One Accord | May/June 2024

Page 1



Truth Latin American Pastors’ Conference
2024 Focused Mentoring Program Sharpening
The Tests of

personal from the president Focus on Education

IIn 1947 Ambassador College opened its doors in Pasadena, California, to four students and eight faculty members. For years, Herbert Armstrong had had a vision of starting a college to provide an education based on biblical principles for future ministers and young people in general.

It was to be an education that emphasized the recapturing of true values at a time of considerable change. It was the post-World War II society, which was dramatically different from the world of the 1920s and 1930s. After years of a war that took the lives of millions of people, many of them civilians, society had been forever changed.

Ambassador College was intended to address the need to learn how to live and not just how to make a living.

By the early 1970s, the college had expanded to a total of three campuses—Pasadena; Bricket Wood, England; and Big Sandy, Texas. The final campus closed in 1997, 50 years after that initial class arrived in the fall of 1947.

The legacy of Ambassador College is one of high ideals, including the desire to change people’s lives through education. At one point it was even said in Church literature that salvation is education. The point was to emphasize the importance of education for all of us.

Society has continued to change, and not in a good way, since the opening of the college in 1947. With all that is happening, I believe that true education, based on biblical principles, is more important in our day than it ever has been.

This was one of the reasons we opened Foundation Institute so early in our history. In the fall of 2012 we accepted our first class. Our resources were limited, but the idea of teaching the basic biblical principles while covering the majority of the Bible, verse by verse, was a priority for us. In May of this year we will graduate our 12th class.

In addition to Foundation Institute, the Church offers a biblical education for the brethren through FI Online, which currently has over 2,000 registered viewers. We have a Bible Study Course for those who want a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Bible.

Our new video program Life, Hope & Truth Presents provides biblical knowledge that is not

understood by the majority of those who profess Christianity. Our program on Easter vs. Passover had more than 200,000 views within a couple of weeks. We received hundreds of comments, many of them remarking that they “learned” something new and that in the future they would not be observing Easter with all its pagan trappings.

In the past three months we have hosted educational classes here at the office in McKinney for various groups in the ministry and among the members. We hosted our first-ever educational conference for our full-time ministers in Latin America. We had 30 men and women attend two days of these classes, with topics as diverse as doctrine and proper procedures for counseling.

After this group, we hosted the current class of the Focused Mentoring Program. This group is composed of members from around the U.S. who were nominated by their pastors to participate in this leadership development program.

After that, we hosted the first round of the Pastoral Development Program for 2024. (Two more groups will come in June.) Each of these conferences is composed of between 15 and 20 hours of classroom instruction on various biblical and practical topics.

Our efforts confirm that even though it is not 1947 and we are not starting a college, we are just as committed to providing a true, biblical education for our ministers and our members as Herbert Armstrong was when Ambassador College began.

Thank you for your support and help in providing that education for the people of God and for your part in spreading the gospel of the Kingdom to all the world. I believe 200,000 views for one program is an impressive beginning, but we have our sights set even higher! We are preparing for Christ’s return, when true education, based on biblical knowledge, will change the world!

2 One Accord

OneAccord Contents

May/June 2024

© 2024 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.

May/June 2024 3
16 12 7 6 4
Presidents’ Day Family Weekend “Heroes, What Is God Looking For?” 2024 Focused Mentoring Program Pastoral Development Program Latin American Pastors’ Conference Church Potluck Announcements
10 12 16 6 7 9 11
Sharpening Iron The Tests of Truth
Institute Perspectives Etiquette Dinner, Field Trip and Modern Church History

We never know when something we publish will really take off and attract extraordinary attention. Such was the case recently when our Life, Hope & Truth Presents program “How Passover Became Easter” suddenly shot up to numbers of viewers far beyond anything we have seen so far.

As of April 2, 2024, over 114,000 had seen this video on YouTube and made nearly 800 comments! As a result, we had added over 2,500 new subscribers to our YouTube account. In addition, we had a Facebook ad running for a couple of weeks promoting this program, and that ad

had pulled an additional 58,000 views on our Life, Hope & Truth website.

Sifting through the hundreds of comments, it’s interesting that while the vast majority of comments are very positive, others prove Winston Churchill’s observation to be correct: “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”

This is expected, of course, but it’s sad to see how some quickly dismiss the clear rationale, or fall back on the “it doesn’t matter anymore” reasoning, or twist

4 One Accord

scriptures to argue, or have obviously failed to listen carefully or watch it in its entirety. And for a small number of viewers, Aldous Huxley’s statement rings true as well: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.”

