Review and Future of UK Activities

As we approach the end of 2003, I feel that it is appropriate to review the last twelve months in the light of our UK activities. It has, in many ways, been a positive and fruitful year although, by comparison with activities when Mr. Herbert Armstrong was alive, our efforts and success are small indeed. But that is the way of the Church of God, organizationally, at this time.

In conjunction with our associates in the USA and Canada, 4 new booklets have been produced, two of which were printed in the UK. Another new booklet will be printed in the UK very soon. A number of further booklets are currently being considered for publication during 2004. We have advertised a number of booklets in different publications and have received many thousands of replies. Interestingly, the return to this office of booklets sent out has been very small and many requests for other booklets have been received. We also have a growing list of those, not church members, who have asked to be on our mailing list to automatically receive new booklets. This is hardly surprising as the quality of booklets produced is of a very high standard indeed and we really appreciate all the hard work in comprehensively covering each subject in minute, but very interesting detail.

Our web-site, has been continually updated and improved and we are grateful to Mr. Paul Harris for his excellent work in this area. The site now has French and German sections which give it an international flavor and there are many sections that can be accessed including audio sermons, editorials, weekly questions and answers, prayer requests, booklets, member letters, the Feast sites and many other items.

The Feast of Tabernacles this year was held in the historic Pump Rooms in Royal Leamington Spa and the elegant Regency style complete with beautiful chandeliers provided a superb setting for Feastgoers from Bermuda, Canada, Portugal, the USA as well as the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The consensus of opinion was that the spiritual food was of a very high order indeed.

After much consideration, prayer and fasting, the decision has been made to take up the option we had for the Feast at Chatsworth House for 2004. Feast packs will be sent out in the near future and we look forward to returning to what is perhaps the most millennial site possible in the UK.

During the course of this year, the development of speakers has been pursued and this has paid handsome dividends with new speakers being encouraged and some men visiting different church areas to speak. This has not only encouraged the local groups but has assisted in developing the skills of those involved.

We now have circulation lists for people to receive audio sermon tapes (tapes from both the USA and those recorded in the UK), new booklets, weekly updates and member letters. If any recipient of this update does not receive any of these items and would like to do so, please let us know and we will be happy to include you on our circulation list(s).

We are pleased to be able to work closely with the Church of the Eternal God in the USA and the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada, who have been extremely supportive, encouraging, cooperative and helpful in our efforts and activities this year. Mr. Norbert Link from San Diego, California, will be visiting his parents in Germany in late January 2004 and will stop off in the UK and visit Derby on January 31st where he will give the sermon. All who want to meet up with Mr. Link and attend services that day will be made most welcome.

The year 2004 promises to be another interesting, and probably traumatic one with world events racing ever faster to the conclusion of man’s rule on this earth. We are, unquestionably, experiencing times more than ever before when society calls evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20).

Those with true Christian values are becoming more and more isolated in a society which has engaged in behavior and attitudes that strip away any pretence to its Judeo-Christian heritage as it engages in an “anything goes” society. One senior UK politician close to the Prime Minister rather famously, but shockingly and disparagingly remarked earlier this year: “We don’t do God.” This he said in spite of the Prime Minister’s public utterances that he is a Christian. Robert Knight, director of Concerned Women for America’s Culture and Family Institute, was quoted by Christianity Today, as follows: “Christians are sure to be targets of persecution for their beliefs if ‘gay’ marriage is given legal backing.” The article concluded, “In any case, this decision is huge news, both in itself and in its implications.” How much more will we, who keep the law of God and His weekly and annual Sabbaths, be a target for persecution in the months and years to come?

Much has been written about the appalling evils in society today and the evidence surrounding us in the UK. Films, videos, music, radio, television and newspapers in this area of the world are all party to a society that has surely just about cast off all restraint with much of the public baying for more. In our society’s ever accelerating downward spiral, the norms of yesteryear are now considered old fashioned as boundaries are pushed further and further back. We are instructed in Luke 21:36 to “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” This means that we have to watch world events which will help us to primarily, and most importantly, watch over our spiritual condition, as verses 34 and 35 emphasize. We have to be watchful ensuring that the cares of the world don’t affect us in any adverse way and that its ways don’t rub off on us. With the tests and trials that we experience, this may often be easier said than done but it is an essential element of our Christian calling.

Whatever happens during 2004, let us all resolve to continue to “grow in grace and knowledge” as we move forward in our Christian walk towards the Kingdom of God.

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