Greetings from Charlotte,

This has been a busy and productive week. On Tuesday afternoon we held a teleconference with the Council of Elders. Mr. Meredith led the meeting and we discussed manpower needs of the Work, the impact of economic conditions on the income, and other issues. He concluded the meeting by emphasizing the need for spiritual gifts (Mark 16:20) and that this would be the focus of the Church fast scheduled for March 28. The Living University Board Meeting on Wednesday was also very encouraging, with a number of proactive decisions made about the future of the University and its relationship to the Church. Mr. Meredith will comment on these decisions in a forthcoming co-worker letter. On Thursday, Mr. Rod King taped program #349, titled “You Can Survive Armageddon,” in the new TV studio. This coming Sabbath, Mr. Martin Fannin will hold a Public Bible Lecture in Murphy, North Carolina; Mr. Dan Hall will conduct a lecture in Hawkins, Texas; and Mr. Meredith plans to give the sermon here in Charlotte. Your prayers are appreciated for these important efforts.
Church Administration
Passover 2009 (Repeat Announcement)
Important Notice to All Pastors: Passover services should not start before sunset. This year the Passover will be observed on Tuesday, April 7, a little less than five weeks from now. You should have already begun preparations, including hall arrangements, for your congregations to properly observe this solemn Feast. 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 also know of any scattered members who need to receive the Passover Service CD and letter instructions to observe it at home. Please direct your requests to the Church Administration Department by e-mail at cad@lcg.org or by phone at 704-844-1960, ext. 248, as soon as possible to ensure timely delivery. 
Clarification on Standards of Dress—Women’s Attire at Church 
We recently wrote that it could be appropriate for women to wear nice pantsuits to services—especially in colder climates when it is important to stay warm. The general principle that we need to keep in mind is that when we come to services, we are coming before God and that we want to glorify Him in wearing the best that we have (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). In the world today, standards of dress have become increasingly more casual, and some may use the excuse that God is only concerned about what is in our hearts, and not with what we wear. If that were the case, God would not have provided detailed instructions about what the priests were to wear when they entered the temple (see Exodus 39 and Ezekiel 44). In addition, Jesus would not have used the example about a person who was dressed inappropriately being rejected from a wedding (Matthew 22:1-13). While Jesus used this example to illustrate a spiritual principle, the example would be meaningless if it did not have a parallel in physical life. One commentary notes about this parable that if those invited to the wedding (symbolic of the coming Kingdom of God) “refuse to submit to the norms of the kingdom” they will be rejected (see Expositor’s Bible Commentary). As Christians, we are called to live by the commandments of God (John 14:15) and not struggle under humanly-devised regulations (Mark 7:8), yet we are to be lights and examples and strive to maintain high standards in a world that encourages people to do whatever they want. God did not call us to become “fashion police” to sit in judgment of what other people wear. However, we need to ask ourselves if we are really showing honor to God if we wear the same casual clothes to Church that we might wear to our job at the office or to a casual dinner at someone’s home. Slacks and a blouse are not the same as a dressy pantsuit. Let’s strive to set the best example we can—without judging others. It may take a little time to get the right balance in this area, but we can, if our goal is to honor God and not just do what we think is “okay.”
While wearing a dressy pantsuit may be appropriate on occasions, based on a long-standing tradition in the Church, and because dresses and skirts are generally recognized as the standard female attire for more formal occasions, we will continue to encourage our ladies to wear dresses or skirts to Church services.Douglas S. Winnail
Asheville Public Bible Lecture
Elder Gary Maney reports: The Asheville, North Carolina congregation held a Public Bible Lecture on the Sabbath of February 28. There were 45 in attendance for regular Sabbath services. Additionally, 15 subscribers were in attendance for the public lecture. Conducting the Bible study was Area Pastor Martin Fannin, who captured everyone’s attention by explaining God’s word on “The Return of Jesus Christ.” After the study, the Asheville congregation treated the guests to an elegant setting of fruits, vegetables, and sweet delights. Two of the guests stated they would be back next Sabbath…. The Asheville members were encouraged by the turnout and the positive comments that were made. We thank everyone for their prayers for the Public Bible Lecture’s success. We know God answered those prayers in a positive way.
Spring Holy Days Singles and Family Weekend in Greenville, South Carolina
The Anderson, South Carolina, congregation is hosting the second Upstate SC Spring Holy Day Weekend from April 8-12. All who are able are invited to join us early for the Night To Be Much Observed and the First Day of Unleavened Bread. A Friday hike into the Upstate’s Blue Ridge Mountains is planned. A SinglesBible Study (open to all) is scheduled for Friday evening. The Greenville Hilton in Greenville, South Carolina, will be the location for Sabbath services and the “Springtime in Carolina Banquet and Ball.” Dress for the ball is semi-formal/formal. On Sunday, a picnic will be held at Cleveland Park near downtown Greenville. Activities will include: softball, volleyball, children’s games, an optional visit to the Greenville Zoo, and a short hike along the Reedy River to the Liberty Bridge.
Details about the event (such as an itinerary and airport and lodging information) and a registration form are online at: www.lcg-anderson.org (not an official Church website). If you plan to attend, complete the registration form and remit payment in time for receipt by March 27. For further information, contact the event coordinator, Manuel Burdette, at 864-638-7719 or by e-mail at lcganderson@gmail.com. We look forward to seeing you in Greenville!
Feast of Tabernacles 2009
International Registration: Sunday, March 8

