Cartwright’s Journal Out: FOT reports, more public domain hymns, and PCG’s mansion purchase


The latest issue (says #167 November 30, 2014) of The Journal was sent out electronically and just received.

Some of its main articles has to do with some Feast of Tabernacles‘ reports, Dwight Armstrong hymns, history, ‘sacred names, parables, and PCG’s new mansion.

As far a Feast of Tabernacles’ reports go, one of the main ones was related to the Continuing Church of God.  Here is some information about that which I sent out in October (see Letter to the Brethren: October 23, 2014):

Feast of Tabernacles and Related Reports

Received reports from all the official CCOG sites, other than one video site (in the Philippines) where email communication has long been limited.

My family attended the site in Orlando, Florida. A highlight of the site were the baptisms that took place. When I was baptizing a man there, his head somewhat popped up and did not quite get immersed when I went to put him under the water, so I had to push his head specifically a second time. It seemed a little humorous at the time, but he at least was properly fully immersed. In the Continuing Church of God we, of course, practice baptism by immersion (see also Baptism, the Early Church, and the Continuing Church).

Topics covered in messages in Orlando included the Feast of Tabernacles, forgiveness, love, human nature, strangers & pilgrims, Messianic Judaism, the gospel of the kingdom, China, tradition, prophesying, dealing with Satan, and the meaning of the Last Great Day.

We were only significantly affected by rain one day in Orlando, which was the sixth day of the Feast of Tabernacles.  Our family was caught in two downpours that day.  They reminded me why the Jews did not pray for rain until the eighth day, the Last Great Day, of the Feast.

We received the following information from the video Feast of Tabernacles’ site in Wichita, Kansas:

2014  Feast Attendance  for Wichita, Kansas video group was 3 adults and 2 children 2 teenagers. …

We had no problems. We were able to see the sermons you uploaded from the day before and others you had from last year on Deut. Very Good!

Here is a report from John Hickey from New Zealand related to the site there:

The Feast was great.  We enjoyed your sermons very much.  For sermonettes we had some of yours and I gave some, I didn’t record them but I have thought that I could do that now I’m home again and send them to you.

We’ve just arrived home from our drive up from Wellington, all happy, safe and sound.  The weather was good for the whole feast (another answered prayer) and we enjoyed the sightseeing and the shopping etc.

To download your sermons we purchased extra gigabytes for my iPad and used that as a hotspot to download them to the laptop.  This worked extremely well.

We also received reports from Africa related to the hundreds that attended there.  On the negative side, most of the brethren from Tanzania were turned away at the Kenyan border, so they ended up having a Feast in Tanzania.

Here is a report from Pastor Evans Ochieng:


Greetings from Kenya. The Feast of Tabernacles in Kenya 2014 was a wonderful feast I ever kept. And it is the first feast of CCOG in Kenya which was perfectly done.  We had three feast sites in Kenya. Ndhiwa, Kisii and Nairobi.

There was a problem with our brethren from Tanzania who were blocked at the border when they were crossing the border because they did not have passports. So they went back and keep the feast in Tanzania. Only our brother Paul Makinda who was baptized in in Nairobi during your visit in Kenya managed to reach at the camp in Ndhiwa.  The feast in Ndhiwa was opened at the end of 8th when 9th was arriving, and that night we got sermon from Bob Thiel.  It was a wonderful sermon and was spiritually inspired.  In the morning I gave sermon about the importance of Feast of Tabernacles and the reason why it should be kept.

The feast site in Ndhiwa was the largest feast in Kenya with apopulation of 236 people. Adults were 196 and 40 children.  There were 12 congregations who were in Ndhiwa site and one man from Tanzania.  The congregations were, Ndhiwa, Oriang, Mbani, kiseke, Oyugis, Rongo, Nyakach, Mbita, Migori,  Eberege  Kisii Nyamaruma Kisii and Mgonga Kisii. Also we had 2 people from Kisumu who wanted to attend  CCOG feast of tabernacles site. This was a William and Nora. I gave them church history and after four days they declared that  they are CCOG members. They said that since they started to become members of CCOG. Even today I received their calls that they reached well and wanted me to go to Kisumu  to go and arrange how they can meet every Sabbath. I stayed in Ndhiwa for three days then I travelled to Kisii to meet our brethren who were keeping Feast in Kisii.

Regarding Kisii, here is the report from Evans Ochieng:

Pastor Bob,

The Kisii site was hosting 200 people.

…We had four Feast of Tabernacles’ sites in Africa (including what seems to have been a very limited one in Nairobi), two in North America (including one video site in Kansas), one in New Zealand, and one video site in the Philippines.Over 500 people part of the Continuing Church of God were able to attend the Feast of Tabernacles in 2014. We had more than double the number of attendees in North America and Africa this year compared to 2013.

Additionally, there were people who were unable to get to our sites who live in North America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, Australia, and parts of Africa. But, some of them were able to watch the videos prepared for and during the Feast of Tabernacles this year (see Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2014).

The ‘over 500 people’ figure does not include those who were unable to attend, nor does it include two groups in Asia who held the Feast of Tabernacles at sites there, but who have a more distant affiliation with CCOG. Nor does it include some in Africa who are currently looking at possible closer CCOG affiliation.

Other groups also had reports in The Journal.

Here is something related to hymns in The Journal.:

Deborah L. Armstrong of Spokane, Wash., daughter of W orldwide Church of God (WCG) hymn writer Dwight Arm- strong, recently announced her plans to place her late father’s unpublished hymns into the public domain…

Public-domain transfer will add 20-some hymns to original 128…

Many of the hymns by Dwight Armstrong were released into public domain a few years ago.  This has helped groups like the CCOG have a songbook.  Here is a link to The Bible Hymnal online, which contains many Dwight Armstrong hymns.

