One Accord | November/December 2023

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OneAccord One Accord November/December 2023

2023 Feast of Tabernacles

Cover Photo: Migori, Kenya

personal from the president


Feast 2023

It is an understatement to say that we live in a very troubled world. Violence and wars dominate the news. Of course, this is what Christ prophesied for the end time in Matthew 24:6: “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.” Despite all this, Christ admonished, “See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” I don’t believe He meant that we should be unconcerned, but that we should not allow world events to deter us from doing what is right and taking the gospel to the world. Of course, it is the brutality that is so disturbing. The attack by Hamas on Israel was especially brutal. The slaying of more than a thousand Jews in one day was the worst killing of Jews since the Holocaust. To behead people, burn people alive, torture people and kidnap still others is hard to imagine in our day and age. But it is true. Then there is Niger, Somalia and Sudan in north central Africa, where fighting has focused on the overthrow of governments and set the stage for one the largest famines that has been seen in many years. Once the facts are all known, I don’t doubt that these will be labeled as genocides because of the different ethnic groups involved. Thousands of innocent people, including many children, will be the ones who will suffer the most. In the midst of all this, we observed the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. It was wonderful to spend eight days focusing on the Kingdom of God—the real answer to man’s current problems—and shutting out the world as best we could. This year’s Feast was amazing. Our attendance figures are currently at just under 12,000 worldwide. This includes those that we know of who viewed either a video or a webcast because they were unable to attend in person. Last year, for the first time in our history, our attendance was over 12,000, and I believe when all the numbers are confirmed, we will be just under or slightly over 12,000 again this year. It was a very good year by all accounts with good solid messages and excellent fellowship. But there were still some challenges. In Guatemala, more than


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100 members were trapped at the Feast site for a full week because of political protests that effectively shut the country down for 15 days by blocking all the main roads. Finally, on Saturday night, Oct. 14, and Sunday, Oct. 15, all were able to leave the Feast site and return to their homes. But this political situation is not over, and there are more protests planned, so please pray for the brethren in this troubled country as they transition to a new government. Violence is always a possibility in these situations, and if that were to happen, many could be killed. It is a very volatile situation. Even though the Feast was filled with joy and celebration, we had a sad experience at our site in Greenville, South Carolina. Mark McCloud, a member from the Raleigh, North Carolina, congregation whose brother Greg works here at the Church office, died peacefully in his sleep during the night at the beginning of the Last Great Day. Mark had numerous health challenges, but he was determined to attend the Feast this year, and he made it! In our conversations at services he commented how happy he was just to be at the Feast. Now that we’ve returned home, I know many of us will face personal challenges and trials. I hope that we will heed Christ’s words and not be “troubled” by all that is going on in the world. My desire is to apply the lessons I learned so that I will be a better person for having been with God’s people for eight days. I truly hope that this was your “best Feast ever.” For my wife and me, it really was, if not the best, certainly one of the best! Now comes the real challenge of putting into practice what we have learned, while focusing on the Kingdom and not allowing the darkness of the world to get us down.

Jim Franks President Church of God, a Worldwide Association

OneAccord Contents November/December 2023


Cover photo: Hailey Willoughby

4 © 2023 Church of God, a Worldwide Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Ministerial Board of Directors: David Baker, Arnold Hampton, Joel Meeker (chairman), Larry Salyer, Richard Thompson, Leon Walker and Lyle Welty President: Jim Franks; Media operation manager: Clyde Kilough; Managing editor: David Hicks; Copy editor: Becky Bennett; Associate designer: Elena Salyer; Social media: Hailey Willoughby Doctrinal reviewers: Neil Hart, Jack Hendren, Steve Moody, Frank Pierce One Accord is published bimonthly online at members. by the Church of God, a Worldwide ­Association, Inc. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version (© 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.). Used by permission. All rights reserved. By submitting photographs or articles to the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, Inc. (“Church”) or to One Accord, a contributor gives the Church permission and a nonexclusive license to use or publish any such submissions without any compensation to the contributor. The contributor further agrees that any such submission will be construed in the broadest possible terms, including, but not limited to, the right to edit, crop or otherwise manipulate the submission. This publication is not to be sold. Free educational material.

November/December 2023

20 of Tabernacles 2023 4 Feast Feast site reports from around the world

18 2023 Feast Site Attendance 19 Church Potluck 20 Announcements Births Anniversaries Baptisms Ordinations Obituaries



Feast of Tabernacles AFRICA


he 2023 Feast of Tabernacles, celebrated around the world, has been described as the “best Feast ever!” That’s a phrase we have heard many times before—but one that we do not take for granted. Reports from our Feast sites around the world underscore just how appreciative God’s people are for such uplifting, inspiring and forward-looking experiences as they had at the Feast of Tabernacles this year. Our European sites—Eastbourne, England; Montagnac, France; and Cortona, Italy—were a very special treat for our brethren visiting from outside of Europe, as they were able to join local brethren in rejoicing before God. This year, for the first time, we had a new Feast site in Uganda. Our minister Nathan Willoughby and his daughter were able to observe the Feast with 49 of God’s people in Kitgum, Uganda. Whether convening with 32 brethren in Kolkata, India, or camping with 128 brethren in the rural village of Mapoko, Zambia, or gathering with over 800 happy brethren at the U.S. coastal site of Orange Beach, Alabama, God’s people were able to unplug from the daily routines of this life and come before God to worship Him while having their focus on Jesus Christ’s soon-coming return and millennial rule. With the total number of those attending the Feast (either in person or virtually) again approaching 12,000, we trust God smiled down on His people as we praised Him for His great plan and the hope for the future that His fall holy days bring. As we face an increasingly chaotic world, the need for Christ’s return and the establishment of His government on earth becomes ever more profound. Once again, our spiritual family members were able to participate in these meaningful holy days to refocus on the hope-filled vision of the future, when God’s way will be understood and taught around the world. May God speed that day!

Doug Horchak


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KENYA The Feast of Tabernacles in Kenya this year was held in the western part of the country. Members from Got Kachola, Migori, Ochuna and Sotik were able to come together to rejoice and “learn to fear the Lord your God always” at the Maranatha Faith Assembly compound in Migori. All 168 in attendance enjoyed being able to spend time with one another while learning more about the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. The brethren greatly appreciated the special activities, which included Bible studies, Family Day activities, preteen activities, teen and young adult activities, football games and much fellowship. They also enjoyed the special meals that were provided. One meal that they particularly enjoyed consisted of goat, chicken, chapati, rice, ugali, vegetables and soda—and was finished off with a small tub of ice cream for everyone! The weather was cooler than normal, but that didn’t cool the excitement of all in attendance. As the Feast ended and the Last Great Day came to a close, many pictures were taken, and the fellowship went late into the evening. All the brethren truly rejoiced and left

encouraged to continue their walk forward toward the Kingdom of God. Nathan Willoughby


