September 17th, 2020
Greetings from Charlotte,
Mr. Richard Ames recorded a Tomorrow’s World telecast titled “What Happened to the Christianity of Christ?,” offering one of the late Dr. Roderick C. Meredith’s strongest booklets, Restoring Original Christianity. I recorded a telecast titled “What Does God Want of Me?,” offering The Ten Commandments booklet. Mr. and Mrs. Donald Stevens were here this week becoming acquainted with the Headquarters office personnel. Mr. Stevens was recently ordained as an elder and has been hired by the Church. He is currently serving in the Eastern North Carolina area under Mr. Wyatt Ciesielka.
Mr. Mike DeSimone was in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Mr. Jonathan McNair visited Walterboro, South Carolina, last Sabbath as guest speakers in those congregations. Our attendance figures continue to creep up here in Charlotte, as we had 186 attending in person. This presents a new problem, as we are close to maxing out our meeting facilities, due to social distancing rules.
Please remember our brethren in Haiti, where there is currently a wave of widespread violence. Also pray for the health of all our members, as well as Festival site planning as governments and venue regulations are constantly changing.—Gerald Weston
Headquarters Livestream for the Feast of Trumpets
Both the morning and afternoon services on the Feast of Trumpets will be livestreamed Church-wide from Headquarters on September 19. Pastors are welcome to have their congregations tune in to one or the other or both of the HQ services, if needed. It is not mandatory to tune in to the HQ services. The HQ streamed services will be at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (EDT). The morning sermonette will be an offertory message, and Mr. Gerald Weston will give the sermon. The afternoon sermon will be given by Mr. Richard Ames.
There will be no Headquarters livestreamed service on the Day of Atonement. Atonement services will be conducted locally or regionally.
Video link information:
- Livestream: lcg.org/stream (Note: The stream page will not be active until shortly before services on the Sabbath)
- No password required
Phone call-in information:
- Phone call-in: +1-415-655-0001 (U.S. toll number)
- Connection access number: 160 097 7243
- For a list of call-in numbers for those who are outside the United States, please click on this link: Global call-in numbers
We look forward to meeting virtually together!
Feast of Tabernacles
We are sending out the last speaking schedules. For those who will be delivering sermonettes or sermons at the Feast, please send the title(s) of your message(s) to your Feast Site Coordinator by this Sunday, September 20.
Children’s Conduct in the Meeting Hall and Adjoining Rooms
Children are a joy to parents and fellow Feast-goers. The Feast is about families—and it’s inspiring seeing children attend the Feast with their families! But parents, please remember that children are not permitted to run or engage in horseplay before or after services. Children darting in and out among fellowshipping brethren can be a trip hazard. For the elderly, this can be dangerous, even life-threatening.
Child Safety at the Feast
Parents, please remember that your responsibility for your children does not cease when you come to services at the Feast of Tabernacles. While precautions are taken and there may be activities for children, the Church meeting or event is not a childcare facility. The Church does not take responsibility for the care of children during Church meetings or events. Their absolute safety cannot be guaranteed. The ultimate responsibility for the care of children always remains with parents or guardians. Please ensure that the conduct of your children and young people is adequately supervised throughout their attendance, and that your children are fully under your control. Young children must not be left wandering unsupervised.
Children—Sitting with Their Parents
God instructs, “You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter.” Clearly, God wants families to rejoice together at His Feasts. Experience has shown that children and teenagers pay attention and therefore learn more from the messages when sitting with a parent than when sitting with a group of children off by themselves. Therefore, it is the policy of the Church to have children and teens sit with their parents during services. An exception may be where an individual child or teen may sit with a friend who is sitting with his or her parents. Obviously, a teen attending whose parents are not in attendance would be exempt. The Feast is a time for families to grow together. Let us use the precious time we have during services to further that goal.
COVID-19 Feast Policy Reminder—Repeat Announcement
Brethren are reminded to review the COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines prior to departing for the Feast of Tabernacles. You can find the guidelines by going to lcg.org, scrolling down to the bottom of the page, clicking on “Feast of Tabernacles,” and then clicking on the “COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines” link. The Guidelines cover such topics as (1) Government and venue regulations, (2) Face Coverings and Social Distancing, (3) Hymns, (4) Illness at the Feast, and (5) Screening. All brethren are also required to go through the mandatory “Self Screening Questionnaire” on the same page as the COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines.
