September 24th, 2020
Greetings from Charlotte,
This year has been like no other for Festival planning. I hope everyone appreciates the massive amount of work put in by Church Administration, the Festival Site Coordinators, and our faithful Church pastors and elders who went above and beyond to make it possible for the majority of us to observe the Feast in person this year. They have also worked tirelessly to connect others who may not be able to attend in person. We know that some locations are locked down, restricting travel and group meetings. Be sure to remember to pray for, and reach out to, members you know who may be in such situations.
Here in Charlotte, the Living Education students had a beach outing last Sunday, and Mr. Wallace Smith recorded a telecast titled “Just What Is the Kingdom of God?” We will begin airing the Tomorrow’s World telecast at two additional times on CW Plus national network—at 1:30 a.m. and at noon each Wednesday, beginning September 30. We are also going on WBRZ ABC Baton Rouge, starting October 4 at 10:30 a.m. We held a livestream Ministerial Conference on Wednesday, and Mr. Felipe Casing wrote us a thank you note and mentioned that he, and no doubt other Philippine ministers, tied in to the conference at 3:00 a.m. We appreciate their dedication!
In other parts of the world, there are riots against the police and the tearing down of monuments in Colombia, South America. These are clearly interesting times which remind us of the significance of these seventh-month Festivals. Travel safely, and have a profitable Day of Atonement and a wonderful Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day.—Gerald Weston
Feast of Tabernacles
Please Be Patient
With the Feast just over one week away, we want to remind everyone, please be patient at the Feast! We will undoubtedly have some processes that are different than normal. For example, seating everyone in halls with limited room and also social-distancing requirements will be an extra big challenge for our ushers, and may take patience for brethren who may have to wait while we find seats for them. Also, screening at the door the first time you enter the Feast venue will mean possible delays. Our Coordinators are working hard to foresee any bottlenecks and seeking to alleviate them smoothly, but we’ll all need to have extra patience working through these unusual situations. Please watch carefully for updates from your Feast coordinator, so you know what to expect. Thank you to everyone as we work through these challenges together!
Toward the end of the Feast, you will be asked to fill out the Feast survey located at fotsurvey.lcg.org. This survey is only available online. No paper surveys will be distributed. Please fill it out (one per household) toward the end of the Feast, giving your observations and suggestions. Your input is appreciated!
Chemical Sensitivities and Love for Our Brethren
We want to remind everyone to be aware while at the Feast of the sensitivities to perfumes and colognes that some of our brethren have. For some of our brethren with serious allergies, just walking past someone with a lot of perfume or cologne is not simply uncomfortable, but can send them to the Emergency Room! Let’s use extra care to show love to others in this way at the Feast—please use moderation.
Basic Principles of Dress for Sabbath and Feast Services and Activities
As we prepare to be “lights to the world” at the Feast, it’s good to review some basic principles about our outward decorum and dress. Jesus stated in a parable that some invited to the wedding supper will be turned away because they are not dressed appropriately (Matthew 22:8–14). We have taught for decades that when we come to Church services, we are coming before the God of the universe, and we should dress in the best we have, to show proper respect to God. In most Western cultures, coats, collared shirts, ties, and nice slacks are considered appropriate attire for men on special occasions. Jeans, T-shirts, tennis shoes, or other sportswear are simply not in good taste at special occasions or at Church services. This may vary in tropical climates, yet, in all climates there is a distinction between what is appropriate and what is not. 1 Timothy 2:9–10 explains that ladies should dress “in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation.” This does not condone the trendy and immodest apparel that is commonplace for many women in our society today: short, tight, form-fitting dresses, necklines displaying cleavage, bare shoulders, backless dresses, belly-baring tops, etc. We come to services to worship God, not to display our bodies. If women dress in a manner that attracts attention to their bodies, they become a distraction to others from the real reasons for being at services. Our challenge as Christian men and women is to come out of this world (2 Corinthians 6:17) and recapture true values (Matthew 17:11) so we can be lights to a world that has lost its way (Matthew 5:14–15). This is especially true as we gather to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles—picturing Christ’s glorious reign on earth!
Appropriate Swimwear at Feast Activities
Appropriate swimwear for women and men at Feast activities is that which is modest and in good taste. We should be guided by the two great commandments—to love God and love neighbor (Matthew 22:37–39; Mark 12:30–31)—so as not to offend God or neighbor in our dress at the Feast. Accordingly, following our Living Youth Programs policy, swimwear at the Feast for ladies should be a modest one-piece or a modest tankini (covering the mid-section), and for the men, no Speedo-type suits, except where pool facility rules require them. Fathers and husbands have a responsibility to be leaders in their family to teach and guide regarding what is appropriate and what is not (Ezekiel 22:26).