MALAWI We had 129 attendees celebrate the Feast in Salima. The first four days we had church services at the lakeshore resort, where we also had beach and water activities. The last four days we had services in the town about 22 kilometers (14 miles) away. Our guest speaker was David Jackson, who came with his wife, Lisa. We heard messages that emphasized our readiness to work with Jesus Christ in the Millennium. On the fourth day the Jacksons left for Zimbabwe. Elifazi Salawila and Tielmans Chirwa continued to provide encouraging messages. We also had a Bible study and Q&A session. Activities included a talent show, children’s lessons and treat, youth day and luncheon, and a senior citizens’ dinner. Members enjoyed delicious meals. We are thankful for the generosity of U.S. brethren, who sent financial assistance that allowed us to have both spiritual and physical feasts. On a negative note, during church services on Friday, our two deacons were called outside where a policeman and officials from social welfare and the Ministry of Education

threatened to arrest us for making school-age children miss classes. The deacons explained our beliefs and told these officials that what they were seeing was happening all over the world. The officials took down the names of all the brethren who attended the Feast and promised to come back. But they never did, and we were able to continue our gathering through the Last Great Day. Tielmans Chirwa

Benin City

NIGERIA The Feast in Nigeria was held with 33 happy brethren at the Randekhi Royal Hotel in Benin City, Edo State. Almost all the brethren stayed together and ate meals together at the hotel, where the environment is pleasant and there is usually constant light. God gave us good weather, which made a group excursion to the Benin City Zoo a pleasant afternoon! We not only saw the animals, but also enjoyed a lunch of goat

and chicken pepper soup on the zoo grounds. Our activities during the Feast were funded by generous donations from brethren in the U.S. We pray God will help us all in seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness before the coming of Christ. Osas Aghimien and Tom Clark


SOUTH AFRICA Brethren celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles in Gonubie, near the city of East London on the east coast of South Africa. This was the first time in a number of years that there was just one Feast site in the country, and it gave many the opportunity to renew friendships. The average attendance was 109 including visitors from Zimbabwe, Zambia and the United States. We were also privileged to have Doug and Tanya Horchak join us at Gonubie for the last half of the Feast. Sermons and sermonettes focused on the

Kitgum, Uganda November/December 2023

Millennium and our role in the future government under Jesus Christ. The choir from the Durban, South Africa, congregation provided special music with words to the songs in the Zulu language, and the children entertained us on the morning of the last day with the song “God’s Word Is a Map.” Activities included a welcome social, family afternoon and braai (barbecue), beach games, 10-pin bowling, and a farewell social in the evening after services on the Last Great Day. The weather was typical for the east coast of South Africa in spring with days of sunshine, wind and rain. Everyone commented on how fast the time passed, and all too soon it was time to return to our various homes. Neville Smith


UGANDA The 2023 Feast of Tabernacles in Uganda was held in the northern city of Kitgum, which

is approximately 50 kilometers (32 miles) south of South Sudan. This was the first year for COGWA to hold the Feast of Tabernacles in Uganda, and the 49 members that attended were truly excited to rejoice before our Father in heaven in the place where He chose to make His name abide. Members enjoyed services and showed a desire to learn more about the coming rule of Jesus Christ and their role as kings and priests! Apart from services, activities included movie nights, Bible studies, preteen activities and much fellowship. Family Day activities included family novelty Olympics and football (soccer), with almost everyone participating. Whenever there were no activities planned, a friendly game of football usually began! The members were able to enjoy daily meals together, along with tea and treats every evening. The brethren were deeply encouraged by the many messages and wonderful time spent

Mapoko, Zambia 5

with one another. They are looking forward to enjoying the Feast again next year! Nathan Willoughby


ZAMBIA Mapoko was again the Feast site in Zambia for 2023. We had almost 130 happy brethren camping, which gave a real sense of the temporal nature of life. Thankfully, temperatures were lower than normal for October. (Immediately after the Feast, Zambia experienced a torturous eight-day heat wave.) Many members remarked on how God took care of even this minute detail. Highlights of the Feast were the presence of Doug and Tanya Horchak, who freely fellowshipped with everyone, and a baptism following afternoon services on the first day. The sermons were extremely uplifting. The president’s sermon was challenging to most members because of the language barrier. Mr. Horchak’s sermon about the value and purpose of song services was eye-opening to all. The special music was outstanding throughout. In addition to the main business of the Feast, there was plenty of delicious food. Mr. and Mrs. Horchak donated ice cream, which was indeed a treat for young and old. On Family Day, we enjoyed family-centered sports and games. This was a lot of fun and was 6

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punctuated by lots of laughter. It was very hard for me to say my goodbyes on the last day, and I was not alone. Silvestor Njovu

we thank our great God for protecting us and feeding us spiritually and physically. Stephen Tshabalala



ZIMBABWE Rough roads caused a burst tire and a lengthy delay, but we arrived to prepare the Feast site on Thursday, Sept. 28. I had bought the water pump for the borehole, and soon water started filling the tank. Now there are two water taps, so we’ll no longer need to buy water. On Friday members came from the surrounding area. They pitched their tents and greeted each other with joy. We hope to build a threeroom dorm by next Feast. Brethren brought various contributions for the meals: maize, chickens, oxen and goats. For the nine days we all enjoyed the food— especially our brothers and sisters who did not get enough rain for their crops this season. We purchased provisions for these families. Family Day and six baptisms were highlights of the Feast. On Thursday evening we had a dinner and dance. We also had two Bible studies during the Feast and special music performed by the Gokwe choir. We did not have enough chairs for everyone, but two members will make benches for next year. We had a wonderful Feast of Tabernacles, and


Our Feast of Tabernacles, held in Gweru, Zimbabwe, with 130 brethren in attendance, was the best we have had in years. The food was of very high quality, thanks to Patricia Hlazo and the kitchen staff ’s excellent service. Though our elder Harris Hlazo was not physically well, he attended all the services and made sure everything went smoothly. We had great eyeopening sermons, especially from visiting minister David Jackson. (He explained the Kingdom from a brandnew perspective.) The sermonettes and sermons from the local deacons were also quite uplifting. We had a fun Family Day. Lisa Jackson participated in the “missing chair” fanfare and spiced up the contest. We also had three dinnerdance events for singles and young marrieds, young children and senior adults, who were joined by Mr. and Mrs. Jackson. We enjoyed seeing so many interesting dances. We’re really grateful to the Church for all the provisions. On the afternoon of Oct. 6 we had 14 baptisms. Mr. Jackson and Mr. Hlazo laid hands on the baptized brethren.

