January 28, 2011
Feast of Tabernacles Announcement Update
Traditionally the United Church of God has had ten major Feast sites in the continental United States. In yesterday’s announcement I only listed those ten sites.
I have received several questions concerning Hawaii. “Are we having a Feast site there this year?” The answer is yes! The Feast will be held in Maui for 2011. The Feast sites are listed on the Feast Web site at feast.ucg.org.
Bigfork, Montana, is also listed, but it is a specialty site more for local members not able to travel to other sites because of age, health and/or finances.
January 28, 2011
Good News Print Advertising Expands—Response Better than Expected
As we mentioned recently, our Good News print advertising campaign for the current fiscal year included the distribution of 8,200,000 business-reply insert cards in a variety of card-pack mailers. Each of our 3” x 5” inserts promote one of our foundational booklets and a subscription to The Good News.
Just about a week ago we were able to expand this campaign to include an additional 2,100,000 inserts to be mailed in March, April and May 2011. Our new total distribution has now risen to 10.3 million total inserts and we expect response to reach nearly 50,000 by the close of the fiscal year in June.
So far this fiscal year, subscriber response to our print advertising campaign is doing much better than expected. Over 12,243 responses have already been recorded at a cost per response of just $2.29.
Thank you for your continued encouragement and your vital prayers for the success of all the Church’s efforts to preach the Gospel.
John LaBissoniere—Print Buying Manager
January 27, 2011
United Youth Camps
When the United Church of God began in 1995, the first order of business for the newly elected Council was to establish camps for the youth of the Church. United remains committed to the youth of the Church in all of its planning. This summer we are planning to operate summer camps in the Northwest, California, Missouri, Ohio and Alabama. We also plan to have 10 preteen camps this summer. We have many experienced and dedicated ministers and staff members eager to serve.
We have recently had two teleconferences devoted to organizing the camps for 2011 and on into the future. Steve Nutzman has been appointed overall camp director. Steve has many years of experience in working with the camp programs and is already energetically organizing the program.
The theme for camp this year is “A World Away From the World.” The camp zone is a foretaste of what the world tomorrow will be like. Our teens will be able to live God’s way with other youth of like mind without the pressures and distractions of this age.
Feast of Tabernacles
Planning for the Feast of Tabernacles is well under way for 2011. The administration, along with Charles Melear, has held planning sessions to organize the Feast. We will have 10 Feast sites this year in the United States:
- Bend, Oregon
- Branson, Missouri
- Escondido, California
- Galveston, Texas
- Gatlinburg, Tennessee
- Jekyll Island, Georgia
- Panama City Beach, Florida
- Steamboat Springs, Colorado
- Virginia Beach, Virginia
- Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
God has blessed us with several capable Feast coordinators. During the upcoming ministerial conference we plan to have additional United Youth Camp and Festival meetings.
Roy Holladay—Regional Pastor, Eastern Region
January 27, 2011
UCG Booklet Now Available at Barnes & Noble Web Site
Over the past several months we have been working on formatting our booklets for various e-book readers (tablets and mobile devices). As previously reported, the majority of the UCG booklets are available for download within the Apple iBookstore. Since first appearing in the iBookstore in early September 2010, more than 41,000 copies have been downloaded for free (1,300 copies have been downloaded just this week!).
We are now excited to announce that UCG booklets will be available at the Barnes & Noble’s Web site (www.barnesandnoble.com or www.bn.com) for the NOOK (and NOOKcolor) eReader. The booklet, Jesus Christ: The Real Story is the first booklet available. The booklet has only been available within the Barnes & Noble’s online store for about a week so we don’t know how many e-book copies may have been downloaded. What is interesting to note is that if you do a search for “Jesus Christ” within the Barnes & Noble’s Web site, the UCG booklet appears on the first page of results. It is the only e-book or book that is listed on this first search page as “free.” This “free” offer could pique the interest of potential readers who are looking for e-books to read on their NOOK. Over the next few months, we plan to add more booklets to this online store until we have the majority of the Church’s booklets available there.
We also would like to mention that this same booklet is available for download from the Sony ReaderStore for the Sony Reader.
