Greetings from Charlotte,

Exciting news! Last weekend, 440 new people attended Tomorrow’s World Bible Lectures held in four different locations around the world. In South Africa, Mr. Rod King addressed 105 new visitors in Pretoria and 225 visitors in Cape Town. Dr. Scott Winnail spoke to 63 new people in Kingston, Jamaica, and the lecture in Shreveport, Louisiana, by Mr. Dan Hall attracted 47 new visitors. The overall attendance (including brethren) at last weekend’s lectures was just at 600 (see reports below). This week in Charlotte, Mr. Meredith held several meetings and finished an article for an upcoming issue of Tomorrow’s World magazine. Mr. Weston was here to tape lectures for the Living University class on the Epistles of Paul. This coming weekend, Mr. and Mrs. Ames will be in Atlanta where Mr. Ames will give a sermon and present a Tomorrow’s World Bible Lecture. I will be in Chattanooga, Tennessee for services and to conduct a mini-conference on Sunday for Church leaders in that region. Please remind everyone of the Church Fast that is scheduled for the Sabbath of March 6. Your prayers for all these activities will be much appreciated.
Church Administration
Passover 2010
Important Notice to All Pastors: Let us know as soon as possible if any of the congregations you serve will need additional Passover Service supplies (bread trays and/or wine trays or glasses) or even a copy of the Passover Service CDrecording. Additionally, let us know of any scattered members who need to receive the Passover Service CD and letter instructions to observe it at home (this is the same Passover CD that we have been using since 2006). Please direct your requests to Dorothy McNair at the Church Administration Department by e-mail at dmcnair@lcg.org or by phone at 704-844-1960, ext. 2248, as soon as possible to ensure timely delivery. 
Night To Be Much Observed DVD
Recently, evangelist Gerald Weston recorded at Headquarters a DVD explaining the meaning of the Night To Be Much Observed. Last week, it was sent to all international English-speaking congregations and will be sent to the U.S. and Canadian congregations this week. This DVD is for optional use in congregations as a sermonette prior to this observance or to be played during the Night To Be Much Observed itself.
Ministerial Transfers and Changes
Mr. and Mrs. Bob League will be moving to Charlotte early this summer where Mr. League will become the Associate Pastor. Mr. League will be responsible for visiting, counseling and directing Spokesman Clubs for the growing congregation in Charlotte. Mr. James Sweat will become the Area Pastor for congregations in Nashville, Chattanooga, and Crossville, Tennessee and Athens, Alabama.
Mr. Mario Hernandez, the Regional Director for the Spanish Work will be moving to Charlotte this summer so that he can more effectively make broadcasts and serve the Spanish-speaking brethren around the world.
Haiti Relief
Dr. Wil Pierre reports, “Everything is going well with the brethren in Haiti. I will be traveling to Haiti for the Passover and spring Holy Days. I will be staying there for two weeks.” Dr. Pierre also comments that, “Summer clothing and non-perishable food and water is needed for the emergency pantry being set up in Haiti. Items such as soap, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, hair supplies, wash cloths, and dishwashing liquid are examples of needed materials that can be stored in the new building. We can use almost anything that can be used in the home.” The emergency food and clothing pantry will be patterned after the model of the Headquarters food and used clothing banks. Dr. Pierre states, “As soon as we get settled into our new building, I will see how much room we have available, and then we can start sending things to that new address.” Please note: At this point, our Disaster Relief Fund has adequate funds to provide the money for the needs of our brethren in Haiti. However, if you would like to contribute any of the articles listed above, please mail them directly to:
Mr. Robert Stephens
C.K.’S Lockshop and Security Center
301 S.E. 4th Street
Boynton Beach, FL 33435
Please do not send to Headquarters (the lack of space, cost of shipping and limited staff for processing makes this very impractical). Monetary donations can still be made to replenish the Disaster Relief Fund; however, our real need at this juncture is for regular tithes and offerings, since the severe winter weather has adversely affected our budgeted income for February.—Davy Crockett
Spokesman Club Certificates
Church Administration is now producing Spokesman (or Graduate) Club Certificates for those who have completed the course.  Area Pastors: if there are men in your congregation(s) who have graduated from Spokesman or Graduate Club, send their names to Mr. Gary Ehman (gehman@lcg.org or call 704-844-1960, ext. 2216) for a certificate.
