Home Page

Ambassador Watch  A weekly E-zine 

Ambassador Watch is part of the Missing Dimension web site - www.missingdimension.com . It is published online each Friday.  The contact address is: missingdimension@ihug.co.nz 
Back issues:
Issue One  Issue Two  Update

Draft copies of many of the items that appear on Ambassador Watch are made available first on the Missing Dimension Yahoo! group.  For the rest of May anyone can view the group online.  Beginning next month (June) it will only be available to subscribers. Registering with Yahoo! and subscribing to the group are free. 

Quotable: From JLF.

I've just seen the WPRA website at http://www.wpra.net/index.html  It has some pretty good before and after pics of the now defunct Legacy project.

What I'm wondering now is, will there be comparable 'openness' re the next sets of plans? Or will wcg continue its traditional method of bullsh*t, denial and secrecy?

The Worldwide Clock

Current time and date in any country!

Letter of the Week

Unfortunately the past has left a two-fold 'war' to us who have been a part of it. One theater is rightly placing blame on the past leadership but continues to promote the old doctrinal traditions because of greed and merchandising that has been seen as apparent "necessity" (according to some) due to HWA not paying Social Security on his ministers. So it is now left up to the already abused laity to pick up their tab!

And so instead of correcting the false teachings and encouraging a relationship between God and the individual the wolves in sheep's clothing continue to ravage the prey and since they had no faith in the God they claimed to serve - to begin with - they think that they have a right to that monetary tithe because they "do God a favor by keeping His flock in line with Armstrongism or Judaism" (or something like it). Of course God may be the One Who is tearing down that system of Babylon just as He prophesied that He would.

Another theater of that 'war' is that we come to a place of such self-pity (forgetting what our Savior went thru as well as Paul and the true apostles) that it becomes much easier to have these little pity-parties and blame God for all the things that HWA and his negligent ministry did-when we may be forgetting that the Bible has been there all along (copies can even be obtained free of charge) and all we have to do is open it and ask God to give us that understanding of His version of what He would have us to do rather than following men and organizations-and you know what? He will! =^)

More letters in the Mailbag

Issue Three - May 10, 2002

The Hulme Tune: You know there's trouble in a COG sect when articles on "Authority" start to crop up in church publications. By this rule of thumb, the David Hulme led Church of God - An International Community is going through a bad patch. The April issue of Church of God News featured a lead article by Hulme himself entitled "The Purpose of Authority." In it Hulme asks: "Do we truly understand what it means to be under authority?" The article begins with some fairly innocuous statements:

Once we commit to God's way, we are saying that we accept His authority over our lives... It is essential to recognize that God's authority over us is for our good.

Then, clicketty clack, Dave changes tracks:

In this life, when we accept God's invitation to be called, we agree to a framework of authority that is designed for our benefit. It begins with God's authority over our lives and our willingness to submit to it. Flowing from this is the willingness to submit to all authority in the way that God has instructed.

Framework of authority? Dave, what could you mean?

Jesus is under the Father, the disciples or apostles were under Christ, the ministers and deacons - as the offices developed - came under senior leadership, and so on.

Which brings back memories of Herb, circa 1979, standing on the stage of the Ambassador Auditorium with a ridiculous chart showing how HE was the boss, under Christ (who regrettably failed to put in a personal appearance in support), in the heavenly chain of command. Herb was big on hierarchy, as long as he was the dude giving the orders. He was, however, never much good at working under anyone else's directions.

The ministry are expected to carry out their responsibilities with authority... Authority must be exercised by the ministry in the work of watching out for our souls...

Now children, can we all say "paternalism" together?

We all know who is the main perpetrator of opposition to God's authority.

Let's take a stab at it. How about those "pretenders" who claim God's endorsement for their un-mandated and self-crowned leadership role?

Part of the submissive spirit is the willingness to suffer when wrongfully treated.

Just like Herbert Armstrong suffered and submitted to the leadership of the Church of God (Seventh Day)? Just like Dave suffered and submitted to the "framework of authority" in the WCG, then the UCG?

Following Hulme's "do-as-I-say" logic, the fight of the abolitionists against slavery was Satan inspired, the American War of Independence was orchestrated by demons and David Hulme has wilfully rebelled against God TWICE. The article continues:

We have to willingly submit to God the Father and the structure and plan He has put in place.