We also had the blessing of 17 children on the Last Great Day, bringing an end to a wonderful Feast of Tabernacles. Tawanda Roderick Chiswa


Thirty-two members gathered in Kolkata—the “City of Joy”—in India to observe the Feast this year. Services were held at the BMS Conference Center, and our members also lodged there during the Feast. Brethren enjoyed wonderful fellowship with one another. The messages focused on the millennial reign of Jesus Christ and were simultaneously interpreted into the Bengali language for our West Bengal brethren. Members enjoyed a river excursion on the Hooghly River and also visited the Alipore Zoo. Some members new to Kolkata visited the Victoria Memorial and the Tagore House in Kolkata. As the members departed for home at the end of the Feast, everyone was eagerly anticipating the Feast of 2024. David Baker


NEW ZEALAND Once again, the Feast of 2023 was observed at the picturesque and attractive location of Lake Taupo, where 51 brethren and their families gathered to

Bacolod City, Philippines be reminded of the sooncoming and peaceful rule of the Kingdom of God. King Solomon observed that “a feast is made for laughter” (Ecclesiastes 10:19), and joy and rejoicing among the brethren was certainly a hallmark of those attending the services and activities. Many expressed how happy and blessed they felt to be present at the Feast venue— especially among people of like mind. We were blessed to have guest speakers (and their wives) from international countries, including David Evans and Jeff Baker, to assist with speaking assignments and other responsibilities. David and Jodie Maczek from Australia also helped with speaking assignments and with organizing special music. As in the past, the brethren displayed a wonderful spirit of cooperation and togetherness. So many offered to serve and sacrifice in order to make the Feast a success. We extend our gratitude to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for the November/December 2023

many blessings poured out upon us during the Feast of 2023. André van Belkum

Bacolod City

PHILIPPINES Just over 270 brethren kept the Feast in Bacolod City! We were blessed with perfect sunny weather throughout with a little bit of rain to cool off the place. Activities included an acquaintance night, children’s workshop, youth and young adult Bible studies, and a senior social. Family Day, with its carnival theme, was a blast. Everyone enjoyed games, tasty food (with two whole roasted cows), a photo booth and karaoke. To cap it off, the family entertainment and dance night showcased the talents of young and old alike. The brethren were a delight—friendly and helpful. The positive energy in the congregation was palpable all eight days. Those who served did a magnificent job with smiles and joy. We really appreciated the encouraging messages, especially the one from

Mr. Franks. The sermons, sermonettes and special music were all edifying and inspiring. We also had one baptism. All in all, the Feast in Bacolod this year seemed to capture the essence of what it represents: peace, harmony, generosity, good fellowship, good food and good fun. Best Feast ever! is a phrase we often use, but individuals and families and parents and children found themselves saying it and feeling it. God truly did bless this year’s Feast of Tabernacles. Beltran Sison


SRI LANKA About 20 members gathered at the Goldi Sands Hotel in Negombo, Sri Lanka, to observe the Feast this year. Negombo is located on the western coast of the country, near the international airport. The hotel is located on the beach. Festival attendees enjoyed wonderful food and fellowship. The messages focused on the millennial reign of Jesus Christ and His righteous rule.

We were able to enjoy special music each day. Activities included a karaoke night, talent show and Family Day. The all-inclusive hotel provided the members an opportunity to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner together every day, which enhanced our fellowship. It was difficult to say goodbye as the Feast came to an end. David Baker


This was the first time COGWA hosted a Feast in the Bahamas. Local brethren joined fellow family members from Barbados, Canada, England and the United States for an unforgettable eight days at Atlantis Paradise Island. With 5 miles of white sand beaches, 14 pools, magnificent marine habitats and underground aquariums, this was an idyllic destination for a Feast. There was something for everyone. During our group dinner and dance, the deputy 7

director general of tourism for the Bahamas welcomed the church, and we were given a musical taste of Bahamian culture. Our children and teens were given a behind-thescenes tour of the Atlantis aquarium and how the animals on the property are cared for. The messages were inspiring. The special music was outstanding. Our high attendance was 249, and most agreed we had a small taste of paradise. Arnold Hampton

Christ Church

BARBADOS The Infinity on the Beach hotel served as the site for the 2023 Feast of Tabernacles in Barbados. There were 55 brethren who attended this year’s Feast, not only from Barbados but also from Trinidad, St. Kitts, Grenada, the United States and Canada. We all shared in the warmth, meaningful fellowship and spiritual encouragement embodied in this year’s Feast.

There was mix of uplifting video and live messages, providing a wealth of spiritual food that will benefit us through the coming year. The brethren were treated to such activities as a meet and greet, an island bus tour, a seniors’ luncheon and Family Day at the Boatyard. A few brethren entertained others at their residences with a barbecue and a dinner. The weather was not favorable at times, with rain and periodic lightning storms. However, services were not disrupted, and the buoyant spirits of the brethren were not dampened. We were thankful to be able to hold all of the planned Feast events. Many brethren commented that the Feast left them with a greater sense of urgency to do God’s work and forge meaningful bonds with one another. We all look forward to starting plans for next year’s Feast. Derek Olalehe

Paradise Island, Bahamas 8

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St. George’s

GRENADA The 2023 Feast in Grenada was the smallest ever. However, the spirits of the members were heightened, having been looked after. The shut-ins among the five of us were most elated. The brethren were enthusiastic and appreciative of the thoughtfulness they were shown. They expressed joy for the messages given by the elder assigned to the Grenadian congregation and the video sermons provided by headquarters. The visits to the two homes were very enjoyable. The relatives of the challenged members were very excited, realizing the thoughtfulness and kindness of the Church in serving their loved ones. The members are excitedly looking forward to next year’s Feast. Osmonde Douglas

Runaway Bay JAMAICA

Just over 100 brethren from three regions (Jamaica, United States and

New Zealand) gathered to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles at the scenic seaside Franklyn D. Resort in Runaway Bay. Brethren expressed both anxiety and eagerness to experience this new location, which was exclusively hosting our group. On the very first day of the Feast one beloved repeat visitor to the Feast in Jamaica suffered an injury to her shoulder and had to be taken to our local hospital. The outpouring of concern from the brethren was inspiring, but more so was the example of the injured member. She displayed a remarkably positive attitude despite being in pain. Her attitude was infectious and a highlight of the Feast. Smiles, hugs and encouraging conversations flowed. Every day brethren enjoyed food and fellowship before and after services. The hotel staff commented on how our group acted like an “eclectic happy family.” The sermons—together with special music from the Jamaican/combined

Runaway Bay, Jamaica

Montagnac, France choir, combined children’s choir and Brian Kifer—hit the right notes. Topping it off were Family Day on the beach and a group lunch on the Last Great Day. Everything combined made this the best Feast ever! Lonnette Lynch


About 120 members celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles 2023 in Montagnac, France. This rural village nestled in vineyards is about 10 miles from the Mediterranean coast. Church services were conducted alternately in French and English with simultaneous translation offered. Messages focusing on the Kingdom of God on earth were well-prepared and encouraging. A highlight was sharing all our meals in the resort restaurant. Other activities included Family Day, with outdoor games and a heated pool, and a fun show night that had everyone laughing uproariously. November/December 2023

Unseasonably warm weather was a blessing during outings. Excursion destinations included Aigues-Mortes, a medieval center of sea salt production, as well as the starting point for the final two crusades; Collioure, a fortified medieval fishing village; Carcassonne, the most complete medieval city in France; and Montpellier, a city dating from the 900s, with a stop on the coast of the Mediterranean so those who wished could wade or swim. Many commented at the end of the Feast that this had been the best one so far. Joel Meeker

Cortona ITALY

Around 300 brethren rejoiced together in the Tuscan hillside town of Cortona. Services were held in the town’s 19thcentury theater. Brethren found many additional opportunities for fellowship while walking amid the piazzas and local shops and restaurants. There were

several special excursions— to Florence, Siena, Arezzo and local wineries. Many commented that the setting seemed millennial, with wonderful fellowship, breathtaking views and delicious food. Gary Black


