GREETINGS once again, brethren of God's true Church! Mrs. Armstrong and I have just recently returned to Headquarters from our lengthy stay at the College in England. College is already underway here in Pasadena, with another of our large incoming classes of 120 new freshmen, and here we are rapidly approaching another wonderful FEAST OF TABERNACLES!
This special letter is being sent only to you brethren living EAST of the national dividing line we have had to establish, and concerns the Festival to be observed at Big Sandy, Texas. Be sure you read and really understand every word!
Once again this year, because of the tremendous GROWTH God has given His Church, we shall have to observe the Feast of Tabernacles at TWO locations in the United States, with our brethren overseas observing God's Holy Festival on Hayling Island in England, in a mountain resort near Sydney, Australia, and in the Philippines, Africa and the British West Indies! This great FEAST is truly WORLD-WIDE!
As I wrote you last year, it was certainly not my doing, nor my personal DESIRE to have to hold the Feast in two locations in the United States. I, personally, wanted to see ALL of us together in ONE place! But God simply made this impossible! He gave the increase, but He did not direct HIS OWN WORK to build, or to be ABLE to build the mammoth facilities that would be necessary for all of us to meet in one place, on our grounds at Gladewater.
Instead, He miraculously opened an internationally famous resort, SQUAW VALLEY, California, to us! And so, again this year, almost HALF of God's people in the United States will be meeting in Squaw Valley, and perhaps more than half at Big Sandy.
This year, we have had to move the dividing line much further east. Still, however, we expect to be really CROWDED at our big Tabernacle building. It has been constructed to seat perhaps a maximum of 7,500 people. There were almost that many attending last year, and with the great increase God has granted, there will be perhaps over 8,000 people at Big Sandy this year! There may be up to SIX THOUSAND meeting together in Squaw Valley! Think of it! FOURTEEN THOUSAND of us this year! What a sight that would be, if we could all be in ONE PLACE!
However, unless or until GOD MAKES THIS POSSIBLE, we must continue to cheerfully and happily comply with HIS will, and observe His Festivals in the place HE puts His name!
It is vitally important that all of you brethren receiving THIS LETTER go to the Tabernacle, unless you have received special permission from a minister to do otherwise. It has come to me that some few brethren, who perhaps wanted an opportunity to visit the campus, or relatives on the West Coast, have heard of how God opened Squaw Valley to us. They promptly began making plans to come to the West Coast for the Festival of Tabernacles this fall. Brethren, this simply CANNOT BE DONE! All of you brethren living east of the continental divide are receiving this special letter with directions about the big Tabernacle near Big Sandy. There will be no space or provision made for any of you at Squaw Valley in California.
I do know that it is a natural, and a gratifying desire to want to visit Ambassador College campus in Pasadena. I do sincerely hope that every single one of you will have that opportunity at some time in future years—-but we simply cannot jeopardize our whole program for observance of the Festival by allowing brethren to indiscriminately trade back and forth.
I do want to stress this point, brethren, that all of you receiving this letter should go to the big Tabernacle near Big Sandy! There will be no place to stay, no place to eat, no provision for you at Squaw Valley.
This year, I hope to be in Squaw Valley for just a PART of the Feast, but expect to spend MOST of the Feast with you brethren in our own Tabernacle building near Big Sandy. My son, Garner Ted Armstrong, and also Mr. Roderick C. Meredith and Dr. Herman Hoeh will change places during the Feast, to meet with brethren in both locations.
IMPORTANT! READ CAREFULLY!! Many members have been inexcusably careless and inconsiderate, by bringing sick children to the Festivals—-and also to local Church services on the Sabbaths. Frequently children are brought with whooping cough, measles, mumps, flu, chicken pox and other contagious diseases. Other members' children have been exposed and come down with these diseases because of this. THIS MUST STOP!!! If your child has even been exposed within two weeks before coming, DON'T bring him.
If your child is sick, call upon God through one of His ministers for healing—-or write to Headquarters for an anointed cloth. But DO NOT, under any circumstances, bring such a child UNTIL you can actually see that he has been completely healed. When anointed, have FAITH—-BELIEVE—-but if God does give you a test of faith, DO NOT bring the child on the strength of that faith. Let him be HEALED on the strength of your faith, but do not bring him to any Church meeting or Festival until every physical symptom is gone, and the healing is complete. Moses expelled those with communicable diseases from the camp of Israel. We shall have to do likewise, in fairness to other children. I am sincerely sorry it is necessary, but some few seem to want to reason their way around a Church ORDER like this, and disobey, on the way they reason it out. Any who are in that way inconsiderate of others will have to be swiftly expelled. If your child is taken with such a disease while at the Feast, call a minister at once, and ask him not only for anointing, but whether the child must be isolated or taken home.
