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Letters to the Editor

After viewing the In Transition home page [on the Internet], I felt the newspaper was simply reporting unbiased, hard news about the WCG and the splinters. The first issue I received contained a clear and distinct bias against the WCG and in favor of the splinters--so much so that I would consider In Transition not a newspaper of unbiased reporting but a political organ for the splinter groups.

I believe a good example of this type of rhetoric is Dave Treybig's sermon published in the recent [June 23] issue. I believe that reasonable minds would readily agree that Mr. Treybig has taken a position strongly against the WCG, clearly encouraging defections as pleasing to God.

The circumstances surrounding the "sermon" seemed contrived. Who did he give this sermon to? WCG members? Wouldn't that be a craven act of disloyalty to preach against the WCG while accepting a pay check from Pasadena.

To UCG members? Why? Wouldn't the UCG be already committed to this position and Mr. Treybig would be preaching to the choir? The article had the appearance of an ad-hoc diatribe intended to foment rebellion within WCG readership.

But it is not a matter of a single article, such as Mr. Treybig's; it is the entire tenor of the newspaper. If this bias is something that you and your staff do not recognize, I would assert that your bias is so ingrained that you cannot see it for what it is.

I have since learned that the WCG has refused to give you a counterpoint to your published articles. I think this would soften the characterization of your newspaper as a political organ in anybody's mind. However, I also think it is impossible to publish material like Dave Treybig's article, with no opposing viewpoint, and not acquire a blatantly political cachet. That is the reality of journalism.

David Anderson
White Rock, N.M.

A friend who recently left the Worldwide Church of God gave us a copy [of In Transition]. I read it from beginning to end, every article! So hungry are we for information as to what's happening in the Churches of God! You are filling a void that the administration in Pasadena is failing to meet. I have always been appalled when "outsiders" seem to be so much more informed about what is going on in our church, and we as members are woefully uninformed and sometimes totally ignorant.

Your newspaper, with its unopinionated, matter-of-fact reporting, has provided, and we hope will continue to provide us, vital information over the next few months in making informed decisions such as where to go when we leave the WCG.

Keep up the good work, and we look forward to receiving our personal copies of In Transition.

Name withheld

The latest Ambassador Report gave your address and indicated you will send a sample copy of your new In Transition newspaper and also information on subscription rates. Thank you for this service.

B.G. Johnson
Gladewater, Texas

Thank you for publishing In Transition for us! The information is critical now, and we definitely appreciate your sacrifices to make it available.

Enclosed is a check for $25 to cover the two attached subscription coupons. Please consider the extra $5 as a donation to the cause. I apologize for being so slow in sending the money in.

Anthony J. Kimmons
Walnut Hill, Fla.

Enclosed is a check for $10 for a one-year subscription to In Transition. I am certain that this publication is as well-educated and put together as The Worldwide News was when you [John Robinson] were editor of that publication. Looking forward with eager anticipation for my first copy of In Transition.

Rod King
Phoenix, Ariz.

We would love a subscription to In Transition. It's so very informative and helpful. So happy there are so many of God's people who are "on the right track," as Mr. Armstrong always stated. May God bless your endeavors. Keep up the good work.

James and Louise Dorsey
Charleston, S.C.

Would appreciate a subscription to In Transition, please. I have a photocopy of Vol. I, No. 2, but would like a back issue of No. 1 and then six months' supply! Enclosed is $20; hope this is still legal tender! Very impressed with the impartiality of IT. Keep it up.

James McBride
Billinghay, England

One thing I am trying to find an answer to is why in the world the group who just left WCG is trying to form UCG when the Global Church of God was already established and is actually doing a work?

What is the purpose of yet another group when Global already was there?

Also, [the UCG's] form of organization with local churches taking charge and tithes being kept locally was tried before without success by the Sardis era of the church in the early 1900s.

I can see the hurt and distrust from a large central organization that has failed us all, but the Tkach group going into apostasy doesn't mean all central organizations are bad.

Mr. Armstrong should have followed up on his first thought, which was to place the leadership with the council of elders rather than one man. But I'm sure this was all from God to test His people.

Kenneth D Marquardt
Algoma, Wis.