UNITED KINGDOM About 145 brethren from 10 countries assembled at the seaside resort town of Eastbourne, on the southern coast of England. Services were held in the Victorian-era Cavendish Hotel, which recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. Lively fellowship was enjoyed every day, with a good number of young families and children adding to the enthusiasm. Exceptional special music was another highlight of daily services. Weather during the Feast was unusually warm and dry—ideal for walking to nearby diners and pubs, which offered a great variety of ethnic choices. Many of these and other buildings in town date

back to the 16th and 17th centuries. The architecture alone was fascinating (especially when considering it was all built without power tools.) The fair weather was also ideal for exploring other scenic and historic sites around the area. Tours were available on three days. These included the 14th-century Bodiam Castle, Bateman’s (the home of author Rudyard Kipling), the Royal Pavilion in the town of Brighton, the Seven Sisters (tall white cliffs along the coast), the ancient town of Rye and Smallhythe Place. Bus rides to these sites went through the picturesque English countryside that included pastures with sheep and cattle, fields and woodlands. Paul Luecke


This year’s Feast was held in the beautiful and quiet region of Sierra de la Ventana, Argentina, with an attendance of 210 from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil and Peru. 9

Veracruz, Mexico

Christ Church, Barbados

Benin City, Nigeria

New Braunfels, Texas

Huanchaco, Peru

Gonubie, South Africa

Migori, Kenya 10

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Gweru, Zimbabwe

Triadelphia, West Virginia

Negombo, Sri Lanka

Salima, Malawi

Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

Woodbury, Minnesota November/December 2023


We all stayed in wellequipped cabins that were located close to the attractive and comfortable meeting hall and to each other, allowing brethren to get together for meals. Planned activities included a family picnic and Argentine barbecue, ladies’ tea, talent show, children’s afternoon, youth dance, Speech Club, “golden-age” tea and a Bible study for the young people. We had abundant spiritual nourishment with two sermons from headquarters (by Jim Franks and Doug Horchak), as well as messages from Saúl Langarica and the minister in Argentina, Alfredo Arboleas. We also had some recorded sermons from ministers in Chile. We were pleased to witness the ordination of Carlos Navarrete as a deacon for Argentina and, as a beautiful closing to the Feast, the baptisms of four people: David Ortega, Ezequiel Miranda, Juliana Mansilla and Rocío Miranda. This year’s Feast was a wonderful gift from God, both physically and spiritually. Alfredo Arboleas

Santa Cruz BOLIVIA

At Los Cedros Resort in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, a group of 30 people celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles with spiritual energy and warm fellowship. 12

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The place, blessed with lush nature and diverse fauna, offered a climate that allowed all the planned activities to be carried out without setbacks. A lifegiving rain graced us on the Last Great Day. Church services and special music were inspiring. Also, the abundant and delicious food was a feast for our bodies. Organized activities for all ages fostered a healthy and edifying fellowship. The talent show was especially outstanding, demonstrating the preparation and dedication of our brethren during the previous months. Service was a common denominator throughout the Feast, consolidating a sense of belonging in our spiritual family. The Feast has always been a wellspring of hope, and on this occasion, it not only revitalized our spirit, but also propelled us forward with renewed hope and determination as we await the fulfillment of God’s glorious and perfect plan. Jaime Zagal Jr.

El Quisco CHILE

For the second consecutive year, we were blessed to have the Feast of Tabernacles at the Riu Tai complex in El Quisco, on the central coast of Chile, just 120 kilometers from Santiago. While about 25 percent of the Chilean brethren were able to go to other Feast sites, we still had around 420 in El Quisco.

The Riu Tai complex seems almost Goddesigned for the Feast. It has all the necessary facilities for services, activities, meals and more, and the owner and employees were very friendly and helpful. We had exceptional fellowship. Every day the meeting hall was full, and most of the brethren ate together in the on-site restaurant. The social activities—the welcome for visiting brethren, youth dance, family dance, activity for the elderly, children’s activity, ladies’ activity, marriage seminar and talent show—were all well-attended. We also had the great blessing of having eight baptisms: Alicia Saavedra, Juliette Hermosilla, Lucas Baeza, Mario Díaz, Mauricio Garrido, Nelson Hidalgo, Víctor Peña and Yunitza Rocco. We thank God for the great blessing of having such a beautiful place to keep the Feast and look forward to being together again in 2024. Saúl Langarica

Santa Marta, El Rodadero

COLOMBIA The Feast this year was one of opportunities. Although we again met in El Rodadero, we were in a new area. This meant new lodgings, new restaurants and new facilities. The new hall also brought unforeseen situations. The presence of God was

evident throughout, and everything proved to be for the best. The total number of attendees was almost 110. In addition to members from Colombia and Ecuador, we also had brethren who traveled from the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Chile and Argentina. They added a special flavor to the Feast. We were able to enjoy spiritual food, with messages from Jim Franks, Doug Horchak, Ralph Levy, Joel Meeker and the local minister, Eduardo Hernandez. We had baptisms of two ladies who attend the Bogotá, Colombia, congregation: Maria Claudia Pardo and Maria Camila Rodríguez. It was a very happy occasion. Various activities allowed us to fulfill what God expects of us at this Feast— to be in His presence and learn to fear Him. On Oct. 8, there was an unexpected downpour just as we were about to leave that caused delays. But God allowed members to arrive safely at their destination that evening. It was a motivating and joyful Feast, and we enjoyed God’s blessing and favor. Eduardo Hernandez

Costa del Sol

EL SALVADOR We celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles in El Salvador at the Hotel Tesoro Beach on the Costa del Sol. We

enjoyed an atmosphere of joy, harmony and peace and an environment of palm trees, sea and sand. Our attendance was 80, and we had the pleasure of welcoming visitors from the United States, Mexico, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Panama. During the Feast, some had to stay in their rooms to rest due to catching a flu virus. Despite this, we enjoyed the Feast greatly, physically and spiritually. The food was delicious and abundant, but our spiritual meals were the best food! The speakers were wellprepared, those attending felt and lived the vision of the wonderful world tomorrow. Then, the tongue of the mute will sing. The desert will rejoice and flourish. There will be joy everywhere. This was our vision (Isaiah 35:1-2, 5-6). We appreciated having Ralph Levy present for part of the Feast and witnessing the ordination of Chiro Morrobel as a deacon for the Dominican Republic. God filled our hearts with joy during the eight days of the festival. Eleodoro Ávila

Quetzaltenango GUATEMALA

This year our Creator invited us to celebrate the Feast in Quetzaltenango, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the capital city. Total attendance was 469 people. November/December 2023

