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Ambassador Watch  A weekly E-zine 

Check the previous AW issue

In this issue: UCG up - LCG slips, Gerry's bad hair day, Grand Disjunction and more.

Issue XXV - October 18  2002

UCG Feast attendance up: The United Church of God has reported increased attendance and donations at this year's Tabernacles festival. These comments from a member letter.

Success is measured in different ways, and gauging the success of the Feast is somewhat subjective, of course. Statistically, we see some very encouraging trends as reported below... We have not received all of the international reports yet, but here in the United States the attendance at the Feast was up about 6 percent compared with 2001. The offering on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles represented a 10.4 percent increase over 2001. The offering on the Last Great Day was 5 percent more than the offering a year ago. Attendance and offerings on the Feast of Trumpets and on the Day of Atonement also showed increases.

Likeminds contributor Bill Lussenheide commented: 

I am wondering why this [is] happening. Is UCG viewed as sort of the "Mother Church" these days and is attracting scattered independents to attend? ... I predict that over time in the future, UCG will attract most of the remnants from collapsed icon churches (Churches headed by one man i.e. Flurry, Meredith, Ritenbaugh etc) after the death of their leadership in the next 15 years. UCG will die the slowest death because of this consolidation trend, but age demographics will eventually do them in too...

Safe email: There has been a recent rash of suspicious email directed to The Missing Dimension address. While some have been random virus carriers - the sort we all get from time to time - others appear to have been deliberately targeted, containing WCG-related headers along with a virus attachment. Correspondents sending a legitimate attachment need to let me know it's coming first. Anything that could possibly contain a virus will be deleted unread.

I'm also aware that the MD address has been appropriated on several occasions to piggyback both spam and viruses. Any legitimate email from MD will NOT contain attachments unless you've been advised to expect it. If you find an unexpected MD email with an attachment, please delete it immediately and let me know.

I'll be following through and laying complaints over all incidents of viruses targeted at - or posing as coming from - MD. 

Meantime, thanks for your patience and understanding.


Perceptive comments, but worrying too for the various independent groups which would surely collapse in the absence of any "like-minded" larger body with sufficient size, coherence and public presence to draw attention to the generic COG brand. In the short term at least, it seems UCG may continue its ascendancy as the largest inheritor of the Armstrong legacy.

Meantime, it appears the US attendance for the Meredith-led LCG was significantly down this year. The official explanation is that more US members packed their bags and headed to foreign feast venues, where attendance is supposed to have been higher. The LCG has also cancelled the scheduled "ministerial conference" planned for February, ostensibly because of the move to North Carolina in March.

Send Gerry a Xmas Card: Gerry Flurry's personal contact details were published this week on two PCG related discussion groups (Flurry and PCG, both on Yahoo) and also supplied to Ambassador Watch. In the covering email the following statements were made:

"I double checked this info on Yahoo.com, Oklahoma City White Pages and it is correct... I'm posting this to you in case you might think anyone would be interested. I would just ask that people use common sense, and not send hate mail or threats - don't want anyone to get in trouble." (emphasis in original)

Sentiments which we should all share. The writer goes on to say:

But people should have the right to contact and question the "human leaders" of their church.

Which also seems a very reasonable statement! We were able to confirm that Flurry is indeed publicly listed on Yahoo with both address and telephone details. While AW won't be publishing those details here, anyone interested in sending Gerry a Xmas card could certainly access that information easily from the Yahoo People Search page.

Dateline Pasadena: 

WCG has been blanketing the Pasadena area for the last week with numerous letters sent to homes, occupants, P O Box holders, church members, etc with the following letter:


The Worldwide Church of God is planning a distinctive residential neighborhood on its property in Pasadena.  For over 50 years, the Church has guided the development of this land.  Now, together with Shea Homes and the team of Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh and EDAW,Inc., we will continue our thoughtful stewardship by designing and building a residential neighborhood of which all Pasadena can be proud.  The Church, utilizing the master development expertise of Shea Homes, is directly managing the planning and development process.

As we begin our planning process, we have several goals in mind.  We hope to:

*Embrace and build the existing sense of Pasadena distinction and character.
*Offer a broad variety of home ownership opportunities - different
styles, types and sizes to address a range of desires in Pasadena.
*Support Old Pasadena by providing nearby long-term patrons.
Harmonize new development with the preservation of key elements of the existing property.
*Encourage pedestrian and bicycle circulation and enhance linkages to public transport.
Determine the future of the Ambassador Auditorium.

As a Pasadena resident, you are an important stakeholder in this plan and we want to hear from you!

Open House
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
6 pm to 9 pm
Ambassador Campus Administration Building
300 West Green Street, Pasadena

This is an Open House.  You may drop in anytime to talk with us.  We look forward to hearing from you and exchanging information in a productive environment.

