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In Transition says 'farewell'

The moment has arrived. This, our 22nd issue of In Transition, is our last regular issue. We are sending this issue to all who ever subscribed, as a tiny token of our appreciation for all your support.

Although many of you, our dear, faithful readers, have vigorously disagreed, it is time for us to go.

But, before we do, we'd like to reflect on what has happened and what we've learned while providing you with the news.

It's been a convoluted 20 months, to be sure.

We burst onto the scene at the same time as the United Church of God, an International Association, the largest to date of the church bodies forged from the crucible of profound doctrinal changes in the Worldwide Church of God.

In Transition was a child of that revolution in May 1995, parented by dogged determination and a belief in the necessity of objective reporting.

In the months that followed our first issue, we watched as events of phenomenal impact unfolded in our lives. A layman's fellowship group, Friends of the Sabbath, was founded and became the catalyst for discussions of Sabbatarian issues around the world.

The death of Herbert W. Armstrong successor and WCG pastor general Joseph Tkach Sr. led to the appointment of his son, Joseph Jr., as the third WCG pastor general in 10 years and in the church's history. The Church of God International survived a leadership crisis, while the turmoil in that church led to the formation of several other organizations including Christian Educational Ministries and 40-some independent congregations calling themselves simply The Churches of God.

Other churches that had formed earlier, such as the Global Church of God and the Philadelphia Church of God, remained relatively stable in their efforts to preach the gospel, while Sabbatarian brethren in some areas, Tajikistan for example, faced religious persecution.

Meanwhile, as members in these churches and many others, including locally incorporated groups, loosely organized fellowships and the those groups known as living-room Churches of God, began reexamining their beliefs, church governance and local evangelism emerged as core issues of discussion and sometimes disagreement.

The International Bible Learning Center was formed by church members, and, after nearly 50 years, Ambassador University will close this spring unless the Worldwide Church of God finds a buyer.

Our objectivity as reporters was challenged in that we, too, participated in these events.

As we grappled with communication via the Internet and other intricacies of electronic media coupled with the logistics of a staff spread across five states, we learned there is always another, often better, way to do things. Our motto became, "Don't let what you can't do keep you from doing what you can do."

As we struggled over seemingly endless details, only to see too many typos in print, we learned that our contributions don't have to be perfect to be useful.

As we tried to understand others' points of view, we learned the principle inherent in the phrase "Don't smite your fellow servant."

As we followed stories all over the world, we found that half of a good interview is asking the right questions. The other, more important, half is listening well.

Most of all, we learned to insist on transparency. We tried to be transparent and direct with each other, and we weren't inclined to accept opaque and oblique versions of facts from news makers. We believed the truth, printed in black and white, would help us stay free.

We have to ask how would the Churches of God have been different over the past 30 years if we'd had a free press?

If you are interested in finding the answers, then we suggest that you insist on and expect transparency from your church or organization.

In the end, In Transition developed an energy and destiny of its own. Each issue evolved its own identity. Meeting deadlines was often our only constant. We simply held on for the ride, and what an ride it was.

We are indebted to all of you for spurring us on, and we've been humbled by your thoughtful letters, articles and amazing show of support.

It is you, our readers, who have enriched our efforts--those frequent late nights, often wearisome days and all 22 issues--with their real meaning. We thank you for your encouragement, prayers and good wishes. May we meet together again in peace at the end of our transition.

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