What's in issue No. 26, March 31, 1999?

Church member Sasha Veljic of Belgrade files a report, in diary format, from the war in Yugoslavia. Beginning with an entry for March 24, the day the bombing began, Mr. Veljic records his experiences and thoughts while living in a country at war with 19 nations including the United States. In his entry for March 30 he wrote: "Would you please . . . emphasize that I am not on any side in this conflict. I am a neutral observer of events as a pilgrim and foreigner in this country." For Mr. Veljic's dairy, please see the print version. The Journal's Bill Stough also interviews Mr. Veljic.

Church of God International elder Vance Stinson has begun a no-holds-barred sermon series titled "Aberrations in the Church of God Movement." Mr. Stinson wants "to address all those old unscriptural ideas that survived the death of HWA," he said. He believes certain teachings that are pervasive in the "Church of God movement" range from aberrancy to heresy, and they deserve attention. "I believe the Church of God movement has a good foundation of sound doctrinal truths. Unfortunately, the truth we recognize as so precious and which we want to share with the world is so often muddled by outrageous, sensational and theologically unsound ideas and traditions."

The Churches of God Outreach Ministries meets in Oklahoma to elect committee members, including chairmen, and announces two new Feast sites. The CGOM is an association of 40-some independent COG congregations.

This issue of The Journal includes coverage of the 1999 general conference of elders of the United Church of God, an International Association. The Journal's editor and publisher was present in Cincinnati, Ohio, to report on a smaller (than last year), peaceful, organized get-together of United elders. Dissidents and dissonance were conspicuous by their absence (especially compared with the 1998 meetings in Louisville, Ky.).

Maybe you've already seen the conference reports in United News, the UCG's member newspaper, but The Journal includes details and interviews you won't find in the UCG's publications.

Maybe you've heard that the conference this year was open to visitors, including reporters (The Journal attended with no problem). Read a behind-the-scenes report on the events leading up to the council's decision to rescind and rewrite a 1997 resolution that would have officially kept everyone but elders and wives from attending future conferences.

Find out why the elders voted down all 40-some proposed amendments to the constitution and bylaws, even though some were widely expected to pass.

The council of elders explains, in response to a question, why it chose not to sell or give a television-pilot videotape to the Church of God, an International Community, pastored by former UCG-AIA president David Hulme.

A council member explains why "preserving doctrines" is one of the most important functions of the UCG.

Council members and others tell of their efforts to communicate with other Church of God groups, such as the Global Church of God and the Church of God International.

A UCG elder told The Journal: "I have the definite impression from talking with a number of people that [the conference enjoyed] a very peaceful, calm and productive atmosphere . . . I believe that at this time United is at a point where it can start making some forward momentum, not in just establishing the organization, but actually moving forward with the mission that it has. I think we've seen some significant progress within the last six months in that regard, and I think this conference will only fuel that."

See the print version of The Journal for its coverage of the Cincinnati conference.

Letters to the editor in this issue are still kicking around the nature-of-Jesus series, which spanned about a year of issues of The Journal. In a related editorial, a writer in the series calls for the disfellowshipment of another writer in the series.

In other letters, a writer tells about church splits that reunited; another accuses The Journal of breaking the Ninth Commandment and "broadcasting it"; and Ken Westby announces long-distance interactive Sabbath services. For the price of a 10-cent-a-minute phone call, log on to an interactive Sabbath service even without a computer; all it takes is a telephone. Listen and participate in weekly services of Mr. Westby's Association for Christian Development in Seattle.

In other editorials, 14-year-old Mandie Nickels writes about a teenager's faith in God; Dave Havir wonders if people are confusing gain with godliness; and Melvin Rhodes responds to a response: He reacts to Joseph Chiappone's recent objections to his earlier editorial about Queen Elizabeth I.

Jan Creusere of Cincinnati, Ohio, is having a problem. He's worked for years as a carpenter and member of a carpenters' union, but now, he says, unions and contractors are teaming up to tell carpenters in Cincinnati they must work on Saturdays. Mr. Creusere is not one to sit this one out. "You don't have to be a voter, but in this country we have rights to religious freedom and we have rights to not have religion imposed on us," he told The Journal. "We need to stand up and speak up . . ."

Read all about the Church of God elder from Texas who has come in contact with 17,000 Church of God people, including Lazum Brang of Myanmar (formerly Burma). Mr. Brang for years has ministered to a flock of 350 of the 17,000 brethren, walking 26 miles one way to duplicate letters and tracts to distribute to the them and others. Mr. Brang had a problem. As people became interested in COG teachings, they wanted to be baptized. Mr. Brang, not an ordained man, didn't feel free to baptize anyone. He would ask SDA and Baptist elders to baptize his people. Sometimes that worked out; sometimes it did not. Mr. Sexton and Mr. Brang came up with an unusual solution to the problem.

A girls' basketball team from Tulsa, Okla., made up of four home-schooled Church of God girls--including three starters and a first substitute--took the national championship in San Antonio in February. Read all about it, and find out who to call in case you're sponsoring a basketball team of home-schooled girls (or boys) and you'd like to enter next year's competition.

The Abib Fellowship and Bethel Church of God invite you to a "fifth-Sabbath" meeting in May in North Carolina. The two groups, and others, sponsor a special get-together in each month that has five Saturdays.

Does the papacy advocate laws favoring Sunday observance? After you read the words of two men with opposing opinions on the subject--a spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Louis and Seventh-day Adventist writer and professor Samuele Bacchiocchi--you may conclude that it does. Read Journal writer Bill Stough's two articles on the topic, including "Dr. Bacchiocchi Says Pope Has Legislation Agenda."

When you subscribe to The Journal, you also receive Connections: Member to Member, a section that includes advertising directed toward Journal readers and a children's department with a puzzle and kids' story.

The Intercontinental Church of God plans a new Feast site in Rye England--in a museum. Read all about it.

Mark Graham's new hymnal is finally almost hot off the press. Order several hundred copies for your Church of God denomination, or buy one for $6 and run off your own copies royalty-free.

"Notes and Quotes" includes Garner Ted Armstrong speaking in Mississippi in May; the UCG-AIA planning a Feast site in Jordan; and a new free Sabbath E-mail list.

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