I've read my friend's first two copies, and I'm impressed! I learned from them more than from my 61 years in the WCG Pasadena. If all the "splinter" groups unite, you could get the job done. More power to you. You have my prayers always.

Hazel Farrish
Moscow, Idaho

Thank you so much for the newspaper with all the various churches' information.

It is my great desire and I pray for it regularly that all these churches could come together! What a great work they could do in spreading the gospel of God's Kingdom to all the world. Each one of them seems to possess different gifts, and if they could unite what we couldn't accomplish. I hope your paper will advance such an action.

Rosalee Massie
Mattawana, Pa.

Thank you for the many wonderful articles published in In Transition. Those of us with roots in WCG "California" should be extending an olive branch to one another of the various "Church of God" organizations, even though we will probably not unite under one umbrella until we are in the place of safety together.

Suggestion: When referring to WCG California maybe you should put the word "California" in quotes or parentheses so as not to confuse with the new group.

Jon Griffith
Roswell, N.M.

The term "WCG California" was used briefly by In Transition to avoid confusion with the then active Worldwide Church of God Texas.

Please begin with the second issue. I found the first one to be most helpful during this difficult but historical time in the Church of God. It is my most sincere and heartfelt desire that God's church be united. Your newspaper may very well be an instrument in helping to bring that about.

Jackie Southall
Riverview, Fla.

You publish the percentages of ministers who have left Worldwide. I was wondering if you might publish the percentages of evangelists who are no longer with Worldwide? I know two evangelists who are still in Worldwide who disagree with the teachings.

Also, I was wondering if you might publish how many members are still with Worldwide? I know this will not be an accurate account of those who are supporting or not supporting the new teachings because there are people like me who at the present are still on the membership list but not attending, and there are those who are still attending but hate what they are hearing.

Name withheld

It is difficult to get official information from the WCG. The church's official position is to decline any requests for information. Our experience indicates a significant number of members still attending the WCG are opposed to many of the doctrinal changes but believe that the WCG, as was once taught by its leaders, is the true church and they must remain a part of the human organization until Christ corrects the errors in doctrine.

I am a member of the Worldwide Church of God currently residing in the Caribbean island of Barbados. I am therefore a member of the Barbados congregation.

I would like to subscribe to your magazine In Transition as I am interested in finding out what is happening in the Churches of God.

Name withheld

A dear friend of ours wrote us recently. About your publication, she said:

"Do send for the paper. It will open your eyes on lots of things. I learned more from one issue than I could get anyone to tell me in the 10 years I've been in the church."

This constitutes a rave review in my book, and I knew we must get a subscription. Please send us your newspaper, beginning with Vol. I No 1, May 5, 1995.

Joseph and Susan Chiappone
Amarillo, Texas

What a delight to have information about so many we have known over the years. After a very turbulent spring in WCG, it is indeed an exciting time in God's church after the start of United. There certainly seems to be more of a kinship with Church of God International and the Global Church of God.

I never thought I would leave Worldwide, but after 26 years the time came to take a stand (or, rather, continue the stand) for the One who is the Head of the church and not some human leader of an organization.

Enos Hershberger
Akron, Ohio

Your first issue, which was given to me, was very informative material that every concerned church member should know but hasn't known till now.

Carl E. Overcash
Blanchard, Idaho

I am thankful for this newsletter and also for tapes, and for the local ministers (Mr. Morgan, Mr. Tucker and Mr. Myers), as well as those ministers across the U.S.A., for their sharing with us, the members, how all these changes have come about.

We were so drugged informationwise and lulled into accepting their "right" to teach us anything that caught their fancy (the headquarters staff) that some of us were washed up on the beach of bewilderment.

Thankfully someone was there to rescue us and restore us to sanity and the direction so many of the true ministers have taught over the years.

Thank you each and every one who is giving yourself to restoring truth, faith and sanity for the brethren and the ministry.

Mrs. John Bunnell
Victoria, Texas

I really like the paper. I am enjoying it so much. Read everything in it. And am so thankful and happy for what God is doing. Praying earnestly for all of you. Asking God to guide and direct you. Asking Him to help you to look to Him with all your heart. After the terrible hurt we have been through and still hurting, we surely need God's help.