PREGNANT WOMEN, NOTICE! In past years, some have journeyed to the Festival just in time to have a baby. I do not know whether this was done intentionally to get free delivery from one of our doctor members—-to avoid doctor and hospital bills. But in any event, this is WRONG—-it is taking unfair advantage of God's Church, His people, and is very DANGEROUS to such a woman and her unborn child.
From now on, NO WOMAN, who is to be as much as eight months along by the END of the Feast is to attend. It is too difficult on such a woman, dangerous, and any such will be promptly sent home and not allowed to remain for the Feast.
ALSO, any women just a few months along in pregnancy should be very CAUTIOUS about whether they attend the Feast at all! The period from two to five months pregnancy is the time when most miscarriages occur. The higher altitudes and colder climate at Squaw Valley might be too much for some during this period. Gladewater often is oppressively hot, with sudden change in temperature if a "norther" should blow in. DON'T RISK MISCARRIAGE OF A PRECIOUS LIFE! REMEMBER, God does not lay the same stress on attendance of women as He does men. USE WISDOM! Check up with the doctor who is to deliver your baby.
ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT: Pregnant women in God's Church should not fly in airplanes! There is reason to believe (even if unproved) deafness to an unborn child may result. We have placed an absolute prohibition against any minister's wife, in this Church, flying while pregnant.
If you have any special problem or question you're unsure of, write in immediately.
The Feast of Tabernacles begins Friday evening, at sunset, October 12. That means each ANNUAL Holy Day this year will actually be a DOUBLE Sabbath, falling on the regular WEEKLY Sabbath each time. There will be a preaching service Friday evening, at 7:30 P.M. just as the Annual Holy Day, and the first day of the Feast begins! You should all plan to arrive EARLY enough so you can be settled in your booth, tent, trailer, hotel or motel, and be sure to ATTEND this important FIRST MEETING!
Dinner will be served in the dining hall from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. on Friday evening preceding the services.
Morning services will begin the following day promptly at 10:00 a.m. in the big Tabernacle. Remember, on this first Holy Day God commands us to BRING AN OFFERING! He has told us not to "come empty" but for each to give as he has been blessed, and made able! (Deut. 16:16,17). So be sure to plan ahead for these offerings which God commands, and remember that God "LOVETH a cheerful giver!"
There will be a few more openings this year because of some cancellations on the part of West Coast brethren. You may write to either the Gladewater or the Big Sandy Chambers of Commerce for reservations (be sure to let them know what your needs will be whether you wish a motel, hotel, rooming house, and how many are in your family) or make your own reservations independently. There are quite a number of motels and hotels in the surrounding areas of Gladewater, Gilmer, Longview, Greggton, Tyler and Mineola. Increasingly, some of the members have had to go further away from the Tabernacle to find suitable accommodations. However, with a number of cancellations on the booths, and other cancellations in hotels and motels in the area, the situation should be even a little better than it was last year.
If you do not as yet have reservations, try to make them IMMEDIATELY, or else plan to arrive a full day or two early to find a place to stay after you arrive.
Circumstances have forced us to ask that none of you bring your pets to the Feast this year. On one occasion, as I reported two years ago, a child was bitten by a dog brought to the camping area by a brother. Your pet may be perfectly harmless, but we cannot take chances with the lives and safety of the many and different children who will be running about our grounds. Therefore, make sure you arrange to either leave your pet with friends or relatives, put them in a kennel or have them placed in a suitable place where they will be properly cared for while you are away.
Space is provided for those wishing to bring either tents or trailers. Campers MUST cooperate to the fullest extent with those in authority who will direct you to the site where you should pitch your tent or park your trailer. DO NOT PARK YOUR TRAILER OR PITCH YOUR TENT UNLESS OR UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED AN AREA by Mr. Roy Hammer, or Mr. Buck Hammer! This is very important! We have gone to a great deal of expense to provide more water on the grounds this year, but camping must be done in order so as to utilize our facilities best. God is NOT the author of CONFUSION! (I Cor. 14:33).
Rapidly nearing completion in time for the Feast are two new sanitary buildings, complete with the most modern new plumbing, to serve the trailer-house parking area to the west of Booth City. This will be an added blessing for all those in the booths, and will cut down considerably on the overcrowded conditions in the sanitary buildings serving Booth City.