So there you have it. Submit! Don't complain. SUFFER! (Suffering is good for you.) Do what the minister says, even when he's wrong. The (Hulme) ministry knows best! Senior leadership (Dave) stands at the apex of "God's framework of authority." And if you have the faintest stirring of spiritual independence - the devil made you do it!

There's another "A-word" that we wish Dave, Joe, Spanky and their collaborators would start to use: accountability. We're not holding our breath.

Perhaps Armstrong ministers should try watching out for their own souls.

Antipodean UCG "stable": The UCG's Council of Elders has been meeting this week. Minutes have been published on the UCG web site. Two international stories caught our eye. The first indicates just how much grief United has gone through in establishing its Australian operation:

Bill Eddington is the chairman of the Australian National Council. He pointed out that the Church in Australia is enjoying a certain amount of stability now. A few members left last year, and about 20 from the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship, joined with United. About 500 are now attending United (down from about 750 in 1995).

Matters "across the ditch" appear to be not dissimilar, with local minister Jeff Caudle reporting that "things are now very much stabilized for the Church in New Zealand."  (We were saddened to learn of the death this week of NZ UCG trustee Marcel Morreel following a heart attack.)

The second will interest those who have been following the disfellowshipment and firing of the British UCG's treasurer, Barbara Fenney, after she questioned some of sect CEO John Jewell's actions. There had been a call, reported in The Journal, for Jewell's reappointment to the Council to be reconsidered, and for a formal inquiry. The minutes record: John Jewell was returned to the Council as an international representative.

Kilough Crowned: While on the subject, the UCG Council has chosen Clyde Kilough as its next chairman. He replaces Roy "Chuckles" Holladay, who was recently elevated to the presidency of the church. And these comments were entered into the minutes with an apparently straight face:

Mr. Pinelli pointed out that that he has received very few complaints in the last year about ministers being “boring” – that he used to see more. The connection he has made is that the publication of World News and Prophecy seemed to coincide with the drop in the number of comments! He wondered if the earlier complaints expressed the frustration of some about not hearing enough on prophetic topics. He stated that he does occasionally field questions about the precise doctrinal accuracy of particular statements made in individual sermons. 

Larry, Curly and Moe: The Living Church of God has added a third speaker to its "Tomorrow's World" speaking schedule. Joining Meredith and Ames will be John Ogwyn. According to Meredith: "Mr. Ames and I are both in good health and appreciate the privilege of presenting the telecast. But I will soon turn 72 and that same month Mr. Ames will turn 66. God has never promised us eternal life in this flesh. So I feel that it is prudent that we bring a younger man on board."

Saturday Pentecost? Pentecost is on a Monday, right? Wait, hold on, didn't that change to a Sunday? No, wait: hold everything! Pentecost is now on a Saturday! At least in Pasadena. This item comes from the WCG Pasadena church bulletin.

Pentecost Service - This year our Pentecost service will be on Saturday, May 18 with guest speaker, Jeb Egbert, our national youth coordinator. Communion will be offered at that service. For those who would also like to worship on Sunday, May 19, we invite you to join our brothers and sisters at Friendship Baptist Church for their 10:00 a.m. service or our sister church, NewLife Fellowship, for their 10:30 a.m. service at the Boys’ and Girls’ Club, 3230 E. Del Mar Blvd. in Pasadena.

After the "Passover Purge", we wonder if there will be a similar "witch-hunt" over any members who dare meet on the traditional date in their own homes.

Keeping the sheep dumb? The draft WN article (see AW2) has been popping up in a number of places, but perhaps most notably on the Pasadena WCG congregation web site. We noted with interest that the article seemed substantially shorter than the original and did a quick comparison. Eight paragraphs had been cut completely, and of those that remained, some had also had sections deleted.


