February 24, 2011
The issue was completed on February 23. The articles in this edition include: “Jesus-Christ Stolen Identity,” “Why is Europe so Important?,” “Easter or Passover?,” and “Europe A New Superpower?”
From California, I help manage and coordinate the production of the BN working with a team of French speaking people from three different countries.
We have contracted the services of two translators, Renée Avilès, a professional translator from Ontario, Canada, and Annette Bernal from Bordeaux, France. Our proofreaders are Martine Ruml, a French teacher from Columbus, Ohio, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Audoin, a retired elder living in Bordeaux, France. He and his wife have been doing the final proofing for the BN for the last 12 years or so.
Our layout and design contractor is Raphaël Bernal, from Bordeaux as well. Raphaël has been working with Bonnes Nouvelles for many years, as well as with the production of our French Bible Correspondance Course and booklets.
The May-June issue is already in the proofreading stage, and starting with the July-August issue, we are planning on staying only one or two issues behind the English Good News.
Maryse Pebworth—Edition française
February 24, 2011
Update on Christchurch, New Zealand, Earthquake by James Moore:
Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. We have been able to cope at the welfare centres so far—all of us have trained hard to prepare ourselves for events like this. We also have learned from September’s earthquake; however, this recent earthquake has been a greater challenging for us.
Since the earthquake we haven’t really had much sleep; it is very difficult for us to get any rest even when we do try to sleep. We have all been doing long hours working at the welfare centre; last night I spent about 14 hours helping to operate the welfare centre by doing all the radio and phone communications, organising work for other volunteers, ordering in equipment, organising flights, hygiene, security, planning and raising other concerns.
So it has been pretty stressful. I’m reasonably tired; however, I’m really struggling to get any sleep like everyone else because of the aftershocks and I cannot stop thinking about how we can improve the welfare centre.
However, this is nothing compared to what other people are going through. I really feel sorry for the people I met previously in the September earthquake who are (now) staying in the welfare centre and cannot return to their homes. Although we do have challenges, I feel really blessed that we have a roof over our head and my friends are still alive. I better try and get some sleep before I have to go back in again. Thanks once again for your prayers and thoughts.
February 23, 2011
Update and Prayer Request: Earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand
We have had some contact with James Moore who has just moved back to Christchurch, New Zealand, to recommence his university studies. He found himself in the middle of the disaster that took place yesterday in Christchurch. He is safe and well, but is asking for our prayers for protection, and more generally for the people in Christchurch. There are members of various Churches of God in Christchurch and we are asking that prayers be made for their safety as well.
James is a part of the Civil Defence program (somewhat equivalent to the State Emergency Services here in Australia) and therefore he is involved in the recovery process. Our prayers for all who are being affected would be much appreciated at this time.
James Moore attended our youth Summer Camp in Australia. He has been in contact with Steve Clark (Summer Camp Director) who sent this to us.
Bill Bradford, Queensland, Australia
February 18, 2011
First Four Students Accepted for 2011-2012 Year
This week we were pleased to accept four new Ambassador Bible Center students for the next school year.
We now have 22 students in this year’s ABC class. One just arrived from Colombia and is busily attending his second week of classes. He speaks and writes English in addition to his native language of Spanish. We are pleased to have him join us for the second semester.
The meal plan that was added this year has been a huge success, with the meals being delicious and nutritious. We are pleased to have Connie Sipes as Food Services Manager, assisted by two students—Evan Anderson and Emily Hirst.
Frank McCrady has finished his first session of Gospels 2, and the students seemed to enjoy him as much as he enjoyed being with and teaching them. He has a few more days of scheduled class before he concludes the Gospels. Tony Wasilkoff, from Canada, is on loan for this week to continue teaching the Pentateuch 2 class.
The ABC Chorale has just completed its first full performance for the year in front of the Dayton, Ohio, congregation. I’ve heard that this was the best “debut” presentation of the chorale. Mr. Kenneth Shoemaker is the director and works tirelessly, along with the students, to produce music that inspires the brethren and glorifies God. We’re grateful for the efforts of all the students and Mr. Shoemaker.
We are very pleased with the progress that’s being made in this second semester. Currently, the students are meeting regularly to plan for the annual Charity Auction in May. There is much to do in soliciting items for the auction.
We appreciate the diligent efforts of all our students to learn the Word of God and, more importantly, to practice the teachings of that Word. We encourage potential students for the 2011-2012 year to submit their applications as soon as possible.
Gary Antion—ABC coordinator
February 17, 2011
Teens: Make Preparations for Summer Camp!
The United Youth Camps program is now in its 17th season! We are excited about hundreds of teens and staff enjoying God’s way of life in action at one of our summer camps—or winter camp later this year.
We have a great mix of camp facilities, some at our traditional camp locations that we have used for a number of years, and in addition, two at new locations that offer excellent venues for us.
It is anticipated that the United Youth Camps magazine will be in the mail to all members the first half of March. The magazine will include detailed information about all five summer camps and our one winter camp, so be looking for it in the mail soon.
