Church switches to Sabbath
By Mac Overton
The pastor of the Central Arkansas Church of God, Little Rock, Ark., has made contact with a formerly Sunday-observing congregation that switched to Sabbath observance last year. The congregation, called God Cares, We Care, a predominantly black group, appears to be "real spiritual" and "searching for truth," said James Ussery, the COG pastor.
God Cares, We Care, pastored by Willie Brown, made the change from Sunday to Sabbath observance in April 1999.
Mr. Brown told The Journal that "the Lord revealed to me several years ago that Saturday is His Sabbath."
The pastor worried about how to implement the change without losing many members of his congregation, which normally has 75 to 100 in attendance.
Pastor Brown said an impetus for the change came when he read that the pope had an agenda to persuade governments to pass legislation enforcing Sunday observance early in the 21st century.
Another was when a young man showed up at church services on a Sunday morning and said: "Your sign outside says that you meet on the Sabbath. Why are you meeting on Sunday?"
Pastor Brown said he had altered the sign some time before formally changing to Sabbath observance.
The young man's comment "was another sign," Mr. Brown said.
He informed his congregation that he would begin conducting services on the Sabbath, and on April 18 of last year the church began meeting on Saturdays.
"We only lost four people," said Mr. Brown, who recently retired after a career in law enforcement.
He had noticed an advertisement in The Southwest Newsletter, a Little Rock advertising newspaper, from Mr. Ussery, an elder associated with the Church of God Outreach Ministries and pastor of an independent Little Rock congregation.
The ad offered booklets published by independent Church of God elder Tom Justus of Springdale, Ark., on basic Church of God doctrines, including the Sabbath.
Mr. Brown called Mr. Ussery, then the two met for coffee, starting a friendship that the men say has benefited both congregations.
"He seems to me to be very sincere and dedicated," said Mr. Ussery.
Pastor Brown has visited many churches, some predominantly white and some predominantly black, in his search for truth.
Women from his congregation provided special music at a Sabbatarian conference conducted last December in Little Rock.
Someone who attended reported that the music was "rocking."
Mr. Brown and his congregation have met occasionally with the Little Rock congregation pastored by Mr. Ussery.
On April 3 Pastor Brown began a radio program on radio KLRG, 1150 AM, in Little Rock.
He said he hopes eventually also to produce a television program.
"The Sabbath is part of the truth, but not all of the truth," said Mr. Brown.
God Cares, We Care observes the Passover, Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles.
The Brown family and some other members of the congregation observed the Feast last year with an independent group pastored by John Pinkston, a former Worldwide Church of God elder.
For more information about God Cares, We Cares, call Mr. Brown at (501) 569-9656.
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