Shreveport, Louisiana Tomorrow’s World Presentation
Mr. Dan Hall reports: We appreciate all your prayers for the recent Shreveport, Louisiana, Bible Lecture!  Forty-seven new people attended this special event. The total attendance was 59, including our brethren.  It was standing room only and thrilling to see such a large group turn out for the Bible Lecture in this area.  Forty-five of the new attendees were adult, in addition to a teen and a baby.  Some of the attendees were from various Church of God affiliations, along with a number of brand new people.  Almost everyone seemed very interested in the topic of prophecy and end-time prophetic events soon to impact our nation.  Quite a few in the audience responded with audible agreement or nodding of heads.  Needless to say, the attitudes and excitement were inspiring!  Afterward, the brethren spoke with and encouraged the Subscribers, offering refreshments and an opportunity to discuss the Bible and to fellowship with people of like mind.  Again, thanks for all your support and prayers for God’s blessing and inspiration for an outstanding event!  Many expressed the desire to return next week for a follow-up Sabbath service. 
Caribbean Update—Kingston Follow-Up Tomorrow’s World Presentation
Dr. Scott Winnail, Caribbean Regional Director, reports: Thanks for your prayers for the success of our follow-up Tomorrow’s World Bible Lecture (last Sunday, February 21).  We began approximately 20 minutes late, as we waited for everyone to show up. We had a misprint in the address and learned that the street address we were sending folks to was a Baptist church down the road (Satan works in interesting ways)… however, after checking into it, we learned that the Baptist church was sending folks back to where we were.
We had 63 visitors for the follow-up and another 49 who are members, for a total of 112. So we were at roughly 50% of our first lecture total. The message was “The TRUE Gospel of Jesus Christ” and I went through the characteristics of God’s True Church as outlined in the Where Is God’s True Church Today? booklet. We also made that booklet and The Holy Days booklet available, as well as two items from Mr. Ames’ lecture. I entertained questions for roughly one-half hour afterwards and many folks stayed around to talk, eat the snacks, and ask more questions. All the feedback was positive and we probably had 5-6 people who asked about coming to services.  Another half dozen wanted more follow-up. We did have a few former WCG members show up, as well as several “old-time followers” of Herbert Armstrong—a couple dating back to the 1960s.
Overall, it was a very positive day. The brethren who attended were very excited and energized and thankful to also be able to share their beliefs with others who are interested. They were excited to see “new people” get excited about the same Truth they already know. What a neat experience to be a part of.  Time will tell how many we reap from the lectures, but the immediate fruits are definitely positive.
United Kingdom Update
Mr. Rick Stafford, London Area Pastor, reports: Last Saturday evening, 65 brethren from the London Central and London West (Apsley) congregations gathered together for an international social.   The menu consisted of specialty foods prepared by the members from a dozen nations. Many of the members added color to the event by wearing outfits typical of their home countries. A family visiting for the first time were very impressed and commented enthusiastically about the warmth and friendliness of the brethren. With the singing and games, the evening was an inspiring microcosm of a time in the future when all nations shall rejoice together in peace and brotherhood.
South Africa Update
Mr. Pieter van der Byl, South Africa Area Pastor, reports: Mr. Rod King arrived in Johannesburg on the evening of Thursday, February18, and after having discussions on the Work in South Africa, held the Annual General Meeting and the Board Meeting on Friday afternoon. Church services were held near Pretoria on the Sabbath morning with 71 brethren attending, followed by an afternoon Tomorrow’s World presentation for subscribers given by Mr. King on the subject of “What’s Ahead for South Africa?” A total of 105 subscribers attended the meeting in addition to 68 members, which was a 3.2% response to the invitations sent out.
On Sunday morning, Mr. King flew down to Cape Town, where another Tomorrow’s World presentation was given by him on the same subject in the area of Cape Town. Besides 30 members, 225 visitors attended, which is 7.2% of those invited! Much of the higher response in Cape Town can be attributed to the fact that we have the Tomorrow’s World television program reaching more people in this area.
We are very thankful for Mr. King’s successful visit to South Africa, and very thankful to our Father and Jesus Christ for the excellent response, and making it all possible. We will be having follow-up presentations in Pretoria and Cape Town this coming weekend, when I will speak on the subject of “The Purpose of Prophecy.”
Feast of Tabernacles 2010
Early (International) Registration
Testing is fully underway for the festival online registration system as we gear up for the Early (International) Registration.  International Registration will begin Sunday, March 14 at 12:00 noon (EDT).  If you are planning to transfer to an International site for the Feast, you may begin registering at that time.  Check the MyLCG section of www.cogl.org for complete write-ups on International sites open for transfer.  Please note: registration for United States and Canadian sites will not begin until Sunday, April 18 at 12:00 noon (EDT).  Registration for US/Canada sites will not be open until that date. 
Festival Advisors:  Our Area Pastors have begun (or will soon begin) the process of updating their list of Festival Advisors in preparation for International Registration.  If you will be serving in this way in 2010, your Pastor will be in contact with you soon (if he hasn’t already).  Registration and Volunteer forms for 2010, as well as a complete PDF file of the International write-ups, are available online at the MyLCG section of www.cogl.org.