Meals will be served at the dining hall as they have been before. However, this year you must purchase a meal ticket. We have found, in past years, that we have had some difficulty in meeting costs of food and groceries. Also, there has been a very great difficulty in the fluctuation of the number eating in the dining hall at any one given meal. For instance, on some mornings the dining hall may be serving only a moderate amount of breakfasts, and then on the very next morning perhaps hundreds of additional persons show up. This throws the kitchen into a great deal of turmoil, and there has been a great deal of lack of preparation for wildly fluctuating attendance at meals. Perhaps some will eat off and on at the dining hall, perhaps eating every lunch there but never eating the evening meal, while others will eat all three meals per day. To solve this problem we are issuing meal tickets this year.
Meal ticket are going to be sold at the rate of $25.00 per adult. This is calculated on the basis of slightly less than $1.00 per meal! Brethren, let me stress the fact that NOWHERE can you eat the fine food we are able to have in our own Tabernacle dining hall, the clean, pure, unadulterated, healthful food for such a small price. In past years, we have been able to charge even a little bit less. However, this year we are going to have to come a little closer to charging the real cost of the meals. If you purchase a meal ticket, you should plan to eat ALL your meals in the dining hall.
Meal tickets for children from six to twelve years, inclusive, are $15.00. This is calculated at the rate of 60 cents per meal. Children from six years and under are going to be allowed to eat free.
You should use the enclosed envelope and send the full price of your meal tickets for each adult and child as soon as possible. We have assigned personnel here to take care of your request, sending your meal ticket to you as soon as we receive your payment. If a few are unable to get to us in time, then you may purchase your meal tickets when you register upon entering our Tabernacle grounds.
Some of you may want to purchase a meal ticket, but may want to eat out in a restaurant on one or two evenings. You may wonder what to do in a case such as this. Brethren, it would be impossible to arrange the purchase of meal tickets any differently. Therefore, if you plan to miss only a few meals at the Tabernacle dining hall, you should merely realize that the over-all price is far less than you would be paying in even cheaper restaurants, and look upon the loss of these very few meals (if you intend to eat out at all) as a contribution and donation to others of God's people.
As soon as you drive in, you must REGISTER with the registration booths located at the entrance of the camping area. This is very necessary—-and you need to register whether you plan to eat at the dining hall or not!
The Tabernacle grounds are just off Highway 80, 2 miles east of Big Sandy, Texas, and 8 miles west of Gladewater. Big Sandy is a small town about 100 miles to the east of Dallas. A new entrance has been constructed of brick where our own private road leads to the Tabernacle grounds. There is a gasoline station, restaurant and a few auto courts just beside the entrance, called "Tuckers." Simply follow Highway 80, east from Big Sandy, or west from Gladewater until you see our sign, "Radio Church of God Tabernacle." You will immediately see the huge building to your left. FINALLY, brethren, let me exhort every one of you to COME TO THE TABERNACLE! If you have not been obedient in saving the second tithe this year or if you have learned this new truth just very recently, and have not had time to save for it as yet, perhaps you cannot come. But God has COMMANDED our presence, and has given us a financial plan making it possible for us to attend. These annual Feast Days of God are a VERY important part of our spiritual growth! There are inspired sermons from the ministers—-real solid spiritual "meat" that you cannot get anywhere else! It is one of the most precious blessings of God to be with other brethren, as one big, growing family, during these wonderful days of the Feast of Tabernacles. I know there will be some few—-widows or perhaps some who, even though they have faithfully saved their second tithe, will not be able to attend but once every other year—-but frankly, Brethren, I feel there must be MANY who are looking for EXCUSES not to attend—-and are depriving themselves of one of the greatest opportunities God has placed before them! Yes—-these Feast Days are COMMANDED assemblies—-CONVOCATIONS! So lets all be sure we really obey our Heavenly Father—-BE THERE!
Brethren, I must call upon you, as your Pastor and the servant of Jesus Christ, BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL! WATCH your driving —-BE ALERT for others who may be drunk, or careless! None of us are leading charmed lives. DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN THIS YEAR! Please don't make me have to announce YOUR name, from the pulpit, as having been involved in a serious accident—-perhaps dead or injured—-just from sheer human carelessness!
These wonderful, joyful preaching services, coupled with the Bible studies, visiting, recreation and physical Feasting make the Feast of Tabernacles MANY TIMES OVER more enjoyable than the commercialized, pagan, abominable feasts of Satan, such as Christmas, Easter and Halloween.
I'm looking forward to the greatest Feast of Tabernacles since Apostolic Days! I hope to see YOU there—-rejoicing with all of us! May God bless you and keep you safe until we meet together as He has commanded!