If you are unable to attend, please fill out and return the enclosed, postage-paid card.  You may also call our information line (626)304-6180.  By contacting us, you will be invited to future workshops about this new neighborhood.


An interesting side note:  Obviously the WCG has been stung by the public displays of resentment by employees and church members over not being kept informed about the sale, the Church is now planning a meeting in the Ambassador Auditorium for Church members and employees on Tuesday night October 29 to let them know what is supposedly going on.  This meeting is before the public meeting the next night in the Hall of Ad.

The WPRA is becoming very vocal in their meetings in that they have no intention of seeing the number of homes and the over development that Legacy had planned.  The Church is going to have some stiff resistance to fight and overcome.

Split the Church - the Professional Approach: The following hilarious missive was sent on to us by a reader from one of the forums.


For the sake of continuity, and for those who have been barred from their office and typewriter, the following questionnaire is designed to help us provide you with a coherent, to-the-point, split-the-church letter for mass mailings to the mailing list of your choice.

There are fourteen areas of particular concern. Please check all that apply:

1) Your title(s):
__ Anointed One
__ Member of Board of Directors
__ Member of Council of Elders
__ Minister (all ranks)
__ Bookkeeper
__ Usurper

2) Your church:
__ The only true one
__ One of the true ones
__ Began Pentecost AD 31
__ Began last week
__ Begins next week
__ Unsure

3) Your spouse:
__ Stands behind you
__ Stands in front of you
__ Was appointed to the Board
__ Was removed from the Board
__ Is starting her own church

4) How many are against you:
__ 1
__ 7
__ 12
__ the world
__ lost count

5) Satan is:
__ Striking at the top of the church
__ Striking at the bottom of the church
__ Seeking to destroy your work
__ Seeking to encourage your work
__ Laughing all the way to the bank

6) Your calling is:
__ Uniquely special
__ From birth
__ From the last split
__ From the last takeover
__ From Fox's "Book of Martyrs"

7) Your mission is:
__ Restoring the truth
__ Most important in 1,971 years (103.73684 time cycles)
__ Getting church on track
__ Running others off the track
__ Crying aloud, sparing not
__ Crying out loud, sparing yourself

8) Preaching the gospel is dependent upon:
__ Your inspiration
__ Your interpretation
__ Your exclusive revelation
__ $$$
__ All of the above

9) Your members:
__ Give tithes and offerings
__ Look to you as their spiritual leader
__ Haven't a hint of what's happening
__ Financially support your work
__ Need a crisis to donate more bucks
__ Have begun attending elsewhere

10) Scope of your work:
__ Worldwide
__ International
__ Intercontinental
__ Global
__ Living
__ Resuscitating
__ United
__ Humongous
__ Need a bigger thesaurus
__ Haven't a clue

11) Church government is:
__ From you down
__ From the Board down
__ From the Council down
__ From the members up
__ Dependent upon swing votes
__ Non-existent at this time
__ Haven't a clue

12) Your observations:
__ Church president is against you
__ Church president is the anointed one
__ Board members are against you
__ Board members are the anointed ones
__ Council members are against you
__ Council members are the anointed ones
__ Church members support you
__ Church members are dumb sheep

13) Those against you:
__ Don't understand you
__ Won't play by your rules
__ Locked you out
__ Locked you up
__ Want to sit in your chair
__ Want to sit on you

14) Your goals:
__ Complete takeover
__ Ouster of opponents
__ Have people listen to you
__ Have others shut-up
__ Absolute power
__ Absolute corruption

Your selections will enable us to draft a split-the-church letter for you. Additional accusations, justifications, whining, rebuttal, new bank account, PO Box number, and a list of radio and television time-slots vacated as a result of previous church splits are available in our deluxe version. Deluxe version has additional benefit of free counseling with a CEM representative on the turf of your choice.

--Initial Letter: Free-of-charge; at no cost to you
--Deluxe Version: One tithe of the tithe of the tithe; non-refundable

Sorry, no COD's.

In Brief

New Ernest Martin site: Ken Nagele has drawn MD's attention to his new website, ernestlmartin.com.

How fares the Rock? These comments from the Flurry Yahoo group:

... the [prayer] rock is lovingly displayed with moss growing around it and a chain linked fence guarding it.  There is also a plaque to commemorating HWA and the Prayer rock.

New PCG-buster site: Robert Kuhne, an 18 year veteran of the WCG (followed by 9 in Flurrydom), has created a new site "intended for anyone who needs factual information to help family or friends see the light about Gerald Flurry." While Mr. Kuhne seems to be harboring illusions about Herb, some of his material may be helpful for those most attracted to Gerry's moonshine.