Margaret Gibson
Dawson, Texas

Please add me to the mailing list for In Transition and send me the last issue. Up until two weeks ago I was a CGI minister (a friendly parting with CGI), and now I'm kind of "in transition" myself. A lot of bridges should be built between brethren, and your newspaper is a good step in that direction. Will you be accepting articles from those like myself who presently are not affiliated with any organization?

I'm enclosing $10 because [the note about you in] Ambassador Report didn't say what the subscription rate was, so you can just bill me the difference.

Ron Dart [CGI evangelist] had nothing but good things to say about your publication, and I wish you well.

Lee Lisman
Battle Ground, Wash.

I would like a subscription to In Transition. I became affiliated with WCG in 1959, was baptized 1963, dropped out 1974, have been associated with CGI since 1982. I am interested in what happened to all of my old friends who were in the WCG for the past 35 years.

Vernon C. Ellison
Athens, Texas

In December I sat for three hours in Atlanta being scolded and chastised for daring to question contradictions, inconsistencies and the nonunderstandable. It is so refreshing to be treated as a human being with the right to know what is going on on all levels. When this is the case, there is no need for so-called "gossip and rumor-mongering."

Thank you so much for your wonderful publication. Keep up the good work.

Jayne Sutterfield
Atlanta, Ga.

Thanks for filling a big gap and promoting understanding among Church of God brethren. As for myself and another family here, we were drawn to Global when we finally woke up to the WCG apostasy.

Appreciate Dr. Sam's [Samuele Bacchiocchi's] input. I remember when his book was discovered by our (WCG) pastor several years ago. It was still in the library when I last attended WCG last spring. Has anyone queried him concerning the annual Sabbaths? I believe our pastor (Mr. Garvin Greene) did then.

If you can find time and resources, a study or summary of now-defunct WCG spin-offs would be revealing. The lesson of the Associated Churches of God [formed in 1974] should be remembered. None of the people I knew stayed with it for long. Again, those who won't learn from the past repeat the errors.

Loren Ashworth
New Paris, Ohio

A member in the Wellington church has passed on to me a copy of the In Transition newsletter, and I am writing to ask for a subscription. I enclose US$10. I would request that you send me a copy of the first issue that I have looked at because I have to return it to the original owner.

I am in such a muddle! I am delighted to find that there are others who feel the same as I do apart from the 20 or so in the Wellington congregation (which is now down to fewer than 100 from about 140). At the same time I am desperately concerned about being disloyal to the one whom God has appointed leader at this time, though I do take on board the sentiments in the "Why Should You Leave the Church" article. I was baptized in November 1963, and more than two thirds of my life has been spent in the church. I never imagined that I would ever be in this position.

I have been struggling for years with so much that has been coming from Pasadena and have become very concerned that I have built barriers between myself and God, that I have somehow, somewhere along the line, lost the Holy Spirit because I cannot accept what is being preached.

The stress has been horrendous, and I am comforted by the fact that it is probably only having the Holy Spirit that has kept me of a sound mind, otherwise I would have had a nervous breakdown long ago. The loss of identity, purpose and vision has been very hard, and it is a struggle to maintain those things in light of what is being said now. I am one of those whose "personal place of safety" is not to attend services very often. My husband does still go each week, and he and I are of the same mind.

We are a very small group in Wellington who are staying faithful to the truth as taught by Mr. Armstrong and that we proved for ourselves. The alienation from our other brethren is so sad, and we feel very isolated. We try to encourage each other, and that in itself has a danger of reinforcing the barriers that perhaps do exist. It is hard to be abused by those who were once our friends and brethren.

I have been very disappointed that so many fine and long-standing ministers have taken it upon themselves to leave and start their own group. I realize their position seemed untenable, but I am very, very wary about making a deliberate move away from where God has placed me as I am concerned about being rebellious. How much better it would have been if they had been able to stay and waited patiently for God to work it out.

I still feel Mr. Tkach is the one God has chosen to lead the work at this time, even though I cannot accept what is being said about the Holy Days and Sabbath, etc., etc. I think this is a common dilemma for us all, and I certainly appreciate the fact that there are others who understand the tearing, agonizing struggle that has been going within me. I certainly cannot talk to my local pastor about how I feel, that I am dying inside . . .