Registration for Hawaii and International sites (excluding Canadian sites) will be open beginning 12:00 noon (EDT) March 8, 2009.  You may register by logging on to your MyLCG account on the Member Resources website, www.cogl.org.  International sites open for transfer in 2009 are the following:

Argentina (Sierra de la Ventana)
Australia (Coffs Harbor, New South Wales)
France (Forges-les-Eaux)
Guatemala (Panajachel)
Guyana (Georgetown)
Jamaica (Montego Bay)
Malaysia (Penang)
New Zealand (Taupo)
Philippines (Baguio)
South Africa (Glentana)
Tobago (Crown Point)
United Kingdom (Llangollen)
Vanuatu (Orap)
Other countries with sites open to transfer will be: Barbados, Chile, Kenya, Martinique, Mexico, Peru, and Sri Lanka. Information on these sites is posted on the MyLCG section of the Member Resources website, www.cogl.org.  Note to Festival Advisors: You may download registration and volunteer forms, as well as site descriptions on MyLCG (www.cogl.org).  
United States and Canada Feast Sites in 2009
Feast plans have been finalized for eight sites in the USA and three in Canada for the Feast in 2009.  Note: Registration will not be open on March 8 for Continental USA or Canada sites.  Registration for USA and Canada will be open on Sunday, May 3 (after the Spring Holy Days). 
The USA and Canada sites for 2009 will be:
USA Sites:
Branson, MO
Cobleskill, NY
Kauai, HI (open for early registration on March 8)
New Braunfels, TX
Newport, OR
Prescott, AZ
Sunset Beach, NC
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Canada Sites:
Red Deer, AB
Mont Orford, QC
Charlottetown, PEI
Last week we published abbreviated descriptions of the Feast sites in Argentina and Australia. This week, we feature in The World Ahead abbreviated descriptions of the sites in France and in the United Kingdom. Unabridged descriptions are available at the MyLCG section of www.cogl.org.
Forges-les-Eaux, France
The Feast of Tabernacles in France will take place this year in Forges-les-Eaux, a flowery town of 3,700 inhabitants located in the Seine-Maritime department in the Haute-Normandie region, just two hours from Paris. The VVF (holiday village where the Festival will take place) will host about 140 attendees. The Church will have exclusive use of the site. About ½ mile from shops, it is at the center of a unique setting in Normandy, consisting of meadows and groves that roll away from the hectic city.
Participants will lodge in bungalows. Services and a number of the Feast activities will be held at the main VVF building, located a few meters from the bungalows. The dining rooms are also at the main VVF building, where we will share our three daily meals. According to our tradition, wine and cheese will be served at lunch and dinner. Full room and board is included in the price (see below).

