We have just had a conference in my office which impels me to write you — and our entire membership in the United States and Canada.
Present were Mr. Albert Portune, business manager over God's Work, Mr. Jon Hill, director of the Ambassador College Press, Mr. Kenneth Hertmann, Registrar of Ambassador College, Mr. Dibar Apartian, director of the French Work and a professor on the college faculty, and Mr. Jack Elliott, Dean of Students and director of buildings and Grounds of the Pasadena campus. My son Garner Ted was away, Dr. Hoeh is in Europe, and Mr. Roderick Meredith is at the Summer Camp in northern Minnesota.
It was a most URGENT meeting. The rapid expansion of every phase of God's Work has resulted in a most acute shortage of office space in which to operate here at Headquarters.
Mr. Herrmann has advised us that his department simply cannot function to register in new students who will be arriving in about five weeks for the 1967-68 college year, in his present cramped and completely outgrown quarters.
Mr. Portune says his department has so seriously outgrown their small office space they have to climb and crawl all over one another: they have been forced to put desks and staff members in hallways; and already a number of his staff has had to be housed in other space six blocks away, and entirely off the campus.
Dr. Hoeh, who not only is Dean of instruction of the college, and director over all the professors and instructors, but Managing Editor (which means the actual administrative editor) of The PLAIN TRUTH, beside being director over the German Work, has only one little office. He has crowded desks for two assistants into his office. It is not a fit place for him to receive visitors, or students who come for counseling.
A new Professor, in the departments of English and Education, Dr. Vern L. Farrow, who has been a member of the faculty of the University of Oregon, has just arrived on campus. We must provide him with an office. And we have had no idea where to find one for him.
And while I was writing the above, I was interrupted by a telephone call from Mr. James Simpson, who drives my car (I stopped driving after my right eye went out on me a few years ago). He was leaving to meet Mr. Yehudi Menuhin, the world-famous violinist, and to bring him out to the campus. Mr. Menuhin is giving a concert at the famed Hollywood Bowl (outdoor auditorium) Thursday night. He is a personal friend of Mr. David Wynne, the British sculptor who recently installed a giant sculptured fountain on our campus. We believe it is the largest work of sculpture on the west coast of America. Or the tallest. It is 38 feet tall, and consists of five giant bronze birds, just rising in flight from an artificial lake. When our new auditorium is built, this beautiful work of sculpture will be directly in front of it. Mr. Wynne also has done a most impressive bronze sculpture of Mr. Menuhin, which is to be put in the entrance hall of our new Fine Arts Building, now under construction.
Mr. Menuhin is coming to see the giant sculptured birds (egrets), and also he says he wants to see "where you're going to put my head," as he expressed it.
Mr. Simpson asked, "Where shall I bring Mr. Menuhin first?" Yes, WHERE? We have no fit place to bring an international celebrity, should one come to our campus. The proper place would be, on any campus, the Administration building. But our Administration building is a small building, originally built in the horse-and-buggy days as a stable and haymow for horses. It was later remodeled into a four-car garage, with servants' apartments on the second floor (in the haymow!). It was in that condition when we bought the original college property twenty-one years ago. We remodeled it into a small office building, and put a sign out front: "ADMINISTRATION BUILDING." But both Garner Ted and I have had to move out, to make room for other needed offices. We built offices for ourselves on the roof of the Library building.
Our Administration building is not presentable enough to bring an international celebrity to it. Nor would I want to have him brought through the Library and up to my office, although it is nice enough once one gets there.
This interruption served to put dynamic EMPHASIS on the very thing I am writing you about — our dire, tragic, URGENT, DESPERATE NEED of a new Administration building. If we had been able — as we should have been long before this — to have built our new Administration building — already well along in planning on the architects' drawing boards — then THAT would be the place to receive Mr. Menuhin.
And while I am on this subject, another international luminary came to our campus to see this work of sculpture about a month ago while I was still in England. He was Sir Alec Douglas- Home, Britain's Prime Minister just before the present one.
At our conference, I had decided to move Mr. Roderick Meredith, who is our director over all the ministers and churches in the United States, beside being a faculty professor, and PLAIN TRUTH editor, and Mr. Jon Hill, over to our Church Administration offices, which we have leased over a drug store. That, also, is off the campus. They need to be in close proximity to the business office, the Registrar, the Dean, and those of Garner Ted and me. Then I was going to move Mr. Elliott, who is also Dean of Students, off campus in the building used by our maintenance departments.
But then Mr. Portune came up with the idea that he could move the offices of Business Administration across the street into the front part of a girls' dormitory building.
"That's no place for a college's Business offices," I said. "If any office ought to be in the Administration building it is the Controller (Business manager)."
"I know it," said Mr. Portune, "But I can explain to bankers, insurance men, contractors and others who come to my office that we are expanding, outgrowing our quarters, and I can make it serve as a makeshift until we build the new Administration building."
That is decidedly NOT a right or proper solution of our problem. But, as we considered the problem from all angles, it seemed the least of the evils. So we shall move Dr. Hoeh upstairs into Mr. Portune's office, and expand the Registrar's quarters to include Dr. Hoeh's present office, which adjoins Mr. Herrmann's, and also the one that was occupied by Mrs. Armstrong as Guidance Counsellor for women.
Now WHY have I taken time and space to tell you all this? Simply because I know how God felt back in the days of Moses, when the children of Israel griped, complained, criticized, and refused to obey God's orders. They didn't trust God — they said it was all MOSES' doing, and blamed Moses for everything. They didn't agree with Moses — when he was only doing as GOD directed. Today, Brethren, I am doing as GOD directs, but too many of our brethren, who profess to be yielded to God, criticize, disagree, lack faith, and NEGLECT TO RESPOND. So many of you can't see why we need any new buildings!