For others, though, the truth has clearly resonated with them. It made sense and answered questions they have long wondered about. Some sincerely seek to know more, asking questions such as: How do you keep the Passover? When is it? Do you observe the Sabbath as well? Such questions show they are thinking more deeply and may search for more information.

We hope and pray they will look at other LHTP programs or dig more deeply into Life, Hope & Truth.

Truth’s high hurdles

However, we need to pray for them about something else. In a world built upon lies, coming to the truth is hard! Anyone searching for truth is guaranteed to meet very stiff opposition. Truth, even when accepted as truth, confronts us with some very high hurdles. These obstacles are many and varied, and they begin within oneself. It’s the rare person who embarks on a quest for truth, who genuinely desires to find the truths of God, and who is willing to lay aside cherished, preconceived ideas upon discovering those ideas are wrong.

Truth demands huge changes in how we live. Frequently, it means enduring hostility from others (often people dear to us) who object to those changes. Or it can mean being willing to be an unpopular minority or, for some, even enduring persecution.

And if that isn’t challenge enough, then there is the god of this world. As much as Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life,” Satan is “the roadblock, the lie, and the death.” Jesus identified him as “the thief” who “does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10). All the deceiver has to do is prevent people from seeing the light of the truth, and he can keep them on the path to destruction. And he’s very, very good at his job!

Yes, it’s tough for anyone to completely come to the truth of God. But God’s people are a living testimony that it’s not impossible!

Completing verse 10, Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Proponents of one of today’s popular doctrines, “prosperity theology,” have latched onto and perverted this statement to equate spirituality with physical abundance—the “health and wealth gospel,” as

it’s known. They seem to ignore Jesus’ own words that “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15).

Well, then, what did Jesus mean when He talked about humanity having life more abundantly? Paul made a statement that sums it up very nicely—“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33).

God’s truth—now that’s abundance, real riches! Even the most physically impoverished person can be rich spiritually!

Rejoice for them, and pray for them

“You shall know the truth,” Jesus said, “and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). We, of all people, should be acutely aware that such freedom—from sin, ignorance, fear, hopelessness—is priceless!

But still, Jesus said to count the cost (Luke 14:25-33). He knew that coming into the knowledge of the truth takes us into two challenging areas. We must come to learn:

1. The truth about doctrine, so we can have the right beliefs.

But that’s not enough. We must also confront .

2. The truth about ourselves, so we can be the right people.

Both are demanding. Preparing for the Passover called for self-examination, searching for the truth about ourselves. Following, we kept the Days of Unleavened Bread in which we focused on not living by bread alone, “but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

We understand those spiritual challenges, don’t we? We live them continually and have learned to do so gladly and gratefully. But that should give us a deep compassion for all those thousands of people around the world who are coming to (sometimes stumbling upon) the same truths of God. We know very well how much they need God’s help to have the courage and conviction to follow the truth.

Here’s my point: as we read and rejoice about people seeing the truth, such as in the LHTP video, don’t forget to pray for them. Pray that God will give strength to those He is calling to gladly receive that truth, to desire to prove all things, to be convicted, to act on what they learn, to trust Him and to fight through the obstacles the world and Satan put in their paths.

The truth isn’t easy to learn and live, but it is priceless! OA

May/June 2024 5


Etiquette Dinner, Field Trip and Modern Church History

It has been an exciting time for the class of 2024 here at Foundation Institute! The students kicked off their second semester with the long-awaited annual etiquette dinner hosted by Charles and Gay Oren. Throughout the dinner, Joel Meeker explained the rules of proper dining etiquette, and the students had the chance to practice their newly acquired skills. Dinner was excellent, the conversation was enthusiastic and uplifting, and learning about proper dining etiquette was fun and informative for all.

In addition to the etiquette dinner, the students enjoyed the opportunity to take a step outside of the

“FI has helped me start putting the pieces together in the giant puzzle of God’s Word and plan. Each day, we go through different classes covering different parts of the Bible, and we make connections across God’s Word! It is amazing to see all the minute details, symbolism and parallels. This has really strengthened my faith in God, because I can absolutely see the Bible as God’s inspired Word. God has had a plan from the very beginning, and I have so much more faith in God and His plan going forward.”

classroom to visit the Sixth Floor Museum and the Dallas World Aquarium. Despite some rainy weather, the students toured Dealey Plaza, learned the story of President John F. Kennedy, enjoyed a group lunch, and ended the day at the aquarium. A group of students even ventured through the rain to visit the famous Giant Eyeball.

The field trips and activities outside of class have added some variety to the students’ FI experience and have been a fun supplement to their classroom education.