Streaming/Phone Connection Information for Shut-Ins
If you will have to stay home from the Feast for health reasons, please contact the Feast Site Coordinator for your assigned site. He will be able to provide you with the log-in information for his livestream and/or phone hookup. Festival Advisors, please assist those brethren who don’t have Internet access to make contact with their Feast Coordinator. For your reference, here is a list of the U.S. 2020 Feast sites, the congregations assigned to them, and the Feast Coordinator.
If you attend a congregation outside of the United States, please contact your Regional Office or pastor for more information.
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Gary Stein (940-395-9984, [email protected])
Texas: Abilene, Amarillo, Big Sandy, Dallas, Midland, Temple
Branson, Missouri #1
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Gene Hilgenberg (417-483-8365, [email protected])
Missouri: Joplin, Springfield
Oklahoma: Oklahoma City, Tulsa
Branson, Missouri #2
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Phil West (816-885-1587, [email protected])
Arkansas: Fort Smith, Little Rock, Russellville
Missouri: St. Joseph
Branson, Missouri #3
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Bobby Jacques (405-520-3958, [email protected])
Missouri: Kansas City
Gatlinburg, Tennessee - #1
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Jim Meredith (626-695-6939, [email protected])
Tennessee: Chattanooga, Clarksville, Crossville, Etowah, Knoxville, Nashville
Gatlinburg, Tennessee - #2
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Yancy Taber (765-243-4715, [email protected])
Kentucky: Berea, Louisville
Indiana: Terre Haute, Fort Wayne, Knox, Indianapolis
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Brandon Fall (253-292-0698, [email protected])
California: Eureka, Fresno, Pleasant Hill, Sacramento
Oregon: Myrtle Creek, Portland
Washington: Richland, Seattle/Tacoma, Tonasket
Hickory, North Carolina
Feast Coordinator: Mr. John Strain (903-316-3160, [email protected])
North Carolina: Asheville, Charlotte, Kannapolis, Statesville, Sylva
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Bill Whitaker (843-810-5621, [email protected])
South Carolina: Columbia, Walterboro
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Bob Rodzaj (262-321-8313, [email protected])
Illinois: Chicago, Peoria
Iowa: Dubuque, Keokuk
Minnesota: Duluth, Minneapolis
North Dakota: Bismarck
Wisconsin: Appleton, Merrill, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Dells
Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
Feast Coordinator: Dr. Richard Franz (314-775-3192, [email protected])
Iowa: Des Moines
Missouri: Columbia, Rolla, St. Louis
Nebraska: Lincoln, Omaha
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Rodger Bardo (602-910-1086, [email protected])
Arizona: Phoenix, Prescott Valley, Tucson
California: Banning, Garden Grove, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego
Colorado: Denver, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs
Montana: Great Falls, Helena
Nevada: Las Vegas
New Mexico: Albuquerque, Santa Fe
Wyoming: Casper, Cheyenne, Saratoga, Thermopolis, Wheatland
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Glen Harrison (225-681-0222, [email protected])
Louisiana: Baton Rouge, Ferriday, Lafayette, Monroe, New Orleans, Shreveport
New Bern, North Carolina
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Wyatt Ciesielka (512-775-8368, [email protected])
North Carolina: Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, Jacksonville, Raleigh
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Adam West (518-225-3860, [email protected])
New Hampshire: Tilton
New Jersey: Hammonton, Rahway
New York: Albany, Corning, Plainview, New York City, Rochester
Pennsylvania: Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Tannersville
Rhode Island: Pawtucket
West Virginia: Morgantown
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Raul Colon (787-420-4543, [email protected])
Puerto Rico: San Juan
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Dan Hall (903-920-6601, [email protected])
Georgia: Atlanta, Braselton, Columbus, Warner Robins
South Carolina: Anderson
St. Augustine, Florida
Feast Coordinator: Mr. James Sweat (423-653-8746, [email protected])
Florida: Ft. Lauderdale, Naples, Jacksonville, Lake City, Melbourne, Ocala, Tampa
South Padre Island, Texas
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Rick Stafford (713-560-2107, [email protected])
Texas: Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Houston, San Antonio, The Valley
Traverse City, Michigan
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Bill Long (248-489-0453, [email protected])
Michigan: Lansing, Kalamazoo, Traverse City
Ohio: Akron, Columbus, Lima
Feast Coordinator: Mr. Ed Breaux (337-849-4270, [email protected])
Alabama: Athens, Birmingham, Dothan, Montgomery
Mississippi: Jackson, Laurel, Ocean Springs
Feast Coordinator: Lenny Bower (704-412-8511 [email protected])
Maryland: Baltimore, Salisbury
Virginia: Norfolk, Richmond, Williamsburg, Winchester
West Virginia: Bluefield, Charleston
U.S. Deadline for Payments Before Feast
Please note that our last scheduled day to print checks will be Wednesday, September 30. We will not be able to print any checks again until Thursday, October 15. Any invoices we receive before September 25 will be paid before the Festival break.