Alexa Ranking
1.  Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic. Assoc. 109,287
2.  United Church of God 136,730
3.  Worldwide Church of God (Tkach) 155,174
4.  CEM (Ron Dart) 164,096
5.  Barnabas Ministries (Alan Ruth) 257,880
6.  Triumph Prophetic Ministries (Dankenbring) 350,787
7.  ASK (Ernest Martin) 395,121
8.  Good News Magazine (UCG) 422,106
9 Church of God, International 435,313
10. Living Church of God (Meredith) 443,658
11. Key of David (Flurry) 458,166
12. Cogwriter (Bob Thiel) 488,584
13. Plain Truth Ministries (Tkach) 491,300
14. Tomorrow's World (Meredith) 576,456
15. Painful Truth (Ed Mentell) at www.wwcg.info 691,616
16. Philadelphia Church of God (Flurry) 695,353
17. Exit and Support Network (Dee Hubbert) 747,194
18. Victor Kubik (UCG affiliated) 807,116
19. Church of God (Seventh Day) 809,309
20. Philadelphia Trumpet (Flurry) 943,932
21. Vision Magazine (Hulme) 1,019,051
22. Church of God AIC (Hulme) 1,026,086
23. Ambassador Files (MD affiliated) 1,092,365
24. The Journal (Dixon Cartwright) 1,280,169
25. Painful Truth (Ed Mentell) at herbertwarmstrong.com 1,417,014
26. Servants News 1,631,714

Top COG Web sites: Richard Burkard, a regular contributor to JLF and webmaster at www.laughline.com, has been doing some digging on the Internet (http://www.alexa.com/), uncovering some interesting statistics on popularity of various web sites in the COG tradition. We added a few more searches to Richard's to create the data table (see box.) 

According to an article published in The Journal (Jan. 2002), Alan Ruth's biblestudy.org (Barnabas Ministries) had over a million page views in 2001, making it "the COG's biggest Web site." These statistics, however, don't seem to confirm that claim, although its listing is still relatively high.

What strikes us is how ineffectual the PTM site appears (no.13 on the list) compared to far more amateurish efforts like Bill Dankenbring's. This ranking must be a major wake-up call for Greg Albrecht.

Storm Warning for Bernie: Who would have thought that the real estate business in Southern California would become a consuming concern for an apocalyptic sabbatarian cult turned evangelical (sort of)? The LA Times this week must have provided nightmare reading for Bernie Schnippert.

Pasadena's Poor Lack Housing, Suit Claims
Court Action calls for a ban on building until city complies with law requiring a plan for low- income units. Officials say they're trying.

The article states:

The action asks the court to impose an injunction that would bring a halt to all development--not just residential, but commercial--until the city complies with state law.

According to Dateline Pasadena, this could put another serious damper on the sale of the Pasadena property. Also this week, Pastor General Joe rejected calls for a day of prayer and fasting to twist the Heavenly arm.

I appreciate the intentions behind the suggestion, but I do not feel it to be the thing to do in this situation. Certainly, any day is a good day for fasting and prayer, but we must be careful not to look upon fasting and prayer as a sort of magic wand.

Which just goes to show that Joe can still surprise us. The sect leader, however, goes on to say:

I received a note from one pastor, whose congregation had just concluded a period of forty days of fasting and prayer for me. I am overjoyed and filled with vigor just to have read their note of encouragement.

Forty days fasting for Joe? We'd love to know what this entailed. Perhaps they all just gave up one favorite food... baloney perhaps?

Church clings to Legacy approach (from the Pasadena Star News)

By Elizabeth Lee
Staff Writer

PASADENA -- Now that the surprise has worn off from Monday's announcement that Legacy Partners won't be developing the Ambassador College property, neighbors are starting to speculate about its future.

The Worldwide Church of God, which owns the property, has said it will move forward with Legacy's plan to convert the land into more than 1,700 housing units. But that statement hasn't stopped some neighbors from dreaming of a savior -- much like some locals did with the Raymond Theatre -- who would come in to buy the picturesque property and preserve it much as it is.

"I hope they scratch the plan and some financial angel comes through," said Ned Boyer, who lives in southwest Pasadena. "I think there ought to be some sort of consortium to buy the property and do something really good with it, and give it its highest and best use." One possibility would be to use the campus as a regional arts center, he said.

"I just would hate to see that property cut up and I would hate to see it made into a virtual fortress the way it was planned by Legacy, with the kind of castle walls around the perimeter," Boyer said of the current proposal. "... I hope it doesn't get developed in anything close to the way it (is) planned."