I wonder if some of you don't think that all there is to running God's Work is to go to some radio studio and talk in front of a microphone once a day and to have two or three little rooms for a handful of students to sit in for classes.
I think many of you do not realize that the great Work of God is any larger than your own home, and your own family operations!
I am utterly APPALLED to see on a report from the Business Office that there is now LESS money coming in for the BUILDING FUND than there was a year or two ago! Yet there are THOUSANDS MORE OF YOU! We have just published a brochure showing that MORE THAN 40,000 MEMBERS ATTEND OUR SERVICES EVERY SABBATH!
God's WORK is GROWING — it has become B I G!!! God's CHURCH is GROWING!!! That is, in every facet EXCEPT the BUILDING FUND! That is DECREASING!
God simply BLAZED in anger at the people of ISRAEL when they sagged and lagged, and griped and complained, and lost faith! I know how He felt. I know how Moses felt!
How can I make you brethren understand that it now takes HUNDREDS of full-time workers here at Headquarters to run God's Work? And to operate God's headquarters COLLEGE, which must supply the trained help to keep the Work growing — and the Ministers to feed the bulging, enlarging FLOCK?
We receive THOUSANDS of letters EVERY DAY — yes, THOUSANDS EVERY DAY! It takes hundreds of people to open, read, answer all those letters — to send out the free literature requested — to PRINT that literature — to edit, and PRINT over ONE MILLION COPIES of The PLAIN TRUTH — to keep up a vast mailing list of over A MILLION NAMES! Do you realize that THOUSANDS of those names and addresses have to be CHANGED every month because people move — or die? The AVERAGE person moves every three years or less!
Our Registrar's office must keep records of all grades, credits, and other data on all students. And we have close to 500 students on this one campus. That's small for a college. But did you ever notice HOW MANY LARGE BUILDINGS it takes on the average college or university campus?
I have told you before — and now I tell you AGAIN — in the name, and by THE AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHRIST — that additional new buildings now have become an absolute IMPERATIVE MUST — or else God's Work must fail of its mission and GO BACKWARD!
We are here to DO the WORK OF GOD! We want to do that WORK! But we must have rooms and places to WORK IN! A couple of months ago I had to POSTPONE the start of the new Administration building — our most URGENT need of the moment — another six months — BECAUSE YOU BRETHREN HAVE NOT STOOD BACK OF ME — You HAVE NOT RESPONDED TO THE CALL DIRECTED BY YOUR LORD AND SAVIOUR AND MASTER, JESUS CHRIST!
MORE! If the Television program is to grow, and reach additional millions with Christ's Message, we must build a new Television studio. We are now producing the TV program in our overcrowded little radio speech studio - and the QUALITY is sub-standard. It would never be accepted by regular-channel stations, on channels 1 to 13. I HAVE HAD TO POSTPONE GOING ON ANY MORE TV STATIONS ONE MORE WHOLE YEAR!
I have asked for special, ADDITIONAL offerings for the Property or BUILDING FUND, in addition to, and over and above your tithes and regular offerings. Nine years ago you WERE ABLE to respond — and DID, then, when we were still small in membership. You WERE able to respond better a year ago. There are about 30% more of us now. Funds for OTHER purposes ARE increasing accordingly. OTHER phases of the work ARE growing and increasing. But that very growth DEMANDS more buildings, offices, work rooms. And many of you are NEGLECTING this important part of the Work.
How about it, Brethren?
Are we the CHURCH OF GOD that will be taken to a place of safety? Or are we the contented, lackadaisical, lukewarm LAODICEAN people who are going into slavery in the Great Tribulation — into TORTURE and MARTYRDOM?
Are we putting GOD'S WORK FIRST, or are we allowing other interests, desires, entertainments, to fill our minds — and take our money? WHY is it, dear Brethren, that Communists can be SO COMPLETELY DEVOTED to their damnable destructive CAUSE — can DEVOTE their whole souls and lives and interests to it — but God's people have to be reminded, prodded, aroused out of lethargy and LUKEWARMNESS?
As I write, there has been TERRIBLE rioting and looting in Detroit the past two days, so that the Governor of Michigan had to appeal to the President of the United States to send TROOPS. WHY is it that some negroes (NOT our Brethren, of course!!!), can be STIRRED by Communist propagandists and rabble-rousers into an almost INSANE FURY and dedicated FRENZY of rioting, looting, sniping, shooting, killing, DESTROYING — DEDICATED with fiendish, satanic ZEAL to the CAUSE of destruction and violence — while GOD'S PEOPLE, who have their own salvation and the salvation of ALL HUMANITY to work for, can become so lax and LUKEWARM?
Frankly, Brethren, I find it distressing, and hard to understand!
We are not building any buildings that are not DIRELY, DESPERATELY NEEDED to carry on GOD'S WORK! We ought not to have to take regular funds away from the broadcasting and publishing of the GOSPEL for this purpose. In the past we were able to do what building was needed by these SPECIAL added funds over and above tithes and regular offerings. If we can just keep up this special Building Fund, lt will release the regular funds for more radio stations, speeding up the Television work, and other Gospel activities.
I have just received my first copy of the new enlarged BOOK, "The U.S. and British Commonwealth in Prophecy, " off our book bindery. You should be receiving yours in a day or so. BE SURE TO READ IT — it is much different, and much larger than the former small booklet!
Now I realize, Brethren, that some of you, due to circumstances, may be unable to keep up the special added offerings for the Building Fund. It is those who are able, but have NEGLECTED IT that are hurting the Work.
Satan is striving every way he can to harm this Work. The Work needs your earnest, fervent PRAYERS! I, personally, need them!