All of the booklets are available for download in an e-book format on the United Church of God Web site at www.ucg.org/booklets. You can download a single booklet or a zipped folder of all the booklets in either the ePUB or MOBI format. The ePUB formatted booklets can be read on various Apple devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), Barnes & Noble NOOK, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Sony Reader and many ePUB enabled devices or applications. If you have an Amazon Kindle download the MOBI formatted booklets.
We are really excited to offer the booklets in these electronic book formats (e-books) for various e-book readers. We also plan to offer the Bible Study Course and other publications in e-book formats in the upcoming months.
Since we receive questions about what is the best type of e-book reader to purchase here is a good comparison of all the e-book readers available.
Aaron Booth—UCG Internet Manager
January 25, 2011
We have an exciting update regarding the blog filed on November 19, 2010, about Beyond Today being produced in Spanish. As you may recall, in a small family production studio in Santa Rosa del Sur, Colombia, our brethren are producing Spanish voiceovers for our Beyond Today TV program. The family production studio is called “Sierra Productions.”
It has been a blessing for members in Latin America to have access to the program in Spanish. Initial translations are done from English into Spanish by a member in the United States. And now, four months later, thanks to this group of members in Colombia, a number of Beyond Today TV programs can be seen and heard by anyone that speaks Spanish.
Back in June 2002, the non-profit organization LifeNets helped them set up this production studio, and through the many hours that these members have volunteered we can now reach more people than ever before—without a language barrier. However, with the editing system now almost ten years old, it was in great need of upgrading and replacement.
So, here is the latest update on this story: The United Church of God home office purchased new computer editing equipment for the project in December 2010 and shipped it to the studio in Colombia. But, to cap things off, LifeNets reimbursed United for the whole cost of purchase and shipping!
Much thanks goes to Victor Kubik and LifeNets for their generosity and willingness to help a small family business in need in a developing country—and all for a business such as this that is doing it’s part to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom in the Latin American world.
Thank you to all who helped with this equipment upgrade.
Peter Eddington—Producer, Beyond Today
January 25, 2011
New Bible Study Guide Series Explores “Getting to Really Know God”
Our new Free Bible Study Guides series “Getting to Really Know God” examines what God reveals about Himself and some practical tips from the Bible about how to walk with God in a close relationship every day.
This six-lesson series explores questions such as:
- What single word best defines God’s character?
- Did the Father or the Son appear and speak to people in the Old Testament?
- What is meant by God creating man “in His own image”?
- What seven great lessons does the creation teach us?
- What was the main reason for the life and death of Jesus Christ?
- What is a major key to making your Bible study personally profitable?
- What is the ultimate, most powerful way to stay close to God?
The lessons include links to many helpful related resources and provide practical “Apply Now” sections. The series was researched and written by Don Hooser, a United Church of God minister now living in Texas.
This new series on getting to know God is added to lessons covering a wide variety of topics, from answered prayer to the end times, from the armor of God to worry, and from gambling to keys to a happy marriage. There are now 60 lessons posted on the site.
We have also added a number of new short Bible studies to the “3 Bible Tips” section. And we plan to post two more new series of Free Bible Study Guides soon!
We always welcome your input. Thank you for your interest, and may God bless your study of His precious Bible!
Mike Bennett—Editorial content manager
January 24, 2011
Today, Dennis Luker provided the UCG ministry the latest draft of the agenda for the Jan. 31 to Feb. 1 ministerial conference to be held in Cincinnati, Ohio. While there may still be some minor changes, this will help our ministry in their plans for the conference.
You may view it here. Click on the image below:
January 24, 2011
[Excerpts from a letter sent to the United Church of God ministry by Victor Kubik on January 21.]
Visit to Southern Africa
I have been in South Africa, Malawi and Zambia, where I have been speaking to ministers and members concerning the current events in the Church. While we are disheartened that many elders in this region have decided to leave the United Church of God, many members want a pastor and wish to remain with us, and so we are committed to providing that support.
I have spent many hours in Malawi talking with the leadership and members there. While the elder in Malawi has resigned, the brethren do not want another church organization. They want what they have seen and known in the United Church of God. The vast majority will stay together in UCG.
My answers here have been to give first-hand testimony to the issues and concerns. Questions come mostly from the Internet and from distorted conflicting reports, often second- and third-hand.