PCG continues nosedive: "The Greenville News reported that the PCG FOT attendance for the Southeast was down to 1,400 this year (it hit a high of more than 2,000 in the mid to late 90's when the Southeast FOT for PCG was in Chatanooga and Charleston).  And that worldwide attendance was at 7,000 - that's down from a high of around 8,000.  so, It looks like PCG is slowly but surely dying out." (Posted to PCG discussion group)

Last free PT: From Joe's weekly update: 

I would like to ask all pastors in the United States to remind their congregations, verbally and in your announcement bulletins, that each member's subscription to The Plain Truth will expire with the November/December issue.

Bad hair day? One last Gerry story from the Flurry Yahoo forum:

I'll never forget one Holy Day in College Station.  I happened to be in the restroom just before the afternoon services when Flurry was in there.  He was at the sink washing his hands when I saw him open his brief case and pull out a large can of hairspray!  He touched up his bouffant hair, checked his face a little and then put the can of hairspray back into his brief case.  I remember noticing that their wasn't much in his briefcase other than the hairspray and his bible!

Fairfield WCG - A Taste of the Past: So, what would happen if you typed www.worldwidechurchofgod.com into your browser? You'd end up at the distinctive Fairfield, California WCG congregational site. Here they're promoting a book on the Holy Days, and tracking "prophetic" events in the EU. Hoo-boy! 

Toll free becomes toll fee: From a posting this week on JLF: 

Joseph Tkach keeps trying to wave the flag but there is little good news. I continue to wonder [about] the true state of the church. There are indicators here and there that are not hopeful signs. Gloomy communications from a depressed Pastor General ... the British PT in jeopardy ... the fact that those resources had to "suddenly" be pulled ... a friend tells me the 1-800 number for Canada has been dropped and now members will be changed for calls as it has been replaced with their regular "area code" ... all a trail leading back to Pasadena.

Jim Baldwin is back, with a new essay: Why They Stay. Check it out.

Grand Junction Again: Bob Thiel, the LCG's amiable host in Arroyo Grande, has published comments by a woman who attended the Grand Junction festival, specifically in relation to items carried in AW 23. The correspondent is of the traditional Armstrong persuasion (as you can tell by the obsessive use of the honorific "Mr."), and confirms some of the information we carried, while questioning some of the details. The following comments are excerpted from Bob's site:

I don't know of any in the Wallen Feast-site group who attended last year, and there were only two who attended part of the time this year as they have their own Feast site around Denver.

I never saw or heard of any shouting matches; but if they did happen, they must have happened during the first Saturday and Sunday Seminars entitled, "Tools for Bible Study", held at 2-3:30 pm by Mr. Greg Albrecht.

[The festival co-ordinator] and his wife received a gift of crystal from the people who attended the G.J. Feast: there was no award from the City of Grand Junction. About twenty minutes after all church was entirely over and about half of the people had left on the Last Great Day, Mr. Schnarrenberger passed by Mr. Leger on the way out and said to him that he was fired. It was very shortly after, that someone announced it to all who were left in the hall...

Mr. Schnarrenberger never once spoke to us or even got on stage during church... We were wondering why he was there since he wasn't on the speaking schedule. Mr. Ted Johnson gave the sermon and spoke quite a bit about the Last Great Day giving his slants here and there. He seemed to be quite defensive by this time because so many had gone to talk with him...

I never saw anyone sit down in protest to the songs. Many of us simply stood quietly and respectfully without singing.

Everyone who registered was supposed to wear their name tag and proof of registration to insure that everyone who had registered had a place to sit in the auditorium... I forgot mine at least twice and was not prevented from going in.

For various reasons we believe God wants us to stay here quietly but firmly refusing to go along with the apostate teaching. For that we all have suffered a great deal from critics both inside and out of WCG... In my opinion, we are the toughest group around because we have taken ridicule, harassment, and persecution from all the other groups. We take it because we realize it's just "par for the course" and part of God's training program for us.

Faith Rape: These comments taken from a recent thread on JLF.

Tkach has the power. Those who resist are virtually powerless to defend themselves. The entire WCG system is against them and the true irony is that WCG HQ is STILL telling them they can choose but refuses to take "No" for an answer.

Joe claims to have an episcopal form, but actually that is incorrect, because even the episcopate is elected. Therefore Joe is more of a monarch. Like Musharaf in Pakistan, he planned to move towards a more democratic style, but somehow likes the power and doesn't want to give it up.

... we have [freedom] in Christ to choose to worship him as we see fit, not as some authoritarian, money-grabbing, control-freak monarchial overlord wants it done.

I say to Joe, LET MY PEOPLE GO Pharaoh! Give each local church and each local member the freedom that grace demands, and that extends to FINANCES! Stop taxing us at 50% Lord High Sheriff of Nottingham! Stop lording it over our faith! Stop the faith-rape!

Ambassador Watch is part of the Missing Dimension website - 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
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