Church of God (Seventh Day) "lets the world know"

By Mac Overton

Delegates representing the Church of God (Seventh Day), based in Denver, Colo., held their biennial general conference in Knoxville, Tenn., July 7-12.

Some 1,200 delegates and other church members attended all or part of the conference, with Sabbath attendance exceeding 1,500, according to Whaid Rose, pastor of the Denver congregation, who just completed a two-year term as chairman of the church's general conference.

Mr. Rose will serve as president for the next two years. The new chairman is Loren Stacy of Lodi, Calif.

"It was a missions conference, with delegates from various sister conferences," said Mr. Rose, who explained that the Church of God (Seventh Day) has conferences in other countries in which it has congregations, and each conference is autonomous.

He noted that no delegates from India, parts of Africa, the Philippines and Ukraine, "where there were problems with the issue of segregation," attended, but delegates were present "from all other sister conferences."

Central and South America and England were well represented, Mr. Rose said.

"It was a very beautiful conference," he said.

Calvin Burrell, pastor of the Houston, Texas, congregation of the Church of God (Seventh Day), who just completed a two-year term as conference president, said that about 30 representatives from countries other than the United States represented sister conferences. He also said that several other Sabbatarian groups sent representatives to the conference.

These included the General Council of the Churches of God (Seventh Day), headquartered in Meridian, Idaho, a group that split with the Denver conference about 1950; the Seventh Day Baptist Church; and the Worldwide Church of God, which was represented by evangelist and former World Tomorrow presenter Ronald Kelly of Pasadena, Calif.

John Merritt of Oconomowoc, Wis., who attends the United Church of God and is a founder of Friends of the Sabbath and the International Bible Learning Center, visited the conference July 10-12 and was recognized as an unofficial representative of United.

Mr. Burrell said that the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which usually sends a representative, was unable to do so this year and sent a letter of apology.

Mr. Burrell said it is the custom of the Church of God (Seventh Day) to invite other Sabbatarians whom they recognize as part of the greater Church of God to attend their biennial conferences as "fraternal delegates," and many other Sabbatarian organizations do respond.

Dr. Merritt told THE JOURNAL that he was invited to sit in on some of the meetings of the Church of God (Seventh Day) leadership, and found the leaders to be "very open and honest."

Mr. Burrell, who described the conference as "very fruitful," said his church decided on an evangelistic theme for the conference, "Let the Whole World Know."

"Each evening a speaker would explore some aspect of the great commission," he said.

He said the next general conference will be in 1999 at a location yet to be determined.

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