May 28th, 2020
Greetings from Charlotte,
Mr. Christo Botha sent some good news, that churches in South Africa will be allowed to meet, beginning June 1, with up to 50 people. Specific criteria will be required. This is good news because earlier reports indicated this might not happen until much later in the year. As also mentioned in my LCG video update, our planned Feast site of Navarre, Florida, was canceled by the owners, who are shutting down at least until next year. Major companies are declaring bankruptcy and this affects everything we do. Today I saw that the iconic car rental company, Hertz, declared bankruptcy and that 41 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the last two months. However, many of our members and coworkers are working, prospering, and generously supporting the Work, for which we are very thankful. On that note, if you haven’t already, you will be receiving a Member and Coworker letter this month. As explained in the letter, we normally do not send these letters in months when the Semi-Annual letter is sent, but I wanted to specifically thank everyone for their extra support and prayers. I intended to not send an envelope with that letter, but forgot to mention this until after our Mail Processing Department was well into the process. I wanted to say thank you without even a subtle hint of any other motive. So brethren, thank you for your part, whether with extra offerings or prayers. It is evident God is hearing us.—Gerald Weston
May 30 Livestream—All Congregations
We would like to remind everyone that this Sabbath, May 30, services will be livestreamed from Headquarters. Mr. Weston plans to give the sermon. All congregations are invited to tune in. Services will begin at 1:00 p.m. EDT, USA. For congregations where the time difference makes this impractical, or for those needing Spanish or French translation, a recorded (and/or translated) version will be available at a later time.
We look forward to meeting virtually together!—Church Administration Department
Pentecost Offering—Repeat Announcement
On God’s Holy Days, we are commanded not to come before Him empty-handed (Deuteronomy 16:16). For the few small groups which are able to meet together, we will not collect a group offering at services on Pentecost, but ask that all brethren make their individual offerings online on the Holy Day, using a credit or debit card—or they can send a check in the mail using the pre-labeled green envelope, if available. Please do not send cash through the mail.
If you use the Online Donation System found at donations.lcg.org, click on “Type of Donation,” then choose “Holy Day Offering.” A Holy Day dropdown menu will appear, and there you can select “Pentecost.”
Thank you for your cooperation.
We regret to announce that because of the pandemic, this year’s Israel trip has had to be canceled due to a decision preventing us from participating in the archaeological dig.
Feast of Tabernacles
Festival planning continues to move forward, even in a climate of uncertainty. This week we were notified by one of our contracted sites in the U.S. that it is closing its doors until January 1. At the same time, God is opening doors at other venues. Once we get them all nailed down, we will announce a registration date. We hope to open registration mid-summer.
With the Feast in mind, in his recent (May 11) member letter, Mr. Gerald Weston explained that this year we will be asking brethren to attend their local site. In international areas, this is what most brethren do every year. However, in the United States, many have the blessing of being able to travel. When feasible, travel can be an enriching experience, seeing interesting places, broadening our perspective, and meeting new people. But even in the United States, many brethren don’t have resources to travel and are grateful just to be able to go to the Feast.
As Mr. Weston outlined, it is important that all of us approach this year as a time when we will “stay local.” (There may be some who need to transfer, but these will be rare exceptions.) The Feast this year will be a chance for us all to pitch in at our local site, help our local pastor, and serve our fellow brethren. It may also be an opportunity, for those who have extra funds, to help out those in need financially. We are already hearing about brethren in overseas areas especially, who are without jobs and are in jeopardy of not being able to attend the Feast at all. However, we plan to make it possible for all deserving members to attend, and will have more information in the near future on how you can help those who are in need of Festival assistance.
