GREETINGS! In Jesus' name! I'm sending you this special letter to give you the information you'll need for the great Passover festival and the days of Unleavened Bread that are rapidly drawing closer.
I will be at the big tabernacle building near Gladewater, Texas again this year, God willing, with Mrs. Armstrong for the entire eight days. We are fully expecting the largest gathering of God's people in one place for the Passover in all modern history! There will be several other ordained ministers at the tabernacle with me, including my two sons, who will assist in the preaching services and be available for Bible studies, personal counselling with those of you who wish and need it, and other ministerial tasks.
The Passover always comes on the 14th of God's first month, Abib (or Nisan) which corresponds this year to the 14th of April on the Roman Calendar! The Passover services will be held at 7:00 P.M., Sunday evening, April 14th. The following evening, Monday, April 15th, there will be a service held in the tabernacle building, in observance of the first annual Feast Day, the first day of Unleavened Bread. God, as you know, reckons the beginning of a day at sunset. Services will begin promptly at 7:00 P.M. Monday evening. That means from sunset Monday until sunset Tuesday is a HOLY DAY. There will be an all-day meeting in the tabernacle on Tuesday, with preaching services to begin at 10:00 A.M., and again at 2:30 P.M. There will be no regular preaching service on Tuesday night.
Then, services will be held every day for the entire eight days with a morning and an evening preaching service. Morning services will begin at 10:00 A M , and evening services will begin at 7:00 P.M. There will be another all-day meeting on the last day of the Days of Unleavened Bread, which will be on Monday, the 22nd of April. Services will begin at 10:00 A.M. and again at 2:30 P.M. which will be the last service of the Feast.
There will be many of you, of course, who will not be able to come to the big tabernacle in Texas both at the Passover season and again during the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall. It is a blessing to be able to announce that for the first time we are able to hold services during the entire eight days at Lyons, Colorado! Mr. Raymond Cole, Pastor in charge of the Churches scattered abroad will officiate at those services, and will be assisted by his brother, Mr. Wayne Cole, who will go to Lyons from his post at Tacoma, Washington. Also at Lyons to assist in the preaching, Bible studies, and answering questions will be Mr. Carlton Smith, an ordained local Elder in the Church at Pasadena. We are expecting a wonderful time of rejoicing and fellowship at Lyons this year! For those of you planning to remain the entire eight days at Lyons there are tourist accommodations at Estes Park, a resort town not too distant from the site of the meetings, and a few accommodations at Lyons, which is just a few miles to the southeast of the meeting site. The meetings will be held on the beautiful grounds at the home of Bro. Dwight Webster and family, in a large tent which has been obtained for the purpose. Certainly it will be a blessing to be out away from the world, in the midst of God's nature with God's own people for the entire eight days of fellowship and spiritual growth! Should the conditions become crowded at Lyons and Estes Park, then ample space would be available at Longmont, Colorado, which is just a few more miles to the southeast from Lyons.
Passover services will be held in the tent near Lyons, and will begin promptly at 7 00 P.M., Sunday, April 14th. The same schedule of meetings will be used at Lyons as has been explained for the tabernacle building in Texas. Any alterations or necessary changes in the scheduled meetings will be announced by the minister in charge, of course.
There will be Passover services and all-day meetings held at all the local Churches, with arrangements being made by the individual Pastors at each Church. Meetings will be conducted at the local Churches on the Passover, the annual Holy Days and the weekly Sabbaths only, however, and will not be held for the entire eight-day period.
CHICAGO: Mr. Dean Blackwell will conduct services at the regular Church meeting place, located at 2345 So. Kedzie, Chicago, Ill. The place for the Holy Day meetings will be announced at the Passover service, which will be held at 7:00 P.M.
ST. LOUIS: Mr. James Friddle, Pastor of the Gladewater, Dallas, and Minden Churches, will be in St. Louis for the Passover and the annual Holy Day all-day meetings. Services will be held at the Ivy Hall, 3505 No. Grand, in St. Louis. Passover services begin promptly at 7:00 P.M., and the times for the all-day meetings will be announced.
ALL OTHER CHURCHES will observe the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread in their respective local congregations, with arrangements being made by the local Pastors in charge. The Fresno and San Diego Churches will meet with the brethren in Pasadena. Any particular questions concerning any of these local areas should be asked of the ministers in charge.
Each year, there are a number of new members who have not been able to attend meetings at the tabernacle before. For their benefit, as well as for others who may need additional information, those special instructions are included.