This week we feature the sites in Alaska, Australiaand Jamaica:
Anchorage, Alaska
Come picture the millennium at the Millennium! The Millennium Alaskan Hotel (www.millenniumhotels.com/millenniumanchorage) is the venue for the 2010 Feast of Tabernacles in Anchorage, Alaska. Our 49th state is the largest in land area and the least densely populated. It is known for its magnificent glaciers, abundant wildlife, majestic mountains, and numerous state parks. Set on the eastern shore of Lake Spenard—the world’s largest floatplane lake—the Millennium Alaskan Hotel is conveniently located one mile from Anchorage International Airport and four miles from downtown Anchorage. From its spacious guest rooms featuring Alaskan décor, to the Flying Machine restaurant overlooking the lake, to the well-appointed conference room where services will be held, the hotel will provide comfort and convenience for Feastgoers. 
Temperatures in September are generally in the 40s and 50s during the day and 30s at night. Activities may include biking along paved bike trails in Anchorage, fishing, hiking, a tram ride at the Alyeska Resort set amid the Chugach Mountains, a bus or train trip along Turnagain Arm to the Kenai Peninsula and a boat trip to a glacier. Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to experience some of the natural beauty of Alaska while spending an inspiring Feast with brethren in Anchorage! The site does have a limited amount of space, so if you really want to go to Alaska, make sure you register early. Further details will forthcoming. For more information, contact Mr. Jim Meredith at jmeredith@lcg.org.
Victor Bay, Australia
G’day! Victor Harbor is located in the southern state of South Australia and has been chosen as the site for the 2010 Feast of Tabernacles in Australia. If you are looking for a millennial setting to keep the Feast this year, then Victor Harbor is what you are looking for! This quiet, seaside town with a population of 11,500 is tucked on the shores of Encounter Bay, providing a perfect environment for God’s people to focus on what these days picture. The Feast will be held in the new conference facilities at the McCracken Country Club Resort, surrounded by an 18-hole championship golf course. Accommodation is available at the resort, only a few metres from the conference hall.   For more information, visit its website: www.countryclubs.com.au/mccracken/home/. If you prefer a self-contained apartment, unit or house in a nearby area, you can find links from the Church’s MyLCG website (www.cogl.org).
There are loads of things to do and see in and around the area. Local natural attractions include Granite Island, Rosetta Head (The Bluff), surf beaches, whale watching and penguin colonies. In addition, there are a number of developed attractions including the Horse Drawn Tram to Granite Island, Greenhills Adventure Park, the South Australian Whale Centre, Encounter Coast Discovery Centre, the Steamranger Cockle Train, Urimbirra Wildlife Park, Wild Rose Garden & Miniature Village, Magawooka Flora Reserve and the Dunes Mini Golf Park. Did we mention wineries? Check out www.tourismvictorharbor.com.au for more information.  We will also be opening up the Australian offices, which are in two historic buildings in the town of Clarendon. Formerly used as the old post office, the “Norman Hellyer House,” and the original blacksmith’s house, now known as “Hartley House,” are both used by the Church today. Both were built in the 1800’s, but have been renovated to suit the needs of the Work. You will also see where some Living University students are able to study while working part-time to help the Work in this region of the world. The office is located only 45 minutes from Victor Harbor.  For more information, contact Mr. Robert Tyler (+61 8 83836266; rtyler@living.org.au).
Montego Bay, Jamaica
For the second consecutive year, the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort in Jamaica’s second largest city, Montego Bay, is the site of the Feast of Tabernacles. Situated on Jamaica’s North Coast, it is the island’s premier tourist destination. The Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort is six miles from the Sangster’s International Airport and eight miles from downtown Montego Bay. The resort boasts 524 spacious guest rooms and suites with balconies or patios. It also has three specialty restaurants in addition to the main dining room and grill, a state-of-the-art fitness center, lighted tennis courts, nine-hole mini-golf course, children’s activity centers and complimentary self-service laundry facilities with washers and dryers. All rooms have one king bed or two double beds. Children 12 years and under stay for free with an accompanying adult (maximum two per room). When you come to Jamaica, enjoy rafting on the Martha Brae River, viewing the “glistening waters,” or cruising along the Montego Bay coastline. Feastgoers may enjoy snorkelling in the Montego Bay marine park, enjoy one of the many Chukka Adventure Tours, visit local points of interest or take a gentle tour of the craft and souvenir shops on Gloucester Avenue. Housing rates can be found on the Church’s MyLCG website (www.cogl.org).
