United Church of God

Home Office Weekly Update: May 4, 2023

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Home Office Weekly Update

May 4, 2023

From the President . . .

Greetings brethren around the world,

Every day, and how we live it, is important. Every day our commitment to God and our relationship with Him should deepen as we are led by His Spirit. Every day we should feel the joy of yielding to God, as we allow Him to “transform us by the renewing of our minds,” becoming more and more like Him, understanding and embracing His perfect will.

Since every day is important to God, it should be to us as well. Tonight (after sunset May 4) is the second Passover, and we are reminded about the importance of “every day” as we “count fifty” toward the Feast of Pentecost, today being day 26. As we “count fifty” we remember that we should “number our days” (Psalm 90:12) and “redeem the time because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

Administratively, the next seven days will be an important time in the Church. As you read this, elders from all over the world are gathering in Cincinnati. This Sabbath they, along with local members and members from all over the world, will unite for Sabbath services, which will be webcast at 2 p.m. EDT. Every congregation should plan to join us this Sabbath, bearing in mind time zones and time of day. (Connection information to the webcast follows this letter.)

Following the Sabbath, two important meetings will be held over the next five days. The annual meeting of the General Conference of Elders will be held Sunday and Monday, with the Council of Elders scheduled for Tuesday through Thursday. I believe this coming week is a vital time for God’s Church. He has given us a commission to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God. The world needs this message of hope, of repentance, of turning to God. It is our calling and responsibility to proclaim it as God opens the doors to fulfill that mission.

Teaching the Way

It is also a time for us to be teaching very clearly the truth of God—“the Way”—as the early New Testament Church described it. We must be dedicated to deepen our knowledge of the truth, and we must be committed to living that truth every day—in every aspect of our lives. We give witness to God’s way of life by the words we speak and by the example we set in our daily lives. Each day as we draw closer to God, He promises to lead us and prepare us individually and collectively.

The world around us is crumbling fast and every day the forces of evil deepen their grip, united in their goal of destroying mankind. Much of it occurs “behind the scenes” but we can have eyes to see if we are paying attention and staying awake.

Now is the time for God’s Church and His people—us—to focus even more deeply on His will and truth, becoming “one” with Him and each other—united in purpose, mission, vision, understanding, message, speech and commitment to do His will.

Be prepared for what lies ahead

Interestingly, a notable event in the history of the world will occur this weekend as the throne in Britain is passed to a new king. This ceremony should remind us of the time just ahead when that crown will be passed to its rightful owner—Jesus Christ.

The time of Christ’s return is growing nearer. Every day we must be allowing God to prepare us and get us ready for what lies ahead. That He will do, as we yield more and more to him—a united people under Him—called out of this world to do His will.

The time is now.

I ask everyone around the world to pray for God’s will to be done, His direction to be provided, and His Spirit to lead and guide everything done in these important meetings that will occur next week, and for His will to be done in all our lives every day.

We look forward to being with all of you as we unite for the Sabbath service this coming Sabbath at 2 p.m. EDT. Have a good rest of the week, brethren. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

In Christ’s service,
Rick Shabi

Sabbath Services This Week

This Sabbath, May 6, services will be webcast live from Cincinnati. Split sermons will be from President Rick Shabi and GCE Chairman Len Martin. Connection to the service can be found at ucg.org at the Webcast tab. The time will 2 p.m. EDT. For those congregations that meet later in the day, the full Church service will be available within 30 minutes after the service in Cincinnati. That link can be found at the Sermons tab.

United Youth Camp Staffing Needs

The UYC teen and preteen camp season is about to begin, and it is important that we have the essential personnel lined up for successful camps. First, as a general reminder, we encourage our ministry to consider applying to serve at a camp near them. It is a good opportunity for our youth to see the ministry serving in other ways besides at services. Elders, please contact one of the camp directors to see if you can help.

Some areas require additional training or certification unique to their activity, such as:

  • Nursing/First Aid: Requirements for this role are a degree and/or licensure as a physician, RN, LPN, EMT or paramedic, or someone currently in training/school for one of the above licenses.

  • Lifeguards: Required for this role is a lifeguarding certification: Lifeguarding with CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers and First Aid. The UYC program may be able to help defray the cost of certification, so please contact one of our camp directors personally.

Here are some current needs:

  • Pre-teen Camp Florida: male counselors

  • Pinecrest: nursing, lifeguard, ministers, counselors, etc.

  • Southwest: male and female counselors, kitchen staff, activity staff

  • Woodland: male and female counselors (head and assistant)

Update from Hong Kong

Over the Days of Unleavened Bread, Terry Franke and his family were able to visit our brethren in Hong Kong for the first time in three years. Following are excerpts from his encouraging update on his trip and the brethren there.

“To begin with, a brief overview of the congregation in Hong Kong might be helpful. Weekly Sabbath services are held online. Included are eleven brethren in Hong Kong, two in mainland China, two in Thailand, and two in the Philippines. About half of the members there have been in the Church of God for decades. They have been and continue to be faithful to God and are striving to live His way of life. The others are new members.

“The faithfulness of the brethren there to God and their enthusiasm to live His way of life, is difficult to put into words. They are a special people. It was so encouraging and humbling to be with them, to hear their conversations about God and His ways, to have them ask deep probing questions of God’s Word, all in an effort to understand God’s ways so they can live them more fully.

“One of the more encouraging things, while there, is that we had three baptisms.”

Please continue to include your brethren all over the world in your prayers.

—Submitted by Terry Franke, International Senior Pastor, Hong Kong

Power to Change

We are just three weeks from observing the Day of Pentecost. To help you in your preparation for this important reminder of God’s Holy Day plan, please join us together as the Body of Christ in enhancing our study and preparation through our Beyond Today Bible study video series: “Power to Change: The Transforming Power of God’s Holy Spirit.”


Some have said that the hardest thing to do in life is to change. We need more than just willpower. We need the power of God in our life. This Bible study series will focus on how change is possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.

For the next three weeks we will study important aspects of the Day of Pentecost. This week’s study is titled: “Power to Change: Part 1: The Work of the Holy Spirit” by Gary Petty.


—Peter Eddington, Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services