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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
Dateline Pasadena can be reached at datelinepasadena@yahoo.com
Back issues:
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Draft copies of many of the items that appear on Ambassador Watch are made available first on the Missing Dimension Yahoo! group. Beginning next week it will only be available to subscribers. Registering with Yahoo! and subscribing to the group are free. 

Check out the latest mail in the MD mailbag
Quotable:  From JLF.

I have been told by various employees that there have been verbal and WRITTEN promises made to them about an actual employee retirement program. 

"Loyalty" to a corporation is mainly about an employee's ability to show up to work (and on time), to adequately perform the job functions they were hired to do, and to be a good "team player", able to get along well with others.  Loyalty to a corporation should have nothing to do with one's personal convictions or their ability and willingness to expose and NOT tolerate unethical behavior from upper management.  Any corporation that is practicing integrity and treating their employees with respect and dignity, is simply not threatened by gossip and rumors, and therefore does not go on witch hunts to stop "disloyal" people from "giving them such a bad reputation."

My recommendation for concerned WCG employees is that they gather up ALL such written communication as well as document (write down) the names of individuals who made verbal promises to them in employee meetings, the dates of those meetings and specifically, what was said.  If enough employees team together to compare notes on what they heard at the employee meetings, this information would come in quite handy when/if there should be a class action suit.

Issue Five - May 24, 2002

Picard takes helm of enterprise: In his May 23 letter to cult pastors, WCG's "supra- Episcopal" leader, Joe Tkach, announced changes to the European operation. 

We are also making a change this year in our denominational structure in Europe. A European Council has been formed, consisting of the National Leaders of the WCG in Europe. Council members will work together as a team to coordinate matters of common interest to our churches in Europe. Instead of having a middle level of administration in the form of a Regional Director for Europe, the National Leaders of our churches in Europe have selected one from among themselves, subject to headquarters ratification, to serve a term as European Denominational Director to represent denominational headquarters in Europe. It is important to understand that this is a governance function, not an administrative role. The National Leaders provide the administrative leadership for the individual nations in which they serve. The duties of the European Denominational Director will include:

1) Making sure that denominational policies and practices are adequately communicated throughout the European Region.

2) Providing European perspective to denominational headquarters and participating in doctrinal and key administrative decisions.

3) Recommending, if necessary, denominational intervention in matters that threaten to undermine the unity of the WCG in Europe.

Picard_Donat.jpg (66024 bytes)


I am pleased to announce that Donat Picard has been selected to serve the first term as Denominational Director for Europe. I know he will appreciate our prayers and support as he begins this new role in our denomination.

John Halford is now in the process of transitioning from the role of Regional Director for Europe to a new responsibility. He has served our European congregations well during a critical and trying period of our history. He provided sound leadership and stability at a time when it was needed most. All of the National Leaders credit Mr. Halford with helping them learn to work together as a team. While there is more work to be done, there is no question that John's leadership has done much to make this transformation possible. He forged six separate regions into one strong region, bound together in brotherly love.

John Halford's greatest love and certainly some of his greatest gifts lie in the editorial area. I am happy to announce that Mr. Halford will be taking up a new post, effective in October 2002. His task will be to provide support and mentoring to the editorial development of our international publications. He will help new editors improve their systems and layouts, and encourage and mentor writers around the world. John and Pat will be based in the United States. They are relocating to Indiana near their children and grandchildren. One of the benefits of living in our electronic age is that John can serve in this role effectively from his home. We would like to thank John and Pat for their selfless service to the European brethren.

Reading between the lines (a definite life skill in the WCG), and scraping away the encrusted spin, it appears that the vice-like grip of Pope Joe may become even heavier. The "National Leaders" are, naturally, un-elected. The new "Denominational Director" is subject to Joey's papal endorsement. The first listed duty of the new appointee is to tighten the reins and enforce compliance. The third is to run with his tail between his legs to Pasadena if anyone dares raise issues the hierarchy disapproves of (that's what it means by "undermining unity"). John Halford is praised to the skies, but shunted well away from the action (or should that be "the reaction"?)

This new enterprise is captained by Donat Picard. Not even Jean Luc, we suspect, could pull this one off.

PPT:  Also heading off "where none have gone before" is the newly christened Pasadena Project Team. According to Joe:

The Pasadena Project Team (our designation of the Church's team appointed with the task of moving our property sale and development project along) began work in earnest immediately following the April 29 announcement that Legacy would not continue with its plans to develop the Ambassador Campus. Under the direction of project manager, Bernie Schnippert, contacts were made with key City officials and community leaders to keep the lines of communication open. Dr. Schnippert mobilized consultants, including legal counsel at Troy & Gould, reputable land use attorneys who have been advising the Church for over four years on property matters. Other experts were tasked to complete various studies that will provide the Project Team with critical information needed to structure this new phase of the project. A panel of WCG executives and key consultants interviewed several potential Master Developers, winnowed from a long list of interested developers. Only those Master Developers with the greatest resources and reputation were considered for the interviews. After discussion, the panel will issue a formal Request for Proposal and interview two to three of the most outstanding companies before selecting the winning firm. The successful candidate will function as a consultant under the direction of Dr. Schnippert and will not purchase and resell the land, as was Legacy’s intention. "We've accomplished a great deal in a short period of time. I'm very optimistic and impressed with the caliber of consultants available to assist us with this critical project," Dr. Schnippert said. Dr. Tkach said, "This item should remain on our prayer list."