As we look to God for guidance and get zeroed in on the purpose of the Feast—to worship Him and learn to fear Him always (Deuteronomy 14:23)—the year 2020 may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. At this season of Pentecost, perhaps it’s fitting that we think about how we can have the same love that the early Christians had, when those who had more pitched in to help others, “as anyone had need” (Acts 2:45). Who knows what blessings God may bring as we respond to these challenges? Thank you for your patience and understanding, as we move forward and prepare for this year’s Feast!—Festival Office
Living Youth Program
Transportation for LYP Teen Camp in Texas—Must Read Where Applicable
If you plan to attend the Texas Teen Camp this year, please let us know before next Friday, June 5, whether you are likely to fly to and from camp. We need to get an idea how many people will need airport shuttle service. We don’t need your flight details at this point, only how many people are likely to fly. Please e-mail [email protected] to let us know. One factor to consider as you make your decision is that if you should test positive for the Coronavirus while you are at camp, you would be isolated immediately and required to leave camp, and no airline would allow you to board a plane to fly home.
2020 Missouri Preteen Camp Canceled
Due to the COVID-19 situation, the Missouri State Parks Department has canceled all group camps this summer at the Lake of the Ozarks State Park. As a result, a decision has been made to cancel the Missouri Preteen camp this year. We appreciate all the hard work and prayers that have gone into preparing for camp, and look forward to seeing all of you in 2021!
Summer Camps in Belgium and the United States—Repeat Announcement
Camp Registration for all camps is now closed. No further applications will be accepted. For those who have been accepted, please note the following IMPORTANT considerations:
- Upon arrival, all campers and staff will undergo a screening supervised by the camp health staff, including having their temperatures taken. Anyone arriving sick will be asked to leave the camp immediately.
- During the camp session, all in attendance will be screened daily for any signs or symptoms of possible COVID-19.
- Any camper or staff member exhibiting symptoms of possible COVID-19 will receive a nucleic acid-based COVID-19 test.
- Any camper or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 will be isolated immediately (quarantined).
- If anyone tests positive for COVID-19, parents or guardians of campers will be contacted immediately and will be required to pick up their child from camp. Staff members who test positive will also be required to return home immediately. This could be a major consideration for all camp applicants, especially if they live a considerable distance from the camp. It is important to realize that no one who tests positive will be allowed on a plane to fly home. Because of these policies, those teens who live closer to Wisconsin may choose to switch their camp application in order to attend that camp instead of the Teen Camp in Texas. If so, please contact Jenny Penman at [email protected].
We plan to be in compliance with all state and county standard health protocols at all camps conducted this summer. Those guidelines are too numerous to list in this announcement, but will be posted on the youth website well in advance of camp.
Question: What is the status of summer camps in the United States in 2020?
Answer: Mr. Weston has approved the Teen Camp in Texas and the Texas and West Virginia Preteen Camps, providing the criteria below can be met for each. Please note: the Missouri Preteen Camp had to be canceled today, because of the decision of the Missouri State Parks Department.
- Texas Teen Camp and Texas Preteen Camp – Texas posted Protocols and Guidelines for the reopening of youth camps beginning on May 31. We are awaiting final approval from the Southwestern Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists regarding whether or not Lone Star Camp will be open for us to meet. This decision will be finalized before the end of the month and is not expected to be an issue.
- Preteen Camp in West Virginia – This camp is awaiting both state and facility approval in order to be held. If we do not have approval by the first week of June (Wednesday, June 3), the camp will be canceled. If we receive state and facility approval, the camp can be conducted.
- Adventure Camp (Canoe Trip, Wisconsin) – We are still awaiting approval from the state park system for overnight camping in Wisconsin’s state parks. Once the state allows for this, we can proceed with this camp.
Question: What is the status of the Summer Camp Program in Europe for 2020?
Answer: Due to ongoing government restrictions resulting from COVID-19, the summer camp in Belgium has been canceled.