In the classroom, the students are currently embarking on part two of the Modern Church History class taught by Doug Johnson. This class provides students with

the unique opportunity to learn about the more recent history of the Church from the 1800s to the present.

Following a formal lecture, each class concludes with a group discussion titled “Past Meets Present.” In this portion of the class, the students have the opportunity to ask questions and make connections between their experiences and the experiences of those in the Church who went before them. The students are challenged to envision what it would have been like to be a member of the Church down through the decades. This helps us gain a better appreciation and understanding of the modern history of the Church.

As the academic year begins to draw to a close, the students are relishing their remaining time together and reflecting on all the memories they have had the opportunity to make as a class. All agree that dedicating a year to study at Foundation Institute has been a life-changing experience. This year’s class hopes that many more prospective students will consider attending Foundation Institute so that they can build their own lasting friendships and memories in the years to come! OA

6 One Accord

“Heroes, What Is God Looking For?”

Branson Presidents’ Day Family Weekend

More than 300 happy brethren traveled from over 14 states to attend the 28th annual Presidents’ Day Family Weekend, which took place from Feb. 16-19, 2024, at the Stone Castle Hotel and Conference Center in Branson, Missouri.

Despite the venue change only two weeks before the opening night, God blessed His people with the perfect location and setting for our annual gathering. The hotel offered exceptional room prices, was clean, and served a tasty hot breakfast catered to our dietary needs each morning.

The weekend kicked off with a bang, as over 220 brethren attended the much-anticipated Friday evening welcome reception hosted by the Joplin, Missouri, congregation. As always, delicious food was plentiful,

but the true highlight was the opportunity to fellowship with old and new friends.

As the welcome reception drew to a close, about 75 brethren joined together to end the evening on a high note with hymn singing. This was the perfect way to finish a very memorable Sabbath evening together.

The following day, Sabbath, began with eight seminars given by COGWA pastors and David Johnson from the headquarters office in McKinney, Texas. This year’s seminars were based on the theme “Heroes, What Is God Looking For?” They were encouraging, inspiring and well-attended by the brethren.

Later that day, 300 brethren assembled for Sabbath services, with a sermonette by Matt Jackson, a deacon from the Joplin congregation; three beautiful pieces

Photos: Jessica Schultz May/June 2024 7

of special music; and a sermon by Ralph Levy. After services, we enjoyed a delicious catered barbecue meal together.

Then, after sunset, the youngest in age and heart had fun at the kids’ carnival and then a family dance that concluded the day.

On Sunday, we finished the weekend strong with eight more seminars and two very well-attended preteen and teen activities (Fritz’s Adventure and indoor mini golf). Our guest speaker, Dr. Levy, gave the final seminar, which was followed that evening by a group pizza dinner, buddy bunco, and a sing-along led by one of our pastors, Caleb Froedge.

It was a relaxing weekend full of spiritual food and plenty of fellowship opportunities. Plans are already being made for the Presidents’ Day Family Weekend next year, set to take place on Feb. 14-17, 2025.

8 One Accord

Six Couples Attend 2024 Focused Mentoring Program Weekend

One of the most important leadership development programs we have in the Church is the Focused Mentoring Program (FMP). Pastors put forward couples from their areas that they would like to see receive further training in leadership and service.

During the yearlong program, these men have the opportunity to work more closely with their pastor to develop their leadership skills and approach. Participants come to better understand and appreciate the role of a pastor and his responsibilities in service to his congregations.

For further growth, the participants receive additional education through Foundation Institute classes as well as participate in monthly educational webinars with headquarters personnel.

In addition, FMP participants and their wives are brought to headquarters for a weekend of classes in leadership and service.

The most recent FMP weekend was held at headquarters on March 15 and 16, 2024. Topics such as the importance of integrity, the heart of a servant,

learning from our mistakes and lessons learned as a pastor or pastor’s wife were among the classes presented.

Six couples from across the country compose our class of 2024. They are Tim and Shannon Allwine (Spokane, Washington); Bob and Gail Iacobucci (Raleigh, North Carolina); Jeremy and Mary Lallier (Sherman, Texas); Keith and JoAnn Porter (Little Rock, Arkansas); Britton and Kristine Taylor (Fort Worth, Texas); and Jeff and Stacie Yost (Atlanta, Georgia).

One of the great benefits of this weekend is that each of the couples gets to know the headquarters staff, and the headquarters staff gets to know the couples much better through our face-to-face time in classes, shared meals and fellowship.

The participants also build a closer bond with each other by spending time with each other sharing stories, experiences and ideas. We enjoyed spending time together and look forward to the fruit that this training will produce.