Quoting himself is an unusual touch. Perhaps Tkach should hire someone to check that his "cut and paste" style isn't quite so obvious.

From the UCG web site: Here are the preliminary attendance and offering figures for Pentecost in the United States for 2002, compared with 2001:

2002 Offering Information

Attendance: 11,758
Offering: $669,095.51
Average per person: $56.91

2001 Offering Information (reported)

Attendance: 11,241
Offering: $605,780.64
Average per person: $53.89

(This represents a 4.6 percent increase in attendance over 2001, and a 10.5 percent increase in the offering amount over 2001. Once all offerings that were individually mailed to the home office are processed, the 2002 figure should reach $680,000.)

UCG Pentecost figures up: In a joint epistle the new president and chairman of the largest Armstrong splinter group, the United Church of God, have announced a modest increase in attendance and offerings at the sect's US Pentecost observance.

Neighbors move out: According to Bob Thiel, the CEG group has moved out of its San Diego offices, current location unknown. The Church of the Eternal God had, up till recently, maintained offices in the same building as the Living Church of God. Both sects spring from the now defunct Global Church of God.

Jacques Robidoux

Robidoux Cult Covered In Christianity Today (Dateline Pasadena reports):

The May 21 issue of Christianity Today has an update on the Attleboro, Massachusetts cult led by Roland Robidoux. Robidoux has a mixed up past that includes Armstrongism.

The cult - called The Body - does not allow medical visits to doctors for illnesses. Two parents are charged with allowing their newborn and an 11 month old to die because they refused to allow the children to go to the doctor. The state has taken the couples four other children from them and the State has also ordered them to jail for refusing to tell the whereabouts of a missing baby that the mother had in 2001.

The cult also believes in direct revelation from God to its leader

COG7 boss says "hi": The Church of God (Seventh Day) has posted a video clip welcoming visitors to its website. The 90 second promo is fronted by church president Whaid Rose. Unlike most other COG leaders, Mr. Rose is an elected official. Shhhhh!!!  Nobody tell Joe!

Herb 56, Joe Sr. nil: Following up from a story from Issue 4, we can report that the portrait of Apostle Herb offered on e-Bay netted $56 for the ladies of the LaCrosse, Wisconsin WCG, while the framed picture of Joe Sr. brought in just 99 cents.

Petra-fied:  Ah, the good old days!  This item appeared on one of the WCG-related forums this week, and was forwarded by Dateline Pasadena.

About Petra, I don't care what anyone says now. I lived those days of fear about fleeing to a place of safety. I remember the sermons and even remember some who were striving to be in charge when we got there. What a bunch of glory trippers.

You know I like honey, but think I would have to be starved to eat locust. That was what we were told we would probably dine on, because we would probably only be able to leave in a minute of time. We would have to flee with the clothes on our backs and were suppose to not look back and worry about others, just go when the time came and we were told where to assemble.

There was a minister in the GA area who actually pulled a nasty stunt on the congregation one holy day. I'm so glad I wasn't there, with all the fear I had in me at the time I can't say how I might have reacted. I now understand several ministers got their jollies by telling congregations that the time had came to flee. They had deacons at the doors so no one could leave or make contact. This actually went on for over an hour, with many crying, vomiting, upset bowels and some clapping and saying let's go. Then they were more or less told this was a test and released to go home and think.

What a moron the minister was. He would probably have found a way to justify his actions if someone had died from anxiety.

I personally lived in fear of being left behind, this was part of the fear tactic that was subtly instilled in us.

Unless you have lived as we have, people who have not been submitted to what we were, can't really understand. I told some friends one day that I was raised in a cult and was able to see and break free in my early thirties. They didn't know what to say, the looks on their faces were total shock. People use the word cult and hear and read the cult life, but have no understanding of what it really is like. There are so many still there and don't know what they are living, they are just blindly following. 

Feedback on Cox's CCG: A number of people have expressed forthright opinions on Wade Cox and the Christian Churches of God since we ran an item in the last AW. We've received email, and comments have been posted on both Likeminds and JLF. One thing all of them have in common, so far, is that none are greatly impressed by the CCG, or its leader's claims. Among the points raised:

It appears that Cox teaches that "The year 2028 will start the Jubilee of Jubilees and the new millennial reign of Messiah."

