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In Transition marks its first year

This issue marks In Transition's one-year anniversary. And what a year it's been! Our publication year began in the midst of an unprecedented (in sheer numbers) defection from the Worldwide Church of God. This exodus was prompted by the WCG's wholesale changes of long-held doctrinal positions. Our first issue coincided with the creation of the United Church of God, to date the largest--numerically speaking--of all the WCG offshoots.

Within a few months of the creation of this publication, WCG leaders announced that their pastor general, Joseph W. Tkach Sr., who replaced Herbert W. Armstrong after his death in 1986, had cancer. In September, shortly before the Feast of Tabernacles, Mr. Tkach died.

His son, Joseph Jr., replaced him. Within a decade the WCG was governed by the third pastor general in its history.

The change in WCG leadership did nothing to slow the organization's race to become "yet another steeple on the Protestant landscape," as one observer described the group's rush towards theological orthodoxy. If anything, this process has only accelerated.

Tens of thousands of WCG members stopped attending and sought refuge in the UCG, the Global Church of God, the Philadelphia Church of God, the Church of God International and dozens of lesser-known WCG offshoots.

Tens of thousands of other WCG members simply stopped attending church, period.

Bringing you the news

Over the past 12 months the staff of In Transition has worked to cover the significant events along the way.

We have been gratified as we have traveled about the United States to be told how much you, our readers, appreciate our efforts. You have told us in person just how much this publication has meant to you. Your personal comments, plus the hundreds of letters of support we have received from around the world, have kept us inspired to work even harder on your behalf. We are humbled by your sincere expressions. The people of God are wonderful.

As a small token of our appreciation for your support, and to mark our first anniversary, we have produced for you a 24-page issue instead of our usual 16 pages. But, even with the additional pages, we couldn't fit everything in.

Speaking of fitting in material, many of you have requested that we make the type larger. Frankly, we're just not sure what to leave out if we were to make the type larger, since our budget doesn't allow us to regularly print more than 16 pages. Please bear with us for the time being and consider getting a brighter bulb for your reading lamp if you're over 45 (as some of us are).

We stand behind our pledge to serve you, as we stated in our first issue a year ago. We continue to believe that an informed church is a strong church. Therefore, we remain committed to promoting open communication. We believe we have seen the fruits of hidden agendas and a controlled press, and they have been devastating to the church.

We are often asked how long we will publish. Our answer is that we have no immediate plans to cease publication and will continue this paper as long as there is a need. You, our readers, will make that decision through renewing your subscriptions.

We have been asked, too, why we don't change our name from In Transition to something more like Church of God News, for instance. Other than IT being an easy acronym, we've come to believe that as humans and Christians, we will always be "in transition"--to something better we hope.

Mouthpiece for the UCG?

We are also often asked if we are a mouthpiece for the UCG. It is true that most of our staff is affiliated with the UCG and we carry what some think is a noticeable amount of UCG coverage.Since a significant number of our readers are UCG members, we believe we should serve their reading interests. But, at the same time, we also include information about a wide range of groups, and we have on our staff members of groups other than the UCG.

We try hard to be fair and open in our coverage, so we find a measure of irony in being labeled a UCG publication. Mixed with frequent compliments from you have even been a few spoken complaints from UCG ministers and other brethren expressing the sentiment that we are anti-UCG, with one critic suggesting we are an instrument of the devil being used to sabotage the United Church of God.

Obviously, opinions vary.

Withering assault

Some are concerned that our editorial position of including a range of opinion on some points of doctrine serves to trouble the brethren and confuse the sheep. You, our readers in recent years have been subjected to a withering assault on your basic beliefs from WCG leaders. You came through with flying colors. You were not deceived by the airing of other opinions.

We have great respect for your abilities to think clearly, to know what you believe, to be willing to reexamine old beliefs and stand as pillars (a pillar stands on its own, even though part of a larger structure). We consider you, our readers, a perceptive and discriminating lot, as you've demonstrated by holding fast to your beliefs during the recent unrelenting storms of doctrinal change within the WCG.

Our heartfelt thanks go to all of you who have made this publication possible. We look forward to continuing to serve you with timely news, informative features and penetrating doctrinal studies in In Transition.

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