Here is the list of camps, dates and camp directors:
- Camp Cotubic, Ohio — June 19-26 (Matthew Fenchel)
- Hye Sierra, California — July 3-10 (Ed Dowd)
- Camp Woodmen, Alabama — July 3-10 (Shawn Cortelyou)
- Northwest Camp, Oregon — July 24-31 (Rex Sexton)
- Camp Pinecrest, Missouri — July 31-August 7 (Gary Smith)
- Winter Camp — late December (Randy Stiver)
Campers and potential staff, look for updated on-line registration to be available in the next couple of weeks at uyc.ucg.org. We appreciate everyone’s prayers for the camp program as we continue to work out many details for this summer.
Steve Nutzman—National Coordinator, United Youth Camps
February 17, 2011
All of the United States Feast sites for 2011 have been secured, and now we are finishing up the housing contracts. We want to be fair with hotels and anticipating attendance is always a challenge. This year it is even more so. We don’t want to overbook and disappoint our traditional, loyal housing establishments.
In addition, we are planning four satellite sites throughout the country. They will not initially be open for transfer, but are being established specifically to accommodate nearby members who cannot drive longer distances. If capacity remains after registration, transfers will be allowed.
In the past, the March-April issue of United News has provided descriptions of all United Church of God Feast sites. This year that information will only be printed in the Festival Planning Brochure. This will reduce duplication of information that has typically been distributed only a few weeks apart. It will also conserve manpower.
Charles Melear—UCG Conference Planner
February 14, 2011
Ambassador Bible Center Students Host Super Party
[The following ABC update from United's education coordinator is excerpted from the Ministerial Newsletter of February 10, 2011]
Over 100 Ambassador Bible Center students, home office staff, young adults and guests attended the annual Super Party to watch the Super Bowl game. Although the Steelers lost to the Green Bay Packers, there were no losers who attended the ABC event.
The food was delicious—hamburgers, foot-long all-beef hot dogs, various salads, side dishes and desserts. Popcorn was served to all during the game. The decorations were trimmed in the team colors and face painting was available to the ardent fans. Board games and fellowship was available to those who were not so interested in the football game.
The students did a “super” job of hosting at this major social event.
New Instructors Join Faculty
The ABC faculty has been bolstered by the addition of five new instructors.
Frank McCrady III has stepped in to teach the second half of the Gospels. The students are enjoying his friendliness and his talent for teaching. Anthony Wasilkoff has taken the second half of the Law and did a four-day stint as his first trip down south from Canada. He will return for two more weeks to complete his instruction on the Law. Randy Stiver has taken the Writings and is busily and energetically teaching the students four hours per week about this important section of the Scriptures. He has taught young adults for years in his pastorates. Aaron Dean has been teaching the Personal Family Finance class, which he taught at Ambassador College. Finally, Steve Myers has accepted the responsibility to teach the second half of Epistles of Paul. Judging by the enthusiasm exhibited by the students, they have accepted and appreciate the new instructors.
Upcoming later in this semester are Darris McNeely to teach the second half of Fundamental Beliefs, Melvin Rhodes to teach Daniel and prophetic sections of Ezekiel, and Don Ward to bring Fundamentals of Theology, completing the adjunct faculty participation for the year.
We are excited to have made this transition so seamlessly. Several of the students have sought baptismal counseling and enjoy sharing their lunches with the new faculty members.
We have our Charity Auction for Zimbabwe scheduled for the beginning of May, and we plan to sell chocolate-covered matzos as well as kosher marshmallows to raise extra funds for the auction.
Please continue to pray for the ongoing success of Ambassador Bible Center.
Gary Antion—ABC Coordinator
February 11, 2011
[The following financial update from Media and Communications Services is excerpted from the Ministerial Newsletter of February 10, 2011]
As reported during the ministerial conference on Feb. 1, a joint project between Ministerial and Member Services and Media and Communications Services is being planned in the form of public Kingdom of God Bible Seminars.
Starting during the summer of 2011, the Church will schedule public seminars in 50 U.S. cities where we have a healthy Good News magazine subscriber list and an established United Church of God congregation.
Here is an outline for how these will most likely be rolled out. We are still in the planning stages, and so some elements may change, but this is the overall plan at this point.
The Good News Kingdom of God Bible Seminars will:
- Be held every four months simultaneously in 50 U.S. locations. (In addition, international offices may be able to “piggy back” off the U.S. media and advertising effort, especially since the Sabbath seminar will be advertised in the Good News magazine and on our Web site.)
- Be advertised through The Good News, the Internet and our Beyond Today television program.
- Consist of three 50-minute segments in a seminar format to be held on the Sabbath, with members serving a light lunch and interacting with the public. This format was used successfully in 2008 in Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia, with 200 nonmembers in attendance.
- The content will adhere closely to Jesus Christ’s gospel of the Kingdom message as outlined in Mark 1:14-15: “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’”
- The time is fulfilled (Campaign 1, three 50-minute seminars).
- The Kingdom is at hand (Campaign 2, three 50-minute seminars).