But the church has announced it will move forward with the Legacy project, hiring a development team to manage it. Unlike in the Legacy plan, the developer wouldn't ever own the property, according to church Director of Finance and Planning Bernard Schnippert. A single buyer, or two buyers, for the property have not been ruled out, he said. He has received calls from interested purchasers this week, although he would not say who they were.

"The church has told the city that we're going to pursue the Legacy plan," Schnippert said. "I think they understand that we mean that sincerely, but that doesn't mean that the right ... user at the right price wouldn't supersede those plans."

According to Gordon Odell, a southwest Pasadena neighbor who co-founded Save South Orange Grove (Boulevard) to oppose the development, said neighbors he's talked to have suggested the property could once again be used as a school campus. "(A) different type of utilization of the property would certainly be a lot more acceptable than a large development such as Legacy was proposing," Odell said. "It's my guess that in due course, others will step forward with some ideas ... institutional rather than commercial."

Irvine-based Legacy proposed to develop more than 1,700 apartments, condominiums and homes on the 49-acre property, which is split into two "campuses" that flank the Long Beach (710) Freeway stub. Legacy was in escrow to buy the property for more than three years, and spent more than $12 million in the process. But its purchase contract with the church expired at the end of March, and the two sides were unable to reach an agreement on an extension.

A Legacy official was mum on the developer's reasons for abandoning the project. But certainly Legacy saw its profit margin dwindling as the project came under expensive pressure from neighbors, who demanded a reduction in the number of housing units, and who threatened to make an already lengthy process longer.

In addition, Legacy had hoped to finance a certain portion of the sale through a special tax district, and the City Council --which would have had to authorize the tax district -- wanted to limit its dollar amount.

In recent negotiations to renew the purchase contract, Legacy asked the church to reduce the sale price, but that combined with the other agreement terms was unacceptable, Schnippert said. Some observers predicted that now that Legacy's profit margin doesn't have to be accounted for, the church will be able to reduce the density of the project and still make an acceptable return on the property.

"My hope is really that they'll look especially at the west campus density," said resident Paul Vert. "If there's any way they can maybe put more density on the other side ... that would make so much more sense. I just think that when you look at that (development) model, and see what they were proposing for the west campus, everybody went crazy."

Schnippert said a reduction in density is likely, but wouldn't offer details. "I believe the fine tuning will be in the area of density and in the direction the neighbors hope. Exactly how far ... I'm not prepared to say," Schnippert said.

The general sentiments of neighbors were optimistic, despite some uncertainty over the church's plans -- and some uncertainty over whether Legacy is truly abandoning the project for good.

"At first I thought maybe Legacy would be OK, but when they put out some of those diagrams, like at the corner of Green (Street) and Orange Grove, it was solid walls," said west Pasadena resident Virginia Crockett. "I finally decided I didn't like it. I guess I'm glad they're gone, and maybe something better will come along."

email MD: editor@ambassadorwatch.co.nz email Dateline Pasadena: dp@ambassadorwatch.co.nz 


Weekly issues - COMING SOON: AW 1 - 20  AW21  AW22  AW23  AW24  AW25  AW26  AW27  AW28  AW29  AW30  AW31  AW32  AW33  Monthly issues - AW 34  AW 35  AW 36  AW 37  AW 38  AW 39  AW 40  AW 41  AW 42  AW 43  AW 44  AW 45  AW 46  AW 47  AW 48  AW 49  AW 50  AW 51  AW 52  AW 53  AW 54  AW 55  AW 56  AW 57  AW 58  AW 59  AW 60  AW 61  AW 62  AW 63  AW 64  AW 65  AW 66  AW 67

 Update 1 (Apr-Jul 2001) Update 2 (Aug-Oct 2001)  Update 3 (Nov 2001-Jan 2002)  Update 4 (Feb-Apr 2002)

Mail pages (2001-2002): 1 2 3 4 5

Back Issues: Issue 1   Issue 2   Issue 3   Issue 4  Issue 5  Issue 6  Issue 7  Issue 8  Issue 9  Issue 10   Issue 11    Issue 12  Issue 13  Issue 14  Issue 15  Issue 16  Issue 17  Issue 18  Issue 19  Issue 20