Pastor surprises Appleton WCG members

The writer has been a member of the Worldwide Church of God for 31 years.

By Jim Johnson

APPLETON, Wis.--In a surprise move Jan. 13 and 20, Aaron Root, pastor of the local Worldwide Church of God congregation, announced sweeping changes in congregational worship to take effect in the new calendar year.

"We must be intentional in living in unity within the church and with other churches in the community," Mr. Root told WCG members here by way of explanation.

He stated that the New Covenant requires no observances of Christians other than the Lord's Supper and "not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together."

The worship schedule will change to more closely conform to mainstream Christianity and follow the general direction of church headquarters, in Pasadena, Calif.

Celebrations of Epiphany, Maundy Thursday, a Friday crucifixion, Easter Sunday, Pentecost, Advent and Christmas are now to be kept "exclusively."

Monthly collections of offerings will now be a part of worship services.

Mr. Root said it is probable the church will worship on occasion with the local Emanuel Methodist congregation.

The congregation will no longer recognize Old Testament feast days and will no longer make any accommodation for their observance.

The Lord's Supper will be partaken of every three months, and the Passover will no longer be observed.

The Feast of Tabernacles will not be observed this year, although a "special weekend" may be scheduled this summer.

Every member is free to believe what he wishes, said Mr. Root. Members may worship on their own or spend special time on their own recognizing any other observances that are not included in the new schedule. Members are also free to leave and join other organizations.

The combined Appleton and Green Bay, Wis., congregations in the early '90s had a weekly attendance of about 420. Attendance now runs around 70.

In response to the latest announcement, some members expect attendance will continue to drop.

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