In the CCG belief system Jesus is apparently an archangel, brother of Lucifer.

One individual who has attended CCG services writes: "I had the extreme displeasure to hear this man speak just before the last feast... Cox spoke for two boring hours. In that time he pontificated about, and predicted, the return of Christ. He went on to tell everyone present that if they did not understand the sign of Jonah that they were not right with the Spirit. Interspersed in all of that lunacy were frequent attacks on HWA. I guess technically it could be true that the CCG doesn't attack anyone, but their guru certainly does... Cox held a feast site in Galveston last year. That is why he was in Houston. Several people from the local HCOGF went to visit that site. When they went to Cox to ask him questions about something he said, he told them to leave the Feast...which they did." (posted on the Likeminds Yahoo! Forum)

Wade Cox seems less than forthcoming about actual membership figures for the CCG. In an email to a researcher on COG movements he wrote: "We simply will not number Israel as David was punished for doing that and WCG was smashed because it became preoccupied with doing that." In another email to the same person he wrote: "CCG does not disclose its membership base nor locations for obvious security reasons as a glance at the website www.holocaustrevealed.org will show. The mainstream churches have spent a deal of time and effort in piecing together such information about us and we see no reason to make it easier for them."

Century One Hard Sell: If anyone was surprised by the full page ad Century One (an online book store with COG connections) bought in the last issue of The Journal, they might well be blown away by the placement of the same ad – full page and in color – in the current issue of the widely respected Biblical Archaeology Review. According to BAR reader Doug Ward, this is nothing new. C1 has promoted itself in the publication on several past occasions.

Century One's heaviest promotional pitch at present is for the late Ernie Martin's book "The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot." Doc. Martin was formerly professor of theology at Ambassador College, before departing the church in 1974. Despite the fact that his PhD was worth less than the paper it was printed on (issued by unaccredited Ambassador) the good doctor went on to build something of a mixed reputation in the wider Christian academic community. His book on the "star of Bethlehem" even found its way into the footnotes of legitimate scholars. Unfortunately his treatises appear to have lacked any form of peer review, and the biggest media push for his "Temples" book was on the Jeff Rense Show, a radio call in program that specializes in tabloid treatment of subjects like UFOs, Bigfoot and the Bermuda Triangle.

From what we've read and heard, Martin has, however, made a solid case for his radical view that the ancient Jewish temple was located away from the currently accepted location, and that the famous wailing wall is in fact part of the structure of the Fortress Antonia, not the temple. The book is also available at Amazon.

As for Century One's aggressive advertising, Doug comments: A couple of years ago, some of the Christianity Today publications --including, I believe, Christianity Today and Christian History -- were very embarrassed because they printed a similar Century One ad without noticing that it included the Hunting and Buzzard book “The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity's Self-Inflicted Wound." Apparently they don't usually accept ads from heretics!”

Doug adds: Century One has an excellent selection of books at very competitive prices, by the way.  We've ordered from them more than once. (Check out Doug's website at graceandknowledge.faithweb.com)

Sacred Names: A significant number of ex-WCG members have adopted the "sacred names" persuasion, tossing Yeshuas and Yahwehs around with reckless abandon. New on the WCG website (although it carries the date 1990) is an article by David Hunsberger that debunks the practice.

Pasadena Weekly article (Forwarded by Dateline Pasadena): From the Pasadena Weekly, Thursday, May 16, by Erica Zeitlin

Time is running out on a key loophole in Pasadena's affordable housing law - with potentially major implications for dozens of lower income families looking for a place to live.

No matter who eventually develops the Worldwide Church of God's sprawling 48-acre Ambassador property - and that is a big question now - City Manager Cynthia Kurtz says affordable housing requirements previously hammered out for the project are now likely to change. This is because the city's inclusionary Housing Ordinance, which was adopted late last summer, includes a one-year "phase-in-period" provision, during which 6 percent, as opposed to 15 percent, of new units would be set aside at "affordable' prices.

Therefore, is a final proposal is not presented for City Council review by Sept. 13, the 15 percent share would "absolutely" kick in, Kurtz said. Virtually nobody at City Hall expects an Ambassador project proposal to be approved by that deadline.

There have been numerous delays on the project - most dramatically, the 11th hour withdrawal of developer Legacy partners late last month. That parting of ways between Legacy and the church, after three years of their working together, has set back development plans. "The project will obviously proceed more slowly now," the  city manager said.

The 15 percent share is also a far cry from the 6 percent share that the city negotiators had demanded in a separate development agreement with Legacy. The Sept. 13 deadline overrides those agreements - but even if it didn't, Mayor Bill Bogaard and other city council members have said they would be inclined to ask for a higher share than 6 percent. Bogaard declined to specify just what share that might be, given many other variables related to the project. Still in light of the looming Sept. 13 deadline, they may or may never have to wrestle with that question.

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


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