We had many activities, including a youth walk, ladies’ breakfast, seniors’ breakfast, Family Day, family dance and talent night. And, of course, we had sermonettes and sermons each day. Guatemala experienced a political crisis during the Feast, and roads were paralyzed by protesters. Many members came to services on foot, since they could not move their vehicles. Some walked up to 1.6 kilometers to get there, still others preferred to make the drive early before protesters blocked the roads. Members helped those with special needs— nothing prevented us from being present. Normally, some members leave for their homes at the end of the Last Great Day or the next day. This year it was not like that. Some who left were unable to get through and had to return to their hotels. A trip that normally lasts four hours took up to 49 hours. Around 220 of us had our stay extended for seven more days. However, God provided for us. We held Sabbath services on Oct. 14, and after sunset God allowed us to get safely home. Leo López

enjoy the sea and all the outdoor activities organized by the Church. Everyone stayed at the Ramada Hotel, where we were warmly received, where services were also held. On the first holy day we enjoyed two services, special live music and a delicious meal at the hotel, rejoicing with the brethren from different parts of Mexico, Latin America and the United States. During the Feast we had several activities such as Family Day, where we enjoyed the pools, the beach, sports activities, kite flying and, of course, another delicious meal together; a family dance; a visit to the city’s aquarium for the kids; a bike ride of the entire boardwalk (about 20 kilometers, or 12 miles) for the young people; an afternoon for our senior citizens to enjoy fellowship, coffee and all kinds of desserts at the hotel restaurant followed by a city tour on a special bus. Of course, we couldn’t do without our famous and traditional talent night, when we enjoy regional dances from Mexico and

foreign folklore dances performed by our brothers and sisters abroad. Finally, on the Last Great Day we again celebrated with a double service and hotel meal for everyone. We had our best Feast ever! Larry Roybal

Huanchaco PERU

This year we were greatly blessed with the largest recorded attendance for the Feast in the history of IDDAM Peru. The number of people who attended the Feast in Huanchaco was 223, surpassing the previous record of 180. We also rejoiced for the baptisms of Claudia Fiorella de Jesús Zumarán Sánchez and Pecino Acuña Olivas. Our pastor Carlos Saavedra performed both baptisms on the sixth day of the Feast. The peace and joy we experienced during the Feast was very great, and the presence of so many from abroad further contributed to our enjoyment. The messages of each day, the activities for different age groups and for the whole family, the


MEXICO This year 309 brethren celebrated the Feast in Veracruz, located on the Gulf of Mexico. Sunny weather allowed us to

Santa Marta, El Rodadero, Colombia 13

Family Day is always a fun afternoon, and this year we had over 40 percent of our attendees come out to enjoy carnival games, fellowship and a variety of activities for the adults. Children with a fistful of tickets earned at the games rushed to the prize table to claim their bounty. It was a great day! Our teen activity had groups building sand castle art. The winning design was a starfish surrounded by manta rays. The winners received gift cards to spend in town. Our food drive was also a tremendous success. Feastgoers gave 4,000 pounds of food and supplies, plus over $6,000 in cash. That will allow the food bank in Orange Beach to purchase over 20 tons of food. We look forward to hosting again in Orange Beach for next fall’s Feast of Tabernacles! Phil Sandilands

on beautiful Vancouver Island at this year’s Feast of Tabernacles in Victoria, British Columbia. Some traveled long distances to get to Victoria for the Feast—from the state of Florida and from the eastern Canadian province of Newfoundland to name just a couple. Regardless of where attendees came from, they rejoiced to the fullest during the eight days. Festival messages all hit the mark as they spoke to that future, keenly awaited rule of Jesus Christ on earth and the restoration that is to come. God’s people were able to enjoy activities that are unique to this area of Canada. On Monday, 53 members braved the one day we had rain and cold to enjoy a four-hour whale watching tour. Their bravery was rewarded by being able to see an ample number of breeching humpback whales and other sea wildlife. Family Day was held at the historic Butchart Gardens. Built on an old limestone quarry, the gardens provided a beautiful backdrop to explore and see God’s design in the many different flowers, plants and bushes. All left the Feast site spiritually renewed, refreshed and encouraged as they headed home. Jon Pinelli


Palm Desert

Fort Myers, Florida hymns sung to God, the unity and harmony— everything was very inspiring and uplifting. One of the highlights was the video sermon by Jim Franks, which helped us meditate on the fragility of our lives and making the most of our time together at the Feast. We give thanks to our God and Father, to our pastor and his wife, and to all those who collaborated to make this a memorable Feast. Manuel Sánchez


With the Feast so early this year, the weather was hot in southern Alabama. But so was the spiritual heat felt by 815 attendees! Several people commented that the messages this year were especially inspiring. The rain stayed away for all of our outdoor activities, and then we were blessed with gentle rain, which was much needed in this area. 14

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BRITISH COLUMBIA It was a glorious eight days for 138 brethren

CALIFORNIA Around 150 brethren from all over came to

enjoy the Feast in Palm Desert. The surroundings reminded us of the future time when Jesus Christ will return and change the landscape of the world. Then the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose (Isaiah 35:1). There was a lot of rejoicing. The brethren were able to enjoy the spiritual food that was given to them every day. It seemed as if every message helped us keep our focus on God’s Kingdom. You could feel the excitement in the fellowship before and after services. There were many physical blessings to enjoy as well. The Coachella Valley, which includes the city of Palm Springs, is known for its restaurants, and brethren took advantage of the variety available. There were three main activities that took place during the Feast. We had a teen activity at Boomers, which included mini-golf, go-karts and bumper boats. Family Day was held at the Palm Desert Living Zoo, with over 500 animals in such habitats as an African savannah, Australian outback and Colorado desert. The third activity was our seniors’ luncheon, which included a lunch of sandwiches, vegetable trays, chips and desserts. The entertainment included a game of “Name That Tune.” The entire Feast was a wonderful experience for all. Tom Schultz

Fort Myers

Kohala Coast HAWAII


This year the Fort Myers satellite Feast site experienced great Florida weather in contrast to last year when Hurricane Ian forced cancellation of the Feast site. Though registration was down from last year, we still had over 100 attending this year. Brethren enjoyed very uplifting and encouraging messages throughout the Feast. They appreciated Mr. Franks’ video sermon, “If This Were Your Last Feast.” (It was very fitting for all of us who have attended many Feasts over the years to consider.) We received excellent messages in sermons, split sermons and sermonettes this year. Also, brethren commented that they enjoyed the virtual choir special music pieces. Feast activities began with a reception after the first day that included great food and drink, along with some karaoke and a family dance. The second day of the Feast 64 seniors enjoyed a wonderful Sunday brunch following morning services. Family Day was spent by some on an afternoon cruise south of Naples that included numerous curious dolphins joining them. Others enjoyed touring the Edison-Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers. It was truly a very wonderful Feast, both physically and spiritually, for everyone this year. Jim Haeffele

Nearly 300 celebrated the Feast at the Hilton Waikoloa Village along the Kohala Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. The messages were uplifting and inspiring! It was a spiritually rewarding and rejuvenating Feast! Besides our regular services each day, we had a sunset dinner and welcome reception on the opening night and catered luncheons on each holy day. We also enjoyed several organized activities, including morning hospitality hours for teens, young adults and seniors; a teen pizza and pool party; an early morning kayak and paddleboard excursion for young adults; charter sail and snorkel trips for families; and a Family Day beach party. Several attendees also ventured to the other side of the island to visit Volcanoes National Park, waterfalls, coffee plantations, orchid farms, the Mauna Kea observatories, etc. As usual, the weather was sunny and ideal— in the low 80s every day. And the Hawaiian Pacific Ocean is always calling to be enjoyed for swimming, snorkeling, sailing, fishing and water excursions. Next year we plan to be back on the Big Island for the Feast. Come join us in Hawaii next year! David Register