Importance of Booking Through Church Channels: From time to time, members are able to find less expensive room rates when booking with a consolidator or travel agent. This is certainly acceptable. However we would request that, if at all possible, you book directly through the hotel using the specified contact and our pre-negotiated room rates. By doing this, it allows the Church to receive proper credit for our brethren who stay at the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort. Additionally, the more rooms we book this way, the more “free nights” we are awarded. These free room nights are then used to provide housing for several of our Jamaican brethren. Thank you very much for considering this option. For those booking through the Church, you might consider signing up for Holiday Inn’s Priority Club rewards program. With the number of room-nights you will accumulate at the Feast, you may qualify for a free room in a future Holiday Inn stay. For more information visit: www.ichotelsgroup.com, where you can sign up for the Priority Club Rewards program. For more information, contact Mr. Lascelles Fraser at +1-876-969-5673 or +1-876-969-0746 or +1-876-878-1288 (mobile). Or, you can email him at kingstonlivingcog@hotmail.com.
Legal Affairs and Risk Management
Jury Scams—Beware!
Most of us take those summonses for jury service seriously, but enough people in society ignore them. This has given rise to a new and ominous kind of fraud. The caller claims to be a jury coordinator; if the person called protests that they never received a summons, the scammer then asks for a Social Security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant.  Once this information is out—your identity has been stolen.  This fraud has been reported in 11 states so far, including Oklahoma, Illinois and Colorado. This swindle is particularly insidious because those doing it use intimidation over the phone to try to bully people into giving information by pretending they represent the court system. The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their websites, warning consumers about the fraud.
Real Philadelphia Christians: The book of Revelation indicates that remnants of the Philadelphia era of God’s Church will continue to function right up to the return of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures describe Philadelphia Christians as faithful and dedicated to carrying out Jesus’ instructions to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the coming Kingdom of God (Mark 16:15), to warn the world of the coming tribulation (Matthew 24) and to prepare a people to reign with Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God (Luke 1:17; Revelation 5:10). However, as the name “Philadelphia” means “brotherly love,” true Philadelphians will also strive to follow Jesus’ admonition to “love one another” (John 15:12-17). They understand that showing unselfish, outgoing concern for others (versus sitting in judgment of others) is one of the distinguishing marks of a real Philadelphia Christian (John 13:34-35). Let’s all look for ways to show brotherly love to others!
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—February 25, 2010
Financial Crisis May Strengthen the Beast. All indicators point to a total financial collapse of the Greek economy unless a “strong hand from somewhere” intervenes. This crisis has powerful implications for the whole of Europe. One credit expert from Frankfurt observed, “Economically, we are in a very risky situation. Greece is close to default. We face systemic risk like the Lehman collapse and unless there is a bail-out for Greece, there will have to be a bail-out for the whole European banking system within two or three months.” “French banks have $76bn of exposure to Greece, the Swiss $64bn, and the Germans $43bn…. The exposure of Portuguese banks to Spain and Ireland equals 19pc of Portugal’s GDP.” Greece will apparently receive economic support, but many fear this will pave the way for the emergence of a European “central treasury”—as many European federalists desire (Telegraph, February 11, 2010). God prophesied that at the end of the age, ten kings or leaders will turn over their power to the Beast (Revelation 17:12-13). The financial crisis in Greece could precipitate, or “set the stage” for, this end-time transfer of power in Europe.     
China, the U.S. and the Future. U.S.-China relations are at an all-time low, as China attempts to redefine itself as a respectable world power, and the U.S. attempts to pressure China into supporting trade sanctions on Iran. China relies on Iran for much of its oil, and depends on Iran to buy Chinese gasoline/petrol (Stratfor.com, February 18, 2010). China is in a difficult situation and is receiving internal counsel to “stand up to the U.S.” (BBC, February 17, 2010). China is rapidly expanding its economy, its military, and its trade relationships with nations around the globe. China wants to be seen as the “leader of the developing world.” The Chinese central government is also working hard on its domestic image as the Communist Party prepares for a very important leadership transition in 2012 (Stratfor.com, February 18, 2010). Bible prophecy indicates that China will likely be part of a major army “from the East” that will descend upon the Holy Land and attack the Beast army near the end of the Great Tribulation (Daniel 11:44-45; Revelation 9:13-17). The Bible also indicates that in the last days there will be “wars and rumors of wars… for nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:6-7). The growing rift between China and the U.S. could move the world towards the fulfillment of these ancient prophecies.

New Russian Jets to India.   Last Friday, India received its first shipment of upgraded MiG-29K Russian fighter-bombers. This new plane has the latest upgrades in missiles and armaments and is designed to operate from an aircraft carrier—which India will acquire later this year. India has invested heavily in building up its military. With an unstable Pakistan on its border, India wants to be prepared for what some view as the inevitable confrontation with its neighbor (The Times of India, February 19, 2010). Russia is providing most of the hardware for India’s military build-up, and the two nations hold joint military exercises. With a population of well over 1 billion, a robust economy and growing military capabilities, India could provide considerable “bench strength” (in partnership with Russia and China) as part of the end-time “kings from the east” who will bring a 200- million-man army to attack the Beast (Daniel 11:44-45; Revelation 9:13-17).—Scott Winnail and Sue Bennett

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COGwriter 2010