In terms of history, something related to Big Sandy was on the front page by John Warren:

The college campus at Big Sandy had a major impact on church growth in East Texas, but an earlier major factor was Radio/Worldwide Church of God founder Herbert W. Armstrong’s decision in 1952 to develop the church property as a Feast of Tabernacles site for the fall of 1953. In this article we focus on what Sabbath and Feast services were like in those early days and the challenges that confronted church members. Several people who attended fes- tival and church services in the 1940s and ’50s provided THE JOURNAL with their remembrances for this article in interviews in 2002. Buck Hammer of Gladewater, who died in 2003, remembered the first church service on the property two miles east of Big Sandy on U.S. Highway 80. This was in 1952 during the spring feast, with services that year taking place at the Hammer home near Gladewater.

After discussions with Mr. Armstrong, founder of what was then called the Radio Church of God, about the need for a larger facility for observing the Feast of Tabernacles later that year, a group traveled from Gladewater to the unimproved Big Sandy property one afternoon during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Compared with services in later years in air-conditioned buildings, that first meeting was rather primitive.

Speaking of primitive, when I attended the Feast of Tabernacles in Big Sandy, Texas is 1980, I noticed that most all there where in motor homes or something about as nice.  I was in a very small tent (one you could not stand it), and one that got so full of rain that I was unable to even roll over at night lest I would get drenched.

John Adkins wrote an article in defense of ‘sacred names,’ of which I do not come to all the same conclusions. More on names can be found in the following articles:

Why the Names Jesus and Christ in English? Was the New Testament Written in Hebrew or Greek? Various groups believe that the name Jesus should not be used, but instead other pronunciations and spellings. This is an article by the late evangelist John Ogwyn, addresses this “sacred name” issue, as well as if the New Testament was written in Hebrew or Greek.
God’s Names and the Jewish Reading Tradition This article by John Wheeler, addresses this, as well as a few other Hebrew and Greek points.
Yahweh and Sacred Names This article by Wyatt Ciesielka, addresses this issue that is sometimes raised.
Sacred Names: Appropriate or Required? This article contains a question with a response from Norman Edwards about these names.
Worldwide Assembly of Yahweh This is what I’d call a sacred name group.

David Havir had an article in The Journal encouraging people to read the parables in the New Testament about the Kingdom. That is a good to do.

The back page of The Journal had the following:

The Philadelphia Church of God (PCG) recently purchased a 22-acre estate that features a 24,000-square-foot mansion to serve as its new British headquarters. The large imposing former private residence lies on the outskirts of the village of Wootton Wawen in the West Midlands county of Warwickshire.

PCG originally tried to get properties that were part of the old Ambassador College campus in Bricket Wood (UK), but that fell through.  More on the purchase is in the article PCG announces ‘Bricket Wood’ related purchase.  In The Journal article, I was surprised that I was mentioned as The Journal had not discussed this with me.  Anyway, here is one more part of The Journal article:

Bob Thiel of Arroyo Grande, Calif., founder of the Continuing Church of God, publisher of the blog COGWriter … says he is relieved that the PCG purchased the Edstone campus rather than the WCG’s old Ambassador College grounds.

Mr. Thiel has criticized the PCG as becoming too eager over the years to acquire relics of the old Radio/ Worldwide Church of God. “I have considered PCG’s fascination with attaining old WCG items to be on the idolatrous side, so at least this purchase of property in England ended up not being a continuation of that,” wrote Mr. Thiel in a Nov. 14, 2014, blog entry.

“Yet, because it is in England, this does give the appearance that PCG is still trying to appear more like the old WCG, which had a campus there.”

In 2009, the Philadelphia Church of God purchased a 12-by-15-by-25-foot sculpture formerly located on the WCG’s Ambassador College Big Sandy campus called Swans in Flight .

Mr. Armstrong’s prayer rock

Originally commissioned in 1969 by Mr. Armstrong, the swans lately rest in a 40,000-gallon reflecting pool on a mall at the entrance of the Armstrong Auditorium of PCG’s AC campus in Oklahoma. Also on display on that campus is a 14-inch “prayer rock” said to have been used by Mr. Armstrong to lean on while kneeling in prayer when he lived in Oregon in the 1920s and ’30s.

A small group of PCG members embarked on an expedition to Oregon to find the rock. After consulting with descendants of friends of Mr. Arm- strong, they found a rock that they said fit every detail that Mr. Armstrong had given in his autobiography about the rock.

When Gerald Flurry later saw the rock, he was convinced that it indeed had been Mr. Armstrong’s rock, and he ordered that it be displayed on the PCG’s college campus. The rock arrived on the Oklahoma campus Aug. 15, 2002.

Two years later the PCG spent more than $100,000 purchasing items auctioned off by the WCG in its liquidation of the assets of its Ambassador College Pasadena Campus. A nine-foot Steinway concert grand piano and two seven-foot-tall candlestick holders were among the items purchased. In a July 17, 2004, sermon explaining the church’s purchases, Gerald Flurry noted the items had been picked out and acquired by Herbert Armstrong himself.

I stand by my writings that PCG sometimes seems to eager to acquire what could be considered as relics.

The back cover of The Journal mentioned the death of Gary Fakhoury.  While I had seen his name (he sometimes had articles in The Journal), I never knew him.  He died 9/30/14 at age 52.

The Journal also had the usual letters to the editor and other advertisements, various comments, and opinion articles.

The Journal itself is available by paid subscription (though Dixon Cartwright says some subscriptions are free to those who cannot afford it) and often tends to take a non-Philadelphian era view of certain church matters.

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