already received a report of an attempt at this kind of practice in the UCG-AIA.

We hope the UCG-AIA home office will realize that they will be wanted as long as they serve the brethren. But they are only one of many viable Sabbath-keeping organizations—and nearly all of their members know that. If they attempt to impose something on a congregation that is not acceptable to it, they will only add to the fracturing of that congregation. "But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God (1Co 11:16).

—Norman S. Edwards