By Dixon Cartwright
The pastor general of the Worldwide Church of God,
in a mailing that included a report on church income, surveyed church members
last month about the Feast of Tabernacles, asking them what configuration
of festival they would like to see in 1997.
Joseph Tkach Jr., in a letter dated "September
1996" and received by members of the WCG in East Texas, asked members
if they would prefer a "traditional eight-day fall festival" or
a "weekends-only festival during fall dates."
In a departure from new tradition and old doctrine,
Mr. Tkach also asked if members would be interested in a festival during
the summer months, with "dates to be selected" later.
He also asked questions concerning the Days of
Unleavened Bread, the Feasts of Pentecost and Trumpets and the Day of Atonement:
"How would you prefer to observe the other
festivals . . .?" the survey form queried.
The questionnaire, as options for the answer to
this question, listed "Traditional dates," "Weekend nearest
traditional date" and "I/We do not plan to attend any of the festivals
The survey noted that members would be charged
a "$200-$250 fee for expenses" for a traditional eight-day configuration.
Weekends only during the traditional fall dates would require a fee of $75
to $100. The fee for a summer Feast of Tabernacles would run $75 to $100.
In the cover letter, Mr. Tkach noted that some
members have asked, "Can't I go to a different Christian church and
remain part of the body of Christ?"