Dear Brethren and Friends,
The past several weeks have been a very busy and productive time. The annual Church Conference (2019) was conducted during the first week of April. Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Michael Link, Eric Rank, Robb Harris and Kalon Mitchell were the ministers who were able to attend. Meetings were conducted in Escondido, California.
Following a review of the Minutes for the 2018 Conference, summaries for activities in the USA, Canada, the UK, continental Europe, Australia and Africa were presented.
Many details were discussed regarding the various Church websites. We especially focused on upcoming promotions for our literature and how to improve our responses to the public. The past year has seen growth in responses to booklets being offered during Norbert Link’s English-language StandingWatch programs. Europe, in the German language, continues to see steady interest for the sermonette, sermon and AufPostenStehen postings and the offered literature. In fact, we have found it necessary to reprint several booklets.
We explored needs for further work on our French website—especially French translations of our English material. The need for Spanish translations and even websites was considered. Right now, German members translate our English booklets into German and also part of the Update each week to use for announcements during Sabbath services.
We had roundtable discussions regarding general questions pertaining to the prerequisites and requirements of ordinations; how to respond to baptism requests by either meeting the person at their location or having them come to a Church area; improving our administrative communications with one another; and plans for new booklets and Spring and Fall Feast arrangements for 2020. Additionally, we examined our overall approach to presenting our services over the Internet, with a reminder that especially in the English-speaking world, we are indeed standing in front of a potentially very diverse audience; and we reiterated our determination to preach the full counsel of God in a bold and unapologetic manner irrespective of whether others, including imagined or real splinter groups of the Church of God, like or reject what we teach.
Some of the topics we covered will become the source of future articles, sermonettes and sermons, and we all felt that there was depth and openness during our meetings. These annual Conferences really do serve to deepen our unity and to help in fulfilling God’s calling and the Work He has given us to complete.
Board Meetings for the Church of the Eternal God in the USA; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the UK were conducted in separate sessions. In these meetings, the annual income and expenses, including salaries, are being reviewed and approved by all Board members. Apart from constituting legal requirements by the respective governments, these Board meetings establish and confirm the way our organizations function in legal and administrative matters to meet governmental scrutiny and review.
This year, Brian and Jill Gale arrived from the UK a few days before the Conference and stayed in the US until after the Days of Unleavened Bread. Mr. Gale carried the responsibility for Passover in California and delivered a sermonette and several sermons during that time. He also recorded two sermonettes and two sermons in our studio to be played in future Church services. Rene and Delia Messier drove to the Conference from Canada; Rene gave the sermon on the weekly Sabbath; and the couple were able to visit some of the brethren on their return trip before conducting Passover services in Canada. Also, Kalon and Manuela Mitchell, along with their two sons, traveled to Oregon to conduct Passover, and Kalon presented the morning services on the First Day of Unleavened Bread.
Following the Conference, Norbert Link and Michael Link flew to Germany to conduct Passover services and observe the Days of Unleavened Bread with the brethren there. They gave sermons and other messages in German, while the local German ministry also delivered messages during those days. Along with conducting a wedding and counseling sessions, the ministry baptized two people during this time.
Following many months of legal challenges, we are pleased to announce that our Church organization was registered in Germany and that it has obtained tax-exempt status, effective January 1, 2020.
Brethren, thank you for your continued support in this Work—into which God has placed us all! Your prayers for the success of this Conference have been vital. Remember to stay strong and committed to God and His Church, because the time is short. In his last address in Germany before his return to the USA, Norbert Link mentioned that he hopes to see everyone again at the Feast of Tabernacles 2019 and that no one will leave before then. This kind of admonition has been given repeatedly over the years, and as far as we know, since the last Feast, only one person decided to leave the Church and return to the world… but even one person is one too many. Remember too, “we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Romans 12:5).
In Christ’s Service,
(On Behalf of the Ministry)
Director of US Church Administration