Work at the Home Office
During some of the time of my visit to Africa, Roy Holladay came to the home office to shore up our work in Ministerial and Member Services (MMS). I want to thank both him and Gary Antion for working very hard and making so many phone calls late into the night to effectively serve our ministry and brethren. We’ve all been very encouraged by the e-mails, text messages and phone calls from you that lift our spirits and help us go on.
On Wednesday evening we held a Council of Elders teleconference during which we discussed many manpower changes. I have appreciated the team effort of the administration working with the Council to fill vacancies by relocating ministers, hiring needed pastors and realigning some of the church circuits. Again, we thank all our elders who have stepped up to volunteer and make certain that our brethren have access to a minister.
Youth Camps and Feast of Tabernacles
We are on top of our United Youth Camps program. Steve Nutzman will be national coordinator and we are working to staff all our camp venues. Announcements to the church about youth summer camps will start coming in February.
We are also planning for the Feast of Tabernacles. Yesterday, we held a teleconference to plan domestic Festival locations and to suggest some new coordinators. Roy Holladay, who is responsible from MMS to oversee our festivals, will hold meetings to talk about some of this year’s challenges.
We are all looking forward to the special conference to be held in Cincinnati in a little over a week. We feel it’s very important to assemble to discuss how we’re going to move on in fulfilling our ministry. One key feature of the conference will be to form breakout groups for the three U.S. regions and the international area to discuss staffing and care of areas that have had shortages. We really appreciate the initiative and cooperation of our elders to work in ensuring the needs of our members are met.
From the time I started writing this newsletter to now, I have gone through a personal trauma with an accident in Zambia on January14. As I was leaving the hotel for the airport for my flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, I slipped on wet tile and fell backwards hard onto a bench in my room. At the time I didn’t know it, but I broke two ribs. I went ahead to the airport and flew to South Africa, but when I arrived there, I asked to go to a hospital. That’s where I found out about the broken ribs.
By the next day, one lung began filling with fluid and partially collapsed. I was placed into Intensive Care for four days. It has been an ordeal, but I’m getting through it. I have had to delay my return back to the United States for ten days because of the damage to my lung. I asked my dear wife Bev to fly here and she is helping me with my recuperation. I have more details about this on my prayer page at
. Thank you so much for your prayers.
We will keep information flowing to you.
In Christ’s service,
Victor Kubik—Operation Manager, Ministerial and Member Services
Ambassador Bible Center Begins Second Semester for Class of 2011
January 22, 2011
Ambassador Bible Center concluded the final week of the first semester on January 14. The second semester began on January 18 with a vibrant week that included five new instructors. The new instructors include:
- Anthony Wasilkoff (on loan from Canada) to teach Pentateuch 2.
- Steve Myers will join the faculty to teach Epistles of Paul and help out with ABC administration.
- Randy Stiver will do the Writings class.
- Frank McCrady will be teaching Gospels 2.
- A new class, Personal and Family Finance, will be taught by Aaron Dean.
The students are in for an instructional treat with this new lineup of faculty members.
We are excited to welcome these quality individuals to ABC. We have much to look forward to in the second semester, including the Super Bowl Party (on Super Bowl Day), the Charity Auction to raise money for educational needs in Zimbabwe, a field day to the National Air Force Museum in Dayton, the General Conference of Elders meeting, and graduation dinner, grad brunch and graduation.
The student body is ably led by student body president Brett Diggins and the student council members who plan and perform the activities, which so far have been very successful.
Please pray for a wonderful, biblical-education-filled second semester for the Class of 2011.
Gary Antion—ABC Coordinator
January 18, 2001
Beyond Today on WGN America Sets Another New Record High Response
On Sunday, January 9, 2011, Beyond Today set another new record high response on WGN America television. The program “The Moment After You Die” co-hosted by Darris McNeely and Gary Petty, recorded 1,227 total responses.
As a result, a new record low cost per response of $9.78 was generated. Combining this excellent outcome with previous totals reduces overall cost per response on WGN to $15.83 (from $17.21 just eight weeks ago).
Congratulations to our fine media team, and profound thanks to Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven for guidance and many blessings.
Peter Eddington—Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services