I think the United church is different in that most of you have been forced out, and surely there can be nothing wrong in grouping together to maintain God's ways and laws. I am concerned that I may be doing something wrong in even requesting your newsletter, but I have to know what is happening, where God is leading me. If it appears that, after prayer and fasting, the bulk of the others (i.e., Global, Worldwide, Church of God International) can come together as some sort of cohesive group without having huge leadership battles and power struggles, then perhaps it will become clear what God is working out for us.

I count myself blessed to have recognized the danger signals over the years, to be prepared in a sense for all that has come, even while agonizing over it when it does eventuate. I feel worse is to come, and I must be prepared for it.

The next change will sweep away more of those who have managed to hang on so far, and I would be encouraged if the majority went to United rather than started another group.

I feel you are possibly the light at the end of the tunnel, but I really need God's guidance in what to do. In the meantime, I maintain the standards of a lifetime, trying always to do more, to be more like God, and pray earnestly for His Kingdom to come (and not just in our hearts!).

I apologize if this is a little confused, but I am sure you understand the agony and pain involved in all this. I look forward to hearing from you.

Name withheld
New Zealand

For those still left in the WCG who are confident that if they just stand still God will take care of it, I have another suggestion: God helps those who helps themselves.

Back in 1971 I had served 18 years as a sheet-metal mechanic at the Westinghouse Corp. Soon after joining the church, I became involved in a fracas with another employee, and we were both fired. I lost my longevity pay, all my benefits (save $93.85 monthly pension) and the security of a good job.

The union did a miserable job in my defense, and witnesses failed to appear in fear of their jobs.

So there I was, 53 years old, coping with the age factor, bad references, on the streets seeking work that didn't involve the Sabbath. After hearing sermons on the importance of keeping the Commandments and Holy Days, I knew how critical it was to obey God.

Realizing that civil service was my best bet, I took tests for state and city jobs. One day I was called to a state institution to be interviewed for a position as a sheet-metal mechanic. The job description, the pay, the benefits suited me ideally. After a frank discussion about my situation and background, the interviewer decided to hire me.

Then came the bombshell. "You'll have to work a half day every other Saturday."

I was stunned. After an awkward pause, I had to explain my religious commitments. He was awed. "You mean you'd let a thing like that stand in the way of a good job?" I nodded solemnly.

Back on the street again in utter despair, I stopped and looked up. I beseeched God for help. He answered my prayer. Shortly afterward I was notified by the city of an opening as a maintenance carpenter in city hall. I qualified with top score and was hired. The job turned out to be the best thing that ever happened. Better pay, better benefits, better conditions, better security and a better pension. I retired from there.

Westinghouse closed here. The employees that were left went with a new company that took over. A fortunate few from the old maintenance crew did manage to retire, but the bulk of them either died or were left with lingering illness from working too long in acid tanks or an asbestos-related atmosphere. After 18 years in such an environment, I thank God I'm still fairly healthy at my age.

So when Mr. Tkach saw fit to change the law and doctrines, it was no big deal to me. Even after 20 years in the church. Been there. Done that. No mere man can force me to compromise my position

On God's law or the doctrines: If honoring the Fourth Commandment means leaving the WCG after more than 20 years, so be it. I've seen too much of God's handiwork in my own life. I saw what happened to Westinghouse. God's truth will prevail.

Alex James
Columbus, Ohio

My husband is currently a local church elder in the Hobart, Tasmania, congregation, but by the time this letter reaches you we will both have attended our last church service.

Both of us were reasonably happy until the beginning of this year. We are not totally opposed to any sort of change, and realize that there was a need for such in certain areas. But then the PGR [Pastor General's Report, a WCG publication for ministers] started dropping the bombshells concerning the Sabbath, Holy Days and clean and unclean meats. It's been downhill all the way from there.

We have become more and more unhappy (which is putting it mildly). My health is being affected. (I can no longer read The Worldwide News, because of the blatant error it is propounding, and The Plain Truth is just a shadow of its former self anyway).

We have been devastated to learn that ministers we have known, either by reputation or personally (as is the case with Mr. Gerald Waterhouse, Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Luker and Mr. and Mrs. Mark Gully) have been terminated and/or disfellowshipped for resisting the edicts currently being issued from Pasadena.