May/June 2024 9
Left to right: Bob and Gail Iacobucci; Britton and Kristine Taylor; Tim and Shannon Allwine; Jeff and Stacie Yost; Jeremy and Mary Lallier; Keith and JoAnn Porter

Latest Pastoral Development Program Off to a Good Start

To further educate and inspire our pastors, the Church conducts the Pastoral Development Program (PDP). Every other year all of our U.S. pastors are brought to headquarters for several days of continuing education classes conducted in the Foundation Institute classroom.

To fit everyone into the space available, we split the U.S. ministry into three groups.

Our first group, containing 19 couples, arrived at headquarters on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, and had classes Thursday, Friday and Sunday. While they would normally be speaking each week, the pastors get this Sabbath off and really enjoy the rest it provides.

The second and third groups of pastors will come to headquarters in June.

Classes presented covered subjects such as integrity, our relationship with our congregations, effective teaching, developing future leadership, helping our

youth, the war against truth, and how pastors might more effectively use technology in their role of service.

The effect of the PDP was summed up by a note from one of our pastors:

“We both would like to express our thanks to all of you for this year’s PDP. This year’s session was an improvement over the session two years ago . . . and I thought the session two years ago was fantastic!

“There was not a session that we did not thoroughly enjoy. We know that you put a lot of thought, energy and prayer into making the sessions a success. Everything from start to finish was definitely a great success. The template of education, fellowship and just plain fun was fantastic. There was such a positive sense of unity among the pastors and wives.

“As I said, the PDP was great two years ago, but that unity in our minds was even stronger this year. We look forward to the third session in 2026!”

10 One Accord
Dave Myers Left to right: Scott and Monica Lord; Nathan and Amanda Willoughby; Jon and Debbie Pinelli; Joel and Marjolaine Meeker; Eric and Jeannie Evans; Zach and Emily Smith; Paul and Tracy Carter; Mark and Cheryl Whynaucht; Dennis and Lyndi Fultz; Chad and Jen Messerly; Caleb and Katie Froedge; David and Dorrie Baker; Ken and Kathy Treybig; Justin and Deba Adkins; Al and Beth Garrett; Tom and Daphne Schultz; Gary and Gale Black; Tom and Mary Clark; Mark and Colleen Winner

Latin American Pastors’ Conference

Aconference of ministers from Latin America was held in McKinney, Texas, Feb. 27 and 28, 2024. The conference was held in the headquarters office of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association.

Eleven ministers and their wives were in attendance, along with Leon Walker, the regional director for the Spanish-speaking region, and his wife, Reba. The ministers attending were from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru.

The primary purpose of the conference was to discuss plans for leadership development in Latin America, with an emphasis on strategies for ministerial training. With that purpose in mind, only the pastors and ministers in charge of congregations in Latin America were invited to the conference, since it is their responsibility to train and guide other ministers and participants of the International Leadership Program in their region.

The conference began Tuesday, Feb. 27, and after introductions by the president, Jim Franks, and the international director, Doug Horchak, Mr. Walker gave a presentation outlining several principles the pastors should employ in their training and guidance of the ministry and those who may become ministers in their respective areas.

This was followed by seven ministers giving a brief description of the status of the congregations in their areas. After lunch Mr. Horchak discussed the current plans for ILP meetings for 2024. Dave Myers, operation manager of Ministerial Services, began a discussion about youth camps and invited each camp director from Latin America to give a brief description of camps in their areas, including their activities.

A special dinner was hosted by Mr. Horchak and his wife, Tanya. A delicious meal and fellowship was enjoyed by all of the Spanish ministry, the administration and other staff.

Wednesday began with a presentation by Mr. Franks about the importance of doctrinal integrity. This was followed by Mr. Horchak reviewing the questions that were submitted by the attendees prior to the conference. Mr. Horchak also conducted a discussion about Festival planning, inviting the ministers present to briefly describe Festival plans for their areas.

Clyde Kilough discussed several recommendations regarding sermon, Bible study and sermonette preparation. The conference concluded with a presentation by Mr. Horchak titled “The Successful Pastor,” outlining the essential characteristics of a pastor.

The ministers and wives expressed their appreciation for the conference. Many of the pastors do not have the opportunity to see or visit with their fellow ministers during the year, because of distance. Nor do they have opportunity for personal contact with the headquarters administration except for the biannual ministerial conference and ILP conferences.

Therefore, the opportunity to fellowship with one another and to talk with the administration was of great value to them and greatly appreciated.

While this conference was limited to pastors and ministers in charge of congregations in Latin America, we hope that a conference for all of the Latin American ministry can be held, perhaps in 2026.