Take a Thermometer Along with You to the Feast—Repeat Announcement
All brethren are encouraged to take a thermometer along to the Feast and self-check temperatures of themselves and their family members each day before attending services. If you have an elevated temperature above 100.4 degrees, you should not attend services, but stay back at your housing and view the service on livestream. Elders will be on call to provide anointing.
Streaming/Phone Connections for Shut-Ins—Repeat Announcement
If you will have to stay home from the Feast for health reasons, please note our Feast sites will be providing livestream or phone connection services for the areas assigned to each Feast site. In this way, you can listen to or watch a live service at your assigned Feast site even if you have to stay home, and you can feel more connected to what’s going on at the Feast! For more information on what’s available at your site, please contact the Festival Site Coordinator at your assigned Feast site. If you need help, please contact your congregation’s Festival Advisor.
Pay Attention to Prophecy: Jesus told His disciples to stay alert and watch for the fulfillment of specific prophecies that will mark the approaching end of this age (Matthew 24:3, 42–44). He also warned in the parable of the foolish virgins that many will be caught napping and unprepared by the surge of events preceding the return of Jesus Christ to this earth (Matthew 25:1–13). It is amazing and sobering how God has given His Church a “more sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:19, KJV) so we can warn the nations of Israel and this world about the prophetic significance of current and impending world events. We also need to realize that it is a serious and awesome responsibility to be a watchman (Ezekiel 3 and 33). However, it is instructive to notice how Satan has used misguided individuals to ridicule the Church’s understanding of prophecy by accusing members of suffering from “prediction addiction” or believing in fairy tales about the future. As we see world events building to a prophetic crescendo, let’s make sure that we are building a closer relationship with God and that we are learning to really live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4) so we are prepared for the dramatic events ahead of us.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—September 17, 2020
Fires Scorch Western U.S.: Massive forest fires are burning across the western United States. From California up to Washington and from the western coast inland to Wyoming and Colorado, multiple fires have burned millions of acres so far this year (The New York Times, September 11, 2020). As one official put it, “[It’s] becoming sad that every year we’re having this conversation. We say this is the biggest year, and then the next year say this is the biggest year. It’s becoming numbing how frequently we have to say this.”
Tens of thousands of firefighters are battling blazes in multiple states, while states also face shortages in firefighting personnel and equipment. In Oregon, over 40,000 people have been evacuated (revised down from an earlier incorrect number), with more informed that they, too, may need to flee. Oregon’s governor stated, “We have never seen this amount of uncontained fire across the state” (The Weather Channel, September 11, 2020).
The scale of destruction in the American West is sobering. However, fires are also burning in Canada and Europe. In the pages of the Bible, God warns modern Israelite-descended nations (including nations of Western Europe and many English-speaking countries) that “your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you shall be iron. The Lord will change the rain of your land to powder and dust; from the heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed” (Deuteronomy 28:23–24). As we see increasing droughts, famines, and destructive fires around the globe, we need to remember that admonition. Yet we can take encouragement, as well, as Jesus Christ tells us in Luke 21:28, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” For more on this subject, read our commentary “Sighing Because of the News.”
Greece to Build Up Military: Tensions are growing between Turkey and Greece, fed in part by Turkey’s energy exploration in Greek territorial waters. In response to Turkey’s actions, Greece is looking to increase its military arsenal (Politico, September 14, 2020). “Despite the deep recession caused by the coronavirus crisis and a rising budget deficit, Athens has decided it’s time to act. Fighter jets, frigates, torpedoes and helicopters are all on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ shopping list.” This will increase Greek military spending by about a third over the next ten years. Even now, reports describe dozens of navy flotillas from each nation beginning to crowd each other, and “diplomats fear an accidental or deliberate escalation could spark a full-blown conflict.”
France, a close ally of Greece, will be one of the major contributors to the nation’s military buildup. Greece is also hoping to achieve a “mutual defense assistance” agreement with France. French support for Greece’s position recently prompted Turkey’s president Erdogan to warn Paris, “Don’t mess with the Turkish people. Don’t mess with Turkey” (Politico, September 13, 2020).
The world is entering a time when simmering tensions—whether new or long-standing—will begin to boil over. While there have always been wars and rumors of wars, the Bible reveals these ominous situations will increase in frequency and potential severity as we approach the last days (Matthew 24:4–8). To learn more about the signs of the end of the age, be sure to read or listen to Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return.—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater, and Chris Sookdeo