United Church of God

Home Office Weekly Update: June 1, 2023

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Home Office Weekly Update

June 1, 2023

From the President . . .

Greetings brethren,

I hope Pentecost and last Sabbath were uplifting, spiritually rewarding and energizing for everyone.

My wife, Deborah, and I had the pleasure of spending last Sabbath with the brethren in Columbia, Maryland, followed by combined services in Annapolis, Maryland, with five congregations on the Day of Pentecost. It was wonderful meeting so many brethren from the area. We thank pastors Don McCoy and Ray Clore for inviting us and allowing us to share the Sabbath and Holy Day with everyone there.

As you heard last week, Pentecost has deep spiritual meaning for all of us. One significant aspect of this Holy Day involves the concept of “a new beginning.”

The New Testament Church, headed by Jesus Christ, had its “beginning” on Pentecost in A.D. 31, when God poured out His Holy Spirit on the 120 who were gathered together in “one place and one accord” in obedience to Him.

The corporate entity of the United Church of God, an International Association, had its beginning on the day of Pentecost more than a quarter century ago, as heresy infected the Worldwide Church of God and that organization departed from God and His truth.

The United Church of God continued in the truth and the “faith once for all delivered to the saints.” We are not a new Church that began in 1995, we are the continuation of the Church that was founded by Christ, still led by Him as its Head, and striving to fulfill the commission He gave in Matthew 28:19-20. Together, we are all part of His Church and His work.

“Disaster upon disaster”

It is no secret that we live in a “new world” today—one that has clearly lost its way. There are an abundance of examples:

  • In the West, there is almost unspeakable immorality, descending far below any societal mores that we have experienced in our lifetimes.

  • Transgenderism promotes the ridiculous notion that men and women should decide for themselves their sex. Even schools are teaching little boys and girls they can choose their own sexual orientation and gender identity.

  • There has been a move toward globalization of government that espouses control over its citizens

  • The “benefits” of digital currency are being promoted, which would allow government to control everyone’s financial resources with the “click of a button.”

  • The credo of “my truth” versus “disinformation” is on the rise. This belief is defined simply as “if you don’t agree with me, then you are spreading disinformation.” Where will it lead? To government control. These concepts are pushing this world so that man’s government will decide what “truth” is.

The evidence all around is showing how God and His truth are being systematically removed from the world, just as Bible prophecy reveals. Scripture exposes the devastating results of moving away from God to be “disaster upon disaster” (Ezekiel 7:26). Satan will bring this world to its knees, determined to “destroy the earth” and mankind itself (Revelation 11:18). Thankfully, He will not succeed, as Christ will return and save the world from extinction (Revelation 19:11-20:3).

As we watch society and the world, God’s Church is commissioned to “teach all things He commanded us to observe” and “preach the gospel to every creature” (Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15).

The Church has been fulfilling that mission, but as we proceed further into this strange and evil world, it is time for all of us individually and collectively to sharpen our spiritual senses and rededicate ourselves to a kind of “new beginning”—to earnestly, diligently and even more carefully focus on the incredible calling that God has given us.

Redeem the time

Fresh from the observance of Pentecost and the reminder of who we are and what God is working with His firstfruits, take the time to review your life and consciously and deliberately devote yourself to God with all your heart. More fervently turn to Him. “Redeem the time,” as the apostle Paul instructs, for indeed, “the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

Let us more earnestly teach the plain truth of the Bible in our services, do the truth in our lives, and exhort one another to “strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees” (Hebrews 12:12) as we turn to God wholeheartedly.

As a Church we must preach the gospel—the good news—of Jesus Christ and the coming Kingdom of God. That message must be bold, clear and loud—a warning witness to all. We are told: “Cry aloud, spare not: lift up your voice like a trumpet and tell My people their transgression and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1). It is also a message of hope for the world. In fact, it is the only hope that exists for this world.

And those who have that hope have a responsibility with it. “Everyone who has this hope purifies himself as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).

So, let us with renewed commitment strive for the unity that God desires in us. Let us be in “one accord,” dedicated to living His truth, and proclaiming it to the world. This responsibility we have to God also includes instructing our precious children in the wonderful way of life to which God has opened our minds. Never neglect it!

As His firstfruits we have an amazing future, so let’s take to heart our calling and the admonition: “Everyone who has this hope purifies himself as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).

Let’s pray for one another and work together in “one accord” to do the Work God has called us to do.

Have a wonderful day of preparation and Sabbath. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

In Christ’s service,
Rick Shabi

From Ministerial and Member Services . . .

Recent Ordinations

On May 27, 2023, Kelland Barthelmy was ordained into the ministry. He and his wife, Beverley Anne, serve the congregation in St. Lucia.

On May 28, 2023, Jason Godfrey was ordained into the ministry. He serves the London Central congregation in the British Isles.

U.S. Print Advertising—July and August 2023

As society grows increasingly lawless, corrupt and violent, your prayers are needed for the successful mission of the United Church of God in reaching people around the world with the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 24:14). This is especially important as the Church launches its 2023-2024 fiscal year beginning July 1, 2023, by employing an extensive mix of video, digital and print media methods in many countries. For example, print promotions in the United States will spread the good news “as a witness” (Matthew 24:14) to multiple millions of people.

Beginning in July we plan to test two new advertisements in Sunday newspaper inserts. Both ads—one with a photo of a man and the other a woman—will offer a free one-year subscription to Beyond Today magazine. In referring to today’s chaotic and upsetting societal conditions, the ads pose the question, “Why Does it Have to Be Like This?” while directing the reader’s attention to God’s “Way, … truth and … life” (John 14:6) that will give everyone lasting peace, joy and fulfillment.

Then in August, we plan to conduct two additional ad tests which will likewise offer a free subscription to Beyond Today magazine. One is titled “Jesus Christ’s Advance News” while the other ad is termed “Looking for Some Good News?” Both ads encourage people to look beyond their immediate troubles to the real hope of a bright future beginning at Jesus Christ’s second coming.

Since many additional advertisements are planned throughout the fiscal year, we sincerely ask that you join us in praying for God’s guidance, direction and blessings on these and other important media efforts.

—Peter Eddington, Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services

Job Opening: Receptionist

The United Church of God has announced an opening for a Receptionist.

The Receptionist is present and opens the home office lobby door on time each morning and secures the lock at the end of each workday. He or she answers multiple incoming business telephone lines, directs caller to destination or fulfills caller’s request while on line. The incumbent greets office visitors in lobby and directs to appropriate personnel and acts as first line of security for the home office.

The Receptionist provides clerical support for Media and Communications Services and also takes literature requests, address changes, subscription renewals, subscription cancellations and tithe envelope requests and processes them through subscriber database while online with caller. In addition, he or she sorts incoming postal mail, processes mail returns and opens them for reuse.

A college degree or equivalent and two years related experience and training in computer skills, editorial and office duties is required. Experience working with the general public in a professional manner is essential.

Potential employees must be baptized members (in good standing) of the United Church of God. Applicants must be biblically literate and possess a thorough working knowledge of the doctrines, beliefs and practices of the United Church of God.

To request a job application or for questions about the position, please contact human_resources@ucg.org.