May/June 2024 11

Church Potluck

What’s cooking in your congregation?

FOI Scholarship Recipient

Emmeria Mwashi

The FOI Scholarship Program benefits around 80 secondary and postsecondary students across seven African nations. Emmeria Mwashi from Zambia is featured below:

Emmeria applied for and was awarded an FOI scholarship to assist her in gaining a bachelor’s degree in microbiology. She expects to graduate in June 2024. She is fascinated by the unseen world of microorganisms and hopes to use what she learns to make life better in her community.

The sixth of seven children in her family, Emmeria attends the Mapoko congregation in Zambia with her parents and siblings. Her parents are subsistence farmers who grow just enough food to feed themselves. If there is any excess from the crops, it can be sold for income, but often there is no excess.

Without the FOI scholarship, it would not have been possible for Emmeria to pursue a university education. She saw other young people in Zambia receive FOI scholarships and witnessed how their lives changed for the better because of educational opportunities. This inspired her to apply for an FOI scholarship.

Emmeria has grown up in the Church of God and has seen how God blesses those who obey Him. Her parents are deeply involved in the operation of the local

congregation, as well as the local Feast site, and Emmeria stands out as respectful and active in her congregation. She even received the “Most Outstanding Camper” award in the Church’s camp program.

After finishing her education, Emmeria believes she will be better able to help her family and contribute positively toward the Church financially through tithes and offerings.

Bentonville Holds Kaffeeklatsch Sabbath

It was Kaffeeklatsch Sabbath, Nov. 9, 2023, in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The brethren enjoyed a variety of delicious food items, and everyone had extra time for fellowship before services.

The kaffeeklatsch was pleasant, positive and beneficial for all.

Vicki Willoughby

12 One Accord

Bacolod City Year-End Outing

On Dec. 17, 2023, the brethren from Bacolod City, Philippines, gathered at Campuestuhan Highland Resort for fun in the mountains. The resort offered various fun-filled activities for the attendees, such as the wave pool, sky bike, rope course and the tallest dinosaur construction in Asia.

Moreover, the event was made more enjoyable with a sumptuous feast of great food and drinks, including beef steak, pancit noodles and more. The men enjoyed their beer, while the ladies preferred the chilled wine, and the children had a blast trying out the water activities.

With pleasant weather, we were grateful for the opportunity to bond with each other in such a beautiful place.

West Michigan Holds Annual Men’s Chili Cook-Off

After church services on Dec. 9, 2023, the West Michigan congregation held its annual Men’s Chili Cook-Off! A cornucopia of chili was prepared by both teens and adults this year. As well, members brought delicious sides as complements for the chili.

The judging took place anonymously by various members of the congregation. After much sampling and enjoying of the fare, the judges selected the top three chefs: Camden Chapman (first place), Jason Chapman (second place) and Ian Neal (third place). For prizes, our “Chilympians” received laurel crowns of gold, silver and bronze paper, handmade by the very talented Sera Grabowski.

This anticipated yearly event has become a loved tradition for our congregation. It has been pleasing to see more participation each year! Rebekah Leyden

Louisville Enjoys Variety Show

On the evening of Feb. 17, the Louisville, Kentucky, congregation enjoyed a pizza dinner followed by a variety show. The acts presented by members of the congregation included guitar and piano solos, a vocal duet, comedy skits, mimes, poem recitations and more.

There was much laughter and applause throughout the evening, and we all went home talking about the fun we had shared.

May/June 2024 13

Cincinnati-Dayton Holds Bonfire at Family Farm

On Dec. 9, 2023, the Zimmerman family hosted a bonfire at their farm for the Cincinnati-Dayton, Ohio, congregation and visitors.

It was a warm evening, but oh so rainy! Brave attendees donned waterproof jackets and boots and either hiked or caught a ride on a Kawasaki mule named Miss Scarlett (all of the vehicles on the Zimmerman farm have names) on the muddy lane to the “Mead Hall” out in the woods. While it rained hard, all huddled inside the Mead Hall chatting and passing around snacks.

As the rain let up, a fire was built for roasting hot dogs, venison skewers and marshmallows. No complaints were heard, except perhaps from one 4-year-old who sat down in a camp chair only to find that it was filled with a small pond of water.

A group of local and visiting teens stayed overnight on the farm, and all were reported to have survived the night. This year’s bonfire was a great success, even with the rain, and all are anticipating next year’s adventure!


Cincinnati-Dayton Enjoys Soup Potluck and Snow Tubing

The Cincinnati-Dayton, Ohio, congregation held a soup potluck and game social Jan. 27, followed by an activity on Sunday that included all ages snow tubing at Valley’s Edge Snow Tubing in New Paris, Ohio.

