The fate of the needed addition to God's great Tabernacle near Gladewater, Texas, still hangs in the balance.
The next two weeks will tell. Here is the situation: Originally we had planned to pay the Behlen Manufacturing Company a down payment, and then $12,000 per month. I had asked the membership of the Church to pledge the $12,000 per month, over and above regular offerings and tithes. All of us, together, pledged just a little less than the $12,000 monthly. But, in the final deal with Behlen, knowing that we always have an increase in income during the fall and winter months, which continues on during the following year, I felt justified in agreeing with Behlen to pay them $18,000 per month following the Festival last October.
You remember, we were to raise a $30,000 payment at the Festival. Actually we raised about $40,000, giving us a $10,000 reserve for future months. Well, our income did increase—but God opened up new doors for additional radio stations, which took all of the increase. The membership continued to send in about $12,000 per month special Building Fund money—but we had to pay out $1,000 per month for November and December.
SO, —READ CAREFULLY! Here is what I am afraid many of our members have not understood. WE ARE NOW OBLIGATED TO PAY THE BEHLEN COMPANY HALF AGAIN MORE THAN I ORIGINALLY ASKED YOU TO PLEDGE. The Tabernacle MUST be enlarged to HALF-AGAIN LARGER than it is now. We will have to try, each one of us if possible, to send in for the special BUILDING FUND, over and above tithes and regular offerings, HALF-AGAIN MORE than we planned originally. Some of you may not be able. Others are able to send in double. WE MUST ALL SACRIFICE, and GO WITHOUT SOME THINGS WE WOULD LIKE, if we are to go on with these larger $18,000 payments, and have the NEW ADDITION.
As a result of special letters I wrote you in January, and again in February, we raised our contributions for the Building Fund to $15,500 in January, and $20,000 in February. Of course we had enough reserve fund money on hand to enable us to meet the November and December and January payments. EVERY PAYMENT HAS BEEN MET PROMPTLY ON TIME.
But now in March, we are dropping back to a rate of only $12,000—and in just two more days we have to send the Behlen Company another $18,000.
The Behlen Company called me the other day by long distance telephone. IF we will keep up the $18,000 monthly payments, they are willing to begin the new construction, making the tabernacle half again bigger than it now is, IMMEDIATELY, or about the first of April. The present building will not be paid out until July—it may even take part or the August payment to pay it off completely. We would not even begin paying anything on the new ADDITION until in August. The new addition will cost around $200,000. The Behlen people have so much confidence in us that they are willing to extend this big additional loan, WITHOUT SECURITY, if I tell them we can keep on paying the $18,000 payments every month.
BUT CAN I TELL THEM THAT? I have to decide within two weeks. This is a MOST UNUSUAL advantage and opportunity to finance what we need so badly. THINK OF IT!—not even a mortgage on our property! No one else would go ahead and build it for us on such wonderful terms.
If we DON'T build this addition, the indication is that 1,000 members of the Church will come and be unable to get into the Tabernacle for the services! Are we willing to let that happen? GOD COMMANDS US TO BE THERE! Can we let a thousand obey that command, and come, and then be turned away, unable to get inside the tabernacle for the services? THIS IS A VITAL NEED!
Brethren, this month of March MUST TELL THE ANSWER! We did contribute a SPECIAL and EXTRA $15,500 in January, and $20,000 in February. IF we can keep that up in March, then I feel we are safe in going ahead agreeing to keep on paying $18,000 a month to Behlen for another year. But if we drop back down to $12,000 this month, as it now looks like we are doing—I JUST CANNOT ASSUME THIS OBLIGATION AND TAKE THIS RESPONSIBILITY ON MY OWN SHOULDERS, PERSONALLY.
Mr. Behlen has confidence in me, personally. I have to sign the agreement to pay, making me personally responsible, as well as the Church. All in the world I have is our home and our automobile. I do not have money to pay it if all of us, as members, fail to send it in. Now I DO try to set the example. Mrs. Armstrong and I, and all the ministers, do pledge and pay in every month a goodly portion of our salaries. We have denied our- selves, and made real sacrifices to do our part very liberally, setting an example. But that is all we can do.
Brethren, WE MUST NOT FAIL! We must try to do MORE than we planned, or pledged. I believe all of you—surely nearly all—are sending in all and more than all you pledged. God bless you for it! BUT NOW WE MUST DO MORE THAN WE AGREED LAST SPRING AND SUMMER, or be unable to seat all our new brethren coming to the Festival next October!
On our recent trip east we were in Dallas, and had a personal interview (Mr. Roy Hammer and Buck Hammer, Ted Armstrong and myself) with the official of the investment bankers who are loaning us the money for the construction of the new one-room metal booth-houses for our housing district at the Tabernacle grounds. As a result of our conversation, the loan was approved. This makes it possible to construct this new housing district on our grounds— 300 of these booth-houses to start—this very summer, ready for this next Festival, and WITHOUT COSTING THE CHURCH A CENT! By charging each family a rental charge equal to one-tenth of the purchase-price—less than motel rent—probably as low as renting a tent or trailer-house—on a ten-year loan, we have the houses without taking any money from Church funds. YOU pay the rent out of your SECOND tithe, which God COMMANDS you to save and spend on your expenses of coming to the Feast. It is money you would spend anyway. So it doesn't cost YOU anything. We do not have to mortgage the ground, either—only the booth houses!
We can only build 300 of these booths this year. Already about 400 have reserved booth-houses. Several have sent in the advance rent money for this fall. FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED! So HURRY!
HERE'S GOOD NEWS! If you attend Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread at Gladewater this spring, lasting eight days, YOU WILL NOT BE CHARGED ANY EXTRA RENT, IF YOU RENT A BOOTH-HOUSE FOR THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES. Also this applies to the three-day Pentecost Festival. If you rent a booth BEFORE Passover, for the fall festival, you get rent-FREE for Passover and for Pentecost— and if you want to arrive a day or two early, and leave a day or two after it is over, that is O.K. —no additional rent! IS THAT FAIR? (THAT IS PROVIDED THE COMPANY GETS THEM INSTALLED BEFORE PASSOVER. IF NOT, THEN THIS SAME WILL PROBABLY APPLY NEXT YEAR.)
More news next letter about these 1-room steel houses. MEANWHILE, LET'S BOOST MARCH BUILDING FUND TO $18,000! God is blessing you.