We had 30 seniors celebrating the satellite Feast site in Woodbury. We would have found it difficult to travel to Branson, but technology enabled us to stream Branson services without taxing our aging bodies. We had unseasonably warm weather for the first half of the Feast (in the 70s and 80s). In the middle of the Feast, temperatures dropped to more typical fall weather for Minnesota (in the 50s and 60s), but it was still warm enough to enjoy walking outside. Many were able to participate in a visit to the Como Zoo and Conservatory, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the James J. Hill House. We enjoyed a wonderful catered dinner following services on the first holy day. There was lively discussion at each table, including how many Feasts each person had attended. We determined our group has kept a total of 1,249 Feasts! One family’s adult granddaughter attended the first weekend. Before she went home from the Feast she said she was moved by how accepted and unjudged she felt being among God’s people. She went home feeling uplifted and loved. We had many wonderful messages and shared many delicious meals together. God poured out His Spirit abundantly at our small


November/December 2023


Feast site, and we all felt blessed to be together and spiritually renewed. Mary Burke


MISSOURI A total of 688 happy brethren attended the Feast of Tabernacles in the beautiful Ozark Mountains of Branson, Missouri. God certainly answered the prayers of His people after a strong storm heavily damaged the Yakov Theatre, where the Feast was supposed to be held. Within weeks, a new contract was in place at the Branson Hillside Theatre (formerly known as the Lawrence Welk Theatre)! The theater opened its adjoining restaurant for breakfast each day of the Feast (with special menu items just for us) and for a first-class luncheon buffet each holy day. The weather was warm (temperatures in the 70s) during the first half of the Feast, and a cool front came in for the last half. Outdoor activities on Youth Day were met with sunny and warm temperatures. A highlight of the Feast in Branson is always the family dance, and this year we had the best turnout ever, with plenty of space for dancing and fellowshipping. Festival coordinator Mike Blackwell shared memories and trivia during the senior luncheon. On the Last Great Day, a special commemorative plaque 15

was presented to Mr. Blackwell for his 28 years of service as the Branson Festival coordinator. Lyndi Fultz


PENNSYLVANIA About 200 Feastgoers gathered once again at the Eden Resort in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Many members stayed in homes in the surrounding countryside. Many adults, teens and children shared positive feedback regarding messages, the special music and the Feast in general. We had a double baptism at the Feast. Two ladies— one from the AkronCanton, Ohio, congregation and one from nearby York, Pennsylvania—were baptized in a jacuzzi suite at the resort. The family dance, hosted by DJ Clyde Kilough, was well-attended and included everything from the “Chicken Dance” to a swing competition. Over 140 attendees attended the nearby Sight & Sound Theatre’s production of Moses. The Shady Maple,

one of the largest buffets in the world, was a popular dining location for those attending. On Family Day about 90 Feastgoers signed up for our third annual outing at the 25-acre Cherry Crest Adventure Farm. Participants handfed a variety of animals and enjoyed food and family-friendly activities on a sunny day with comfortable temperatures. Both the seniors’ luncheon and Last Great Day luncheon were wellattended and—if laughter and conversation were any indication—very much appreciated. We had a great rapport with the resort staff, all of whom were very accommodating. Overall, the feedback about the Feast in Lancaster was overwhelmingly positive. Scott Lord

Mont-Tremblant QUÉBEC

Bright fall foliage of orange and red greeted 145 Feastgoers to MontTremblant as we returned

Branson, Missouri 16

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to the area for the second year in a row. Messages set our minds on the peace and prosperity that God’s government will bring to the world after Christ’s return. A millennial family atmosphere inclusive of all ages reigned during the Feast. Family Day featured a delicious taco bar, novelty Olympics and games for toddlers. The teens enjoyed laser tag and miniature golf one afternoon. The seniors gathered for a luncheon complete with music and entertainment. The FOI project produced over 600 kits for the homeless. Evening activities included game night, a variety show and a Bible study. Many hands came together this Feast to make it extra special! Those who stayed at the AX Hotel enjoyed walking to services and to local restaurants and shops in the adjacent village of SaintJovite. Others who rented condos and houses found a wide selection available only a short drive from services. Come join us next year at Mont-Tremblant! Daniel Harper


SOUTH CAROLINA Over 600 kept the Feast in sunny Greenville, South Carolina, this year. The weather was spectacular, messages were uplifting, the venue was beautiful, and fellowship was plenteous. “I hope we continue to keep the Feast in this location—it is perfect for fellowshipping” was heard numerous times. The Embassy Suites and Golf Resort served as an ideal millennial setting. Family Day, the family dance, the seniors’ luncheon and games were all well-attended. There was a constant buzz throughout the property for eight days. For those that love great restaurants, there were more than one could choose. In addition to the two FOI-sponsored opportunities to donate to local causes, members had the opportunity to give funds for a hotel employee who had lost everything in a house fire before the Feast. The donations for all of those causes totaled over $20,000. Each

Mont-Tremblant, Québec

Greenville, South Carolina recipient of the assistance was most grateful. Many thanks to all those who served, making the Feast special for everyone while letting their light shine to those around. Mark Winner

New Braunfels TEXAS

Approximately 300 brethren gathered in the Texas hill country to take in a relaxing eight days of wonderful fellowship and spiritual food—not to mention the wide array of cuisines offered locally. We experienced sultry temperatures until midweek when a storm blew through the area leaving us with mild temperatures for the second half of the Feast. Teens enjoyed a day of miniature golf. Family Day consisted of a trip to Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo. Several couples at the Feast put on a lovely senior citizens’ luncheon. As they enjoyed the meal, seniors at each table worked together to see if they could complete a “bingo” card of unique Feast experiences—such as attending Squaw Valley November/December 2023

for the Feast, attending 60 or more Feasts, camping at Lake of the Ozarks and hearing Herbert Armstrong speak in person at the Feast. The bingo cards made for great conversation—some tables filled all the squares! Afterward, Tim Waddle gave an update on the congregations in Kenya as well as events surrounding a new congregation in Uganda that has recently connected with COGWA. After his presentation, attendees asked him follow-up questions about Kenya and Uganda as well as about the opportunities that await them as they leave after the Feast to serve in South Africa. Andy Burnett

Park City UTAH

What a wonderful Feast we had in Park City, Utah, where 353 brethren rejoiced in a fall millennial setting. The fall colors were spectacular with temperatures in the low 70s during the day with clear blue skies and golden aspens. The evenings were a bit cooler—in the 40s—

Park City, Utah and were very refreshing. The brethren enjoyed being with family while taking scenic walks and bike rides and fishing in the cool mountain streams. For Family Day we took a 90-minute train ride through the Uinta Mountains. The senior luncheon was a great success with 42 seniors in attendance. During the teen activity, the teens spent time getting acquainted with old and new friends while playing Pictionary, cornhole and “Minute to Win It” games. For this year’s service project, we collected pantry items and $3,000 in cash donations for the Christian Center of Park City. The money and food will go to those less fortunate in the Park City area. The messages were wellreceived and very inspiring and kept everyone focused on the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. Mark Whynaucht