- Repent (Campaign 3, three 50-minute seminars).
- Believe the gospel (Campaign 4, three 50-minute seminars).
- The speakers will be qualified, experienced pastors, elders and deacons who are capable presenters.
- The home office will provide the seminar outlines and PowerPoint presentations for the presenters to use throughout the 12 seminars. The outlines may be customized, provided they still adhere to the Mark 1 theme.
- The public will never be invited to “join the church” or give money during the lectures. Any desire to attend will be initiated by the attendees.
- The pastor and/or local presenter will follow up with an e-mail message to attendees the following Monday morning.
- The process will repeat with the next seminar four months later.
These seminars will be a way in which our most highly motivated readers and viewers will be able to learn the truths of the Kingdom of God in face-toface meetings with an authorized representative of Jesus Christ.
Please pray for the success of this seminar campaign, and for the work being done at this stage to create the outlines and lecture material. It promises to be a very good program to combine the efforts of the whole Church—the media department, our ministerial leadership, our pastors and elders, and all of our membership.
Peter Eddington—Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services
February 10, 2011
[The following financial update from the Church Treasurer is excerpted from the Ministerial Newsletter of February 10, 2011]
I would like to express my appreciation to our fellow laborers. This year has been difficult to try to predict, as historical numbers provide little value for projections of income and expenses. I am sure most of us feel a bit like Gideon as his numbers were whittled down by God. Spiritually, in faith, you know it will work—but physically and emotionally, you wonder how.
When times are good, it is easy to convince yourself that you have faith in God, when in reality it is often faith in money. When money becomes scarce, you find that your faith is tested and you learn that maybe you didn’t have the faith you thought you did. Scarcity produces faith, just as patience does. I have often asked, If God did things the way I would like, would it even be a work of faith? If I always knew the money was there because of big bank accounts, my faith would perhaps become a buzzword and not a reality.
God saw to it that the United Churchof God has been given a financially strong position to start our rebuilding process. Proverbs tells us the wise look ahead to prepare for the future. Like Gideon, I expect we will do more with less. We have to see this as an opportunity to trust God.
I am encouraged by the reports of many new people asking to come to church services. But since faith without works is dead, we do need to be diligent in cutting our expenses, while not harming our service to members or minimizing our focus on preaching the gospel. God will provide, but we still have to do our part in being stewards with His money. There are many ways to save.
Ideas to Limit Costs
For instance, staying in a member’s home instead of a hotel can provide fellowship while saving money. I know many of us, having raised our children, have spare bedrooms to share. I have thoroughly enjoyed staying with members on church visits. In some cases it wasn’t possible, but those hours in a hotel seem sterile compared to the hours spent with God’s people. I think, perhaps out of necessity, we will have to rebuild our culture to one of sharing instead of always “paying.”
I ask that all ministers do as much as possible to limit costs. I will be looking at expense accounts to see if there are better ways to do things. While we want our ministry to physically visit members, some less-serious counseling and visiting can be done over the phone or perhaps even over the Internet via webcams. This can diminish some of our mileage costs while still providing contact. Our youth and many of our older members are already connected this way, so it may be an effective way to stay closer to more people and eliminate driving time.
For church visits, many meals may be provided by members. If you stay with a family who provides meals for you during the visit, you might consider leaving a few dollars on the pillow to help them with the extra food costs and as appreciation for their hospitality. I would rather reimburse a $10 or $20 gift to a member left on a pillow, than a $40 or $50 restaurant bill. These things can generate savings and help create the culture of Christlike service that we are trying to have permeate the Church. Ministry and members alike have a high calling, and we will work together until Christ returns to give us new assignments.
I would appreciate any suggestions or tips you may have to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Thank you for your service to our brethren, your prayers for God to supply our financial needs and the wisdom to do it all efficiently and effectively. I know you are all working harder than ever. May God revitalize your spiritual, physical and emotional strength.
February 8, 2011
Vertical Thought magazine, by God’s grace, is moving forward with renewed visual and editorial vigor! Consequently, we have many new opportunities for vertical thinking teen and young adult volunteers ready and willing to contribute their skills in several areas.
- Writing: opportunities include writing short articles for the magazine and for the weekly online Vertical Thought Commentaries (VTC).
- Illustration and cartooning: to add variety and zest to both the magazine and Web site we are seeking good illustrations and insightfully humorous cartooning on biblical themes.
- Photography: plans call for more shot-for-purpose photos in the magazine and on the Web site. Here’s a wonderful opportunity to help illustrate elements of the true gospel for those of you with good camera skills.
- Videography: in the future we hope to have verticalthought.org set up to feature short video clips that convey good lessons regarding moral dilemmas facing teens and young adults today.
If you have an interest and talent in any of these areas and would like to join the greater Vertical Thought team, then please write to the managing editors Randy Stiver (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dan Dowd (email@example.com). Tell us who you are, what your area of interest is, and please include a sample of your skill.
Keep thinking vertically!
Randy Stiver—Managing Editor, Vertical Thought