The Great Penticton Missionary Coup
By The Worldwide Church of God Skeptic
I must admit, I've been away from the Worldwide Church of God for so long now that I doubt if I would recognize it if I were to revisit a typical congregation. Of course we can't count on the Worldwide News to give us a true picture of the condition of the Worldwide Church of God ; all one encounters here is the usual sheen of propaganda. Their website is no help either, it just says that there are 900 congregations worldwide. Sounds impressive, but what would a typical Worldwide Church of God congregation look like today ?
Surprisingly, in the latest Worldwide News there is a small story at the back that gives us a rare glimpse inside a present day Worldwide Church of God congregation. The small article describes a recent event and in doing so, tells us much about the present day state of millionaire Joseph Tkach's Worldwide Church of God. The story is about the Penticton, B.C. church in Canada and how the present congregation, a shadow of its former glory, is now composed of, believe it or not, "20 to 25 senior citizens"! (Is that pathetic or what ?) To add to the incongruity, the congregation is presided over by a former big time Worldwide Church of God executive, Bob Morton, who used to be the boss of the Australian Worldwide Church of God.
Anyhow, as the story goes, former executive Bob Morton challenged his miniscule congregation of senior citizens to get out there and make some much needed converts for the Worldwide Church of God -if for no other reason that the highly paid Bob could keep his job. As an aside here, it must be increasingly hard for Pasadena to justify having a former executive (now a senior pastor) making between $US65,000 and $US85,000 over a "non-performing" church of 20 or so seniors. Not only must their contributions cover Bob's big salary, but they are expected to provide for the much higher Worldwide Church of God executive salaries in Toronto. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the same Worldwide News revealed that for the first quarter of 2000, the Worldwide Church of God operated in the red to the tune of $US1,500,000 ! No wonder they were prepared to dump, for pennies on the dollar, Big Sandy by auction this month !
By a perverse coincidence, I have just learned that Bob Morton's former church, the Australian headquarters church, which used to be big, has now also dwindled to a pathetic 25 in attendance. This number would merely represent employees and their families after numerous staff reductions and defections and virtually no outside community members ! When Morton was the Australian boss, in order to emphasize the Worldwide Church of God's wealth-at-the-top policy, he used to tool around in a top-of-the-line luxury Volvo which cost three times that of an equivalent Australian luxury car because of draconian import and luxury taxes, but this was no problem for the Worldwide Church of God : " In your face tithepayers !"
To return to Bob's challenge to the Penticton seniors... how well did they do ? It turned out that after much persistence by one lady, they finally bagged a convert; a no doubt confused former Jehovah's Witness. But if you think millionaire Tkach gained another tithe paying sap, better think again because JW's are thoroughly indoctrinated in the fact that tithing was part of the Old Covenant !
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