WEST VIRGINIA The Triadelphia, West Virginia, satellite site was a new Feast site this year, with

a high attendance of 100. The attractive meeting room at the Highlands Event Center provided an uplifting setting for daily services, which were a combination of webcasts from Greenville, South Carolina, special Feast videos and live speakers. A notable feature of our Feast experience was the attitude of the attendees. High spirits, warm and loving fellowship, laughter and enthusiasm were very evident as we rejoiced in the meaning of these special days. Local attractions and nearby restaurants and shops added to the enjoyment of our Feast. Planned activities included a fun and unique version of bingo and a luncheon for our seniors. In addition, the brethren contributed very generously to a service project— donating nonperishable items to a local soup kitchen that also provides food for needy families in the area. There were many positive comments on what a wonderful Feast God provided for us in every way! Lyle Welty 17

2023 FEAST OF TABERNACLES ATTENDANCE Once again we are providing the high attendance figures for our Feast sites around the world. Of course, there were also a large number of webcast connections. So, as we have done in the past, we are providing these numbers as well (determined by using our usual formula of two viewers per connection). The number of webcast viewers can be found in the final section, along with the number of shut-ins who received DVDs of prerecorded messages. The overall total includes the high in-person attendance, estimated webcast attendance and scattered members who kept the Feast off-site without an Internet connection or prerecorded sermons. We feel these numbers closely reflect the attendance worldwide. We admit that some of these numbers are simply best guesses, but if anything, they are probably low guesses. Based on these numbers, the total worldwide attendance was 11,816



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732 30 173 587 14 168 129 4 33 79 116 21 49 128 275 34 32 4 3 10 50 275 20 249 55






254 974 324 466 112







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Volunteers Bring Relief Items to Volcano Victims On Aug. 20 members from the Naga, Philippines, congregation brought sleeping mats and food packs to 62 families in Daraga, Albay, Philippines. The families were from Barangay Budiao and were victims of the June 2023 eruption of Mount Mayon, the most active volcano in the Philippines. Foundation Outreach International supplied funds for the project, and 11 youths, young adults and adult volunteers took part in the project, called “Mayon Outreach Drive.” The volunteers coordinated with evacuation camp officials and bought, packed and transported the needed items. The camp and village officials were very thankful for the relief items. The evacuation village captain Condi Loveres stated, “We are very thankful to your church for remembering us even though we are only very few here at the evacuation center.” The volunteers also distributed copies of Discern magazine and trifolds of Life, Hope & Truth articles. They left copies of the magazine and two Bibles for use in the school library. The Naga congregation, which is pastored by Andrei Siopan, is grateful for the prayers and the help extended to the victims. Manny Azusano

Hickory Lunch and FOI Project On Sunday, Aug. 20, a total of 24 brethren from the Hickory, North Carolina, congregation gathered at the home of Barbara Sprouse for a summer luncheon with their favorite picnic foods, sides and desserts. After everyone had eaten, we worked on a Foundation Outreach International project. Brethren formed an assembly line to pack school supplies (donated by members) into book bags for a local school. It was an afternoon of great food and fellowship.. Tom Burrows November/December 2023


Gainesville Lake Day On Aug. 13, the Gainesville, Georgia, brethren gathered at a rented lake house in Lake Burton, Georgia, to enjoy a beautiful summer day on the lake. The 2,800-acre reservoir is located in the northeastern corner of Georgia. The rented lake house provided access to a pontoon boat, and many members enjoyed cruising on it around the lake. In addition, the house provided many fun activities for kids and adults. Many enjoyed using the water slide, boat tubing and jumping off the upper deck of the boat house into the lake. The youngest member to jump off the 20-foot deck was a 4-year-old with zero fear. The day was also spent enjoying a delicious meal, which included smoked brisket with sides and desserts. Everyone appreciated the fun and the beautiful weather the day provided, allowing us to strengthen our connection as a family. Ava Sanders

Olivia Rose Hauenstein We encourage members to send announcements to be featured in One Accord. We feature events in members’ lives, including baptisms, births, engagements, weddings, significant anniversaries (25, 40, 50, 60, etc.), and obituaries. Typically they run between 50 and 100 words; however, we ask that all submissions stay under 250 words. Please submit a highresolution color photo along with the written copy to your congregation’s reporter.

Brad, Kayla and young Emma Hauenstein of the Athens, Ohio– Parkersburg, West Virginia, congregation welcomed Olivia Rose Hauenstein on Dec. 9, 2022. At birth, young Olivia measured 20 inches long and weighed 9 pounds 12 ounces. Mother and baby are healthy, and everyone has excitedly welcomed the new arrival with open arms and hearts. Josh Travers


Titus Jedidiah Travers

Mia Kate Luecke Ryan and Caroline Luecke would like to introduce their daughter, Mia Kate Luecke. Mia was welcomed by her parents on Nov. 2, 2022, at 8:28 p.m. She weighed 7 pounds 3 ounces and measured 19½ inches long. Mia has been greeted by her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, who were all eagerly awaiting her arrival. Chant’a Collier 20

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Josh, Tori and little Elizabeth Travers of the Athens, Ohio–Parkersburg, West Virginia, congregation would like to announce the birth of their son, Titus Jedidiah Travers, on July 6, 2023. Despite weighing 11 pounds 10 ounces and measuring 24 inches at birth, the baby and his momma are doing very well. Titus has been excitedly received by sister Elizabeth, grandparents Greg and Carla Travers of Ohio and Marty and Angie Johnson of Illinois, as well as the congregation. Josh Travers


David and Peggy Boggs David and Peggy Boggs, who attend the Van Buren, Arkansas, congregation, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on June 29, 2023. They were presented with a beautiful bouquet of red roses, and all shared a commemorative cake in honor of their many years of marriage. Their love story began when they met on a blind date at their school’s homecoming football game in Monrovia, California. Their “love at first sight” led to their marriage eight months later. They have one son, two daughters and seven grandchildren. Thank you, David and Peggy, for your wonderful example of a long and happy marriage. Aurora Gossett

Margie and Doug Ross On the Sabbath of Aug. 5, 2023, the Columbia, Missouri, congregation congratulated Doug and Margie Ross on 60 years of marriage. The plan was November/December 2023

to keep things simple that Sabbath, with just a few extra snacks and the addition of a cake and punch. It was a beautiful cake covered in wildflowers, which Mrs. Ross quickly claimed as her own, but she was nice enough to let us help her eat it. As for the snack table, clearly no one wanted to be left out of helping the Rosses celebrate because we filled the table to overflowing. Everyone wanted to be a part of celebrating a couple who have been a blessing to the Columbia congregation for so many years. Shalynn Mellerup

The Plain Truth and other literature and was baptized in 1981. Larry attends services with Virginia and has been supportive of her in every way. The Higgs have one daughter and two grandsons. We are blessed to have the Higgs as part of our congregation and are delighted to have had the opportunity to celebrate this special occasion with them. Ann Hewston

