Elder invites visitors to new group in South Florida

HAYWARD, Wis.-Ron Smith, a Church of God elder, invites one and all to attend with him and 30 other of the brethren of the South Florida Church of God, 121 SE Fifth Ave., Deerfield Beach, Fla.

Mr. Smith, a former Worldwide Church of God and United Church of God pastor who lives in Lake Worth, Fla., was terminated from UCG employment last Nov. 24, he says, over a dispute concerning his employment status and the Arcadia, Calif., management team's questioning of his philosophy in operating his two local churches.

"It was not doctrinal," said Mr. Smith. "It was purely philosophical. It was over empowering the local members to preach the gospel to be effective Christian witnesses."

Mr. Smith pastored the UCG's Miami and West Palm Beach congregations.

"It's a unique group of people that we have," said Mr. Smith, who last attended with United in February. "Some drive from as far away as 120 miles to attend with us.

"We have a 45-minute to an hour meeting on the Sabbath. Then we come back and sometimes go three and four hours with an interactive Bible study on topics that the group selects."

Mr. Smith said he is fulfilling a leadership position in the new congregation, "but I am not the pastor. There is no pastor."

In the fellowship's nontraditional format, "we have songs and sometimes one, two or three sermonettes. If nobody else has something to present, generally I play a tape or I speak."

The congregation hears tapes from the International Bible Learning Center, which recently relocated from Texas to California.

"We've also had a couple of Ray Wooten tapes [from United Christian Ministries, Birmingham, Ala.]. Sometimes we play tapes from a man from North Carolina named Dave Nix."

During services "we have talked about a variety of things, including the Passover and the role of women in the church. Some of our people, for example, observed the Passover on the evening of the 14th, some on the afternoon of the 14th, some on the 15th. But we all got together for the Night to Be Much Observed."

Write Mr. Smith at 3186 Hoylake Rd., Lake Worth, Fla. 33467."

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