Any invoices we receive after September 25 may not be able to be paid until October 15.
If you have any questions in regard to specific invoices or payments, please contact Michelle Broussard in the Accounts Payable Department at 704-708-2234 or Meagan Meredith at 704-708-2237. You can also send an email to [email protected].
Atonement and Hope: Around the world today, millions of people suffer from the impact of greed, corruption, violence, and war. Many are anxious and deeply concerned about the direction modern societies are going and the increasing number of problems that appear to defy solutions. Sadly, many today do not understand or believe what the Bible plainly reveals—that we are living in Satan’s world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and the problems we face are the result of his evil influence (Ephesians 2:2). However, the Day of Atonement is an annual reminder that when Jesus Christ returns, Satan will be put away and his evil influence will be ended for 1,000 years (see Leviticus 16 and Revelation 20:1–3). The Holy Days remind us that God has a plan that He is working out for the ultimate good of all mankind. As we observe the Day of Atonement, we can rejoice in the hope that the influence that has produced the evils and suffering in this world is going to end, and there actually is a brighter future ahead.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—September 24, 2020
Sacrifices Coming in Jerusalem? Last week Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain signed a historic peace deal that is being lauded by some and criticized by others, especially by Hamas in the Palestinian territory (Al Jazeera, September 13, 2020). At the signing, the UAE foreign minister thanked Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu for “halting the annexation of the Palestinian territories which reinforces our shared will to achieve a better future for generations to come” (Times of Israel, September 15, 2020).
However, some Arabs have criticized the treaty for potentially opening up the Temple Mount to Israeli worship and prayer. The “status quo” has long held that the Temple Mount is to be administered by Jordan and that the only ones who can lawfully worship there are Muslims. Yet, President Trump recently commented that he looked forward to a time when those of all faiths can worship on the Temple Mount.
According to the Bible, Jewish sacrifices will resume before the end of the age, near or possibly on the Temple Mount—neither of which would be tolerated today! Students of Bible prophecy should watch for the resumption of Jewish sacrifices in very close proximity to the Temple Mount—an event that may be preceded by peace deals just like this one. It is also interesting that the relationship between Germany and Israel continues to strengthen. Recently, Israeli fighter jets landed at a German air force base for the first time (Deutsche Welle, August 17, 2020). Prophecy records that an end-time European “beast” power will gain control of Jerusalem (Daniel 11:40–41; Revelation 11:2; 13:5), and the growing relationship between Israel and Germany could lead to the fulfillment of these prophecies. For more on this topic, be sure to read or listen to The Middle East in Prophecy.
Brexit Saga Continues: In the last six months, Brexit appears to have taken a back seat to COVID-19. But regardless of the drop in press coverage, the Brexit process is moving forward, and the European Union and United Kingdom are still at loggerheads over a trade deal. Recently, in response to what they perceived would be an EU mandate that could prevent Britain from shipping food and supplies to Northern Ireland, the Brits passed a law allowing them to bypass such a situation (Deutsche Welle, September 12, 2020). In response, the EU accused Britain of breaking international law and the Brexit deal agreed to a year ago. Britain responded that it was acting to protect its “sovereignty.”
As EU-UK trade negotiations bump along, the UK recently signed an independent trade deal with Japan—allowing it to trade outside their EU relationship (EuroNews, September 11, 2020). As Britain continues to work on independent trade deals with other nations, the prospect of an effective trade deal between the UK and the EU seems to be fading (Reuters, September 16, 2020). In addition, there is also a growing animosity between the two powers. Recent decisions in Britain have truly angered many in Europe, yet Prime Minister Boris Johnson is not backing down (Politico, September 11, 2020).
Numerous prophecies in God’s word indicate that Britain will be on the outside of the coming European “beast” power and will suffer serious consequences for turning away from God (e.g., Deuteronomy 28:15, 36–47; Jeremiah 4:30). The increasing tension between the UK and Europe is just one more indicator of where their relationship is headed. For greater insight about what is ahead for the UK and Europe, be sure to watch “Britain’s Setting Sun.”—Scott Winnail, Paul Kearns, William Williams, and Francine Prater