Mike and Zelda Hanisko

Virginia and Larry Higgs Larry and Virginia Higgs of the Augusta, Georgia, congregation celebrated their golden anniversary on June 30, 2023. A reception was held in their honor after Sabbath services on July 8. Following recognition by our pastor Tom Schultz and the congregation, the Higgs were presented with a dozen yellow roses and a lovely gourmet gift basket filled with assorted goodies. Everyone enjoyed the warm fellowship, delicious meal and beautiful anniversary cake that commemorated this special event. Larry and Virginia met on a blind date in Maryland in 1971 and were married June 30, 1973. Virginia started learning about God’s way of life in 1957, when she first began listening to Herbert W. Armstrong on the radio. She later began to receive

July 22, 2023, was no ordinary church picnic for the Beloit, Wisconsin, congregation. Nor was it an ordinary day for Mike and Zelda Hanisko. They were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. The congregation had been planning for two months to have a party for them at the picnic and had kept it a secret, making plans on the Sabbaths when the Haniskos were in Michigan to conduct services there. The Haniskos met in 1969 while freshmen at the Ambassador College campus in Big Sandy, Texas. They dated on occasion that year and over the next three years. On July 22, 1973, they were married at the Leilani Restaurant in Brookfield, Wisconsin. They were attending services in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Mike served as a ministerial assistant. They began their life together living on the northwest side of Milwaukee. Thereafter, they lived in 21

Rome, Georgia; Anniston, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; and White Bear Lake, Minnesota. From there, they moved to Palm Harbor, Florida; Cedarburg, Wisconsin; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and finally, Janesville, Wisconsin, where they have lived since 2009 while pastoring the Beloit, Milwaukee and West Michigan congregations. The Haniskos have four children and seven granddaughters. When their oldest granddaughter asked for advice about how to have a happy, long-lasting marriage, Mike said the advice he gave her was, “Choose wisely and treat kindly.” Bonnie Strass


home, where we enjoyed a meal and fellowship. Jackie attends the Central New Jersey congregation. Congratulations, Jackie! Kevin Epps

Christina Ivey The small congregation of Ruston, Louisiana, has good news to share! On Wednesday, July 19, 2023, Christina Ivey was baptized by James Ellis with the assistance of Ken Treybig and John Trotter. Christina’s husband, John, and their two sons, Kason and Jackson, were there to share this wonderful event with her. The Ruston congregation is thankful for the growth of our spiritual family, and it warms our hearts to be able to call her our sister in Christ. Johna Barnette

Courtney and Zach Seay We are happy to announce the baptism of Zach and Courtney Seay of the Raleigh, North Carolina, congregation. The baptism took place on Sept. 22, 2023, at their home in Hillsborough, North Carolina, with all the family present. The baptism was conducted by pastor Ron Kelley, who was assisted by associate pastor Tom Burrows. Ron Kelley

Carissa Caple On Aug. 10, 2023, Carissa Caple was baptized into the Body of Christ. Surrounded by her family, she was baptized in an intimate and meaningful ceremony at her home in Calhoun, Missouri. Afterward, everyone delighted in a wonderful meal to celebrate the encouraging event. Carissa, who grew up in the Church of God, has attended the Columbia, Missouri, congregation for many years and will be with the Rolla, Missouri, congregation this fall as she studies mechanical engineering. Please join us as we extend heartfelt congratulations to Carissa on this most joyous occasion. Katie Froedge 22

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Jaclyn Ott On Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, Jaclyn Ott, a young adult, was baptized under a bridge in Moodna Creek in New Windsor, New York. The creek had a slight current and a bed of thick silt, which made things very interesting. But Richard Clouthier, a deacon, assisted Jackie in the water, and we managed to keep our balance. Also in attendance were Belinda Epps and Jill Clouthier. Afterward, we returned to the Clouthiers’

Rick Swanson The Twin Cities, Minnesota, congregation was happy to welcome a new member to the Body of Christ. Rick Swanson was baptized by his pastor, Larry Solomon, on Saturday evening, May 27, 2023. Rick’s family was there to witness the happy occasion. Afterward, everyone enjoyed a delicious meal to celebrate the happy occasion. Larry Solomon


Following the special service, there was a special reception to celebrate Mr. Whetsel’s ordination. Amberly Walton-Groves

Obituaries Julius AungMin Julius AungMin of the Raleigh, North Carolina, congregation was ordained as a deacon on the Feast of Trumpets, Sept. 16, 2023. He has diligently served the congregation over the past several years. The ordination was conducted by pastor Ron Kelley with the assistance of Steve Villaescusa, an elder in the Raleigh congregation. Shown in the photograph are Julius AungMin, his wife Isabella, and pastor Ron Kelley. Ron Kelley

Tom Whetsel On the Sabbath of Aug. 26, 2023, a new deacon was added to the Knoxville, Tennessee, congregation! Tom Whetsel (pictured on left) was ordained by the local pastor Eric Evans. Peter Holmes, an elder in the congregation, assisted in the ordination. Mr. Whetsel is often the first member to arrive every Sabbath, and he has faithfully served since he began attending the Knoxville congregation in July 1968. He was baptized later that same year in December by Bill Swanson, the pastor at that time. November/December 2023

Connie Harrison

Sandra Bearse Sandra Jean Bearse, 87, of Ellington, Connecticut, a member of the Leicester, Massachusetts, congregation, died on Aug. 11, 2023. She was born on Dec. 14, 1935, in Boston, Massachusetts, to the late Alice and Frederick Brauneis. Sandy is survived by her husband of over 65 years, Harvey Bearse; her children Douglas Bearse, Heidi and Kevin Slack, and Tammy and Jason Villa; and numerous grandchildren, nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her son John Bearse. Both Sandy and Harvey were longtime members, baptized into God’s Church some 60 years ago. She was employed for many years as an operator for the phone company and enjoyed crafts and getting together with brethren for fellowship, especially at restaurants. Though unable to attend services for the last five years, she welcomed visitors, calls and letters. David Rand, pastor of the New England congregation, conducted services on Monday, Aug. 21, at the Ellington Center Cemetery. Jay Fidanza

Connie Harrison, a member of the Castle Rock, Colorado, congregation, died at the young age of 62 on June 21, 2023, after suffering with cancer for the last three years. She was preceded in death by her husband Gary in 2019. Connie met Gary, the love of her life in Vail, Colorado, and they were married in February 1983. Through the years, they were blessed with two sons and three grandsons. They lived, worked and raised their family in Colorado. Gary was the first to attend God’s Church and be baptized, while Connie’s baptism followed shortly thereafter in 2007. Connie spent many years in retail sales during her professional career. She worked at Oshkosh as a district manager, as well as at Target, until her retirement a few years ago. She then worked as a health aid at her grandson’s school. Her family, Church brethren and many friends are very thankful they were given extra years to be with her, especially since doctors told her in 2020 to go home and put her house in order. Connie’s genuine devotion to her family, brethren and her faith in God was very evident in her life. She will always be remembered for her words, “Well, honey, God has a plan” and “God’s got this!” Certainly, her death in God’s sight was precious. She finished her course and is waiting for her crown at the return of Christ. Teri Ballo 23

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