After more than 26 years as baptized members of the Worldwide Church of God, and with a long-held interest that predated our baptism by some time, it is devastating to find ourselves on the brink of severing connection with an organization into which we felt we had been called for life.

However, the article in In Transition on "Should You Ever Leave the Church?" was of immense comfort, because it reassured us that we are leaving the church (but not the Body of Christ, into which we were baptized) for the correct reasons. We are, as far as we know, very much in the minority in our small congregation of 85 to 90 people, and we are not looking forward to being branded as legalists, rule-keepers, Judaizers and Pharisees--particularly as we feel like none of the above!

We are just weary, heart-sick and in search of spiritual peace.

The bottom line to this letter is that we should appreciate being able to subscribe to In Transition and would like information on its price, including airmail postage to Australia. We should like to start our subscription with the very first issue, if you are holding any back numbers.

Thank you so much for providing a breath of fresh air and clarification (as well as enlightenment) to two very unhappy and confused people. (We know Romans 8:28 is in operation now as always, but light has been extremely dim over the past few terrible months.)

Our prayers are with you and the work you are doing.

Garry and Elizabeth Barber
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Because of the high cost of postage to send individual issues from the United States to international areas such as Australia and South Africa, the publishers are seeking responsible representatives in international areas to receive bulk air-freight shipments for mailing within their regions. A requirement for a representative is to have an Internet electronic-mail address and the resources to maintain a mailing list. If any of our international readers could provide such a service, please contact the publisher.

Enclosed is $10 for my very own subscription to In Transition. Someone secretly loaned me a tattered, bloodstained copy but wanted IT back in 24 hours! Even though my wife and I had escaped, we feared for our lives as we read the newspaper of the "underground," fully expecting the WCG gestapo to burst in at any moment and round us up for execution.

Behind bolted doors and drawn shades (for fear of the gentiles), with trembling hands and joyful hearts we silently read the pages of IT by candlelight, savoring and memorizing each and every word from our brothers and sisters on the outside.

Of course we had slipped IT inside the slightly larger Worldwide News for concealment and were reading on a Sunday so if discovered it would appear as though we were "resting on the Lord's Day" as commanded. The bloodstained pages were a solemn reminder of the previous reader's indiscretion and fatal blunder.

Tomorrow I will smuggle this tattered instrument of hope back to its owner to be loaned again to yet another frightened member of the Church In Transition. Hopefully, they will read IT.

Please begin my subscription with Vol.I No.1 (May 5, 1995) as soon as possible. The sound of soldiers' boots on cobbled streets is getting louder. Whew! That was close!

Jonathan Hale
Nobleton, Fla.

I have read your first issue of In Transition, and I find it very interesting. I think an unbiased reporting of the activities of the Church of God organizations will bring a better understanding of each other and may foster an atmosphere of community that may even eventually lead to some type of reunification of some, if not all, of the groups. Good luck to your paper in this regard.

I was wondering if you plan to include in your reporting three organizations that may tend to be forgotten.

First, there is the Church of the Great God, the organization founded by John Ritenbaugh. It is rather small, but friends of mine who have become its members are rather enthusiastic about it.

Second, there is the Church of God the Eternal, founded by Raymond Cole during the days of Herbert Armstrong. That organization is also rather small, but it has the distinction of being one of the earliest of groups that split off from Worldwide.

And, third, there is the Church of God (Seventh Day) in Denver, Colo. They have about 125,000 members worldwide and can't be ignored, even though they did not split from Worldwide (it was the opposite).

I would be interested in keeping track of the activities of these three organizations along with getting interesting news from other, lesser-known, COG groups.

Basil Kopey
Laurel, M.D.

Enclosed is a name and address of someone I know who would be interested in receiving In Transition. Also included is a photocopy of a letter I received as an incoming Ambassador freshman. It bothers me that they will be dealing with us with such a heavy hand. I have no intention of causing division or even attending with Global while I attend Ambassador. I don't know what you can do with Mr. Duke's letter [see article elsewhere in this issue]. I wanted to give you something undeniably official and void of rumor.

Jeffrey M. Vanek
La Porte, Texas

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