Saturday night the congregation, with visitors from surrounding congregations, enjoyed a variety of soups and games. Games ranged from Hot Potato for the little ones, Code Names and Catchphrase, along with a variety of others.

On Sunday a group of about 37 enjoyed 2½ hours of snow tubing at Valley’s Edge. All ages enjoyed racing each other—being sent down the slope spinning in groups of three or more and a group of 10 teens went down all at once!

After working up an appetite, a small group met for some delicious food and fellowship at a nearby restaurant. It was a packed and fun weekend.

Anna Zimmerman

Photos by Kamie Stoner and Rachelle Metzger

14 One Accord

New Zealand Enjoys Family Camp

On Friday, Dec. 29, 2023, we set off for COGWA New Zealand’s family camp—a weekend held at Chosen Valley Christian Camp in the beautiful Ararimu Valley, 14 kilometers from Drury. We had an attendance of 50, made up of 33 adults and 17 children (ranging in age from a month to 17 years).

The forecast for the weekend wasn’t favorable. But while we had rain the first day, God blessed us with bright, sunny days for the rest of the weekend.

The camp is equipped with a range of on-site activities, lots of open spaces, indoor facilities and various types of accommodation. It has a trail with an obstacle course suitable for all ages, as well as other outdoor activities, such as volleyball. The camp’s indoor activities include table tennis and pool, which were enjoyed by young and old alike. It was a pleasure to see everyone playing games and fellowshipping with each other, no matter the age difference.

The brethren set up a karaoke machine, and everyone—young and old—participated! It was really uplifting to hear the voices of the brethren singing and see their enjoyment.

The camp abounded with many different conversations. Relationships were deepened by fellowship and love for each other and for God.

Brethren were patient as they camped. Sharing space taught us how to look out for each other’s comfort and wellbeing. Like one big family, we shared in the responsibilities of preparing lunches and dinners and doing other chores.

The Bible study and sermon, conducted by our pastor, André van Belkum, highlighted how in the future the Church will have to ready herself for rough times akin to wilderness living. With all that is happening around us, it seems prudent to prepare for a time when our faith will be sorely tested.

Hence, we see the value of activities such as these— brethren assembling to exhort one another all the more as we see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:25).

We enjoyed our time together with humility and thankfulness to God, who provided us with this temporary dwelling for gathering as His people and basking in the beauty of His creation.

Being at this camp for two whole days encouraged us all to work together in harmony and in unison. It was a blessed diversion from everyday life, allowing us to enjoy being in God’s presence in the great outdoors.

We are thankful for His intervention and involvement in our daily lives as we strive to live by His Word and be good Christians in this life and beyond.

Guia and Isaiah Nonoy

May/June 2024 15

Ladies’ Night Out

On Dec. 30, 2023, the ladies had a delightful evening in Bacolod City, Philippines. We had arranged to meet up at a cozy cafe on a starry Saturday night. It was great to see everyone again after a peaceful Sabbath afternoon. We ordered pasta, sandwiches and salads to start, and the conversation was enjoyable, covering topics ranging from food to our plans for the year ahead and our health. We were happy to have Lina Siopan with us, since we had missed her at several gatherings.

Overall, it was a wonderful moment to bond with the ladies and share our insights on different topics. We are eagerly looking forward to similar moments throughout the rest of the year.

Evansville Makes Blankets

After the Sabbath service ended and a pizza dinner was consumed on Dec. 16, 2023, it was blanket time for the Evansville, Indiana, congregation. Members joined in an FOI Hilltop service project, making blankets for the Pike County Department of Children’s Services.

The congregation divided into three teams. One team aligned the two-ply fleece blankets and made preliminary marks, one team cut the fringes of the blankets, and one team tied the fringes together. Even though illness limited attendance to 15 people, the crew was still able to make 12 large blankets in about 90 minutes.

Holly Jines, wife of Evansville deacon Nathan Jines, coordinated the activity. Richard Burkard

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 high-resolution color photo along with the written copy to your congregation’s reporter.


Jason and Ashley Derks of the Eau Claire, Wisconsin, congregation are excited to introduce their new daughter Cassidy Elizabeth, who was born March 15, 2024, at 2:17 p.m.

16 One Accord
Cassidy Elizabeth Derks

and weighed 8 pounds 13 ounces and measured 20.5 inches long.

She is the fifth grandchild of Joseph and Cindy Kosloski. She almost shared a birthday with the Kosloskis’ fourth grandchild who was born just one day before her! Cassidy joins a big brother and sister, and her large extended family is very excited to have her!


