The Feast of Tabernacles in the 1970s and 1980s


The Churches of God normally have over one hundred Feast of Tabernacles’ sites in various places around the world every year.

As many who are readers of this page at this time are not at the Feast of Tabernacles now, I thought a series on the sites we attended might be of interest.

I first began to attend the Feast of Tabernacles in 1977. My first feast was at Squaw Valley, California, with an attendance of around 10,000 (all attendance figures will be from my memory of estimated attendance), and this was when I saw Garner Ted Armstrong in person. In 1978, I went to Fresno, California, with an attendance of around 7,000. In 1979, I went to Tucson, Arizona for the feast, with an attendance of nearly 12,000 and this is when I saw Herbert W. Armstrong in person and met Stan Radar. In 1980, I attended the feast in Big Sandy, Texas and slept in a small tent–it rained a lot and this was quite wet–about 7,000 may have attended there that year.

In 1981, this was the first feast I did not drive to, it was Lihue, Hawaii,  It had about 1,500 in attendance–this was the first time my wife and I were married and attended the same Feast site. In 1982, we went to Anchorage, Alaska with about 500 in attendance.

1983 was the first feast for either of us outside of the USA, as well as the first feast that we began to take slide pictures. We went to Hoogeveen, Netherlands (all of my wife’s grandparents came to the USA from the Netherlands). About 500 attended there that year. We wrote a list of things that were different there compared to the USA. Here are two photos from that feast:

Netherlands Windmill Netherlands Canal

Windmill and canal near Hoogeveen, Netherlands, 1983

In 1984, we went to Sri Lanka for the feast. About 100 or so attended. Sri Lanka was so different from the USA that we thought that perhaps we should write a list of what was the same as in the USA as that would have been a fairly short list. Here are two photos taken at that feast:

Village in Sri Lanka Fruit Stand in Sri Lanka

Below is the Riverina hotel where church services for the Feast of Tabernacles in 1984 was held:

Riverina Hotel

In 1985, we went to Durban, South Africa. About 1,000 were there. Below is a South African village and a picture of the building services met at in Durban:

South African Village Durban, South Africa

In 1986, we went to Pasadena, California for the Feast. We did not take slides, but should we find the photos taken, perhaps they will be added. One thing that puzzled me in 1986, was the fact that I learned that J. Tkach (Sr.) generally did not go anywhere for the Feast of Tabernacles. Later, of course, he and his administration minimized the necessity to observe God’s festivals.

In 1987, we went to Rotorua, New Zealand for the Feast. About 1200 of so attended there that year. We stayed at the Geyserland Hotel where we saw geysers and boiling mud everyday. The city has a sulfur smell, which when you are there a while, you get used to. Below is the view from our hotel room as well as a countryside photo taken:

Rotarua Geysers and Mud Sheep Grazing on New Zealand Countryside

In 1989, we went to the south Pacific nation of Fiji. About 200 or so attended that year:

Michael in Fiji

In the 1980s, there were over 100 feast sites pretty much every year, and thus we tended to have a lot of choices about where to attend. Even now there are probably over 100 sites in total, though many are quite small.  Back in the 1980s, upwards of 150,000 WCG people reportedly kept the Feast of Tabernacles.  In the 21st century, it appears that less than 50,000 attend each  year.

The Feast of Tabernacles’ sites of the Continuing Church of God are following the biblical instruction to read the law every seven years in 2013.  Here is a link to its Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2013.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? The ‘Fall’ Holy Days come every year in September and/or October on the Roman calendar. Some call them Jewish holidays, but they were kept by Jesus, the apostles, and their early faithful followers. Should you keep them? What does the Bible teach? What do records of church history teach? What does the Bible teach about the Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day? Here is a link to a related sermon: Should you keep the Fall Holy Days?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law
The Bible teaches that every seven years that the law should be read at the Feast of Tabernacles. This is what I did at the first Feast site were I gave an actual sermon (as opposed to a sermonette) in 2006 and that is also what I expect to do in 2013.
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
Pagan Holidays or God’s Holy Days Which? Herbert W. Armstrong explains what the days the Bible endorses.
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur 🙂  In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos.

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