Your Special Calling: Do we recognize and deeply appreciate what God is doing in our lives? Jesus told His disciples, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). The Apostle Paul reminded first-century Christians, “not many wise… not many mighty, not many noble, are called” but that God is only calling a few of the wise, mighty, and noble at this time (1 Corinthians 1:26–28). Down through the ages, God chose to work with Samuel as a child, with Esther and Daniel as young people, and with Abraham and Sarah and Moses as older adults. Our challenge when we are called by God is to learn “to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart… and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes” in the letter and in the spirit (Deuteronomy 10:12–13; Matthew 5). God has called us out of this world (2 Corinthians 6:17–18), to prepare to reign with Jesus Christ in the coming Kingdom of God (Revelation 5:10), where we will assist the returning Messiah in restoring God’s true way of life all around the world (Acts 3:19–21). What an incredible calling! Never take lightly the understanding of the calling that God has given to you. Let’s all seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) so we can reign with Jesus Christ and serve others—and change the world forever!
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—May 28, 2020
“When the Pandemic Is Over, the World Must Come Together” is the title of a recent article in TIME magazine by former Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev. Mr. Gorbachev harkened back to the diplomatic success of the 1980s and the end of the Cold War. His willingness to put aside differences and work with the United States helped create a very different political environment for the decades following his time in office.
Reflecting on today’s pandemic, Mr. Gorbachev noted, “While it is the national governments that now bear the brunt of making difficult choices, decisions [about the future] will have to be made by the entire world community… We have so far failed to develop and implement strategies and goals common to all mankind.” He also highlighted how wars and arms races cannot solve world problems and that “War is a sign of defeat, a failure of politics.” He concluded by charging the United Nations to hold an emergency session to “[revise] the global agenda” and to begin by drastically reducing global arms spending.
Mr. Gorbachev helped change the world during his presidency. His charge to focus on the needs of the “entire world community” is a noble one. But will that approach work when global leaders often ignore human needs for the sake of their own personal gain? Truly effective leaders view themselves as servants of the people and keep the needs of their constituents foremost in their minds. The Bible reveals that Jesus Christ will return to the earth as the “King of kings” and will continue the focus He had during His first coming: to serve others, rather than to be served Himself (Matthew 20:28). After His return, wars and arms races will end, as swords are beaten into farming tools (Isaiah 2:4). It will take the return of the “Prince of Peace” to truly serve the needs of all humanity. To learn how lasting peace will come, read or listen to The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?
Sunlight and COVID-19: The new coronavirus has rapidly infected millions around the globe. Most efforts to control the spread of the virus have focused on handwashing, disinfecting surfaces, wearing masks, social distancing, and providing medical care. In the minds of many, the only hope for halting the virus is finding an effective medicine until a vaccine is developed. However, many simple, effective, and inexpensive protective steps one can take are seldom mentioned.
A recent study demonstrated that ultraviolet rays of sunlight “rapidly inactivated” the coronavirus on multiple test surfaces (Newsweek, May 22, 2020). Another study suggested a strong correlation between COVID-19 mortality rates and severe vitamin D deficiency (Medical Xpress, May 8, 2020)—a condition associated with lack of sufficient time outdoors and exposure to sunlight (ScienceDaily, March 9, 2020). Dietary sources of vitamin D include eggs, milk, cheese, and fish. Vitamin C is also a vital nutrient that aids in protecting against infections, especially in physically active individuals (“Vitamin C and Infections,” Nutrients, April 2017). It can be obtained naturally from citrus, cantaloupe, berries, mangoes, papaya, broccoli, and potatoes. And moderate physical exercise, especially outdoors, can strengthen the immune system and aid the body in fighting infections.
While it is important to prevent transmission of the coronavirus, let’s not forget that vital nutrients like vitamins C and D, exposure to sunlight and fresh air, and regular physical exercise also play key roles in strengthening one’s immune system and reducing the risk of infection. To provide you with more information about practical Bible-based steps you can take to promote health and prevent disease, Tomorrow’s World is releasing a brand-new, free booklet this summer entitled Biblical Principles of Health. If you are a Tomorrow’s World magazine subscriber, keep an eye on your mailbox for a personal invitation to receive this new resource!—Douglas Winnail, Scott Winnail, and Francine Prater