Steve and Lisa Jurewicz

On Sunday, March 3, 2024, Lisa Ellison married Steve Jurewicz in Stillwater, Minnesota. The bride is from the Twin Cities and the groom has just relocated from Chicago, much to the delight of the Twin Cities congregation.

The happy couple was married by elder Cory Erickson in vintage style and historic class. Lisa is the youngest daughter of Bill and Sue Ellison, and Steve is the son of Dawn and Jim Jurewicz. We wish them a joy-filled marriage!

Liz Boyle


Kelsie Carter

Kelsie Carter of the Sherman, Texas, congregation joined the Body of Christ on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023, while keeping the Feast in Cortona, Italy. Her father, Paul Carter, pastor of the Los Angeles and Bakersfield, California, congregations performed the baptism and was assisted by David Treybig and Dave Treybig.

Kelsie had counseled with her pastor, Andy Burnett, but wanted to be baptized at the Feast in the unique surroundings of Cortona. Her family and a close friend enjoyed seeing her enter into the covenant relationship with our older Brother, Jesus Christ.

On Wednesday Dec. 20, 2023, Stella Makokola and Feston James were baptized into the Body of Jesus Christ. Stella is a member of the Blantyre, Malawi, congregation and Feston is a member of the Ntcheu, Malawi, congregation.

Stella and Feston were baptized in a very beautiful dam at Game Haven near Blantyre in the southern region. Elifazi Salawila conducted the ceremony, and Tielmans Chirwa assisted. Both are pastors in Malawi.

The whole church in Malawi was very much excited about the news.

Elifazi Salawila

We are happy to announce that on Saturday night, Feb. 10, 2024, Ashley Peoples was baptized at her family’s home in Farmersville, Texas.

Ashley works in the Church’s media department, and was baptized by her supervisor, Clyde Kilough. Andy Burnett and Doug Horchak joined in the laying on of hands at this joyous occasion.

Ashley and her family attend the Sherman, Texas, congregation.

Clyde Kilough

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024, Tasira Banda, who attends the Blantyre congregation in Malawi, was baptized into the Body of Christ, and she was very excited.

The ceremony was conducted by Elifazi Salawila, pastor of Malawi, assisted by Tielmans Chirwa.

Tasira’s husband, her mother and a few members of the church were present to witness the wonderful event. Afterward, everyone enjoyed a delicious meal to celebrate the happy occasion.

Elifazi Salawila

May/June 2024 17
Stella Makokola and Feston James Tasira Banda Ashley Peoples

Family and friends gathered at a member couple’s home on March 10, 2024, to witness Emily Dick’s baptism. Her grandfather, Bob Dick, asked the blessing on the service. Emily’s pastor, Andy Burnett, baptized her, and her father, Phil Dick, offered the prayer during the laying on of hands portion of the service. Emily is a student at Texas A&M University— Commerce and attends the Dallas, Texas, congregation. She is also a fifth-generation baptized Church of God member!

March 26, 2024, Maricela Salazar was baptized in the chilly waters of the San Gabriel River. Her pastor Paul Carter baptized her, assisted by deacon Vicente Enriquez, who also translated the baptism.

It was a beautiful setting and a joy to be a part of God’s creation for such an event. She wanted a unique setting and one that was natural, and this was just the right spot.

The Los Angeles, California, congregation and all of God’s people welcome Maricela to the family!

On March 12, 2024, Athena Nonoy was baptized at Parakai Thermal Springs located near the city of Auckland, New Zealand. We were able to secure a private indoor pool for the occasion.

Athena is the daughter of Chris and Guia, both members of the Auckland congregation, who were present and delighted to witness this important event in the life of their daughter.

The announcement of Athena’s baptism was greeted with the usual excitement and delight for Athena and her family.

On Tuesday, March 19, 2024, Kim Heathcote was baptized and became a ful-fledged member of the Auckland, New Zealand, congregation. There were warm smiles and words of congratulations when this special occasion was announced at services the following Sabbath.

Kim is a member of the Heathcote family, which first came into contact with the Church in the early part of the 1970s in the country of Rhodesia, before the name was changed to Zimbabwe. Later family members

left their homeland and settled in New Zealand.

André van Belkum

Leah Holmes of the Indianapolis, Indiana, congregation was baptized after services on Sabbath, March 30, 2024.

Ron Kelley performed the baptism and was assisted by Peter Holmes, Leah’s father, who did the prayer for the laying on of hands.

A reception for Leah followed. This was a very happy day for the Indianapolis congregation.

Surrounded by family, friends and faculty, Makenzie Kapales was baptized toward the end of the Sabbath on April 6, 2024. Makenzie is a fifth-generation Christian and was baptized by Clyde Kilough, a longtime family friend for over 40 years.