This will be a bilingual French-English Feast site. Simultaneous translation of all services is planned. A bus shuttle will be available for transportation between Paris and Forges-les-Eaux on the day of arrivals and departures. The full board rates are 653 euros for adults (ages 15 and up) in single occupancy; 535 euros for adults in double or higher occupancy; and 294 euros for children ages 2-14. Children under the age of 2 do not pay. If you would like to attend the Feast of Tabernacles in Forges-les-Eaux, request a transfer by registering through your personal MyLCG account at www.cogl.org and contact Mr. Dibar Apartian at dapartian@lcg.org or at +1-704-844-1970.
Llangollen, United Kingdom
This year’s Feast in the United Kingdom will once again be held at Llangollen, in the Northeast corner of Wales. Nestled on the banks of the beautiful River Dee and surrounded by the resplendent scenery of the Berwyn Mountains, the area is famous for its outstanding beauty. The town has earned an international reputation as the Festival Capital of Wales. It is home to the International Musical Eisteddfod and numerous other festivals throughout the year. The Dee Valley has become an outstanding outdoor activity centre for kayaking, white water rafting, climbing and mountain biking.
There is a wide selection of varied accommodation in the area and plenty of quality places in which to eat. The location of services will be at the Bryn Howel Hotel, situated some two miles to the east of the town in its own secluded three acres of landscaped grounds. We have sole occupancy for the duration of the Feast. We have negotiated discretionary room rates with this and two sister hotels—The Chainbridge and The Wild Pheasant, both situated to the west of the town—and our guests at all three hotels will have access to the relaxing spa facilities available at The Wild Pheasant. Please be sure to mention when booking that you are part of the LCG Convention.
If you would like to attend the Feast of Tabernacles in the United Kingdom, request a transfer by registering through the MyLCG section of www.cogl.org. Further details on this site, a list of hotels, andtransportation and tourism information on the region, can be found on the MyLCG section of www.cogl.org
Stay tuned for additional international site descriptions in upcoming issues of The World Ahead.
The Importance of Mercy: One of the fundamental qualities that we need to develop as Christians—if we hope to become like God and reign with Jesus Christ—is mercy. Showing mercy involves patience, understanding, compassion and a willingness to forgive. The Scriptures reveal that God is full of mercy and compassion (Exodus 34:6-7) and that He requires us to develop these same qualities (Micah 6:8; Hosea 6:6). Solomon stated that when we show mercy, we honor God (Proverbs 14:31). Jesus taught that if we show mercy, we will receive mercy (Matthew 5:7) and that God values mercy over sacrifice (Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13). Jesus also taught that mercy is an important key for promoting better human relationships, and that individuals who have received mercy, but do not show mercy to others, will face serious consequences (Matthew 18:21-35). In human relations, we sometimes want to judge people guilty before the law, yet the Apostle James stated that “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13). As we strive to develop the mind of God, we will come to understand the importance of showing mercy to everyone we deal with—and we will be preparing to rule with Jesus Christ in His coming Kingdom. 
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—March 5, 2009
Russian and China Strengthen Ties. Russia and China just signed an important deal—China will lend Russia $25 billion, and Russia will build an oil pipeline to northern China and supply the Chinese with 300,000 barrels of oil per day for the next 20 years. After interest is figured in, this works out to be about $11.40 per barrel at a fixed rate for China. The results of this deal show how desperate the Russians are for business and how willing they are to strategically align with China for many years to come. In addition, the new pipeline will diversify China’s energy sources which come predominantly from the Middle East and are subject to the whim of the current world naval power (Stratfor.com, February 18, 2009). God prophesied that at the end of the age, just prior to the return of Christ, the greatest army the world has ever known will bear down on Jerusalem from the north and east. This army will be a compilation of nations, comprising 200 million men, and will ultimately destroy the Beast power (Daniel 11: 44-45, Joel 2:1-2, Revelation 9:13-21). Russia already has military alliances and building programs shared with China. Now they have an important, long-term energy alliance. These growing connections between two very populous nations could set the stage for future prophesied military action.
Impending Harvest Failure in China. In the worst drought in half a century, China’s “wheat belt” is bracing for crop failures. Due to lack of rain and antiquated and wasteful crop irrigation, many farmers fear a wheat crop failure for the second year in a row. Because of the severe water situation, the Chinese government is chemically seeding clouds to increase chances of rain. The government has also earmarked some of its own “economic stimulus” funds for digging deeper wells for crop irrigation (Christian Science Monitor, February 11, 2009). If China runs low on food, the world’s most populous nation could make demands on the United States due to trade agreements (see Der Spiegel, February 11, 2009). As China continues to buy U.S. debt, the Chinese government could demand re-payment in U.S. wheat and other foodstuffs. Long ago, God warned His chosen people that “a nation whom you have not known shall eat the fruit of your land and the produce of your labor, and you shall be… crushed continually” (Deuteronomy 28:33). Bible prophecies warn that Israelite-descended nations will face impending catastrophes because they choose to ignore and disobey God. The United States and other Israelite-descended nations have put themselves into a position of “debtor” nations, and with this status will come the penalty of having to serve other masters. China could become one of those masters in the years ahead.
Unprecedented Disease Outbreak in Bolivia. More than 20 people have died in Bolivia from dengue fever (which is normally painful, but not fatal), and there are 88 confirmed cases of a deadly hemorrhagic variant of the disease so far in 2009. The hemorrhagic variant “causes violent internal bleeding and swift fluid loss, and can lead to a quick, painful death if not treated in time.” The disease hit the nation on a large scale, with more than 33,000 dengue cases nationwide. To limit spread of the disease, 15,000 troops have been mobilized to assist the health service. The Bolivian Minister of Health has called this an “unprecedented epidemic,” and urged that “Bolivians must be aware of the seriousness of the disease and all—national and local government, municipalities and individuals—must help fight the disease.” Other public health officials warn that the epidemic “is going outside of our borders” (AFP, March 1, 2009). When Jesus’ disciples asked what signs would announce His second coming, He said those signs would include spreading pestilence and plagues (Luke 21:11). This powerful epidemic in Bolivia is an example of how a disease outbreak can grow out of control quickly and how a disease agent can change into something even more deadly. The variant of this mosquito-borne virus is an extremely painful way for people to die. We need to pray that God’s people in Bolivia will all be spared from this and many other diseases.—Scott Winnail and Ray Clore  

COGwriter 2009

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