BIG SANDY, Texas—Organizers of the founding conference of the new Church of God a Worldwide Association (CGWA) told a reporter for The Journal he was NOT WELCOME to attend the conference.
Editor and publisher Dixon Cartwright of Big Sandy attempted twice to register for the conference and was told twice by E-mail he would not be allowed entrance to the meetings, which took place in the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Ky., Jan. 9-11, 2011.
Mr. Cartwright had attempted to register through elders Ken Treybig and Todd Carey.
Mr. Treybig, until recently pastor of the United Church of God’s Big Sandy congregation, responded to the first request from Mr. Cartwright:
"Yes, the planning team for the conference has written that members are welcome to attend. However, I checked to get the intent behind that and was told the attendance policy guidelines state that it is open to members who intend to be part of the new organization. You’re welcome to write to Todd Carey if you’d like to ask for special permission, but based on that additional information I could not approve your attendance as a member of the press and just an interested COG member."
Mr. Cartwright wrote to Mr. Carey and learned that he would be allowed to attend the Sabbath service the day before the conference but not the conference. Mr. Cartwright decided not to drive to Kentucky from Texas to attend a Sabbath service.
Ironically, the Galt House Hotel, site of the conference, was where the United Church of God in March 1998 ejected Mr. Cartwright and another JOURNAL reporter, Bill Stough, from one of its meetings at that year’s general conference. (See "Two JOURNAL Writers Removed," THE JOURNAL, March 30, 1998.)
"The only other time I can think of when I, as a reporter for THE JOURNAL, was not allowed in a meeting," Mr. Cartwright said, "was for the Feast in Florida in 2000 when Robert Roenspies said I would not be welcome to attend a Feast service with his group.
"In my opinion, when a group acts the way the new CGWA has acted in this instance, it has something to hide. This is a SILLY and certainly PARANOID way to start a church."
Clyde Kilough is president of the CGWA. Mike Hanisko is chairman of the board.