Makenzie is from the Bentonville, Arkansas, congregation but is attending Foundation Institute this year. Faculty members David Johnson and Ralph Levy joined in the laying on of hands.

Clyde Kilough

18 One Accord
Makenzie Kapales Athena Nonoy Maricela Salazar Emily Dick Leah Holmes Kim Heathcote


Mark McCloud, of the Raleigh, North Carolina, congregation, a caring brother, brother-in-law, son, uncle and friend, passed away peacefully in his sleep, Friday night, Oct. 6, 2023, at age 58. His battle with serious medical issues in recent years showed his courage in facing life with humor and a smile.

Mark resided in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, for many years, where he worked in the restaurant business and in construction. He was a skilled carpenter and took great pride in his work.

From his restaurant experience, he developed a great love of cooking. More than anything, he loved to cook for a large crowd of people, friends, family and church.

Mark is survived by his mother, Emma McCloud of Creston, Iowa; siblings Belinda Lindley (husband Kevin), Sherry Newport (husband Lee), Jeff McCloud (wife Judy), Patty Mottin (husband Ken), Kitty Peterman (husband Randy), Sandra Donaldson (husband Jere Ferguson), and Greg McCloud (wife Belinda); along with numerous nieces and nephews.

Mark was preceded in death by his beloved dog Gunshot, father Harold McCloud, sister Cynthia McCloud, nephew Clinton McCloud and brother-in-law John Donaldson.

A small memorial service was held at the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, in Raleigh on Oct. 21, 2023, with Ron Kelley officiating. He will be greatly missed.

Greg McCloud

Robert Newberry, of the Charleston, West Virginia, congregation, died peacefully in his sleep on Jan. 4, 2024, after a lengthy illness. Although Bobby’s health was not good for the last several years, he was always in good spirits and had a strong desire to return to Sabbath services.

Bobby retired from the American Screw Company after 40-plus years of service. He enjoyed farming and loved his family farm, inviting friends to camp and enjoy the Blue Hole on Walker Creek. He was an avid Dodgers fan and NASCAR fan, especially of the late Dale Earnhardt. He liked to share his many fond memories made over the years at God’s Feast of Tabernacles.

Bobby is survived by his daughter April, his brothers Donald and Frank, and several extended family members. Bobby was a friend to all who knew him and will be greatly missed.

Larry Lambert

Debra Elwood, a longtime member of God’s Church, died peacefully on the Sabbath of Jan. 6, 2024.

Debra’s favorite activities involved spending time with her

family and being actively involved in God’s Church. Her love for both was boundless. She was ordained to the office of deaconess on April 15, 2009. She rarely missed a Sabbath or holy day until she was overcome with illness in her last few months. She loved attending the Feast of Tabernacles and making new friends there.

Debra is survived by her husband, Johnny, and children, George, Melissa and Wendy. She was grandmother (one of her favorite titles) to Andrew, Ashley, Callum and Emma.

A memorial service, followed by a meal and fellowship with her family, was conducted after services on Sabbath, Jan. 20.

Vicky Phillips, a longtime member of God’s Church, died on the Sabbath of Feb. 24, 2024, at Havenwood Assisted Living in Lexington, Virginia.

Mrs. Phillips was a special member of the Roanoke, Virginia, congregation who earned the nickname of “Feisty.” She was well loved and will be dearly missed, especially by our younger members. She loved visits from the youth in our congregation.

She was adamant that she did not want a funeral or memorial service but allowed us the opportunity to enjoy a nice meal together on the Sabbath of March 23 in remembrance of her and her late husband Vernon.

Larry Lambert

May/June 2024 19
Vicky Phillips Robert Newberry Mark Allan McCloud Debra Elwood Larry Lambert

Graduating High School Seniors


Attention class of 2024! We would like to feature all of our high school graduates in the July/August One Accord. Please provide the following information—separated into the listed categories—for your bio (no more than 200 words), plus a quality, high-resolution photo by June 1.

1. Graduate’s name.

2. Parents’ or guardians’ names.

3. Congregation and pastor’s name.

4. High school accomplishments.

5. Church activities/hobbies/interests.

6. Plans after graduation.

Also include a phone number and email address we may use to contact you if need be. Please give your bio and photo (conforming to biblical standards of dress and hair length) to your congregation’s reporter or pastor by June 1. Please keep all bios within a 200-word limit.

College graduates

We’d also like to honor you! Please provide a bio—200-word maximum—plus a quality, high-resolution photo by June 1.

Thank you!

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.