Meals will be served, as usual, at cost, at the tabernacle. You must obtain your own motel or hotel reservations beforehand, as has always been done. Accommodations may be somewhat difficult to find at this time of the year, because we are expecting a larger than ever attendance at the tabernacle. There are a few cabins located near the grounds, called "Tucker's Cabins," which are owned and operated by the owners of the small cafe and filling station at the entrance to the tabernacle grounds. There are motels in Glade- water along the highway, and also many motels between Gladewater and Longview, a city several miles further east. There are some nice motels in and near Greggton, a small town midway between Gladewater and Longview. Also, there is, in addition to several large motels near Longview, a large hotel. These accommodations near Longview are located about 20 miles from the Tabernacle, however, and so would necessitate a good deal of driving back and forth.
The better motels, first-class, cost from about 5 to 8 dollars per day for two people, with one dollar being added for each additional person as a usual procedure. Other cabins and motels are available for less, however. Hotel Longview rates, a strictly first-class hotel, are from four to six dollars single and six to eight dollars double. I STRONGLY ADVISE PLANNING TO ARRIVE EARLY so you can find adequate sleeping accommodations. We have no facilities for making reservations for you. So try to make them immediately if you have not done so already.
DIRECTIONS FOR FINDING THE TABERNACLE: The grounds are just off highway #80, about 8 miles west of Gladewater, and 2 miles east of Big Sandy. It is approximately 100 miles east of Dallas on highway #80. Highway 80 is the main east-west highway from the East to Dallas and toward the West, so those of you who have not been to the tabernacle before should be able to find it without difficulty.
Beside a combination filling station and cafe (already mentioned) on the north side of highway 80. you will see our sign "Private Grounds, Radio Church of God Tabernacle." Turn in at the sign, and follow the road straight back until you arrive at the tabernacle building, which is secluded in a forested area.
Those who come by train or bus can get taxi service at Gladewater, and possibly at Big Sandy, or, if coming by bus, it is possible the driver would let you off right at the grounds, though it would be better to go first to a hotel in Gladewater or Big Sandy, making sure of your place to stay before you go to the tabernacle. An evening meal will be served at the tabernacle at 5:00 P.M. on the 14th of April, just prior to the Passover services.
Finally brethren, don't forget that our Heavenly Father has COMMANDED all of us to attend these annual Holy Days for our own GOOD, and our vital spiritual growth! It is a vital part of our Christian life, to be constantly kept in remembrance of God's great PLAN He is working out here below. The Passover shows the tremendous PRICE that was paid in our stead — the very life and the body of Jesus Christ, that our sins might be forgiven! The Days of Unleavened Bread show the putting out of SIN from our lives! Those who have been privileged to attend God's Holy Days in the past have said it is truly a wonderful time of rejoicing and spiritual feasting to be able to hear the inspired sermons, the Bible Studies, to have personal contact and fellowship with God's ministers and His flock scattered abroad!
It is truly one of the most wonderful experiences in a Christian's life! So MAKE EVERY POSSIBLE EFFORT to come — and then, if it is NOT possible, and God knows each case, you may find it necessary to observe this most sacred service in your own home. Remember, however, that no one who has not been baptized, and has not really SURRENDERED to God in complete repentance should partake of the Passover! If you find it impossible to attend the festival either at Gladewater, at Lyons, or at one of the Local Churches, then write me IMMEDIATELY for instructions on HOW TO TAKE THE PASSOVER IN YOUR OWN HOME!
We are hoping to see most of you, however, at the big tabernacle in Texas. May God bless and protect each one of you!
ONE PARTING POINT! It seems God's people sometimes GET CARELESS, and nearly every year, we have to hear of some accident that has occurred, which INJURES someone who is a member of God's own flock! BRETHREN — DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN THIS YEAR! I call upon all of you in the name of Jesus Christ, as God's Apostle, and your Minister, BE CAREFUL!
Some have perhaps assumed that nothing can happen to God's people — that God will supernaturally intervene and prevent any accident, regardless of HOW careless we get! This is simply NOT TRUE! God expects us to DO OUR PART! Be extremely CAREFUL coming to the Passover! DO NOT DRIVE WHEN YOU'RE SLEEPY! Finally, I am going to pray, and I want to call on ALL OF YOU TO PRAY that God will protect His people — and somehow impress it on their minds that they must use great care in driving on today's dangerous highways!
It will be a terrible thing if I am forced to announce that one of our own brethren has been killed or badly injured in an automobile accident! So please — be careful!